Raider Nation was all a-buzz when Jon Gruden came back to run the show. “Chucky’s Back!’ was the sound ringing throughout Oakland and the Raiders were going to rule once again. His first big move? Say good bye to Khalil Mack while grabbing first-round picks in 2019 and 2020 as well as a 2019 sixth-round choice and a 2020 third. Raiders’ fans immediately began yelling, “Chucky’s whack!”
This week the Raiders sent their number one receiver, Amari Cooper, to the Dallas Cowboys for yet another 2019 first-round choice as Chucky continued his now-not-so-secret-rebuild. With Chucky collecting first-round picks the way kids collect trading cards, I began to wonder if other NFL teams tried this strategy of amassing picks, like your sister used to with Halloween candy, and if so, how did it work out for them?
2000 New York Jets (4 #1’s) This team went balls to the wall grabbing four first round picks. Shaun Ellis, DE from Tennessee, was taken at 12 and had a long career with the Jets. John Abraham, LB from South Carolina, was taken immediately after Ellis at 13. He had 50.5 sacks in his six years with the team. Chad Pennington was next at 18. Chad may have had the best hair of any Jets QB ever taken (apologies to Sam Darnold) and was probably a better NFL QB than Joe Namath, but I digress. The last of the four first rounders was Anthony Becht, TE out of West Virginia. Becht never quite panned out but hey, three out of four is solid. Zero Super Bowls.
1967 Minnesota Vikings (3 #1’s) This team took Clint Jones second overall. Some scout surely lost his pension over this. They then chose Gene Washington with the 7th pick. Gene was serviceable if not spectacular. Then at number 15 the Vikings took some kid out of Notre Dame named Alan Page. The verdict on this pick is Hall of Fame choice. Zero Super Bowls.
1975 Los Angeles Rams (3 #1’s) The Rams didn’t pick until nine this season. They took Mike Fanning, a DT from Notre Dame with that pick. At 11 they chose G, Dennis Harrah, and then T Doug France out of Ohio State at 20. Not exactly household names or even household cleaners. Zero Super Bowls.
1976 New England Patriots (3 #1’s) The Patriots with three first round draft picks? The Hoodie would not approve. With the 5th pick that year they took future hall of fame CB, Mike Haynes. Pete Brock, a center out of Colorado was their pick at 12, and Tim Fox, a safety from Ohio State was taken at 21. Aside from Fox’s incredible hair and ‘stache, they could have stopped at five. Zero Super Bowls.
1983 San Diego Chargers (3 #1’s) “Air Coryell” had three picks in this draft and used two on defense, taking Billy Ray Smith, Jr., a LB out of Arkansas (of course he came out of Arkansas) at the 5th spot. They grabbed Gill Byrd, DB from San Jose State, with the 22nd pick. Gary Anderson, Arkansas RB, was their offensive player chose with pick 20. Byrd had a nice career, garnering 42 INTs. Anderson had one good season in 1998 when he gained over 1,100 yards on the ground. Billy Ray’s name was as good as the Chargers got out of him. Zero Super Bowls.
1988 Oakland Raiders (3 #1’s) So Chucky’s not the first Raider head to accumulate picks. The 1988 team took Tim Brown with the 6th pick that season. DB, Terry McDaniel, out of Tennessee, was their pick at nine. The final pick was Scott Davis, a defensive end out of Illinois, at 25. Brown is in the Hall of Fame. McDaniel and Davis may have taken a tour of the place at some point. Zero Super Bowls.
1991 Dallas Cowboys (3 #1’s) The Cowboys teams of the 90s were darn good. This draft helped them establish themselves as they chose Russell Maryland number one overall. He played five seasons with the ‘Boys and was a mainstay on the defensive line. Alvin Harper came to them at 12. Kelvin Pritchett, Tennessee DE, was drafted at 20 and immediately shipped to the Lions for picks in latter rounds that netted Dallas Dixon Edwards, James Richards and Tony Hill. Three Super Bowls.
1995 Carolina Panthers (3 #1’s) The expansion Panthers had the 5th, 22nd, and 29th pick of this draft. They chose Kerry Collins, Tyrone Poole, and Blake Brockermeyer, in that order. Collins had a decent career in the NFL and led the Panthers into the playoffs. Poole’s career ended up on the shallow end and Brockermeyer’s name was longer than his career. Zero Super Bowls.
2001 Los Angeles Rams (3 #1’s) Damione Lewis at 12, Adam Archuleta at 20, and Ryan Pickett at 29. There is really no need to go into detail here. May God have mercy on their souls. Zero Super Bowls.
2013 Minnesota Vikings (3 #1’s) The 2013 draft saw the Vikings (MY Vikings) grab three first round picks, all at the back end. Sharrif Floyd was taken 23rd but a torn meniscus cut his career short. At 25, they got a CB out of Florida State named Xavier Rhodes. So far, so good for this guy, right? They had one more pick at 29 and got return specialist, Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee. While explosive on kick returns, he never quite fit with Mike Zimmer and is now with the Patriots where he’ll probably get a Super Bowl ring thus shortening my life by another five years. Zero Super Bowls (so far).
2017 Cleveland Browns (3 #1’s) The Browns are the most recent team to make three first round picks. Myles Garrett was number one overall, Jabrill Peppers went 25th, and David Njoku was taken at 29. The jury is still out on these picks but expect them all to be playing elsewhere within two years because, Browns. Zero Super Bowls (so far).
So you can see having a bunch of choices in the first round isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Out of 11 teams, only the Cowboys had any Super Bowl wins to show from this strategy.
So accumulating #1 picks is kinda like being the first one in the doughnut shop. You have your choice of all these amazing-looking doughnuts but then you inevitably buy one with the disgusting maple filling that made the cavities in your mouth hurt, but you eat it anyway because you paid for it? When all you really needed was a warm glazed to satisfy your needs. Mmm, warm glazed. They should name that doughnut the ‘Mack’.
Until next time, enjoy the games, enjoy a brew, and Eff Tom Brady.
Mike Zimmer's Ears is a Minnesota Vikings fan from Pennsylvania and is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro. You can follow him on Twitter.