Well Hooligans, this is our final installment of our eight-part series, "The Best Draft Pick from each NFL team, since 1980". Wicks and I have agreed on some of the picks, and we have disagreed also. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we have writing it.
A close one here, but given his draft position I’ll go with Thurman Thomas. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 1988 draft. Thomas rushed for 1,000+ yards in 8 consecutive seasons and was selected to 5 straight Pro Bowls. He also led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage for 4 consecutive seasons. In his 13 year career, 12 of those with the Bills, Thurman had 12,074 rushing yards, 4,458 receiving yards, and 65 rushing TDs. Runners Up: Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith (both were first round picks).
Bruce Smith (DE) – Don’t let his voice fool you, this guy scared the shit out of opposing quarterbacks and was eventually nicknamed “Boo”! Drafted 1st overall in 1985 out of Virginia Tech and concurrently drafted to the USFL by Baltimore Stars. Smith would go on to play in multiple Super Bowl’s, receive 11 Pro Bowl selections, 2 time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, both 1980’s and 1990’s All-Decade team, and would end up the all-time sack leader with 200.
Dan Marino….. drafted in 1983 in the 1st round. He played 17 seasons all with the Dolphins. He became the franchise quarterback. 9× Pro Bowl (1983–1987, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995), NFL Most Valuable Player (1984), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1984), Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (1998), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1994), 2× AFC Player of the Year (1984, 1994), NFL Rookie of the Year (1983), 5× NFL passing yards leader (1984–1986, 1988, 1992), and 3× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1984–1986). Runner Up: Jason Taylor.
Dan Marino (QB) – This one was easy for me. Drafted 27th overall in 1983, the year of the quarterback. Marino quickly set himself apart from most. He held a shit ton of records when he retired after 17 seasons in 1999, but most of those have been broken by either Manning or Brady. Marino only made it to one Super Bowl in his career losing to the 49ers 38-16. He never had the running game or defense to go along with his canon of an arm. Marino was voted to 9 Pro Bowls, 3 First-Team All-Pro, NFL Most Valuable Player (1984), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1984), NFL Passing Leader (1984), NFL Comeback Player of the Year (1994), NFL Rookie of the Year and a 5 time NFL Passing yards leader. For his efforts, Marino was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, his first year of eligibility.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady Runner Up: While not a player, the Patriots did give up a 1st round pick in 2000 to get him, Bill Belichick.
Tom Brady (QB) – G.O.A.T… Enough said.
New York Jets
Looking at the draft summary for the Jets, since 1980, no player really stands off the page for me. Darrelle Revis is my pick here because, at one point in his career, he was considered THE shutdown corner in the NFL. He was selected in the 1st round of the 2007 draft. He won a Superbowl with the Patriots. Revis also made 7 trips to the Pro Bowl and was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
Nick Mangold (C) – Was going to go Revis, but decided to give to the guy in the trenches instead. Nick was drafted 27th overall in 2006 out of Ohio State. He dominated nearly everyone that lined up in front of him and in 2011 was named the best center in the NFL by the New York Times. He played his entire career with the Jets and retired in 2016. Mangold was voted to 7 Pro Bowls and elected twice as a First-Team All-Pro.
Feel free to leave your comments and your own picks. Wicks and I will enjoy reading them!