NFL Draft Busts vs Steals From WhatIfSports.com image

NFL Draft Busts vs Late Round Steals

The NFL Draft is a What-if? World
By Ryan Fowler, WhatIfSports.com
April 19th, 2010
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What-if's Exhibit A

Ryan Leaf San Diego selected Ryan Leaf 2nd overall in '98

One of my favorite reads as a child was the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series. As your mind became entangled in the mystery, it was up to you, the reader, as to what happened next. Jump ahead to page 67 and it's doom and gloom, but jump ahead to page 58 and you are the hero of the day.

When it comes to choosing your own adventure in the what-if world of sports, the NFL Draft is Exhibit A, B and C. General managers and directors of player personnel write their own narrative with every selection, trade and multi-million dollar signing.

Think about the San Diego Chargers and how they came to acquire one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history. Sure, everybody knows the name Ryan Leaf, but it's what the Bolts gave up to sign him. Their front office skipped ahead to page 67 and forgot to keep their finger on the previous page as a placeholder. They traded up to pick him at two after Peyton Manning was selected first overall. The Colts' management, on the flip side, flipped to page 58.

Each year in late April, NFL fans become the Siskel and Ebert of their passion for a weekend. The thumbs up, thumbs down critique of their favorite teams' recruitment embodies a storyline all itself. One that continues to second-guess itself. The what-if draft picks of the past 30 years have evolved into a cyber-world unknown adventure.

The internet is littered with dozens of lists rattling off the biggest NFL Draft day busts. Further down the page you will find lists of late round steals that allow those same general managers and scouts to snicker with internal satisfaction. Did they know something, the other teams didn't? Probably not, considering everybody and their mom skipped over Tom Brady until the 6th round of the 2000 draft. How many of those front office wizards thought Brady would end up like Leaf or worse? Instead, it's page 58 for the Patriots.

It would be too easy to create Whatifsports.com's own list of NFL Drafts busts and steals, so we are taking it to the next level and giving YOU the opportunity to create you own NFL Draft Day Dream Team Roster.

NFL Draft Busts vs Steals - 1001 Simulations
MatchupWin%Avg Score
NFL Draft Steals93.835.2Boxscore
NFL 1st Round Busts6.217.2Simulate Game
Tom Brady

We loaded up our rosters full of 1st Round Busts and Late Round Steals to get the creative juices flowing. Whatifsports.com drafted the players based on their best season in the NFL. We had to dig deep, but did manage to find Tim Couch's "best season" with the Browns.

It's not so much the results of the 1001 Draft pick simulations I want you to pay attention to, but to check out the names on the rosters. If you want to simulate the two teams yourself, click on the Simulate Game option in the table. You will have the opportunity to set your own depth chart. So, if you want to avoid the Draft steal cliche Tom Brady and start Bart Starr, you have the power. If you want Leaf to hold a clipboard while Akili Smith takes the snaps, you have that option.

Whatifsports.com's NFL Draft rosters are not set in stone. You can create you own with the Dream Team feature for FREE. Make sure to continue the conversation in our newly created 2010 NFL Draft Forum. In the forum you can brag and/or blast your favorite NFL team's past and present NFL Draft selections.

What page will you land on?

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. Email him at rfowler@whatifsports.com.


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