Draft Countdown: Dressed to the 9s

Nine Tonight. I’m not sure what Bob Seger was singing about on that tune, but as of this evening,  there are just nine more until we get to April 28, day one of the NFL Draft. This svelte number traditionally has meant a lot to many people, from nine lives to Roger Maris (a No. 9), and his 61 home runs.

But what does the No. 9 constitute in NFL Draft lore?

* How about the meanest SOB who ever played football? Dick Butkus was the ninth pick in the 1965 AFL Draft. Unfortunately for the Broncos, Butkus signed with the Bears (who had selected him third overall in the 1965 NFL Draft).

* And for some symmetry, another great Bears linebacker, Brian Urlacher, was also a ninth overall selection back in 2000. The player drafted just one slot ahead of Urlacher, Plaxico Burress, only played nine years but is hoping for another shot, so to speak.

*  The ninth spot on the NFL’s list of 100 greatest players is Hall of Famer Don Hutson of the Green Bay Packers. However, the former Alabama star entered the league one year before the first official draft was instituted in 1936.

>>Speaking of top 100 players … you can vote for today’s top 100  right here on NFL.com.

*  A big-time 9, was Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen. The man with the rubber arm was a fourth-round pick in the 1957 draft.

* The NFL’s most famous 9’s today have to be Carson Palmer and Tony Romo. The former was a first overall pick, while the later wasn’t even drafted. Both entered the league in 2003.  Strangely, the ninth quarterback taken in that draft was Drew Henson, whom the Cowboys acquired to become their quarterback of the future. Oops.

And guess who’s up in the 9-hole this year? Dallas. What are they seeking — help on the offensive line or in the secondary?

We’re nine days away from that answer.

– Elliot Harrison

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