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NFL draft: Best/worst first-round picks for all 32 slots (21-24)

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Best/worst first-round picks: 32-29 | 28-25 | 24-21 | 20-17 | 16-13 | 12-9 | 8-5 | 4-1


CFB 24/7 continues its countdown of the best and worst first-round picks at all 32 slots during the Super Bowl era. We will do four spots per day, until we end up with the three best -- and three worst -- No. 1 picks.

No. 24 pick

Who picks here in 2015: Arizona Cardinals
Overview: It was difficult to pick the misses at this spot, simply because there were so many. At the same time, one of the NFL's best safeties ever was a No. 24 pick, as was a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

HITS

RB Calvin Hill: Taken in 1969 by the Dallas Cowboys out of Yale. To many, he is best-known as the father of basketball star Grant Hill. But Calvin Hill was a star in his own right with the Cowboys. He was an All-Pro pick in 1969 and also was a four-time Pro Bowler. Hill was a tough, physical runner who also had good hands and was an effective receiver.

S Ed Reed: Taken in 2002 by the Baltimore Ravens out of Miami. Reed was both a ballhawk and a physical tackler, finishing his career with 64 interceptions -- sixth-most in NFL history -- and 531 solo tackles. Reed also returned seven of those picks for TDs, and his 1,590 interception-return yards are the most in NFL history. He is a certain Hall of Famer.

QB Aaron Rodgers: Taken in 2005 by the Green Bay Packers out of California. He famously plummeted on draft day, but it has turned out well for Rodgers and the Packers. After serving as a little-used backup in his first three seasons, he has started for the past seven seasons and has 226 TDs and 57 interceptions in his career. His career passer rating of 106.0 is the best in NFL history, and he is a two-time All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowler.

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MISSES

DE Bob Buczkowski: Taken in 1986 by the Los Angeles Raiders out of Pittsburgh. He played in 21 games in three NFL seasons, with three teams. He didn't see any action as a rookie in 1986 and the Raiders released him after the 1987 season. He was arrested in 2005 in the Pittsburgh area for helping to run a house of prostitution.

RB Leo Hayden: Taken in 1971 by the Minnesota out of Ohio State. Hayden was one of two Ohio State running backs taken in the first round in 1971; the other was John Brockington, who was the rookie of the year. Hayden lasted three NFL seasons but played in just 13 games and rushed for a total of 11 yards.

QB Todd Marinovich: Taken in 1991 by the Los Angeles Raiders out of USC. If you follow football, you know his story. Marinovich played in eight NFL games, throwing eight TD passes and nine interceptions. He struggled with substance abuse and was released after his second season, never playing another NFL game.

No. 23 pick

Who picks here in 2015: Detroit Lions
Overview: Maybe the best special-teams player in NFL history was taken with the 23rd pick. There also was a Hall-of-Fame tight end selected 23rd. All in all, a pretty solid group at No. 23.

HITS

P Ray Guy: Taken in 1973 by the Oakland Raiders out of Southern Miss. He was the first punter taken in the first round, and he is the only punter in the Hall of Fame. He was a three-time All-Pro pick and a seven-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Hall in 2014.

CB Ty Law: Taken in 1995 by the New England Patriots out of Michigan. He was one of the best corners in the league for the majority of his career, which lasted 15 seasons. Law was a two-time All-Pro selection and a five-time Pro Bowlers, and he led the league with 10 interceptions in 2005, when he was 31. He also led the league with nine picks in 1998. Law had 53 career picks, which is 24th in league history, and he took seven of those interceptions back for a TD. An aside: He is from the same high school, Aliquippa (Pa.) High, as Darrelle Revis and Mike Ditka.

TE Ozzie Newsome: Taken in 1978 by the Cleveland Browns out of Alabama. Before he became the highly acclaimed GM of the Baltimore Ravens, Newsome was a highly acclaimed NFL tight end. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. He had two seasons with 89 receptions, staggering numbers for a tight end in the early- to mid-1980s. Wonder what he could do to NFL defenses today ...

MISSES

CB Rashard Anderson: Taken in 2000 by the Carolina Panthers out of Jackson State. He didn't play much as a rookie, became a so-so starter as a second-year guy in 2001, then ran into substance-abuse problems and never played another game in the NFL. He was one of two Jackson State players taken in the first round in 2000 -- Kansas City took WR Sylvester Morris, whose career ended after one season because of injuries.

CB Tim Anderson: Taken in 1971 by the San Francisco 49ers out of Ohio State. He was an All-American at Ohio State and was a standout on some excellent defenses. But he went to Canada instead, playing four seasons in the CFL. He returned to the NFL in 1975 but lasted just two seasons, with just one coming with the 49ers, and he made zero impact.

G Danny Watkins: Taken in 2011 by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Baylor. Usually, it's tough to call a guy who was drafted just four years ago a miss, but Watkins is already out of football. He did start for most of his rookie season, but his heart never really seemed to be in football. He always wanted to be a fireman and now is one.

No. 22 pick

Who picks here in 2015: Pittsburgh Steelers
Overview: There's really not that many standouts taken at No. 22; truthfully, there weren't all that many blatant misses, either. Bottom line: There's a whole lot of "ehhh" players who have been selected 22nd.

HITS

OT Harris Barton: Taken in 1987 by the San Francisco 49ers out of North Carolina. Barton was a two-time All-Pro selection while blocking for some of the best offenses in the league. He started for all 10 of his seasons in the NFL -- nine at right tackle and one at right guard -- and he started 19 playoff games.

LB Jack Reynolds: Taken in 1970 by the Los Angeles Rams out of Tennessee. We admit it: One reason he is on this list is because he has one of the greatest nicknames ("Hacksaw" -- given, legend has it, for using a hacksaw to cut a car in half during what we expect were some wild-and-woolly college days) in sports history. But Reynolds definitely could play. He lasted 15 NFL seasons, started for 11 of them and was a two-time Pro Bowler.

WR Andre Rison: Taken in 1989 by the Indianapolis Colts out of Michigan State. "Bad Moon" had some attitude issues, but he also had five consecutive seasons of 80-plus catches during one point in his career. He was an All-Pro pick in 1990 and also was a five-time Pro Bowler. Rison led the league with 15 TD catches in 1993 and is 18th in NFL history with 84 receiving TDs. He also is one of 44 players in NFL history with 10,000 receiving yards.


» Mike Mayock's top five prospects by position


MISSES

TE Mike Cobb: Taken in 1977 by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Michigan State. He played five NFL seasons but had just 11 career catches. The Bears traded him to Cincinnati after his rookie season. He had two productive seasons in the USFL, though.

QB Brady Quinn: Taken in 2007 by the Cleveland Browns out of Notre Dame. As with Aaron Rodgers, Quinn tumbled on draft day. Unlike with Rodgers, it didn't work out for either party. Quinn lasted for parts of four NFL seasons and was 4-16 as a starter. He had 12 TD passes and 17 interceptions in his career. (Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme: Quinn is one of three quarterbacks drafted by Cleveland with the No. 22 pick in the past eight drafts. The others are Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel.)

OT Stan Thomas: Taken in 1991 by the Chicago Bears out of Texas. He played four NFL seasons but made only seven starts -- all as a rookie, when he proved to be overmatched. Thomas also had off-field issues and was traded after just two seasons in Chicago.

No. 21 pick

Who picks here in 2015: Cincinnati Bengals.
Overview: Two great receivers -- one who is in the Hall of Fame and one who will be -- highlight the picks made at No. 21. But there are a lot more misses than big hits at the spot.

HITS

WR Randy Moss: Taken in 1998 by the Minnesota Vikings out of Marshall. Moss might not have made it easy on his coaches (and even his teammates) with his antics, but no one could deny his immense talent. He finished his career with 982 receptions for 15,252 yards and 156 TDs; those figures rank 11th, third and second, respectively, in NFL history. Moss was a four-time All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler, and he led the NFL in TD receptions five times in his career.

WR Lynn Swann: Taken in 1974 by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of USC. Swann was a key component on four Super Bowl-winning teams with the Steelers. Those Steelers teams were run-oriented, and you wonder what Swann could do in today's NFL. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001; incredibly, he was one of four Hall of Famers taken in the 1974 draft by Pittsburgh (LB Jack Lambert, WR John Stallworth and C Mike Webster were the others).

DT Vince Wilfork: Taken in 2004 by the New England Patriots out of Miami. Wilfork has been a dominating inside presence from the first moment he stepped on an NFL field. He was an All-Pro pick in 2012 and also is a five-time Pro Bowler


» Draft Winds: Connecting prospects to NFL teams


MISSES

LB Clifford Charlton: Taken in 1988 by the Cleveland Browns out of Florida. Charlton was a big-time pass rusher for some excellent Florida defenses, but he did next to nothing in the NFL. He lasted just two seasons, starting once and finishing his career with one sack.

DE Bill Hawkins: Taken in 1989 by the Los Angeles Rams out of Miami. Hawkins was a consensus All-American as a senior at UM in 1988, but he started just eight games in his four NFL seasons and had just five sacks.

WR Barry Smith: Taken in 1973 by the Green Bay Packers out of Florida State. He had 45 catches in four NFL seasons. He finished his career with the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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