Friday Night Open Thread: The search for the next impact player--previous 2nd overall NFL Draft picks.

The Denver Broncos hold the number two overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. With this pick it is pertinent that Denver finds the perfect player--one who could fill in and contribute immediately. They need an impact player.

Many before the Broncos have been in this same position. Looking to find the right player with the 2nd pick, some have succeeded, and others have failed....miserably. 

The Draft is, to put it simply, a huge gamble. If you pick the right player, then your team could be set for years to come. If you chose the wrong player, on the other hand, then your team could be set back for many years.

When thinking about the main subject for tonight's open thread, I decided to take a look back at previous team's selections with the number 2 pick since 1990.

Let's take a look, shall we?

You know what to do!....Jump!


1990-Blair Thomas-New York Jets.



Blair White was on the 1986 Penn Sate National Championship team. He was an All-American in 1989 and two year starter for legendary Head Coach, Joe Peterno. He finished his Collegiate career as the second leading rusher of all time with 3,301 yards and 21 touchdowns. (He was only 97 yards shy of the setting the all time Penn State rushing record.) Additionally, he was the only player in school history to rush for more than 1,400 yards in two seasons. Thomas was selected as the 1989 Holiday Bowl MVP, where he set a record with 35 carries for 186 yards. Also he was the MVP of the Senior Bowl.

Sadly, Thomas did not enjoy the same success in the pros as he had in college. Thomas played four seasons for the Jets. During that time, Thomas managed to only gain 2,000 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Thomas played two more seasons in the NFL, with four different teams!

He began the 1994 season with the New England Patriots, but finished it with the Dallas Cowboys. He then signed with the Atlanta Falcons. in 1995, but was released shortly after. He concluded his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers.

Thomas then turned to coaching. He was the RBs coach for Temple University for eight seasons, 1998-2005.

Pro Bowl selections:   0


1991-Eric Turner-Cleveland Browns.



Eric Turner was Safety for UCLA. IN 1990 he was selected as an All-American. He was chosen as the 2nd overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, the highest choice for a DB in the modern football era.

Originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns, signed a four-year, $6 million contract, which included a $3.15 million signing bonus, making the first-year compensation a record for a National Football League rookie.

After the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, Turner played one more season for them. He made his second Pro Bowl and was second on the team with 112 tackles and tied for lead with five interceptions, although those numbers went largely unnoticed on a defense that allowed 441 points, third-highest in the league. Following the 1996 season Turner, who had the most expensive contract among all NFL safeties, was cut by the Ravens and became an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his six-year career.

Turner signed a four-year, $6 million deal with the Raiders in 1997.

Turner recorded 30 interceptions in just 109 career games, including returns for touchdowns of 93 and 94 yards.

Just two weeks after claiming that he was not gravely ill, Turner died of intestinal cancer at the age of 31. (May 28th, 2000.)

Pro Bowl selections:  2


1992-Quentin Coryatt-Indianapolis Colts.



Coryatt played LB for Texas A&M. During a nationally televised game he made a name for himself by making a ferocious hit on TCU's WR, Kyle McPherson. Coryatt broke McPherson's jaw in three places. ESPN names it the "Hit of the year," which can be seen here.

Coryatt played in 78 games over a six-year stretch for the Colts, and although he was a solid contributor, he never lived up to the stardom that was expected of him by virtue of his high draft status. After spending the 1998 season on injured reserve, Coryatt joined the Cowboys for the 1999 season, appearing in four games for Dallas. Coryatt retired after the 1999 season.

Over his nine year career, Coryatt compiled 442 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions.

Pro Bowl selections:   0


1993-Rick Mirer-Seattle Seahawks.



Mirer played for the University of Notre Dame where he accrued a 29-7-1 record as a starter, including 3 bowl games. He became the starter in 1990 and led ND to the Orange Bowl. In 1991, Mirerr set the single season touchdown record with 18, and was named co-MVP with Jerome Bettis when they beat Florida in the 1992 Sugar Bowl.

He finished his career at Notre Dame by leading them to victory in the 1993 Cotton Bowl Mirer accounted for more points running and throwing (350) than any other player in Notre Dame history. He left Notre Dame 1st in career touchdowns with 41 and 2nd all time for total offense, completions, and passing yards. He was Invited to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl, and Hula Bowl. Entering the 1993 Draft, he was hyped as the next Joe Montana.

After being drafted by Seattle in 1993, he signed a 5 year deal worth 15 million dollars.

Mirer set NFL rookie records for attempts, completions & yards, and became only the 3rd rookie quarterback since 1970 to start all of his team's games. He finished his rookie season 5th in the AFC with 274 completions and 2833 yards.

On February 18th, 1997 Mirer was traded, along with a 4th round draft pick, to the Chicago Bears for a 1st rounder. He signed a 3 year 11 million dollar contract but hardly saw any playing time in 1997.

Mirer was cut by the Bears in the beginning of the 1998 season, and signed with the Green Bay Packers, who later traded him to the New York Jets in 1999, where he replaced an injured Vinny Testaverde as the Jets starter. After only winning 2 of his starts he was benched in favor of Ray Lucas and was eventually released by the Jets at the end of the 1999 season, and was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers as a backup to Jeff Garcia. In 2002, Mirer became the 3rd string quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, and became the starter for part of 2003 after injuries to both Rich Gannon and Marques Tuisopo. In 2004. Mirer was signed as the third string quarterback by the Detroit Lions, but saw no playing time.

Pro Bowl Selections:  0


1994-Marshall Faulk-Indianapolis Colts.



In his rookie season, Faulk rushed for 1,282 yards and 11 touchdowns. He became the first player in NFL history to be named the Rookie of the year and the Pro Bowl MVP in the same season. The next season, Faulk rushed to 1,082 yards and 14 total touchdowns. His team made the playoffs but lost int he AFC Championship game to the Steelers. (Faulk missed that game due to injury.)

The next year was a miserable one for Faulk. Because of a toe injury he suffered earlier in the season, he only rushed for 587 yards, with a 3 yards-per-carry average. He recovered from the injury and rushed for 1,000+ yards in each of the next two seasons, setting a new personal high with 1,319 in 1998. He also caught 86 passes for 906 yards that year and was the NFL's leader in total yards from scrimmage with an astounding 2,227, beating out our very own Terrell Davis by 2 yards, while also finishing 4th in the league in receptions. It would also be the first of an NFL-record 4 consecutive 2,000+ total-yard seasons.

During the 1999 season Faulk was traded to the St. Louis Rams where he led the prolific offense that will be forever known as "the Greatest Show on Turf." It was here that Faulk would forever cement his legacy as one of the greatest backs in NFL history.

Faulk's patience and diligence in learning the Rams' offense paid off when he totaled an NFL record 2,429 yards from scrimmage eclipsing Barry Sanders's record of 2,358 yards set in 1997 (which has since been broken by Chris Johnson in 2009). With 1,381 yards rushing (5.5 yards-per-carry average), 1,048 receiving yards, and scoring 12 touchdowns,Faulk joined Roger Craig as the only men to total 1,000+ yards in each category in a season.[8] The Rams eventually went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV. In the game, Faulk was contained on the ground by Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher's defensive scheme, limiting him to just 17 rushing yards. This was perhaps due to the Titans' inability to stop the Rams' passing game, of which Faulk was a major part, recording 5 receptions for 90 yards. His 90 receiving yards were the second highest total by a running back in Super Bowl history. At the end of the season, he received the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award and was a starter for the NFC squad in the 1999 Pro Bowl.

The following year, Faulk became the first running back in NFL history to lead his team in receptions five separate seasons (three in Indianapolis and twice in St. Louis). In addition, he was the NFL MVP and again the Offensive Player of the Year in 2000. He had 1,359 yards rushing in fourteen games and set a new NFL record with 26 total touchdowns, (a record that would soon be broken by Priest Holmes and then later by Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson), despite missing two games due to injury.[8] He also averaged 5+ yards per carry again, this time with 5.4.[8] The Rams, however were not able to replicate the record they had the year prior. Even with the offense scoring the most points and yards during the "The Greatest Show on Turf" era, the defense gave up 470 points.

The Rams returned to the Super Bowl the next year as their defense returned to form, allowing only 273 points, and the offense once again scored over 500 points, with 503. Faulk had another excellent season, rushing 260 times for a career-high 1,382 yards (5.3 yards per carry), and catching 83 passes for 765 yards, for an NFC-leading total of 2,147 yards from scrimmage (second in the NFL only to Priest Holmes, who totaled 2,169 yards) and scoring 21 touchdowns despite once again missing 2 games to injuries.[8] Faulk won, for the third year in a row, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year award, but finished second in a close vote to teammate Kurt Warner in the MVP vote. These years would be the climax of Faulk's career.

On March 26th, 2007 Faulk retired from the game of football. He finished his carer with 12,279 yards with 100 Touchdowns. He also compiled 6,875 yards in the receiving game with 36 touchdowns. To see a sweet highlight video of Marshall Faulk, go here.

Pro Bowl selections:  7

1995-Tony Boselli-Jacksonville Jaguars.



Boselli was the first ever draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played with the franchise until 2002, becoming one of the teams most popular players. In 2002, during the expansion draft, Boselli was drafted by the Houston Texans. But injuries prevented him from playing and he was forced to retire the very next season.

The Jaguars inducted Boselli into the team's Hall of Fame, better known as the "Pride of the Jaguars." He was signed to a one-day contract to officially retire as a Jaguar.

Pro Bowl selections:  5


1996-Kevin Hardy-Jacksonville Jaguars.



After being drafted by the Jaguars, he signed a six-year $14.8 million dollar contract with a six million dollar signing bonus. Hardy's fellow linebacker at Illinois, Simeon Rice, was chosen with the third overall selection. Hardy played six seasons for the Jaguars, which included four trips to the playofffs. Hardy was named to the NFL All-Rookie team in 1996. In 1998, Hardy set the Jaguars team record with 186 tackles. Hardy led all AFC linebackers with 10.5 sacks in 1999, and again led the Jaguars in tackles with 153.

His play helped lead the Jaguars to a 14-win season, and Hardy was selected to the Pro Bowl as well as named to the AP All-Pro first team. In 2001 Hardy injured his knee in the ninth game of the season, his last game with the Jaguars.

Hardy signed with the Dallas Cowboys on April 14, 2002 as an unrestricted free agent, receiving a one-year, $2.5 million dollar contract. Hardy recovered from his injury and played for the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. Hardy finished the season ranking third on the Cowboys in both total Tackles, with 114, and also recorded two sacks. Hardy played outside linebacker, and also lined up as a defensive end in some passing downs.

Hardy signed a four year, $14 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals as an unrestricted free agent on March 6, 2003, to be the Bengals new middle linebacker, after playing outside linebacker with the Jaguars and Cowboys. Hardy played for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons. Hardy was an integral part of the Bengals' defense in 2003, starting all 16 games and leading the team in defensive snaps played (1030 of 1038, for 99.2%). Hardy also led the team in tackles in 2003 with 124. He started 14 games in the 2004 season. The Bengals terminated Hardy's contract on May 3, 2005. Hardy finished his career with 742 tackles(563 solo), 36 sacks, 43.5 tackles for loss, 11 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, 45 pass deflections, five interceptions for 59 yards, and one touchdown in 134 games.

Pro Bowl selections:  1


1997-Darrell Russel-Oakland Raiders.



Darrell Russel was a standout DT from USC. Everyone knows that speed and athleticism are to Al Davis as what Bleach-blond woman are to Hue Hefner.  That was an integral part in Al Davis' decision to draft him. Although I have to admit, he combine measurables were very impressive. At 6ft 5in and 320 pounds, Russell ran the 40 yard dash in 4.8 seconds!

Russell's seven-year, $22 million contract in 1997 was at the time the richest rookie contract ever signed in the NFL.

He went on to have 28.5 career sacks. After making the Pro Bowl in 1998 and 1999, averaging ten sacks per year, Russell was suspended four games in 2001 for failing to comply with the NFL's drug policy. Shortly after that, he tested positive for another banned substance and was given a one-year suspension that later was made indefinite by the league.

Russell's positive drug test in 2004 was his seventh infraction of the league's policy. Russell missed 1½ years while serving two league suspensions before he played in eight games in 2003 for the Washington Redskins. His last NFL experience was in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' training camp in 2004.

He was accused in 2002 of videotaping the rape of a woman who had been drugged with GHB—by two friends, but prosecutors dropped the charges.

On December 15, 2005, Russell was a passenger in a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by close friend and ex-teammate Michael Bastianelli when it veered out of control, hitting several items including a tree and a fire hydrant before hitting a parked bus. Both men were found unconscious and taken to area hospitals, where they were pronounced dead.

Pro Bowl selections:  1


1998-Ryan Leaf-San Diego Chargers.



Entering the 1998 draft, Manning and Leaf were widely considered to be the two best players available, and scouts and analysts debated whether Leaf or Manning should be selected first. Many advocated for Leaf and his stronger arm, while others saw Manning as the more mature player. However, the differences in potential between the two seemed small enough that most observers expected it would not greatly matter whether a team selected Manning or Leaf. The San Diego Chargers had the third pick of the draft, but traded two first round picks, a second round pick, and four time Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf to the Arizona Cardinals to move up one spot and guarantee that the team would get one of the two quarterbacks.

On draft day Manning was selected first by the Indianapolis Colts and Leaf was selected second by the Chargers. The team's other options at quarterback in that year's draft included former NFL quarterback Brian Griese and current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

The Chargers signed Leaf to a four-year contract worth $31.25 million, including a guaranteed $11.25 million signing bonus. It was at the time, the largest signing bonus ever paid to a rookie.

Leaf stated on draft day, "I'm looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl and a parade through downtown San Diego".

San Diego's high hopes for Leaf were soon dashed, as his rookie season was marked by bad performances. Before the season started, Leaf skipped a symposium that was mandatory for all players who were drafted, resulting in a fine. Leaf did well in the preseason and won his first two games as a rookie, becoming the first quarterback since John Elway in the 1983 NFL season to do so. But, in the third game of the season, he completed one of fifteen passes for four yards and fumbled three times in a loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was benched after throwing two touchdown passes and thirteen interceptions in nine games, and was replaced by quarterback Craig Whelihan. In ten games that season, Leaf threw two touchdown passes and fifteen interceptions, passing for 1,289 yards and had a 45.3 percent completion rate, with a poor quarterback rating of 39.

Leaf had a bad relationship with the media and his teammates, whom he tended to blame for his poor play. In one locker room incident during Leaf's rookie year, he was caught on camera screaming at San Diego Union Tribune reporter Jay Posner, saying "Just f****** don't talk to me, all right! Knock it off" and then Leaf had to be physically restrained by teammate Junior Seau. Another on-camera incident involved Leaf confronting a heckling Charger fan during a practice session. Two coaches had to restrain Leaf and escort him off the field. His relationship with former Chargers safety Rodney Harrison was notoriously acrimonious and Harrison described being a member of the Chargers during Leaf's rookie season as "a nightmare you can't even imagine." After news of Leaf's retirement in 2002, Harrison was quoted as saying, "he probably did the best thing; he took his money and ran."

Leaf missed his entire second season due to a shoulder injury uncovered by a pre-season physical. He was placed on injured reserve but made headlines for getting into a heated shouting match with the Chargers's general manager Bobby Beathard and another coach. The incident resulted in a fine, a suspension without pay and an apology by Leaf four weeks later. Leaf also allegedly lied about a hand injury in order to get out of practice so that he could play golf instead.

Leaf started the first two games of the 2000 season, completing less than half of his pass attempts and throwing for five interceptions and one touchdown. When backup Moses Moreno went down with a strained knee ligament, the Chargers gave Leaf more playing time. However, he injured his wrist while throwing an interception in a week four game and did not play again until week eleven. Following more poor performances and injury problems, he was released by the Chargers after the season, with a record of only four wins as a starter in three years.

Ryan Leaf retired in 2002. During his brief (and for us Broncos fans, great) career, Leaf completed 317 of 655 passes for 3,666 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Leaf's career QB rating was 50.00, a very low number—the league average between 2000 and 2003 was 78.9, according to

Pro Bowl selections:   0


1999-Donovan McNabb-Philadelphia Eagles.



McNabb led the Eagles to four consecutive NFC East division championships (2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004), five NFC Championship Games (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2008), and one Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXXIX, in which the Eagles were defeated by the New England Patriots). Perhaps his most memorable play has become known as "4th and 26", which took place against the Green Bay Packers in the final minutes of a 2003 NFC Divisional playoff game.

He is the Eagles' all-time leader in career wins, pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.

Pro Bowl selections:  7

2002-Julius Peppers-Carolina Panthers.





Peppers ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at 290 pounds and completed 22 bench press reps at his pro day. Peppers made an immediate impact and was named The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the AP. During his rookie season, Peppers tallied 36 tackles, 12 sacks, 1 interception, and 5 forced fumbles. On October 13, 2002, Peppers became only the third player in NFL history to amass three sacks and an interception in the same game. With four games remaining in the season, Peppers was suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for taking a banned dietary supplement.

In 2003, during the Panthers' Super Bowl run, he had 46 tackles, seven sacks, and three forced fumbles. The next year, Peppers was selected to his first ever Pro BowL with 65 tackles, 11 sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and two touchdowns. On October 15, 2006, Peppers became the Panthers' all-time sacks leader.

Peppers is known as one of the most athletic and versatile players in the NFL. In his career, Peppers has 10 blocked kicks (extra points and field goal attempts). Peppers has had double-digit sacks in all but two seasons. In 2008, Julius Peppers was voted to the 2009 Pro Bowl, where he recorded an INT.

Following Mike Minter's retirement, Peppers was named as the Panthers defensive captain. He and Donovan McNabb are the only people to ever play in both the NCAA men's basketball Final Four and the NFL's Super Bowl.

Pro Bowl selections:  5

2007-Calvin Johnson-Detroit Lions.



Coming out of college, Calvin Johnson was hyped to be one of the best college wide receivers of all time. Calvin Johnson was's Midseason NFL Draft Projection #1 pick, though Johnson had stated that he intended to earn his degree from Georgia Tech. On January 8, 2007, Johnson declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft, bypassing his senior season at Georgia Tech.

He was regarded as the best athlete to come out of the draft and was the #1 player on most draft boards. Johnson was said by ESPN to be able to be productive as a rookie, much like receiver Randy Moss was as a rookie. In a mid-February workout with speed and conditioning coach Mark Pearsall, Johnson clocked a remarkable 4.33 second 40-yard dash, 10.23 second 100-meter sprint, recorded an 11-foot standing broad jump, and had a vertical leap of 43 inches.

Johnson, mainly because of his size, has been nick-named "Megatron" by many Lions fans. Although he has not quite lived up to the high standards, this past season he posted his best season with 77 receptions for 1120 yards and 12 TDs. Earning him his first Pro Bowl.

Pro Bowl selections: 1

2010-Ndomukong Suh-Detroit Lions.



As a senior in college, Suh became one of the most decorated defensive players in college football history. He won numerous awards including the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy. He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, finishing fourth.

Suh was selected second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. On August 3, Suh agreed to a five-year, $68 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. On September 12, Suh had his first sack against Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. On October 10, during a game against the St. Louis Rams, he recorded his first career interception off of Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Suh scored his first touchdown of his NFL career against the Washington Redskins on October 31, 2010, on a recovery of a Rex Grossman fumble.

After an injury to Lions kicker Jason Hanson, the Lions had Suh attempt an extra point on November 7, 2010, against the New York Jets, but missed; the ball hit the right upright.

On December 28, 2010, Suh was picked as a starter for the Pro Bowl. He became the first Lions rookie since Barry Sanders to be picked as a Pro Bowl starter. However, he missed the Pro Bowl due to shoulder surgery. He was also named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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