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6 of the worst NFL Draft takes of all time

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Green Bay Packers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The NFL Draft is hard to predict. Things change between the course of the college football season, to the Senior Bowl, and then through the NFL Combine and pro days. Regardless, there have been some downright bad — and sometimes flat-out stupid — takes. This year is no exception.

It’s not unusual for somebody to get something wrong — that’s fine. But there have been instances in the past where it seemed impossible the person spewing certain takes could actually believe what they’re saying is even remotely true.

Here are some of the best worst draft takes of all time, as selected by SB Nation NFL and by the readers. Brace yourself.

6 of our favorite bad draft takes

These are the more memorable ones for us.

Nolan Nawrocki REALLY didn’t like Cam Newton

“Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.” - Nolan Nawrocki on Cam Newton, via the Big Lead

Why this take is bad: It’s one thing to critique a quarterback’s throwing motion or his ability to read a defense. But a player’s smile probably isn’t the best indicator of what he’s capable of in the NFL.

Nawrocki, a writer for Pro Football Weekly, was sure Newton’s facial expressions suggested he couldn’t be a good quarterback. Nawrocki even said GM Marty Hurney would destroy his reputation like Bobby Beathard, who drafted Ryan Leaf, if the Panthers took Newton.

Well, Beathard will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year despite drafting Leaf, and Newton has led the Panthers to the postseason in four of his seven years in the league and was named the NFL’s MVP after the 2015 season. His “fake smile” hasn’t held him back.

Aaron Rodgers is just a system quarterback

“I don’t like him. He’s a clone of (Joey) Harrington and (Kyle) Boller. They all throw the same way. What have those guys done? Nothing. If you take him in the second round, fine. Heady guy. They do a marvelous job of coaching quarterbacks there. I don’t think he’s as good as the top quarterbacks coming out last year.” — anonymous AFC scout, via USA Today

Why this take is bad: Rodgers is a clone of Harrington and Boller? LOL. Boller finished his NFL career with a 56.7 completion percentage and a lifetime quarterback rating of 69.5. Harrington ended up with more interceptions (85) than touchdowns (79). So far, Rodgers just has a Super Bowl ring, two NFL MVP awards, several memorable Hail Marys, and a career QB rating of 103.8.

The Seahawks totally blew it in the 2012 NFL Draft

“As if the day wasn’t bad enough, Seattle selecting Russell Wilson, a QB that doesn’t fit their offense at all, was by far the worst move of the draft. With the two worst moves of the draft, Seattle is the only team that received an F on draft day.” - Bleacher Report

Why this take is bad: OK, so Bruce Irvin wasn’t the greatest first-round pick ever, but the Seahawks could’ve done much worse — at least Irvin’s still in the league, unlike several other players drafted ahead of him (Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, for starters). Seattle absolutely crushed it on Day 2, though, finding All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner and franchise quarterback Russell Wilson in Rounds 2 and 3.

The draft class took the Seahawks from a middling 7-9 team in 2010 and 2011 to a perennial Super Bowl contender. They even won a Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history during the 2013 season. Not bad for a team that apparently had one of the worst draft classes ever.

Jimmy Johnson was glad to take Larry Shannon over Randy Moss

In 1998, then-Miami Dolphins head coach Jimmy Johnson was pretty damn confident in selection Larry Shannon over Randy Moss.

Moss would have been available to the Dolphins if they hadn’t traded down from No. 19 to No. 29. But Johnson felt that Shannon was just as talented a wide receiver and took him 82nd overall in the draft.

From the Sun Sentinel, in ‘98:

“With Larry Shannon coming to our football team by the way, he’s probably a step faster than Randy Moss,” Johnson said. “So he’s bigger, he’s taller, he’s faster. Sometimes everybody gets all carried away, for instance, with Moss and I don’t want to be talking about somebody else’s player. I’m just going to make an example. Some of these people get so carried away. I’d like to pull them aside and say, how many films did you grade in coming to your evaluation?

“I say, `Well, did you ever even see him play?’ . . . Oh, you’ve seen three or four highlights . . . You actually watched SportsCenter and that’s how you made your evaluation of this player. And so we have a lot of scouts, a lot of coaches do a tremendous amount of research. We’re paid to do it. We’ve been doing it our entire lives and I don’t know that somebody in the media can watch SportsCenter and make the evaluation for us as far as who we should have picked.”

Shannon ended up playing in two NFL games.

Why this take is bad: It’s Randy Moss.

Texans will rue the night they took Pizza Boy J.J. Watt over Nick Fairley, Houston lover”

Wooooo that is a spicy headline! Chris Baldwin wrote for Culture Map Houston that the Texans would regret taking J.J. Watt over Nick Fairley.

We’ll let Baldwin’s hot-takery speak for itself:

A star fell right into the Houston Texans laps on draft night, like a blessing from the football gods — only Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, and Wade Phillips didn’t grab him. Instead, they punted Nick Fairley right back into the boo-y night.

Fairley landed with the Detroit Lions, where he’ll collect Pro Bowl berths for years to come. The Texans took a former Pizza Hut deliveryman instead. But that pizza boy sure has a lot of character.

That’s really what it seems to have come down to for the Texans again with the selection of Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt. This franchise may never make the playoffs under Bob McNair, but it’s sure going to have high-quality gentlemen on the roster. (As long as you dismiss a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs or two.)

That’s ... something.

Why this take is bad: Well, Watt has been proven to be one of the best players in the entire sport when he’s healthy. He had four consecutive All-Pro nods from 2012-15, three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and has had at least 17.5 sacks in a season three times, with two of those being 20.5-sack seasons.

Fairley hasn’t been quite the player that Watt has been (that’s a tough ask, anyway), and may not play in the NFL again after being diagnosed with a career-threatening heart condition.

Aaron Curry as the safest pick in the 2009 NFL Draft

We get to point two fingers here — at Mel Kiper, and Mike Mayock.

Mayock called the former Wake Forest linebacker the “safest” pick of the draft, and while Kiper wouldn’t say exactly the same thing, he came pretty darn close:


On Tuesday, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said that Wake Forest outside linebacker Aaron Curry was the “safest’’ pick in the draft. Today, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper was asked who the safest pick in the draft.

”Nobody,’’ he said. “Everybody comes with risk.’’

However ...

Kiper then added: “People would say Aaron Curry. He’s not going to be a bust ... he can rush the passer and drop in coverage. He would fall into that category. Maybe not a boom, but certainly not a bust. If you put a gun to my head, I’d say Curry.’’

Why this take is bad: Curry, who was selected No. 4 overall by the Seahawks, was without question one of the worst picks of that draft, and one of the worst picks in recent memory. Curry played in 48 games during his four-year career, which ended with just 5.5 sacks.

Our readers made their picks, too

We also asked you for your input, and you didn’t let us down.

Cris Collinsworth wasn’t a big fan of Newton or Watt

You could say they both turned out pretty good! So did left tackle Nate Solder. More like Cris Collinsworthless on this one:

Kiper promised a Jimmy Clausen-related retirement

Time’s up. Congrats, Mel!

Anonymous Raiders fan who really didn’t want Rodgers

JaMarcus Russell turned out to not be quite as good as Rodgers, you could say ...

Be careful when throwing out hot takes. You never know how they might turn out.