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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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NFL Draft Picks Can Alter A Team’s Success, Impact Its Value

  • NFL Drafts inevitably alter the course of league history, and mistakes can set a franchise back for a decade.
  • This year's quarterback class offers tantalizing talent and risk.
Feb 13, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks flanked by Vince Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl 57 Winning Team Head Coach and MVP press conference at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots had never won a Super Bowl and were coming off an 8-8 season when they selected Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft — after 198 other picks. Six Super Bowl titles later, it’s fair to say things worked out.

Brady was the key factor behind the Pats’ rise from a $172 million purchase in 1994 to the second-most valuable NFL club at $6.4 billion, according to Forbes.

The right choice can change a franchise — but so can a wrong one.

In 2005, the San Francisco 49ers selected quarterback Alex Smith with the first overall pick. Smith led the 49ers to the NFC Championship game in 2011 and presided over four playoff runs after being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. 

But what if the 49ers had instead looked across the Bay to UC Berkeley quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was visibly crestfallen after dropping to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24?

In 2017, the Chicago Bears traded up for the second-overall pick (swapping their third overall pick with the 49ers) to ensure that they would land North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky.

The second team to pick a quarterback that year, the Chiefs, had to settle for Patrick Mahomes with the 10th pick.

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Former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel told Front Office Sports Today that he sees Mahomes-like potential in Florida’s Anthony Richardson, but Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis are considered safer bets. Will another team make an era-defining mistake?

The NFL begins a new chapter today — with all the weight of future history in the balance.

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