NFL Draft: No. 1 Pick Not as Useful as in Years Past

Bob DaBuckeyeCorrespondent IMarch 8, 2008

Once upon a time, the first selection in the NFL Draft was a joyous thing.

Everybody and their brother would try to trade up and get it. The team with the pick had to decide whether to keep it or help the team more by trading down and getting three to four good players rather than a superstar.

The choice could make or break a team for years.

The ’80s saw great picks like Billy Sims, John Elway, Bruce Smith, Troy Aikman, and Bo Jackson. However these failed picks were also first selections: George Rogers, Kenneth Sims, and Aundray Bruce.

The ’90s brought: Keyshawn Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, and Peyton Manning. On the bad side, we saw Jeff George, Ki-Jana Carter, and Tim Couch.

In the ’00s we've seen hits like: Carson Palmer and Eli Manning. Sadly we've witnessed Michael Vick, Courtney Brown, and David Carr.

In today's game, the economics make trading the pick all but impossible. A team on the verge of Super Bowl greatness no longer has the cap room to get that one player that would put them over the top.

Middle of the road teams no longer want to jump up and be put in a cap black hole by the dollar amount it takes to sign the No. 1 selection.

Sadly, the system has failed. The idea of the draft was to give the bad teams immediate help by either taking a building block or getting several good players to fill many needs. Teams no longer want to trade up so the drafting team has limited options.

The NFL needs to address this issue when they redo their labor agreement. The veterans need to make more, while some type of cap is put on rookie salaries. A cap figure for say slots one to five, six to 12, 13 to 20 and then 21 to the end, needs to be established.

Teams would be more active if they knew sign-ability would be easier.

The purpose of the draft is to improve teams and making it easier to complete trades or sign players makes sense.

The Dolphins are on the clock and somehow I doubt their phone is ringing off the hook.

 This is bad for both them and the NFL.