20 for 20: 1991

20 for 20 - 1991

Editor’s Note: Doug Kyed, our intrepid staff writer, will be doing some extra work for the final twenty days before the 2011 NFL Draft, taking a look at the last twenty NFL Drafts.

Today he looks at the year 1991.

I’ve been looking at past drafts a lot lately and wanted to break down the past twenty years from a national perspective and a New England perspective. This is just the first part of a twenty part series I’ll be doing leading up to draft day where I’ll be grading, analyzing and dissecting the best picks, the worst picks and everything in between.

I need to come clean, I haven’t always been a New England Patriots fan. I was born in Seattle and my dad had Seahawks season tickets through the 1991 season. I grew up with Steve Largent posters and Dave Krieg starting lineups. I have more of an affinity towards the old Seahawks royal blue, green and silver than I do to Pat Patriot.

I’ll get into where and why my Patriots love initially started later, but the fact that I grew up on the west coast at least partially explains why my favorite players from this draft class (and among my favorites all time) are Michael Sinclair, Ricky Watters and Merton Hanks. It may just be that I’m from Seattle and my grandfather was a 49ers fan, but are there three more underrated players from the 90s?

I think we all know why Ricky Watters isn’t in the hall of fame, but the fact that he’s not and Jerome Bettis will likely be a 2nd ballot guy is a travesty. I guess those 220 extra yards from scrimmage, three touchdowns and three seasons make a world of difference.

Top Ten Picks from the 1991 NFL Draft:

Herman Moore: Rd. 1 Pick 10 – Detroit Lions

Ted Washington: Rd. 1 Pick 25 – San Francisco 49ers

Brett Favre: Rd. 2 Pick 33 – Atlanta Falcons

Ricky Watters: Rd. 2 Pick 45 – San Francisco 49ers

Aeneas Williams: Rd. 3 Pick 59 – Phoenix Cardinals

Mo Lewis: Rd. 3 Pick 63 – New York Jets

Erik Williams: Rd. 3 Pick 70 – Dallas Cowboys

Bryan Cox: Rd. 5 Pick 113 – Miami Dolphins

Merton Hanks: Rd. 5 Pick 122 – San Francisco 49ers

Ben Coates: Rd. 5 Pick 124 – New England Patriots

Other Significant Players: Eric Turner, Eric Swann, Ed McCaffrey, Yancey Thigpen, John Kasey, William Thomas, Michael Sinclair, Leon Lett, Keenan McCardell

My Top Player: Brett Favre
Consensus Top Player: Favre
Hall of Famers: None
Possible Future HOF: Favre, Williams, Watters

Best Value: You’ve got to go with Brett Favre here. Even though some great players were taken in the 5th round and later, one of the best QBs ever was taken 33rd overall. If it weren’t for Favre, a very strong case could be made for Ben Coates.

Biggest Bust: How do you decide? This draft was full of first round busts and more than likely, your team came away with only few productive players from this entire draft. My pick is Bruce Pickens (Rd. 1 Pick 3, Atlanta Falcons) who made just nine starts in his career. I’ve got to mention Todd Marinovich here as well. Marinovich proved that yes, it is possible to get arrested for cocaine possession and get drafted in the first round mere months apart.

Best Patriots Pick: Ben Coates. It’s not even close.

Worst Patriots Pick: I can’t fault the Patriots for Harlow or Leonard when the next most productive players at those positions came a round or two later. My worst pick is Jerome Henderson when Aeneas Williams was taken just 18 picks later.

Best Team Class: It’s either the Cowboys (Maryland, Alvin Harper, Dixon Edwards, Williams, Leon Lett, Larry Brown) or 49ers (Washington, Watters, Hanks). Though San Francisco might have taken three of the best players of this draft, the Cowboys helped build their three Super Bowl winning teams with this draft.

Overall Grade: Coming just a year after a phenomenal 1990 Draft class, this one is one of the worst in recent memory. D+

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5 Responses to “20 for 20: 1991”

  1. Steve says:

    OK…This is the kind of discussion that has me back…great job.

    I have been waiting for some site/network to bring all this draft hype into proper perspective by showing the past drafts and how the talent shaked out. I’ve been doing it for years…I’m a draftnik, but I look at the past and realize that the picks don’t work out the way that Kiper, or any other “expert” grades them. The proof, and therefore the reality, is in past.

    So, if we all realize that these early grades are so imperfect, what does this tell us, and by “us” I mean everyone…even BB and other real experts? It tells us that teams have to draft for talent first, and then need next, and a distant next. If teams allow need to cloud their evaluations then they lose the site of the reality and end up with more misses. They have to address needs via a plan, but with their big boards ruling the day…their evaluations etc…If they don’t they will end up with a terrible team in just a few drafts.

    History also gives us another valuable lesson, that there are misses by everyone, some more than others, but all teams/experts miss at a pretty good rate. So, how does a team deal with this?

    By getting more picks! More picks will equal more misses, but also more hits, and more hits mean more players that work out. More guys going to camp is ok…you just cut them…walk away with a small loss, but what remains should be more players that we all remember and watch on Sundays.

    I think we have a team that realizes this…

    P.S. I would love to see someone do a statistical analysis (percentages) of hits to misses…1st round, 2nd, 3rd etc…But, just looking at past drafts is an eye opener. You end up feeling a bit foolish for arguing about who should be graded 9th over who is 12th, for example, at this point in a draft that hasn’t taken place.

    • cash says:

      Steve, where have you been?!

    • Bill says:

      Welcome back to the forum.

      I was going to ask the forum faithful what happened to Steve.

      It’s somewhat easier to evaluate the NFL potential of a college OT, than it is to evaluate the NFL potential of a college CB. It’s easier to evaluate the potential of a DT than a DE/OLB.

      That’s some of the nuances of the NFL draft that makes the process so interesting.

      Having stated my opinions, I disagree with the Stalin era…quantity usurps quality argument. While I agree that concept works well on the special teams aspects of the NFL game, I have my doubts about how well that concept works with the O and D aspects of the game.

      For example. The Pats had an opportunity to trade #18, #22 and a second round pick to Oakland for the Charles Woodson pick. The Pat’s declined that trade offer. The result is that we Pat’s fans were deprived of the CB tandem of Law and Woodson.

      Now can you think of a player in this draft who reminds you of Charles Woodson? Their may be one player who reminds you of Charles Woodson. Would you be willing to trade #17, #28 and #33 to have a McCourty…Peterson duo at CB for the next few years? I doubt if that is a wise trade for this draft year( I wouldn’t complain if it happened). But, I do know that is what makes the draft so interesting for the fans.

    • TD says:

      It’s not just the misses/hits ratio, but also the round and position of the miss. High in the first round and it costs you a lot of money and possibly 2/3 salaries until they make it or you cut them. I would think that is why BB trades back into the second round. Miss on Brace and Butler and the financial hit is lower than if they missed in first round.

      Not sure if BB hordes picks with the misses to hits in mind, but he sure does like the leverage and versatility he has come draft day. Too bad they cannot trade picks for players, we might have seen Ocho Cinco or Steve Smith coming our way.

  2. Bill says:

    As a Pat’s fan, I vote for Mo Lewis and Ted Washington to be in the HOF.

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