One sign of progress in these parts is this: It’s been 17 years since the Patriots had the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Which might not seem like that big deal, until you recognize that once-sad-sack New England picked first a league-high (tied with Tampa Bay) four times between the merger and 1993.
Why is this coming up now? Well, since Sam Bradford now looks destined to go first in the April draft, NFL Network put together a list of the Top 10 quarterbacks to go first overall, and two Patriots picks made the cut (although one is as high as he is based on what he did elsewhere), and another ex-New England QB was on the list as well. Check it the countdown:
10. Michael Vick, Falcons
9. Carson Palmer, Bengals
8. Vinny Testaverde, Buccaneers
7. Jim Plunkett, Patriots
6. Eli Manning, Chargers (traded to Giants)
5. Drew Bledsoe, Patriots
4. Troy Aikman, Cowboys
3. Terry Bradshaw, Steelers
2. Peyton Manning, Colts
1. John Elway, Broncos
Another thing to learn here is what a crapshoot the draft is. That’s a pretty good list of players there. But to consider it’s the best to ever go first overall at the position, well, you might expect a little bit more.
If you’re wondering, the other two Patriots to go first: Texas DE Kenneth Sims (1982) and Nebraska WR Irving Fryar (1984).