Since the history of the draft, we have heard numerous draft experts say how important it is to get a great starting caliber left tackle in the first round, because he can protect your quarterback’s blindside. While it sounds really good, and like a legitimate case, I feel to disagree with drafting an Offensive lineman in the first round, PERIOD. It is not a knock on the players but, I have always believed that you should draft the best player at an impact position on the football field. Let’s face it, there are many positions that are a dime a dozen, and you find that out in fantasy football every year, but why do people get hyped about paying a big offensive lineman tons of money, when you can get one just as coachable in the later rounds? Find out why I believe that Offensive Lineman are overrated pick when drafting in the first round.
I know that many of you are thinking I am nuts, and that is fine, but let me explain why I feel that Offensive lineman are a dime a dozen. Football is about winning it all, the Super Bowl, the Championship, the Big Game, so my question is; how many Offensive Lineman were drafted in the first round over the past 5 years that won a Super Bowl? You would think that every team had to at least have 3 or 4 because building the trenches is the smartest thing to do when building a team, RIGHT? Well my friends, it is not the case, a matter of fact let me take you back over the past 5 year Super Bowl starting line ups for Offensive Lineman and see how many 1st Round picks won a ring.
We can start at the last year’s New York Giants who played a very good game against the New England Patriots. You have to believe that the G-Men had to have had a couple first rounders on their starting line, because they were getting big plays in both the run game and the passing attack. There starting lineup consisted of David Baas (2nd Rounder), Jim Cordle (Undrafted), Chris Snee (2nd Rounder), Kareem McKenzie (3rd Rounder) and James Brewer (4th Rounder). So they did have a couple 2nd round picks and some late rounder’s that ended up helping them get the big win, but our total is 0 players who have won a ring that were drafted in the 1st round on the Offensive Line.
The year before the G-Men getting a ring, the Packers and hardcore Aaron Rodgers took out the tough and competitive Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers took the win in a tough battle 31-25. The Offensive line played a major role in this game, allowing Rodgers to throw and the RB’s to get some good holes. Their O-Line consisted of Chad Clifton (2nd Rounder), Daryn Colledge (2nd Rounder), Scott Wells (7th Rounder), Josh Sitton (4th Rounder) and Bryan Bulaga (1st Rounder). We finally have our first rounder, and although I will not take nothing away from him, he only started in 12 games during the regular season because their starter was Mark Tauscher (7th Rounder) who was their starter before getting hurt. So that puts our ring count at 1 for the 1st round rookies on the Offensive Line.
In Super Bowl XLIV, the New Orleans Saints, took home a ring after putting a crushing defeat to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. The Saints line was massive in this win, and there are some very good players on this line. Four of them have been Pro Bowlers in their career, they are Jermon Bushrod (4th Rounder), Carl Nicks (5th Rounder), Jonathan Goodwin (5th Rounder), Jahri Evans (4th Rounder) and Jon Stinchcomb (2nd Rounder). Well that brings our count up to 1 still, so that is 15 players so far who have a ring and only 1 of them was a starter in the NFL for the SUPER BOWL?
Things have to change, because the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2009. They played against the Arizona Cardinals, and they had to have had a first rounder. Well fans, not much is changing, they had Max Starks (3rd Rounder), Chris Kemoeatu (6th Rounder), Justin Hartwig (6th Rounder), Darnell Stapleton (Undrafted), and Willie Colon (4th Rounder). So we still have 1 player who didn’t even play the entire season as the only one that was drafted in the first round. So now out of 20 players we have 1 player who was taken, in Bryan Bulaga.
Finally the last year, The New York Giants, who were already mentioned above made it again. While 2 of their lineman played as well in Super Bowl 46 last year, they had three different lineman. We all know about Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie, but the other three were David Diehl (5th Rounder), Rich Seubert (Undrafted) and Shaun O’Hara (Undrafted). So that puts our total at 23 players, and only 1 of them was drafted. We could go back further but the numbers don’t change too much. So I will stop here because it is starting to get out of hand.
So , here it is, this is why I believe that it is not important to draft an offensive lineman with a first rounder. History has shown us, that you can make it there with a line that is put together. So if you are out their upset because your team didn’t draft an offensive lineman and your team’s line stinks, don’t worry. When you draft, you should always go Best Player Available regardless of position as long as he is an impact player. I want a playmaker on my team, someone that is going to be an impact player, that is going to get points on the board. That is what I am focused on, because unfortunately in the NFL, that is how you win.
There are many good players taken in the first round that played Offensive line, but if their team is not great around them then they becoming a great player on a horrible offensive. Most teams will pass on a Quarterback or Running back to take an Offensive Tackle. The Cleveland Browns come to mind when I think of this happening, in the 2007 NFL Draft, they took Joe Thomas over Adrian Peterson, who to me was the best player on the board. What would the Browns look like right now, if they would have had AP in Cleveland? That is why I believe you have to take the best impact players in the first and second round. If you think a lineman is there in round 2 that fits your scheme take him, but don’t waste a pick on a lineman, when you can find very good players later in the draft, and as undrafted free agents.
What do you think? Do you think it is a smart move to take an Offensive Lineman in the first round over an impact player? I have never seen a team that goes into the draft and doesn’t need a position. Every year, teams lose players to Free Agency and injuries, so teams out there need players. So my question to everyone at Mocking the Draft is do you think drafting an Offensive Lineman in the first round is as important as you did before?