Draft Countdown: The good, bad of 24

We’re just 24 days until the biggest day of the year for the best college players in the country, team scouting departments, and all of you draftniks out there. The NFL Draft is right around the corner.

Twenty-four days. Know what else 24 reminds us of, besides Kiefer Sutherland wiggin’ out?

  • Aaron Rodgers‘ draft slot in 2005, when the Packers picked the man who eventually would replace Brett Favre and who last February led Green Bay to victory in Super Bowl XLV.
  • The 24th overall pick last year? Dez Bryant, who probably could afford to wear some overalls, considering his sagging pants caused quite a stir recently. Still, the kid had a nice rookie season before breaking his leg in Week 13.
  • Hall of Fame guard John Hannah, the fourth overall pick by the Patriots in 1973 and a guy Sports Illustrated put on its cover in 1981 — five years before he retired — with the simple headline: “The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time.” Hannah ranked 24th last year on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Greatest Players list.
  • It’s been 24 years since Vinny Testaverde was picked No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and two years after Hannah retired an all-pro. Unlike Hannah, the indestructible quarterback never knew when to hang ’em up, starting his last game at the age of 44 in 2007.

Testaverde fired 35 interceptions in 1988, his second year, after sharing quarterback duties with Steve DeBerg as a rookie. It was and still is an NFL record for most picks thrown by a No. 1 draft selection. (You might be surprised at the others on list.)

Packers fans are thankful Rodgers doesn’t show up on that chart — yet another reason he was such a value pick at 24. Rodgers, however, is sure to be on NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011 show, which debuts Saturday, April 30, after the completion of the draft.

— Elliot Harrison

Elliot Harrison, a research analyst for NFL RedZone on NFL Network, counts down the days until the start of the 2011 NFL Draft.

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