Best NFL Draft Picks Since 1980, Part IV – AFC West

Today, we bring you part 4 of our 8 part series of each NFL team’s best draft pick since 1980.  Wicks and I are discussing the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

Wicks:

Von Miller (OLB) – Since John Elway was drafted by the Colts and then traded to Denver, that’s why I’m going with Miller.  There were a few other choices I could’ve made…  Atwater, Bailey, or Davis, but this guy made an impact immediately and carried his team to the top in 2015 with a Super Bowl victory and sending Manning off into the sunset.  Drafted in 2011 2nd overall out of Texas A&M, Miller already has 338 tackles, 73.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, and 2 defensive touchdowns.  He as has been selected to 5 Pro Bowls, a 3-time First-Team All-Pro (first one as a rookie), NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Super Bowl 50 Champion.

Catt:

This is a tie.  Both were named to the NFL’s 1990 All-Decade Team. Shannon Sharpe was drafted in the 7th round of the 1990 draft, while Terrell Davis was drafted in the 6th round of the 1995 draft.  Both players have won multiple Super Bowls, Sharpe (3) and Davis (2).  Both played in multiple Pro Bowls, Sharpe (8) and Davis (3).  Runner Up: Steve Atwater.

Kansas City Chiefs

Wicks:

Derrick Thomas (OLB/DE) –  Drafted in 1989 4th overall out of Alabama, Thomas played 11 years in the NFL before his death in 2000 after an automobile accident.  During his career, he managed to account for 642 tackles, 125.5 sacks, and 41 forced fumbles.  7 of those sacks were grabbed in one game against the Seattle Seahawks, a record set in 1990 that stands today. He was selected to 9 Pro Bowls, a 3-time First-Team All-Pro, NFL Man of the Year (1993), NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team.   Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Catt:

Well, it looks like Wicks and I agree! Back in 1989, the Chiefs selected linebacker Derrick Thomas with the 4th overall pick.  Thomas would go on to play 11 seasons, all for the Chiefs.  9 of those were Pro Bowl seasons.  In 169 games, Derrick had 126.5 sacks and 4 fumbles recovered for touchdowns.  He was also the NFL’s Man of the Year (1993), Defensive Rookie of the Year (1989), NFL sacks leader (1990), and the NFL’s 1990 All-Decade team.  Thomas is the NFL record holder for the most sacks in a game with 7; he is also tied for second with 6 sacks in a game.  Runner Up: Jamaal Charles.

Los Angeles Chargers

Wicks:

LaDainian Tomlinson (RB) – Another running back… Drafted 5th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft out of Texas Christian University.  Tomlinson was an incredible running and lead the league in rushing yards in consecutive years (2006, 2007) and a 3-time rushing touchdown leader (2004, 2006, 2007).  He is ranked 5th all-time behind Curtis Martin in rushing yards with 13,684 yards.   Tomlinson was selected to 5 Pro Bowls, a 3-time First-Team All-Pro, NFL MVP (2006), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2006), and NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.  In August of 2017, Tomlinson will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Catt:

LaDainian Tomlinson was selected 5th overall at the 2001 draft. His resume includes: 5× Pro Bowl (2002, 2004–2007), NFL Most Valuable Player (2006), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2006), Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2006), 2× NFL rushing yards leader (2006, 2007), 3× NFL rushing touchdowns leader (2004, 2006, 2007), and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team  Runner Up: Junior Seau.

Oakland Raiders

Wicks:

Marcus Allen (RB) – One of the greatest running backs and career highlights you can watch YouTube for hours.  Allen was drafted in the 1st round 10th overall in 1982 out of USC.  He ran for 12,243 yards and caught 587 passes for 5,412 yards and reach a TD total of 145 during his time with Raiders and Chiefs.   He ranks 13th all-time in rushing yards.  Little known fact, Marcus’s little brother Damon Allen played quarterback for 23 years in the CFL and currently holds the combined passing and rushing yards record in professional football with 84,301 yards.  Anyway, Marcus was selected to 6 Pro Bowls, a 2-time First-Team All-Pro, NFL Most Valuable Player (1985), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1985), a 2 time NFL rushing touchdown leader and NFL rushing yards leader.  He has 2 Super Bowl rings, both with the Raiders and in 2003 Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Catt:

It looks like Wicks has been cheating off of me again.  We never agree on this much! Marcus Allen, drafted in the 1st round of the 1982 draft, became the first player to gain more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards.  He is also the only player in the history of football to have won a Heisman Trophy, a NCAA National Championship, a Super Bowl, and be named NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP.  His awards are as follows: Super Bowl champion (XVIII), Super Bowl MVP (XVIII), 6× Pro Bowl (1982, 1984–1987, 1993), NFL Most Valuable Player (1985), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1993), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1985), NFL Rookie of the Year (1982), 2× NFL rushing touchdowns leader (1982, 1993), and NFL rushing yards leader (1985).  Runner Up: Howie Long.

That will wrap up the AFC West for us.  Leave your picks in the comments and we will be sure to respond!

Tomorrow we will be talking about the NFC North.

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