2002 – With the #14 pick, the New York Giants selected Jermey Shockey TE, from Miami (FL). Shockey was named Diet Pepsi’s Rookie of the Year in 2002. He also was named to the Pro Bowl four of his first five years in the league and an All-Pro in 2002. Shockey is also a two time Superbowl Champion on two different teams (Giants, Saints).
2003 – With the #14 pick, the Chicago Bears selected Michael Haynes DE, from Penn State. Haynes spent just four years in the league. In that time, he only started four games.
2004 – With the #14 pick, the Chicago Bears selected Tommie Harris DT, from Oklahoma. Harris finished second in balloting for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2004 and was eventually selected to three Pro Bowls. And despite an All-Pro selection in 2005, Harris’ career has declined due to injury.
2005 – With the #14 pick, the Carolina Panthers selected Thomas Davis LB, from Georgia. Despite recording 402 tackles so far in his six year career, Davis has torn his ACL three times.
2006 – With the #14 pick, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Brodrick Bunkley DT, from Florida State. Bunkley spent five insignificant years with the Eagles before being traded last year to the Broncos. No Pro Bowl or All-Pro selections.
2007 – With the #14 pick, the New York Jets selected Darrelle Revis CB, from Pittsburgh. Revis is a four time Pro Bowl selection, three time All-Pro selection, and the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He has become the NFL’s most dominate lockdown cornerback.
2008 – With the #14 pick, the Chicago Bears selected Chris Williams OT, from Vanderbilt. Williams has started 38 of his 47 games played so far. In his short four year career, he has been moved from right tackle to left tackle and now to left guard. Williams has also suffered from injury set backs.
2009 – With the #14 pick, the New Orleans Saints selected Malcolm Jenkins CB, from Ohio State. Jenkins was named a 2nd team All-Pro in 2010. He also earned a Superbowl ring with the Saints in his rookie season.
2010 – With the #14 pick, the Seattle Seahawks selected Earl Thomas S, from Texas. Thomas was one of the youngest players selected in this draft. He was a Pro Bowl and a second team All-Pro selection in 2011.
2011 – With the #14 pick, the St. Louis Rams selected Robert Quinn DE, from North Carolina. Quinn showed glimpses of potential in his rookie season. Despite only recording 23 tackles for the year, he did record five sacks.
But which of these 20 choices do I consider “great” or at least I would want them on the Dallas Cowboys roster in 2012 as a rookie? Obviously, those picks that didn’t work out are pretty evident. But I would rate players like Ruben Brown, Eddie George and Darrelle Revis (despite his young career) as great. And given John Tait’s years of consistency and hardware, I’d just barely place him in that category as well. And despite his play of late, I believe Shockey’s two Superbowl rings and early success just sneaks him in too.
But I think players like Harris and Franks are on the outs, despite having strong starts to their careers. And between the young Jenkins, Thomas, and Quinn, I have to believe at least one of them has a chance to be great. So that makes a total of six players in the last twenty years that I wouldn’t mind having as a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys in 2012. That’s a somewhat shaky 30%.
In reality, a majority of draft picks will never be great players. But first round picks are expected to be. Unfortunately, rarely do they ever pan out.
Although the past doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys at #14, anything can happen. Isn’t that why we love watching, predicting and analyzing the NFL Draft? It’s always a gamble. It’s just too bad we have to place the future of our beloved franchise on the line.