We’ve already discussed the worst first-round pick in the NFL draft from each SEC school. Now it’s time to look at the best first-round picks during the Super Bowl era.
Important to note: This is not the best NFL player from the school or even the best draft pick. It’s the best first-round pick, and everything being equal, if a player picked in the 20s has a career equal to that of a player picked in the top 10, we’re giving the edge to the player picked in the 20s. Our thinking: A player picked in the top 10 is expected to become a star; that’s not necessarily the case for a player picked in the 20s.
Here’s the list.
G John Hannah
The particulars: Drafted 4th in 1973 by the New England Patriots
The skinny: He played in 183 games in 13 seasons and started every one of them on his way to being possibly the best guard in NFL history. Hannah was an absolute mauler in the running game. He was a seven-time All-Pro and a nine-time Pro Bowler, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
DL Dan Hampton
The particulars: Drafted 4th in 1979 by the Chicago Bears
The skinny: Hampton was nicknamed “Danimal” because, it was said, he was half-animal. He played 12 seasons with the Bears, lining up at both tackle and end for some feared Chicago defenses. He was named an All-Pro once and was a four-time Pro Bowler. Those are relatively modest totals, but Hampton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. Hampton, who endured 10 knee surgeries while he was playing, was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1980s.
OT Willie Anderson
The particulars: Drafted 10th in 1996 by the Cincinnati Bengals
The skinny: Anderson played 13 seasons in the NFL (the first 12 for the Bengals, the last for Baltimore) and was a starter in all 13 of them; he was a left tackle as a rookie, then moved to the right side. He was a three-time All-Pro selection and a four-time Pro Bowler.
RB Emmitt Smith
The particulars: Drafted 17th in 1990 by the Dallas Cowboys
The skinny: Some college coaches considered him too slow coming out of high school, and some NFL teams considered him too slow coming out of college. Oh, well. Smith rushed for a league-record 18,355 yards in his career and also is the all-time leader in rushing TDs with 164. He was a four-time All-Pro pick and an eight-time Pro Bowler. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.