What's yours? Is it as bad as those who worked for the Oakland Raiders, like exiled employee and NFL Network colleague Michael Lombardi, who knew JaMarcus Russell was a 6-foot-6, lazy mistake waiting to happen? Is it as bad as me failing to ask out Richardson High School's Michelle Whatshername (an Italian name I can't pronounce), not once but three times.
I failed at my buddy's high school party. Then after serendipitously running into her at a random Jack In The Box while craving a Sourdough Jack, no less than two hours from where we lived ... fail. Then blew it again while visiting a friend at his University of Texas dorm, when synchronicity had her and I alone in an elevator despite one-in-6-zillion odds of that ever happening in the first place, or my faded '78 blue Celica making it to Austin without overheating.
Hope all of you get a do-over at some point in your lives, a gift from the universe the Raiders certainly never received after wasting the top overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft on a big bag of wasted priorities named "Russell." A failed first-round pick sets an organization back, no question, but it's a whole 'nother bowl of milk duds when it's the first pick overall. Just ask Cleveland Browns fans about Tim Couch, or Cincinnati Bengals faithful about Ki-Jana Carter.
With Russell and the rest of the 2007 draft under the hindsight microscope, let's play two -- as in, do it again.
Jerry Rice was long gone. Ditto Tim Brown. Jerry Porter never picked up the mantle. Ronald Curry could out-jump Godzilla but never did much. The Raiders don't miss the best talent in the 2007 draft this time around.
With Megatron off the board, Matt Millen and Co. have to pass on taking another wide receiver early. They already missed on Roy Williams (although he was OK), Charles Rogers and Mike Williams. So fans wouldn't have been too disappointed with Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Detroit hasn't had a 1,000-yard back since Peterson came into the league. In fact, it's been since 2004 when Peterson was still a freshman in college (Kevin Jones is your trivia answer.) With Jahvid Best's shaky injury history, the Lions still could use Peterson.
This was a great pick at the time. It still is. Left tackles are tough to find in this business. The Browns found a great one. Done and done.
Unfortunately, Adams lost his life in 2010 after falling to a previously undetected heart condition. Adams had struggled in Tampa Bay and was trying to resurrect his career in Chicago. In this 2007 redo, the Bucs get the middle linebacker to run Monte Kiffin's (their defensive coordinator in '07) Tampa 2. Willis' agility and instincts allow him to clean up against the run and get depth in pass coverage.
In a complex mathematical superstructure, Levi Brown=struggle. The former fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft gave up 11.5 sacks last season, tied for the third most in the league. Instead, Arizona decides to go with Revis, the top corner in draft. Can you imagine the Cardinals with Revis and Patrick Peterson now? Here's one better: Does Santonio Holmes make the game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII with Revis on him?
He might be gone now (to the Jets), but Landry was a solid player for the Redskins. Sadly, like Gaines Adams, fellow Redskins safety Sean Taylor died way too young. Had Taylor and Landry been able to play together for several years, this team could've imposed its will on divisional foes that feature solid quarterbacks in Eli Manning, Michael Vick and Tony Romo. To say the least, it would've been tougher sledding with Taylor and Landry lurking in the secondary.
Peterson is off the board. The Vikes could use a corner, but Revis is gone, too. So why not Bowe? The Vikings took Sidney Rice out of South Carolina 44th overall in this same draft. Here's the beauty of it: Why not do it again? Yes, Bowe isn't Peterson. But he's not available in our '07 redo. So the Vikes could roll with Chester Taylor and a committee while having Brett Favre throw 40-year-old rocketballs to Bowe and Rice in 2009. Wideout stillis a black hole for this franchise, but not if Bowe and his three 1,000-yard seasons resided in Minnesota.
Picking Hall saves the Falcons the time and expense of having to sign Dunta Robinson in 2010. Nevermind that Hall is a better player. With Hall paired with Brent Grimes, the Falcons would give Drew Brees a little harder time in the NFC South.
Miami has run a 3-4 defense the past few years, and Woodley is an outstanding 3-4 linebacker who would've filled in just fine when Jason Taylor departed for Washington in 2008. Basically, the team would have brought back Taylor in 2009 solely as a spot pass rusher, saving his legs. Can you imagine current Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake and Woodley together? Last season, they would've combined for 17.5 sacks. The year before, the two had 24 combined sacks.
Taking Staley here -- 10th certainly isn't too high for a solid, but not dominant, tackle -- would've allowed Texans GM Rick Smith to pass on Duane Brown at 26th in the 2008 NFL Draft the following April. Instead, Houston could've taken safety Kenny Phillips (31st overall), cornerback Brandon Flowers (35th), wide receiver Jordy Nelson (36th) or linebacker Curtis Lofton (37th), all of whom would've filled serious team needs at that point in time.
After further review
Knocked it out of the park: It's hard to compete with the New York Giants' 2007 draft class, as every player selected contributed and ultimately received a Super Bowl ring. Cornerback Aaron Ross, wide receiver Steve Smith, defensive tackle Jay Alford, tight end Kevin Boss and running back Ahmad Bradshaw all stood out from the group of eight rookies.
But the New York Jets got two great players in the first two rounds, taking the best cornerback in the game, Revis, at 14th overall, and linebacker David Harris 47th.
"How did he go there!?" Award: In a draft of 255 players, a guy with a 1,200-yard season and two Super Bowls went 250th! The Giants got Bradshaw just a handful of picks before the 2007 college marketplace closed for business. Unbelievable. What are the chances a seventh-round pick from Marshall would have a couple of rings and a multiyear deal worth $18 million?
Honorable mention: The New Orleans Saints got a solid left tackle in Jermon Bushrod in the fourth round at No. 125, while the Philadelphia Eagles landed a quality tight end in Brent Celek 37 spots lower -- in the fifth round -- with the 162nd pick.
Wasted draft: It's nice to write something bad about the Miami Dolphins that has nothing to do with bad recruitment. Well, actually, while the Miami brass can't seem to land the free agents in 2011, the former tandem of head coach Cam Cameron and general manager Randy Mueller really whiffed in 2007.
Ginn had two great kick returns against the Jets in 2009 -- and that's about it. Quarterback John Beck, the Dolphins' second-round pick, did nothing in a Miami uniform, which is why the team flirted with both Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn this offseason. Other than defensive tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields, every other player taken in that draft is no longer a Dolphin: Ginn, Beck, Samson Satele, Lorenzo Booker, Reagan Mauia, Drew Mormino, Kelvin Smith and Abraham Wright.
Tied with the Dolphins: The Chicago Bears, who have no one from this class still on their roster. Tight end Greg Olsen was the best player of the group, but he now plays in Carolina. Only Corey Graham really contributed, and he now plays in Baltimore.
Mr. Irrelevant of 2007: Ramzee Robinson has had one heck of a ride. The last pick of the 2007 draft, Robinson has been put on the practice squad and brought up to the Big Show a couple of times. He made an immature play of note as a 24-year-old in 2008, which earned him some pretty harsh criticism. He also has endured what none of us would enjoy ... being let go several times. The Lions, Eagles, Browns and Redskins all cut him, and in 2011, he was out of the NFL. But alas, the Denver Broncos signed him last month, giving the former Alabama product another shot. Everyone should get another shot.
Fun fact about the '07 draft: How many drafts can claim five guys who are the very best at their position, all in one round? If there are 13 major positions on a football team (QB, RB, WR, TE, OT, G, C, CB, DE, DT, OLB, ILB, S), then it's pretty amazing that five of the top guys all went early in the 2007 draft: Calvin Johnson (WR), Joe Thomas (OT), Adrian Peterson (RB), Patrick Willis (ILB) and Darrelle Revis (CB).