20 for 20: 1996

20 for 20

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 1996 NFL Draft Class.

My favorite football player of all time was drafted in 1996, and there’s good reason for it. I had spent the last three years of my life watching him play safety for my Washington Huskies. I had met him at the fan day at Husky Stadium and now he was the second round pick of my new favorite team. Milloy immediately made an impact on the Patriots starting 10 games on an AFC Championship team.

After an off year in 2002, I was heartbroken when Lawyer was released just days before the 2003 season. Who would have thought Milloy would still be playing nine years later?

My Top Ten from the 1996 NFL Draft class:

Jonathan Ogden: Rd. 1 Pick 4 – Baltimore Ravens
Willie Anderson: Rd. 1 Pick 10 – Cincinatti Bengals
Marvin Harrison: Rd. 1 Pick 19 – Indianapolis Colts
Ray Lewis: Rd. 1 Pick 26 – Baltimore Ravens
Mike Alstott: Rd. 2 Pick 35 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brian Dawkins: Rd. 2 Pick 61 – Philadelphia Eagles
Terrell Owens: Rd. 3 Pick 89 – San Francisco 49ers
Zach Thomas: Rd. 5 Pick 154 – Miami Dolphins
La’Roi Glover: Rd. 5 Pick 166 – Oakland Raiders
Adam Vinatieri: Undrafted – New England Patriots

Other Significant Players – Keyshawn Johnson, Kevin Hardy, Simeon Rice, Terry Glenn, Walt Harris, Eddie George, John Mobley, Jeff Hartings, Eric Moulds, Jermane Mayberry, Jerome Woods, Tony Brackens, Amani Toomer, Lawyer Milloy, Muhsin Muhammed, Tory James, Donnie Abraham, Tedy Bruschi, Donnie Edwards, Stephen Davis, Jon Runyan, Joe Horn, Marco Rivera

My Top Player: Lewis
Consensus Top Player: Lewis
Hall of Famers: None
Possible Future HOF: Ogden, Anderson, Harrison, Lewis, Dawkins, Owens, Thomas, Vinatieri
Best Value: It’s between Owens, Thomas and Vinatieri. I’m picking Owens. It would be hard to argue he’s not a top 5 career WR and he was taken late in the 3rd round.
Biggest Bust: Lawrence Phillips. It’s kind of amazing the Rams won a Super Bowl a mere three years later after this sizable of a bust with the 6th overall pick. The most interesting part of this pick is that the Rams were much better off after trading for Faulk than they would have been taking Eddie George here instead of Phillips.

Best Patriots Pick: The best Patriots pick wasn’t really even a pick at all. It’s undrafted free agent Adam Vinatieri. A very strong case could be made for Milloy or Bruschi.

Worst Patriots Pick: Christian Peter. Can you say questionable character? Think they might have been better off taking Shane Burton or Steve Martin, who were taken with the next two picks? They probably would have at least stayed with the team for more than two weeks. On another note here, I’m sure everyone knows the story that Parcells wanted to take a defensive player first round, but Kraft forced his hand and selected Glenn.

Now, obviously we don’t know which defensive player Parcells wanted to take (and they wound up taking a couple of great ones in the 2nd and 3rd rounds), but with the depth of the wide receiver class, it might have been a good idea to wait on a wideout. The Pats would have arguably been better off with Harrison, Moulds, Toomer, Muhammed, Engram, Owens and Horn even though Glenn was a huge part of the ’96 Super Bowl team.

Best Team Class: Either the Ravens (Ogden, Lewis, Jermaine Lewis), Patriots (Terry Glenn, Milloy, Bruschi, Vinatieri) or Chiefs (Woods, Reggie Tongue, John Browning, Edwards, Horn). While this is a tough one, I’ll give it to the Ravens for getting two potential hall of famers in the first round.

Overall Grade: This might be my favorite draft class ever. A

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One Response to “20 for 20: 1996”

  1. Patriots Draft Guru says:

    Awesome article and awesome draft for the Patriots. Love this stuff.

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