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2010 NFL Draft Revisited

2010 NFL Draft Revisited

2010 NFL Draft Revisited

If you measure the 2010 NFL Draft by one metric, it can be considered a success. The first round alone produced 16 Pro Bowlers, so that's a .500 average (16 of 32 picks). This draft also saw the first two picks go on to be named the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year. At the time it was only the second year (1981) that had happened.

But when you take a closer look, the draft that officially turns 10 years old on the eve of this year's probably will be known more for the misses in the first round or a player or two that wasn't taken in the first 32 picks. For while Sam Bradford (No. 1 overall to St. Louis) and Ndamukong Suh (No. 2 to Detroit) lived up to their lofty billing early, the former saw injuries derail his career (and he went 34-48-1 as a starter) while the latter gets just as much attention for how he plays rather than the plays he makes.

The first round of the 2010 draft did produce All-Pros like Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry, Earl Thomas as well as wide receivers Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, but it also featured Rolando McClain and Tyson Alualu as top-10 picks that never panned out and Tim Tebow, among others.

But before you pan this draft too much, just remember that after the first round there were several picks that worked out pretty well. In fact, one of them apparently isn't ready to hang up the cleats just yet after all. Enjoy this recap of the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and how each player's career turned out, along with the best pick from each of the subsequent rounds.

1. St. Louis: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

St. Louis (2010-14), Philadelphia (2015), Minnesota (2016-17), Arizona (2018)

After becoming only the second player to win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, Bradford became a synonym for “injury-prone” at the next level. Only twice in his nine-year career did Bradford start all 16 games, losing significant time to knee and ankle injuries. In the end, though, it was unproductive play in his final stop — a poor three-game showing for Arizona at the start of the 2018 season — that effectively ended his career. Bradford went 34–48–1 as a starter, with no playoff appearances.

2. Detroit: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

Detroit (2010-14), Miami (2015-17), Los Angeles Rams (2018), Tampa Bay (2019)

Suh was one of the most feared defenders in college football history. Following a senior season in which he totaled 20.5 tackles for a loss, a staggering number for a DT, Suh finished fourth in the Heisman voting and became the first defender to win AP College Football Player of the Year honors. Suh has gone on to be a productive and decorated pro, with 58.5 career sacks, five Pro Bowl appearances, and three first-team All-Pro nods. His reputation has taken a hit, though, due to overly aggressive — some would say dirty — play.

3. Tampa Bay: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

Tampa Bay (2010-18), Carolina (2019)

Comparisons to Suh are natural for a fellow D-tackle from the Big 12, and McCoy holds up very well compared to his more heralded counterpart. A first-team All-American for a mega-talented Sooners team (one that somehow lost five games), McCoy has been a popular and productive pro, earning six Pro Bowl nods, amassing 59.5 career sacks and breaking into pop culture with an appearance on the popular fantasy football-themed show “The League.”

4. Washington: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

Washington (2010-19)

Williams’ selection made it three Sooners in the top four picks, a first in draft history for a single college team. Gil Brandt predicted that Williams would be a first-round pick and longtime NFL starter, and he was right on both counts. The seven-time Pro Bowler has seen his career interrupted by a cancerous growth on his head, which caused him to miss the 2019 season — and has caused his relationship with the team to sour due to what he termed their misdiagnosis of his condition.

5. Kansas City: Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee

Kansas City (2010-18)

He had long since proved worthy of a top-5 pick, but Berry cemented his legend with one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December 2014, Berry completed his chemotherapy and returned to the Chiefs for the 2015 season, earning first-team All-Pro and Comeback Player of the Year honors. He followed that up with another All-Pro season in 2016. Heel problems, rather than cancer, seem to have put an end to his career.

6. Seattle: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

Seattle (2010-15), Denver (2016), Los Angeles Chargers (2017-19)

An All-American at Oklahoma State, Okung has been a more-than-serviceable tackle at the next level, although he has had trouble staying healthy, playing all 16 games in a season only once (in 2016 for the Broncos). Okung is a two-time Pro Bowler and won a Super Bowl ring in Seattle.

7. Cleveland: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

Cleveland (2010-16), Pittsburgh (2017-19)

A two-time Pro Bowler, Haden has 27 career interceptions and six forced fumbles. His career in Cleveland ended in contract acrimony, but he landed with division rival Pittsburgh, where he has enjoyed something of a career revival, intercepting eight passes in 42 starts.

8. Oakland: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

Oakland (2010-12), Dallas (2014-15)

Multiple violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy cut short the promising career of this talented Bama ’backer. Only the second Tide player to win the Butkus Award, McClain seemed poised for a long and productive tenure, but his career appears to be over as he is on an indefinite suspension.

9. Buffalo: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

Buffalo (2010-14), New Orleans (2015), New York Jets (2016), Seattle (2016), Kansas City (2017)

The Clemson triple threat — as a senior, he scored 12 rushing TDs, four through the air and five on returns — had a few productive seasons in Buffalo, peaking during his Pro Bowl season of 2012: 1,703 yards from scrimmage and eight TDs. Another productive season followed, but Spiller broke his collarbone in 2014 and never really regained his footing.

10. Jacksonville: Tyson Alualu, DT, California

Jacksonville (2010-16), Pittsburgh (2017-19)

Solid but unspectacular, Alualu has carved out a decent 10-year career playing both tackle and end for some mixed-bag defenses in Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. He started every game of the first four seasons of his career in Jacksonville but has been only a part-time starter since. Alualu has 22.5 career sacks, with his career high of 4.0 coming in a reserve role at DE for Pittsburgh in 2017.

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11. San Francisco: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers

San Francisco (2010-16)

The huge (6'5", 323) Rutgers product was an O-line stalwart for his first four seasons in San Francisco, starting all 64 games and playing in Super Bowl XLVII for the Niners. Injuries interrupted his 2014 season, though, and worries about his long-term health (primarily concerns over brain injuries) prompted a premature retirement. After a couple of abortive comeback bids, Davis likely is done with football.

12. San Diego: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State

San Diego (2010-14), Philadelphia (2015-16)

Mathews is actually the leading career rusher among all 2010 draft picks — admittedly, a rather small and weak sample. He amassed 5,261 career rushing yards and was a threat in the passing game as well. Mathews made the Pro Bowl in his second season, rushing for 1,091 yards and adding 455 receiving yards. His best season on the ground came in 2013, when he rushed for 1,255 yards. Injuries took their toll, and he was released by Philly before the 2017 season.

13. Philadelphia: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan

Philadelphia (2010-19)

Graham remains an effective pass rusher after a decade in the league, posting 8.5 sacks in 2019, only one off his career high of 9.5 in the Super Bowl season of 2017. Graham had a key play in the Eagles’ 41–33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII — a strip-sack of Tom Brady with 2:16 left that allowed Philly to milk the clock and pad its lead.

14. Seattle: Earl Thomas, S, Texas

Seattle (2010-18), Baltimore (2019)

Thomas was a key member of the Legion of Boom defense during his nine seasons in the Pacific Northwest. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Thomas posted seven tackles and a pass deflection in the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII win to cap the most successful of his three first-team All-Pro seasons. Thomas, who has 30 career interceptions, maintained his Pro Bowl level of play in his first season in Baltimore in 2019.

15. New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

New York Giants (2010-17), Tampa Bay (2018-19)

Pierre-Paul may be best known for destroying his left hand in a 2015 Fourth of July fireworks accident, but he’s been a highly productive player both before and after the incident. Pierre-Paul has posted 79.5 career sacks — 37.5 of them since the accident — and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2011. In May 2019, he suffered a second career-threatening accident — a single-car wreck that resulted in a neck fracture — but returned to start eight games and post 8.5 sacks in 2019.

16. Tennessee: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

Tennessee (2010-18)

The 2009 ACC Player of the Year, Morgan was a touted prospect who never quite lived up to expectations, although he was a fairly effective edge rusher for his nine seasons with the Titans. He posted a career-high 9.0 sacks in 2016 and finished his career with 44.5, sixth in Titans history, in 106 starts.

17. San Francisco: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

San Francisco (2010-14), Arizona (2015-18), Seattle (2019)

The first guard off the board in the 2010 draft, Iupati was the highest-selected Idaho Vandal since 1967 and has since justified that distinction. He made three Pro Bowls with the 49ers and one with the Cardinals and was a Pro Bowl alternate his first year in Seattle.

18. Pittsburgh: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

Pittsburgh (2010-19)

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An All-American and Rimington Trophy winner, and the more heralded of the highly accomplished Pouncey twins, Maurkice is fashioning a Hall of Fame career in Pittsburgh, where he has made 121 starts and earned eight Pro Bowl nods in 10 seasons (he missed the entire 2015 season with a broken leg).

19. Atlanta: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

Atlanta (2010-17)

A former two-star recruit, Weatherspoon had his best season in 2011, when he started all 16 games at outside linebacker and amassed 115 tackles, four sacks and eight passes defended. Weatherspoon missed the 2014 season with a ruptured Achilles and was not the same player upon his return.

20. Houston: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama

Houston (2010-18), Denver (2019)

In their search for a lockdown corner, the Texans landed on Jackson, who struggled to translate his athleticism into consistent production at the next level. His best season was probably his third, when he intercepted four passes and ranked as the seventh-best CB in coverage rating according to Pro Football Focus.

21. Cincinnati: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

Cincinnati (2010-14), Arizona (2015-18)

Gresham largely lived up to his pre-draft hype with some productive seasons right out of the gate, including Pro Bowl campaigns in 2011 and 2012. He was less productive in Arizona despite being reunited with QB Carson Palmer, and a nine-catch 2018 season was his last.

22. Denver: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

Denver (2010-18), Houston (2018), New York Jets (2019)

As a senior at Georgia Tech, Thomas averaged a staggering 25.1 yards on 46 receptions in an option offense, and while he hasn’t been quite that explosive as a pro, he did make five straight Pro Bowls (2012-16) and has built a fringe Hall of Fame résumé. Teamed with Peyton Manning, Thomas had a career year in 2014 — 111 catches for 1,619 yards.

23. Green Bay: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

Green Bay (2010-19)

The Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2009, Bulaga seemed tailor-made for Green Bay. He’s been a fixture at right tackle for the Packers for a decade now, although injuries — including a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2013 season — have occasionally interrupted his tenure.

24. Dallas: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

Dallas (2010-17), New Orleans (2018)

The mercurial Bryant was a fount of controversy during his eight years in Dallas — but he was also a pretty darn good receiver. A three-time Pro Bowler, Bryant led the NFL in receiving TDs in 2014 with 16. He signed with the Saints during the 2018 season but promptly tore his Achilles. He spent 2019 rehabbing and plans to play football again in 2020.

25. Denver: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

Denver (2010-11), New York Jets (2012)

The Heisman winner and cultural icon was a lightning rod during his brief NFL career, earning plaudits for his will to win (he led Denver to a playoff win in his second season) but also drawing criticism for his lack of accuracy (career 47.9 completion percentage). In the end, the critics won the debate, and he was out of football after three seasons — though his notoriety has hardly diminished thanks to his continued media presence (and attempt at a baseball career).

26. Arizona: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Arizona (2010-14), Oakland (2015-16)

Williams parlayed a first-team AP All-SEC senior season into a high degree of pre-draft hype, and he was the third defensive tackle taken. He posted only 3.5 career sacks in seven nondescript seasons.

27. New England: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

New England (2010-19)

A key cog in the latter half of the Brady-Belichick dynasty, McCourty has won three Super Bowl rings for the Patriots (and played in two other Super Bowls) while anchoring the secondary from his safety spot.

28. Miami: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State

Miami (2010-14), Jacksonville (2015-16)

Odrick has had a more interesting life off the field than on it since his pro debut. He has written extensively for sports publications and for his own website; he’s acted in short films and on HBO’s “Ballers”; and he curated an art exhibit in Jacksonville.

29. New York Jets: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

New York Jets (2010-14), New Orleans (2015)

Wilson enjoyed a meteoric rise during his college career at Boise. That WAC success turned out to be fool’s gold, though, as Wilson mustered only four career interceptions.

30. Detroit: Jahvid Best, RB, California

Detroit (2010-12)

The fastest running back at the Combine, Best started 15 games in two seasons with the Lions before lingering concussion symptoms resulted in his release. He has gone on to a sprinting career, becoming the first former NFL player to compete in the Olympics (in 2016, representing Saint Lucia).

31. Indianapolis: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Indianapolis (2010-12), Buffalo (2013-19)

Hughes was something of a bust in Indy but blossomed in Buffalo. Hughes has started 95 of the Bills’ last 96 games and has produced 46.5 sacks in his seven seasons with the team.

32. New Orleans: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

New Orleans (2010-14), San Diego (2015), Indianapolis (2016), Philadelphia (2017), New Orleans (2018-19)

Robinson’s signature moments came during the Eagles’ playoff run after the 2017 season — when he batted down Tom Brady’s Hail Mary on the last play of Super Bowl LII to preserve the Eagles’ 41–33 victory, after posting a pick-6 in Philly’s NFC Championship win over Minnesota. Not a bad pair of highlights.

Best Pick by Round

Round 2 – Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona (Patriots)

Arguably the greatest tight end ever and best player in the class of 2010, “Gronk” scored 80 total TDs in nine seasons while spiking and dancing his way to cult-hero status in New England and nationwide. The larger-than-life 6'6", 268-pounder was a rare two-way threat at tight end, dominating as both a blocker and receiver. The party boat DJ, part-time WWE wrestler and TV commercial star (“Tide Pods!”) was an invaluable member of Patriots teams that posted a combined 113–31 regular-season record with three Super Bowl wins during the Gronk Era. And apparently, Gronk isn't quite done as he's set to join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay after announcing his return from a brief retirement and the Patriots traded him and a seventh-round pick in this year's draft to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round selection.

Round 3 – NaVorro Bowman, LB, Penn State (49ers)

A four-time first-team All-Pro (2011-13, 2015) and 2013 NFL Butkus Award winner, Bowman teamed with fellow All-Pro inside linebacker Patrick Willis to form the backbone of a stout 49ers defense that ranked in the top five of DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) in each of Jim Harbaugh’s four seasons (2011-14) in the Bay Area — which included a Super Bowl runner-up and two NFC title game losses.

Round 4 – Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia (Bengals)

The son of 10-year NFL veteran defensive back Gene Atkins, Geno outweighed his old man by 100 pounds but was still undersized (6'1", 300) by NFL defensive tackle standards, causing him to free-fall on draft day despite his All-SEC background. Atkins has since made teams pay for passing on him, becoming the prototype for a pass-rushing 3-technique D-tackle, with 75.5 sacks and eight Pro Bowls in 10 seasons.

Round 5 – Kam Chancellor, S, Virginia Tech (Seahawks)

In many ways, Chancellor put the “boom” in Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” secondary. The linebacker-sized 6'3", 225-pound strong safety was a menace across the middle, inducing alligator arms and business decisions for many pass catchers during an eight-year career that included a Super Bowl victory, a painfully close Super Bowl loss and four Pro Bowls.

Round 6 – Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan (Steelers)

The meteoric rise of Brown has been followed by a disturbing downward spiral. But no matter how much his erratic behavior warps his public image, Brown’s numbers cannot be denied. From 2013-18, AB posted a combined 686 catches for 9,145 yards and 67 TDs — an average of 114 catches for 1,524 yards and 11 TDs per year during that six-season stretch. Brown made seven Pro Bowls in nine seasons in Pittsburgh but burned the City of Bridges on his way out of town following the 2018 season. After 2019 flame-outs in both Oakland and New England, Brown has likely played his last NFL game.

Round 7 – Marc Mariani, WR, Montana (Titans)

Montana’s all-time leader in receiving yards, receiving TDs and all-purpose yards was a first-team All-American for the 2009 FCS runner-up Grizzlies. But most assumed that he was drafted only because he played college ball with the son of then-Titans coach Jeff Fisher. Mariani went from small-school walk-on to earning a nod in the 2011 Pro Bowl, where the return specialist set all-star game records for kickoff returns (9) and kickoff return yards (326).