With the 2011 NFL season almost at its conclusion, it's time for pundits, fans, coaches, GMs and everyone else under the sun to start analyzing the upcoming draft. This year's draft will begin on Thursday, April 26 in a three-day TV bonanza at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Names like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Justin Blackmon and Matt Kalil are all near or atop projected draft boards, but no one really knows how these players will really stack up in the NFL. We're about to get endless hours of analysis about why this player is going to be a stud pro, while another likely won't succeed at the next level. This caused me to look back at the last 12 years of drafts, team-by-team, to see who had the best draft classes.
All the following draft information was found in the draft history on www.nfl.com. The criteria I used to rank the draft years was the following:
1. Number of quality players (obviously, the more the merrier)
2. Effectiveness of picks (sure, a team could have gotten three good players from a draft, but if they had 15 picks, that isn't that effective/efficient)
3. Loyalty (the more players that are still on their originally drafted team, the better)
4. Longevity (the longer the players are active, the better)
Now, it still may be a little early to use any of the 2011 drafts, so you won't be seeing any of those draft years on this list; however, the Houston Texans would get an honorable mention with their picks of Reed, Watt and Yates from this year.
I have included a few honorable mentions before I get into my Top 10 list, so let's see who's on the clock...