NFL.com Staff | Tags: Draft Countdown, 2011 NFL Draft, Andre Johnson, Barry Sanders, Blaine Gabbert, Bobby Layne, Bronko Nagurski, Cam Newton, Dick Butkus, Joe Flacco, Joe Thomas, Josh Freeman, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Mel Kiper, Merlin Olsen, Mike Mayock, Sam Bradford
If you’re a draftnik, and if you think Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper are like Axl and Slash, then you know what’s in three days. The path to prime time is getting short, as draft weekend starts Thursday.
So if the NFL draft is just three days away, then what are some good draft 3s?
- With apologies to Bobby Layne (1948), Merlin Olsen (Rams, 1962), Dick Butkus (Bears, 1965), among others, Barry Sanders is the best No. 3 overall pick of all time. Detroit scooped up the Oklahoma State Heisman Trophy winner in 1989.
- Picking the best current player taken third overall sure is a tough call. Here are your choices: Matt Ryan (2008), Joe Thomas (2007), Larry Fitzgerald (2004), or Andre Johnson (2003). Anyone for Thomas?
- If those are great third overall picks, who’s the best No. 3 in NFL history? There can be only one. Bronko Nagurski, one of the best to ever lace ‘em up, in real life or Madden.
- The last three drafts have produced a renaissance of first-round quarterbacks who lived up to advance billing. After a 2007 draft that featured busts, 2008, 2009, and 2010 have all been full of good players: Sam Bradford (first overall, 2010), Matt Stafford (first overall, 2009), Mark Sanchez (fifth overall, 2009), Josh Freeman (17th overall, 2009), Matt Ryan (third overall, 2008), and Joe Flacco (18th overall, 2008).
– Elliot Harrison