NFL first overall draft picks from 2010-19
On July 24th, ESPN reported the NFL and the Players Association reached an agreement on when training camps would open as well as rules for the upcoming season. While you wait for your favorite players and teams to break camp, sit back, and read about the first overall NFL Draft pick each year from 2010-19.
Welcome to part two, of a two-part look at the past decade of the NFL.
2010 NFL Draft: Sam Bradford
The St. Louis Rams went a putrid 1-15 in 2009, head coach Steve Spagnuolo’s first season with the team. Heisman award-winning quarterback Sam Bradford was considered a lock to go first, despite the Oklahoma Sooners going 8-5 during the season.
Despite a shoulder injury that prevented him from throwing at the combine, St. Louis picked Bradford. A few months after the draft, Bradford signed a six-year $78 million deal, which included $50 million guaranteed. Not bad for a guy who had yet to play an NFL down.
But the deal proved beneficial for only one side. Bradford’s career has turned into a series of trades. From the Rams to the Eagles (with a fifth-round pick in ’15 for Nick Foles a ’15 fourth and a ’16 second), then the Eagles to the Vikings who received a ’17 first-round pick. Injuries once again hampered Bradford in Minnesota, like they previously had in St. Louis.
In a redraft, it’s tough to say whether Bradford would even be a first tough pick, let alone first overall. Everyone’s favorite tight end, Rob Gronkowski, would be an option, as well as wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Earl Thomas.
2011 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers
New head coach Ron Rivera was looking for a QB that could lead the team for the next decade or so. Jimmy Clausen, the team’s second-round pick the previous draft, completed only 52.5% of his passes In 2010, one of the reasons the team ended up with the first pick. Cam Newton looked to be a perfect fit for Rivera.
Newton had just won the Heisman award and a national championship while at Auburn University, and despite some possible off the field issues, his play spoke for itself. By the end of his first year with the Panthers, Newton had brought home AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year to go along with a Pro-Bowl appearance.
Within three seasons, Newton had led the Panthers to the playoffs, where they would lose in the divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers. The Panthers once again made it back to the playoffs, bowing out in the divisional round, but it was a breakthrough for the team. In 2015, the Panthers agreed to a five-year $103.8 million extension, which Newton rewarded the team by bringing home the MVP, and making it to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Injuries over the next four seasons, hampered the once-great signal-caller, culminating with Newton’s release in March. While it’s not the ending either side hoped for, they both benefited significantly from this selection and would do it all again if given a chance.
2012 NFL Draft: Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck had the pedigree. He had the size, 6’4, 240 pounds. He played under Jim Harbaugh, a QB guru at Stanford. It just made sense. Indy went forward and picked him first. Luck immediately brought the franchise back to relevance, leading the team to an 11-5 record his rookie season and a spot in the playoffs.
For Luck’s first three seasons, the Colts went 11-5 each season. They made appearances in the playoffs, including making it all the AFC Championship game in 2014, where they fell to the eventual super bowl champions, New England Patriots. Everything went downhill after that. A lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle caused him to miss much of the ’15 season. He signed a six-year $140 million extension that offseason and followed it up with a good ’16 season, stats-wise, but the team missed the playoffs.
Offseason surgery to repair an issue with his throwing arm, caused Luck to miss the entire 2017 season. After 616 days between games played, Luck returned in week one of 2018, but the Colts lost. By seasons end, Luck was a Pro Bowler once again, while picking up Comeback Player of the Year Award, while leading the team to a 10-6 record.
On August 24, 2019, Luck announced his retirement from the NFL at the young age of 29. He cited his recurrent cycle of injuries and rehab as the primary reason. Knowing all this, would the Colts choose to take him first, if they could do it over? Probably not. The Seattle Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round; he dropped to their mainly due to his small size, standing 5’11. By the end of his third season, Wilson had already played in two Super Bowls, winning one, against, of all people, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. He’s well on his way to a surefire hall of fame career.
2013 NFL Draft: Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid signed on to turn around a struggling franchise, starving for postseason success. His first task was the upcoming free agency period, but the more critical and essential job was the forthcoming draft, in which the Chiefs held the first overall pick. Looking back, it was not a strong draft class, but that should not excuse the Chiefs for their mistake.
BleacherReport NFL expert Matt Miller, pegged left tackle Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M as the first pick in his final mock draft, with Eric Fisher, also a left tackle, from Central Michigan, going fifth to the Detroit Lions. The Chiefs chose Fisher. Then again, can you trust someone who had Geno Smith going second overall? Anyway, he was plugged in at right tackle during his rookie season and struggled immensely.
A shift back his natural position left tackle, was deemed necessary by Reid, and he started 14 games there in the 2015 season. Despite the struggles, the Chiefs rewarded Fisher with a four-year $48 million extension in May 2016. Fisher stayed relatively quiet for the next few seasons, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2018, and despite being limited to eight games in 2019 due to injures and lousy play, he won his first super bowl after the team beat the 49ers in Super Bowl 53.
In redrafts, there are no obvious choices to go one, although DeAndre Hopkins deserves consideration. David Bakhtiari, a fourth-round pick out of Colorado, is a definite upgrade to Fisher and would fill the holes Kansas City hoped Fisher would fix.
2014 NFL Draft: Houston Texans
Jadeveon Clowney was a walking highlight reel at South Carolina, most notably, a tackle in the 2013 Outback Bowl against Michigan. Clowney was pegged as the first pick and would slot into a defensive front line that already had J.J Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Pre-draft comparisons included Julius Peppers, Ndamukong Suh, and Von Miller.
Once it became official, opposing teams feared the Texans’ front line. But not for long. After only four games, Clowney was lost for the season to surgery to repair his meniscus, finishing his rookie season with only seven tackles. In his second full season (2016), Clowney earned a Pro-Bowl nod and was a First-Team All-Pro selection. Once again, Clowney was a Pro Bowler in 2017, but could not participate due to knee surgery.
After the 2018 season, Houston placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Clowney, while the two sides attempted to work out a long-term deal. The deal never came, and Clowney was shipped off to the Seattle Seahawks, just before week 1 of the 2019 season, for a couple of mid-tier players and a 2020 third-round draft pick. Clowney’s season in Seattle was not as good as expected, and as a result, remains a free agent today (7/29).
Aaron Donald, a defensive tackle for the LA Rams, was picked 13th in the 2014 draft, and thus far, has had the career many expected Clowney to have. Watt and Donald on the front line? Watch out.
2015 NFL Draft: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A Florida based team, selecting a player from a Florida college, which he led to a national championship while winning a Heisman? Not even the NFL could pull that many strings to make it happen. Fate brought the two together, when the Bucs picked Jameis Winston, a QB out of Florida State, first overall.
It seemed like a no-brainer at the time. Winston had on the field success for the Seminoles and appeared to be a franchise-changing QB. With big receiver Mike Evans already in town, Tampa Bay had a lot to look forward to for the future with the duo. But that never worked out.
A Pro-Bowl appearance in his rookie year is the most recent success Winston has endured in the NFL. His biggest claim to fame is becoming the first QB in NFL history to throw for 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season. Not exactly a club, any QB wants to be associated with. Despite all the failure, and his being forced out via free agency to make room for the GOAT, Tampa Bay desperately needed a QB in 2015 and forced to pick between Winston and Marcus Mariota, Winston would get the nod once again.
2016 NFL Draft: Los Angeles Rams (Via Trade)
After taking Mariota second overall the previous year, the Titans finished last in the league. Still, with a franchise QB under center, the team decided to trade the first overall pick and help load up on picks for the future. The Rams came calling with a hefty package: First-round pick, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick in the ’16 draft as well as a first and third in the ’17 draft, for the Titans first, fourth and sixth-round draft picks.
There was some debate whether or not Cal QB, Jared Goff, or North Dakota State QB, Carson Wentz, would go first. But weeks before the draft, experts had a consensus: Goff goes one. Described as a super-intelligent, poised passer with a football IQ (obviously he has a football IQ, he wouldn’t be talked about if he could understand the game) and natural gifts, Goff was pegged as an instant starter for whoever drafted him.
Goff saw little action his rookie year but quickly found his footing in year two, leading the team to the playoffs, and his first Pro-Bowl selection. Goff’s third season showed why LA picked him first. A 13-3 regular-season record, was parlayed into an appearance versus the Patriots in Super Bowl 52. Despite losing to New England, Goff earned a four-year extension that offseason. He endured a rough 2019 season, but at only 26-years of age, when the 2020 season starts, Goff has plenty of time to bounce back from one lousy season.
2017 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns
The Browns were terrible. And they needed a QB to build around, so what did they do? They chose a defensive end named Myles Garrett. But they got it right. No QB, at the time, appeared to be a franchise-changing playmaker.
Garrett, in his first three seasons, has produced 30.5 sacks, 32 tackles for loss, and 65 quarterback hits. Not bad for a guy who was suspended for the final six games of the 2019 season for, well, this.
Yes, the Browns missed on Pat Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Christian McCaffrey, but it’s safe to say they’re happy with the pick, as they recently rewarded Garrett with a mega extension. Five years, $125 million, with $100 million guaranteed. Think the Browns like him, or love him?
2018 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns
After not drafting a QB in 2017, good thing they passed on Mitchell Trubisky, Cleveland needed to pull the trigger in this draft and take one. With the team owning the first and fourth overall picks, and four QB’s that could potentially go first, Cleveland had options. They could trade down and get more picks, and still take a QB at four, take a QB at one, trade down from four, and many other possibilities.
For the first time in a long time, the Browns were in an excellent position and could dictate the entire draft, and potentially the future of the NFL. They went ahead and took 2017 Heisman winning QB, Baker Mayfield, out of Oklahoma, first. And instead of trading the fourth pick, Cleveland selected Denzel Ward, a cornerback from Ohio State.
Mayfield’s rookie season was a success, including leading the team to victory in over 500 days, did not continue in season two for the young QB. Mayfield threw 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in his second year, leading the team to a 6-10 record, regressing from the previous season 7-8-1 record.
Despite talks of any one of four QB’s (Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen) possibly going first, in a redraft, it would be the fifth QB selected in the first round, that would go first overall. Lamar Jackson, a former Heisman winner from Louisville, turned the NFL upside down last season, throwing 36 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions while rushing for an additional six touchdowns and 1,206 yards. Video game numbers lead to video game cover.
2019 NFL Draft: Arizona Cardinals
In the 2018 MLB Draft, the Oakland Athletics took Kyler Murray, an outfielder from the University of Oklahoma, ninth overall. He was expected to join the team for spring training in 2019, to begin his professional career. But, some minor success in some other sport, caused him to put that on hold. Now, which sport was it? Oh right, football. Murray was the starting QB for Oklahoma and won the Heisman in 2018 after leading the team to a Big 12 championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Despite his success in baseball and all the money he had received from the A’s, $4.6 million signing bonus, Murray decided to enter the NFL Draft. Despite not partaking in individual drills at the combine, Murray’s draft stock improved, culminating in Arizona selecting him first overall. That meant Murray was the first player ever to be drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft and the NFL Draft. He also became the second straight QB from Oklahoma to go first overall. Must go over well with the QB recruits.
Murray led the Cardinals to a 5-10-1 record his record year, along with 20 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions, while rushing for four more TD’s. With the team’s recent addition of DeAndre Hopkins, Murray’s future is looking better by the day.