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. 12 pick
Who picks here in 2015:Cleveland Browns.
Overview: The hit factor has been quite high, the miss factor low at No. 12. It was tough winnowing down the "hits" list to just three; among those left out were RB Chuck Foreman and LB Clay Matthews, Sr., whose NFL career seemingly spanned seven or eight presidencies.
OT Jim Lachey: Taken in 1985 by the San Diego Chargers out of Ohio State. He played 10 NFL seasons, and was a three-time All-Pro -- once for the Chargers and twice for the Washington Redskins, where he was part of the famed "Hogs" offensive line. He won a Super Bowl with Washington. Lachey's first All-Pro selection came with San Diego in 1987, but he forced a trade, to Oakland, in August 1988. He started the '88 opener for the Raiders, then was dealt a day later to Washington for QB Jay Schroeder in one of the better trades in Redskins history. (The Raiders had acquired him from the Chargers for OT John Clay, a big-time bust from the 1987 draft.) Lachey was the Redskins' right tackle in '88 before moving to the left side for the final six seasons of his career.
DT Haloti Ngata: Taken in 2006 by the Baltimore Ravens out of Oregon. The massive Ngata -- listed at 6-foot-4 and 335 pounds, but looking much, much bigger -- was a stalwart for some excellent Ravens defensive lines for nine seasons before being dealt to Detroit last month. Ngata was a two-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler with the Ravens. Known most as an immovable run-stuffer, Ngata also chipped in with 25.5 sacks with the Ravens, including three seasons with at least five.
DT Warren Sapp: Taken in 1995 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Miami. He was a dominant defender for some stout UM defenses, but a positive drug test for marijuana caused him to slide on some draft boards. Tampa Bay nabbed him, and he ended up being a perfect fit for Tony Dungy's Cover 2 defense. He was a squatty guy (6-foot-2, 303 pounds), but he had tremendous quickness. Sapp had four seasons with at least 10 sacks and three more with at least seven. He played 13 seasons, and was a four-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
DT Wendell Bryant: Taken in 2002 by the Arizona Cardinals out of Wisconsin. He started nine games in three seasons and had 1.5 sacks and 28 tackles. He also had issues with substance abuse and was suspended for the 2005 season for a third positive drug test; he never again played in the NFL.
DT Phil Dokes: Taken in 1977 by the Buffalo Bills out of Oklahoma State. He played just two seasons in the NFL, starting 10 games, then was gone from the league. He reportedly didn't get along with then-Bills coach Chuck Knox.
QB Cade McNown: Taken in 1999 by the Chicago Bears out of UCLA. Compared to McNown, current Bears QB Jay Cutler is a cuddly individual whose stats make him a Hall of Famer. McNown started 15 games in two seasons with the Bears, going 3-12 in those games. He threw 16 TD passes and 19 picks in his two seasons with Chicago. The Bears dealt him to Miami in a trade involving late-round picks during training camp in 2001, but he didn't see any action for the Dolphins that season. He was traded again, to San Francisco, for a conditional seventh-round pick during camp in 2002, but he didn't see any action for the 49ers, either, and his NFL career was over.
No. 11 pick
Who picks here in 2015:Minnesota Vikings.
Overview: There have been a number of high-level players taken at No. 11 in the past four decades, especially in the past 15 or so years (Daunte Culpepper, Dwight Freeney, DeMarcus Ware and Patrick Willis among them). But there also have been some big misses, too.
WR Michael Irvin: Taken in 1988 by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. The Playmaker was one of the most productive wide receivers of his era; he played for 12 seasons, and seven times reached the 1,000-yard plateau. Irvin struggled a bit early in his career, then hit his stride in his fourth season. He was an All-Pro once and a five-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
LB Wilber Marshall: Taken in 1984 by the Chicago Bears out of Florida. Marshall arguably is the best defensive player in Florida history and he wreaked havoc during his NFL career. Marshall was stout against the run and a dangerous pass rusher (45 career sacks) when he was turned loose. He also had 23 picks and 24 forced fumbles in his career. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and twice was an All-Pro selection (once with Chicago, once with the Washington Redskins). Marshall, who had at least 100 solo tackles six times in his career, won Super Bowl rings with the Bears and Redskins.
QB Ben Roethlisberger: Taken in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Miami (Ohio). Big Ben is heading into his 12th season as the Steelers' starter. He has two Super Bowl rings and is a three-time Pro Bowler. Roethlisberger is in the top 20 in NFL history in passing yards (39,057, which is 16th) and TD passes (251, which is 17th), and his career passer rating of 93.9 is eighth-best in league history. He has had four 4,000-yard seasons, including a career-high 4,952 in 2014, and twice has thrown 30 TD passes.
K/P Russell Erxleben: Taken in 1979 by the New Orleans Saints out of Texas. Erxleben kicked and punted in Texas and was considered among the best in the nation at each position (he kicked a 67-yard field goal as a sophomore, an NCAA record that still stands). Still, it was a shock when the Saints took him in the first round. He played six seasons in the NFL and attempted just eight field goals (none longer than 39 yards). He did spend four seasons as the Saints' punter, with his best average being 43.0 yards per attempt in 1982; that was his only season averaging more than 41 yards per punt. Erxleben later became a financier and twice has been convicted of fraud and sent to federal prison (in 2000 and again in 2014).
DT Shawn Knight: Taken in 1987 by the New Orleans Saints out of BYU. He played three seasons in the NFL, with three teams, and made one start. He also made zero tackles. He played 52 snaps -- total -- for the Saints, who traded him to Denver after his rookie season. He played for the Broncos in '88 and for Phoenix in 1989. He staged a 38-day contract holdout and missed training camp in a contract dispute as a rookie.
QB Jerry Tagge: Taken in 1972 by the Green Bay Packers out of Nebraska. Tagge went to high school in Green Bay, so being drafted by the Packers was a dream come true -- for a while, at least. Tagge helped lead Nebraska to national titles in 1970 and '71, but he didn't have any success in the NFL. He started 11 games in three seasons with the Packers (none as a rookie), throwing three TD passes and 17 picks. He was released during camp in 1975, then played in the World Football League and the CFL. In 2009, Tagge told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he had an alcohol problem when he was with the Packers.
No. 10 pick
RB Marcus Allen: Taken in 1982 by the Los Angeles Raiders out of USC. Allen rumbled for a then-NCAA record 2,342 yards and 22 TDs in 1981 as a senior at USC, winning the Heisman in the process, then stayed home when he was drafted by the Raiders. Allen had three 1,000-yard seasons for the Raiders and also was a tremendous receiver; he was the first NFL player in history with more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards during his career. Allen also had 123 rushing TDs, third-most in NFL history. He was a two-time All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
RB Jerome Bettis: Taken in 1993 by the Los Angeles Rams out of Notre Dame. While Bettis was drafted by the Rams, he spent 10 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bettis had eight 1,000-yard seasons and finished his career with 13,662 yards, sixth-most in league history. He was a two-time All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler, and he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer.
CB Rod Woodson: Taken in 1987 by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Purdue. Woodson was fast, physical and had great ball skills; in short, he was one of the best defensive backs in NFL history. Woodson -- who also was a dangerous return man -- spent the first 12 seasons of his career at cornerback, then played his final five seasons at safety. He played for four teams and was a Pro Bowler for three of them (11 total Pro Bowl appearances) and an All-Pro for two of them (he was a six-time All-Pro). His last All-Pro honor came in 2002, when he was a 37-year-old free safety with Oakland. Woodson is third in NFL history with 71 interceptions, and he holds the NFL record with 12 interception-return TDs. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
DE Jamal Reynolds: Taken in 2001 by the Green Bay Packers out of Florida State. He had 12 sacks and was a consensus first-team All-American as a senior in 2000 for an FSU team that played for the national title. But Reynolds had just 14 tackles in his three-season NFL career, with three sacks. He played in 18 career games, with zero starts.
WR Jim Seymour: Taken in 1969 by the Los Angeles Rams out of Notre Dame. Seymour was 6-4 and 210 pounds, and would be coveted for his size in today's NFL; he was a freakishly big receiver in the late 1960s. He had a hugely celebrated college career with the Irish, teaming with prolific QB Terry Hanratty as part of the "Mr. Fling and Mr. Cling" passing duo. Alas, Seymour never panned out in the NFL. He missed the 1969 season because of military service, then was traded to the Chicago Bears in 1970 without ever having played a down for the Rams. He played three seasons with the Bears, starting 16 games, and finished his career with 21 catches.
WR David Verser: Taken in 1981 by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Kansas. The Bengals took wide receivers with their first two picks in the 1981 draft; luckily for them, the second-rounder (Cris Collinsworth) panned out. Verser played in 49 games in four seasons with the Bengals, with zero starts, and had just 23 receptions. He later became a police officer in Cincinnati.
No. 9 pick
Who picks here in 2015:New York Giants.
Overview: While only one Hall of Famer has been drafted at No. 9 in the Super Bowl era, there are a few others who one day might get there plus a whole bunch of "solid" NFL players. Conversely, there has been only one out-and-out bust drafted at the spot; it was tough coming up with three notable misses.
G Bruce Matthews: Taken in 1983 by the Houston Oilers out of USC. He is one of the best linemen in NFL history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. He played 19 NFL seasons and was a full-season starter for at least one year at each of the five line positions. He started all 16 games as a rookie -- and also in his 19th season. Matthews was a 14-time Pro Bowler, which is tied for the most in NFL history, and a seven-time All-Pro.
LB Brian Urlacher: Taken in 2000 by the Chicago Bears out of New Mexico. Urlacher started at middle linebacker for the Bears for 13 seasons, and though he wasn't cut from the same mold as former Bears middle 'backers Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary, Urlacher was consistent and productive. He was a four-time All-Pro and an eight-time Pro Bowler, and was effective as both an occasional pass rusher (41.5 career sacks) and in coverage (22 career interceptions). His speed was notable, too.
OT Kevin Allen: Taken in 1985 by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Indiana. We had Eagles OT Bernard Williams as one of the worst No. 14 picks ever; well, Williams is an All-Pro compared with Allen. Allen started four games as a rookie; in the opener, against the New York Giants, Lawrence Taylor had eight sacks, and Allen was benched during the game for fellow rookie Tom Jelesky, who was an undrafted free agent. Allen started three more games before eventually losing his starting job, and then-Eagles coach Buddy Ryan famously said Allen was useful only "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass." Allen, by now a center, tested positive for cocaine during training camp in 1986 and eventually was cut that October without playing a game in his second season; a week after his release, he was arrested for rape and went to prison for 33 months. After his release, he played in the WLAF and in the Arena League.
QB Marty Domres: Taken in 1969 by the San Diego Chargers out of Columbia. He lasted nine years in the NFL, but he was a journeyman -- and you don't expect journeymen when you pick ninth. He started just six games in three seasons with the Chargers, then started 24 games the next three seasons with the Colts (an 8-16 record). Domres finished his career with 27 TDs and 50 picks; he threw more than two TD passes in just two of his nine seasons, and never threw more than 11 in a season.
RB Sammie Smith: Taken in 1989 by the Miami Dolphins out of Florida State. He wasn't a bust, just a big disappointment. The Dolphins desperately wanted a running back to take some pressure off of Dan Marino and the passing game, but Smith couldn't do the job. He started for his first two seasons, but instead of a big back with speed, Smith proved to be a plodder. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry in his first two seasons, was a part-time starter in his third season, then finished his career by playing three games for Denver in 1992.