Look back through history and you’ll be able to pin-point draft picks who were highly sought after products that fell by the wayside. It happened to one of WVU’s own last season with Geno Smith. Smith, at one point, was projected to go first overall. Instead, he wasn’t even the first quarterback drafted. Beyond that, he wasn’t even drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. But that doesn’t mean he will have an awful career. But it’s too soon to tell what lies ahead for the Mountaineer signal caller.
Then, of course, there’s guys like Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers was slated as a lock in the Top 10 of the 2005 NFL Draft but instead he went 24th overall. Much like when Smith was overlooked, cameras at the draft were circling around Rodgers, catching his every move and his facial expressions with every player picked before him. But we can say now that it turned out pretty good for him.
Alex Smith was selected first overall that season. Until recently, he was considered the closest thing to a bust without being labeled a bust. Rodgers, though, was the next QB taken but with 20-some picks in between. He could’ve went to a team like Arizona or Washington or Detroit or even Carolina and likely been the starter on Day One. But he was selected by the Green Bay Packers and sat behind future Hall of Famer Brett Favre and that’s one of the smartest moves an NFL franchise has made in the last decade, in my opinion.
So we know that just because you fall in the NFL Draft doesn’t mean you’re an awful player or that you shouldn’t have been taken. It happens.
But just because you’re taken in the Top 10 doesn’t mean your Vince Lombardi’s gift to football, either.
There’s Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Tony Mandarich, Akili Smith, Heath Shuller and Charles Rodgers; just to name a few.
But for every one of those guys, there are teams who get lucky and find a Tom Brady, Marques Colston or Terrell Davis.
So as this year’s NFL Draft comes up, don’t read too much into where your favorite player is “supposed” to be drafted or where he actually does get drafted. Just wait it out and see where his career takes him.
Just remember, Ryan Leaf was a Godsend and Tom Brady was just a sixth round pick out of Michigan.