10.) Falcons Draft the Duke
In Round 17 of the 1972 draft, the Atlanta Falcons drafted John Wayne. That’s right, the John Wayne. Falcons coach Norm Van Brocklin stood up and yelled, “Do we want the roughest, toughest s.o.b. in the draft?!” Everyone agreed, so Van Brocklin phoned in and told Commissioner Pete Rozelle of the selection. Rozelle disallowed the pick.
9.) Philly Fans Boo McNabb
With the second pick of the 1999 draft, the Eagles selected Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb. Eagles fans at the draft booed the selection, wanting Texas halfback Ricky Williams instead. This shouldn’t have come as too big of a surprise, however, since Philadelphia once booed Santa Clause off the field in 1968.
8.) Iron Mike Falls in Love with Ricky
Speaking of Ricky Williams, he found his way into the Top 10 Draft Memories twice. Impressive. In that 1999 draft, Mike Ditka of the Saints made a trade with the Redskins to obtain Williams. The price was steep; all six of the Saints’ draft picks that year and two more in 2000, one of which ended up being second overall. Alas, the best player that came out of any of those picks was LB La’Var Arrington. This was truly a lose, lose situation for both teams.
7.) George Allen Deals Draft Picks: Again
Redskins GM George Allen loved trading draft picks. He enjoyed it so much, he sometimes traded the same pick numerous times. In the 1973 draft, he traded his second round pick to the Jets and again later to the Rams. He traded his third and fourth round picks that same year to both the Bills and the Chargers. It took the NFL one year to notice Allen’s deceit; the Redskins were subsequently fined $5,000 and forced to give up additional draft picks.
6.) Raiders Draft Kicker in First Round
Despite the fact that he might be deported back to his home country of Poland because of attempted bribery charges, the Raiders still selected Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski with the 17th pick of the 2000 draft. Taken with the next two picks were QB Chad Pennington and RB Shawn Alexander.
5.) Vikings Run Out of Time
While trying to make a deal with the Baltimore Ravens, who were trying to trade up to the #7 spot for Marshall QB Byron Leftwich, the Vikings ran over their 15-minute time limit. Jacksonville and Carolina subsequently drafted the players they wanted before Minnesota could phone in their selection at #9.
4.) Every New York Jets Draft
I think I could have filled an entire Top 10 Memorable list using only the New York Jets draft picks. This team has consistently baffled draft experts with its selections. The Jets have reached for amazing duds such as fullback Roger Vick and tight end Johnny Mitchell in the first round. The most notable Jet draft blunder came in 1983, however, when they passed on QB Dan Marino at the number 24 spot and instead drafted QB Ken O’Brien. Marino went to the Dolphins at number 27 and became one of league’s all time great passers.
3.) The Redskins Draft Their Man, Twice
With the ninth overall selection in the 1946 draft, the Redskins selected Cal Rossi, a halfback for UCLA. The Redskins, however, failed to notice that their pick was only a junior and not eligible to play in the league then. So, with the third overall pick in the 1947 draft, the Redskins drafted Rossi again. Rossi then informed the team he had no desire to play professional football.
2.) Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf
The Indianapolis Colts, sitting on the first pick in the 1998 draft, were unsure of who to take with the top pick. They needed a franchise quarterback and two were available: Tennessee QB Peyton Manning and Washington State QB Ryan Leaf. The Colts took Manning, leaving Leaf for the San Diego Chargers (who also were searching for a franchise quarterback) with the second pick. At the time, both were seen as can’t miss prospects. Ten years later, Manning is a perennial pro-bowler and Super Bowl champion. Leaf, after starting 21 games and throwing 36 interceptions, is now the quarterbacks coach at West Texas A&M.
1.) No One Told Norm
In the 18th round of the 1944 draft, Philadelphia selected Syracuse University fullback Norm Michael. The Eagles couldn’t get a hold of Michael because he had enlisted in the Army, so they never informed him that he had been drafted. Michael never found out he had been drafted until he read it in the newspaper – in 1999! “That was the first I heard of it,” Michael said.