Ahmed Plummer, CB, the Ohio State
Plummer & Deltha O’Neal were considered 1 and 1a as far as CB prospects that year.
O’Neal went #15, and Plummer fell to #24.
Plummer was a solid 4 year starter for the 49ers, and a good tackler for the position.
His best season came in 2001 when he racked up 7 interceptions.
But injuries derailed his career, cutting it to only 6 years.
2001 Denver Broncos
Willie Middlebrooks, CB, Minnesota
The tendency to over-inflate the draft stock of a tall CB is not new to 2014.
Middlebrooks was a 2nd round prospect injected into round 1 due to his height.
He was pretty much the consummate bust as an NFL CB.
In 5 seasons, he started 2 games with 0 career interceptions.
Reed was the top FS in the draft, and the only FS with a grade in the first 45 picks.
He was the second safety drafted (after Roy Williams went in the top 10 as a SS).
Reed had a monster career, earning five 1st team All-Pro honors, and 9 Pro-Bowl selections.
He racked up 64 interceptions in his 12 year career.
Clark was the top rated TE in the draft, with a slight edge over the bigger Jason Witten.
In 11 seasons, Clark caught 505 balls for 5,665 yards and 53 td’s.
His career was littered with injuries, as only once did he start 16 games (and he showed what he could do, topping 100 receptions, 1000 yards, and earning All-Pro honors in that season).
The Colts cranked out a run of 7 straight seasons with 12 or more wins after drafting Clark.
A big RB in an era of big RB’s, Jackson measured 6’1", 231 lbs at the combine.
The top 3 RB prospects that year were all big backs: Jackson 231 lbs, Kevin Jones 227 lbs, and Greg Jones 249 lbs.
As we all know, the Rams traded up to #24 to grab Jackson, while the Bengals settled for Chris Perry, who they were rumored to have rated above Jackson anyway.
Jackson was the ultimate workhorse for some good, and then some terrible Rams’ teams.
Thru 2013, Jackson had rushed for over 10,000 yards and 63 td’s, while catching 440 balls.
The big question atop the 2005 NFL draft was who would go #1 – Alex Smith or Aaron Rodgers?
The 49ers passed on the shorter Rodgers, and went with the taller QB who better fit the arbitrary height requirement for the position.
With the QB position not in need in the 2005 draft, Rodgers tumbled down to a point where the Packers (who already had Brett Favre) couldn’t pass up such a high quality BPA.
Rodgers has become one of the best QB’s over the last half decade, compiling a 58-29 record with 24,000 passing yards and 188 td’s to only 52 int’s.
2006 Cincinnati Bengals
Johnathan Joseph, CB, S Carolina
The 2006 was filled with a cluster of CB’s considered to have 1st round grades. From 6’3" Jimmy Williams& 6’2" A Cromartie, to the sub 4.4 – 40 guys Tye Hill, J Jo, Ashton Youboty & Kelly Jennings.
At pick #24, Joseph was ultimately the 6th DB selected in the 2006 draft.
He has been a productive 8-year starter in the NFL with multiple Pro-Bowl selections, and 23 interceptions in 8 years.
He spent 5 good years in Cincy before leaving for Houston, and their lure of more Gatorade.
2007 New England Patriots
Brandon Merriweather, FS, Miami (Fla)
The 2007 draft was stuffed with DB’s.
Three Free Safeties went in round 1 (L Landry, R Nelson & Meriweather), along with one SS (M Griffin) and 3 CB’s (Revis, L Hall & A Ross).
Meriweather had 4 productive years as a starter with the Patriots, but has bounced around over the last 3 seasons.
He has 15 interceptions in 7 NFL seasons.
Chris Johnson was part of an insanely packed 2008 RB class which saw D McFadden, J Stewart, F Jones, and R Mendenhall all go in round 1, with the likes of M Forte, R Rice & J Charles still available to be had in round 2.
Johnson’s insane sub 4.30 time in the 40 helped him nudge his way to the upper half of that crowded group of outstanding RB psospects.
To date, Johnson has been the most successful of the bunch, leading the way with his 7,965 rushing yards and 50 td’s.
Although much of that came in his 2,000 yard rushing season, since which, he has been steadily declining.
From BJ Raji & Jerry, to Evander Hood, Ron Brace, Sen’Derrick Maks, and company, the 2009 draft was filled with a lot of over-hyped, under productive DT’s.
In 5 NFL seasons, Jerry has struggled to earn a starting spot, only compiling 67 tackles and 5.5 sacks in those 5 seasons.
Possessing good size, skill & speed, and was considered a top-10 prospect in terms of talent.
But a diva attitude and character concerns dropped him to #24 overall.
He was a BPA who has produced at a very high level with 4,104 yards and 40 td’s in his first 4 years.
The 2011 draft was stocked with a lot of sack happy DE’s who went in round 1, such as Von Miller, Aldon Smith, JJ Watt, Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan, and Cameron Jordan.
Jordan has not disappointed.
He became an instant starter, and has amassed 21.5 sacks in 3 seasons, and a Pro-Bowl appearance.
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
The once-in-a-decade Guard prospect who was the second coming of Steve Hutchinson, DeCastro was talked up to be likely gone in the top 10 picks of the draft.
He took an Aaron Rodgers-esque free fall, and tumbled down to the Steelers, who happily scooped him up.
After suffering thru an injured rookie season, he had a solid second year.
2013 Indy Colts
Bjoern Werner, DE, Fla St
Considered more solid than elite, was projected anywhere from the low first round to the middle or end of round 2.
Werner played in 13 games with 1 start.
He had 14 tackles & 2.5 sacks.
So overall, ‘wow’, lots of great players have been had at #24, from Ed Reed to Aaron Rodgers to Dez Bryant to Dallas Clark and Steven Jackson.
And not too many outright busts: Middlebrooks & Jerry, so far.
So it seems likely, that there should be a very good, if not great player available when the Bengals pick at #24.