Draft Countdown: Tark was a perfect 10

Ten. It’s more than Bo Derek in 1979. It’s even more than Pearl Jam’s best album. Right now, 10 is how many days we have left on the Path to Primetime.

You might be wondering what that number means in the lexicon of the NFL draft. Just like the movie “10” was big 30 years ago, so was the TV show “That’s Incredible,” hosted by …

  • … the greatest No. 10, QB Fran Tarkenton, a third-round pick of the expansion Vikings in 1961. Before he was a TV host, scrambling Fran gave Minnesota a lot for its mid-round buck, ultimately landing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • Tarkenton also wore his 10 for the Giants from 1967 to 1971, but the number now belongs to QB Eli Manning, who caused one of the biggest stirs in draft history when he refused to play for the Chargers after they made him the top pick in 2004.
  • Another QB, Matt Leinart, was the 10th overall pick, by the Cardinals, in the 2006 draft. That was before beer-bonging his way to the bench. Maybe it’s time for a do-over?
  • The 10th running back taken in the 2008 draft, which also happened to be the 10th selection of the third round, was Jamaal Charles, who as a Chief last season recorded the second-highest yards per rush ever (6.4, behind only Hall of Famer Jim Brown) by a player with at least 200 carries).
  • Just three Hall of Famers have been taken at No. 10: Rod Woodson (1987), Marcus Allen (1982) and Ron Mix (1960). Woodson and Allen made the NFL’s list of top 100 players, at 41st and 85th, respectively. … This year, NFL Network will count down the top 100 players of 2011, starting right after the final rounds of the draft on Saturday, April 30.

But that’s after the draft. We still have lots of good drama to sift through, like whether Redskins coach Mike Shanahan will go after a pass rusher or a QB with the 10th overall pick.

We’ll find out … in 10 days.

— Elliot Harrison

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