Wicks and I decided to work on an article together, to bring you both of our insights and humor (hopefully). After much discussion, we decided to pick what we thought was the best draft pick, since 1980, for each NFL team. This turned out to be a YUGE article so we decided to release a division each day for the next 8 days. Today we bring you:
Andre Johnson (WR) – I think most people would probably pick J.J. Watt for this slot, but due to his injury record and that he seems to disappear during playoff games, those are the primary reasons I decided to choose Johnson. He was drafted 3rd overall in 2003 out of the University of Miami. Johnson became the first player in NFL history to record 60 plus receptions in his first 8 seasons. He was also selected to 7 Pro Bowls, 2-time First-Team All-Pro, and 2 time NFL receiving leader. All of this was obtained under sub-par quarterbacks such as David Carr, Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, and Case Keenum. Johnson ended his career with the Tennessee Titans after a 1-year stint with the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans never amounted too much during Johnson’s time at Houston, but he sure was a great asset on your fantasy football team.
Justin James Watt. Drafted in the 1st round of the 2011 draft, 4 time Pro Bowler, 3-time Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, and 2015), awarded the Bert Bell Trophy (2014), and 2 time NFL sacks leader (2012, 2015). J.J. Watt is the face of not only the defense; bus also the entire Texans franchise. Runner Up: Andre Johnson.
Peyton Manning (QB) – There’s only one choice here. Yup. Manning! Arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. Drafted number 1 overall in 1993 by the Colts, Manning played 18 seasons in the NFL (3 with Denver). During that time he managed to destroy nearly every quarterback record in the game. What I most enjoyed was watching the games against his rival great, Tom Brady. Peyton won 2 Super Bowl’s, one with the Colts and one with the Denver Broncos. He was selected to 14 Pro Bowls, 7-time First-Team All-Pro, 5-time NFL MVP, 2-time NFL Offensive Player of the year, 3-time NFL Passing Yards Leader, 4-time NFL Passing Touchdown Leader, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team. His #18 jersey will be retired by the Colts Week 5 at halftime against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, October 8th. Without a doubt, Manning will also be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
This one is a tie… I know, I know, make up my mind. Well, here’s the rub… Peyton Manning or John Elway. Oh! You forgot that Elway was originally drafted by the Colts? Now you see my problem. Both were 1st round, 1st overall picks and everyone knows their history. They are two of the greatest QBs of all time. Runners up: Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, and Reggie Wayne.
Fred Taylor (RB) – This was a little tough. Jacksonville hasn’t produced much since they were added as a franchise in 1995, except for an AFC Championship appearance 1996. I wanted to pick Tony Boselli, but his short-lived career led me to choose Fred Taylor. Taylor was drafted 9th overall in 1998 out of Florida. He played behind a list of terrible quarterbacks but always managed to shine and made a name for himself. Fred was selected to one Pro Bowl and Second-Team All-Pro and was elected into the Pride of the Jaguars (team Hall of Fame). During his career, Taylor ranks 17th all-time in rushing yards with 11,695 and 66 rushing touchdowns, and also howled in 290 receptions for 2,384 yards and 8 touchdowns.
The pickings here are slim at best. Maurice Jones-Drew was selected in the 2nd round in 2006. He was a 3 time Pro Bowler and the NFL rushing yards Leader in 2011. Runner Up: Brandon Marshall (LB) just because he was on a Super Bowl winning team with Denver.
Bruce Matthew (OT,OG,C) – This guy started playing when the Titans were still the Oilers and were located in Houston Texas. He was drafted 9th overall in 1983 out of the University of Southern Carolina and played in 296 games over 19 seasons. Matthews was an extremely durable player, able to play every position on the offensive line and was even selected to Pro Bowls as an offensive guard and center. Throughout his career, Matthews was selected to 14 Pro Bowls, 10-time All-Pro, NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team as a guard, and currently, holds the record for most games played by a lineman. Bruce was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility as part of the Class of 2007.
“Air McNair” was selected by the Oilers in the 1995 draft. McNair played 13 seasons, 11 with the Oilers/Titans and 2 with Baltimore. McNair led his team to the playoffs in the 1999-2000 season, where the Titans pulled off the “Music City Miracle” to beat the Bills, and then eventually losing to the St. Louis Rams in the Superbowl. 3× Pro Bowl (2000, 2003, 2005), NFL Most Valuable Player (2003), and NFL passer rating leader (2003). Runner-Up: Bruce Matthews.
That will do it for the AFC South. Stay tuned tomorrow for our picks of the NFC West! We will see how much Wicks and I agree on things because I’m always right and he just doesn’t know it yet!