Power Ranking Every NFL Draft Class of the Last 25 Years

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIFebruary 17, 2012

Power Ranking Every NFL Draft Class of the Last 25 Years

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    Each and every year, we look at the NFL draft with so much optimism and hope for a draft that will produce tons of talent—but that's not always the case. 

    Over the years, we have seen some drafts that come out completely dry, while other years, the draft is loaded with talent and future Hall of Famers.

    In that spirit, let's take a look back at the last 25 years and rank each of those year's draft class. 

25. 2011 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Cam Newton, Von Miller, Andy Dalton, Aldon Smith, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Christian Ponder, Marcell Dareus and Blaine Gabbert.

    The reason why the 2011 draft class falls to the bottom is simply because we have yet to get a large enough sample of how successful these players really were.

    However, from the likes of Newton, Dalton and Miller, this appears to be a solid draft class that has a bright and promising future. 

    Only time will tell with this group. 

24. 1992 Draft Class

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    Notable Players: Brad Johnson, Tommy Maddox, Jimmy Smith and Robert Porcher. 

    This draft class is as weak as you can get, and I'm being completely serious. 

    Just take a look at the notable players—there aren't any really that "notable."

    As long as the 2011 NFL draft class doesn't fall flat on it's face, then the 1992 class will certainly be labeled as the worst. 

23. 2002 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Ed Reed, Julius Peppers, Brian Westbrook Jeremy Shockey, Bryant McKinnie and Dwight Freeney. 

    In a year when the NFL introduced a new franchise in the Houston Texans, they could have not picked a worse year to have a draft.

    The Texans were awarded with the first-overall pick and selected quarterback David Carr—and he was a complete bust.

    All in all, the 2002 draft really lacked any real talent, with Ed Reed and Julius Peppers being the only two true elite players from this class. 

22. 1991 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Brett Favre, Ricky Watters, Keennan McCardell and Ben Coates. 

    From 1991 to 1992, the NFL didn't see too much young talent come into the league.

    The '91 draft class wasn't all that impressive, aside from Brett Favre and Ricky Waters. 

21. 2008 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Jake Long, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Jerod Mayo, Chris Johnson, Jordy Nelson and DeSean Jackson.

    The 2008 draft class wasn't bad or anything; it just wasn't that great.

    The top two quarterbacks, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, haven't developed into the "elite passer" that they should be right now, while the other notable players, aside from Jake Long, have shown signs of being elite, but for the most part, have been good but not great. 

20. 2005 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Ronnie Brown, DeMarcus Ware, Derrick Johnson, Aaron Rodgers, Roddy White, Corey Webster, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore and Carlos Rogers. 

    The 2005 draft class certainly produced quite a few talented and successful players, such as Super Bowl-winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    DeMarcus Ware also came out of the '05 class and is arguably the greatest pass-rusher of our generation, which certainly increases the stock of this year's class. 

    Aside from Rodgers and Ware, the '05 class has pretty solid, but not close to being great. 

19. 1994 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Marshall Faulk, Charlie Garner, Isaac Bruce, Willie McGinest and Rodney Harrison.

    The 1994 class didn't produce a whole ton of talent, but it did produce one Hall of Famer in running back Marshall Faulk. I certainly think that it's safe to say that Faulk is one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game.

    The '94 class also consisted of two great defenders in defensive end/outside linebacker Willie McGinest and safety Rodney Harrison—who is one of two people to have 30 career sacks and 30 career interceptions. 

18. 1987 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Rod Woodson, Vinny Testaverde, Rich Gannon, Christian Okoye, Bo Jackson and Mark Ingram. 

    The 1987 draft class produced one Hall of Famer in Rod Woodson and arguably one of the greatest running backs that never got a chance to prove his greatness in Bo Jackson.

    If only Jackson could have played more seasons in the NFL, then this draft class would certainly rank much higher, as it's pretty solid. 

17. 2009 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Matthew Stafford, Brian Orakpo, Clay Matthews, Hakeem Nicks, LeSean McCoy, B.J. Raji and Mike Wallace.

    For the most part, I really like the 2009 draft class.

    These players are only three years in, and all of the notable players are really emerging to be top-tier players at their position.

    Matthew Stafford certainly leads the way for this group as he threw for an incredible 41 touchdowns and 5,038 yards this past season for the Detroit Lions.  

16. 1993 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Willie Roaf, Drew Bledsoe, Trent Green, Mark Brunell, Jerome Bettis, Garrison Hearst, Michael Strahan and Troy Brown. 

    Hall of Famer Willie Roaf highlights this draft class, while Drew Bledsoe was the first-overall pick by the New England Patriots and really had a successful career, as he compiled 251 touchdowns throughout his 14-year career.

    The '93 class certainly had its depth at quarterback, with Bledsoe, Trent Green and Mark Brunell, as well as one of the greatest running backs of our time in Jerome Bettis and one of the greatest pass-rushers in NFL history, Michael Strahan. 

15. 1990 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Cortez Kennedy and Junior Seau. 

    Emmitt Smith, Shannon Sharpe and Cortez Kennedy were all inducted into the Hall of Fame, and they're certainly the faces of the 1999 draft class.

    However, aside from those four Hall of Famers, this draft wasn't that deep with talent. 

14. 2000 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Brian Urlacher, Tom Brady, Keith Bulluck, Chad Pennington, Jamal Lewis and John Abraham. 

    Tom Brady is the most notable player from this draft, as he went 199th overall in the sixth round and is the greatest steal in NFL history, as he's one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

    Along with Brady, Brian Urlacher is a sure-shot Hall of Famer. 

13. 2010 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Ndamukong Suh, Sam Bradford, Jason Pierre-Paul, Maurkice Pouncey, Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, NaVorro Bowman and Eric Berry.

    The 2010 draft class is still young, but has a ton of potential and talent moving forward to prove that they're one of the greatest classes. 

    Sam Bradford was the first-overall pick this year and really flourished his first year in the NFL but struggled his second season and will look to right the ship heading into 2012. 

    Along with Bradford, Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul all have emerged as future stars. 

12. 1999 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, Torry Holt, Champ Bailey and Joey Porter. 

    Donovan McNabb and Champ Bailey both came out of this class and have had a ton of success in the NF,L as they were at the top of their position for quite a few seasons, while running backs Edgerrin James and Ricky Williams had their moments of stardom. 

11. 1997 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Jason Taylor, Corey Dillon, Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber, Tony Gonzalez, Derrick Mason and Ronde Barber. 

    The 1997 draft produced arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history in Tony Gonzalez, as well as two of the greatest defenders to ever play the game, James Taylor and Ronde Barber.

    Gonzalez has caught 95 career touchdowns.Taylor has recorded 139.5 sacks, while Barber has 43 career interceptions. 

10. 1995 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Steve McNair, Derrick Brooks, Kerry Collins, Curtis Martin, Terrell Davis, Warren Sapp and Ty Law. 

    The 1955 draft class certainly didn't produce too many elite players, but all of those players listed had their share of success at the NFL level, especially Curtis Martin. 

    Martin will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this season after his stellar 11-year career, as he compiled 14,101 total rushing yards while scoring 90 touchdowns. 

9. 2001 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Michael Vick, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Wayne, Chad Ochocinco and Santana Moss. 

    The 2001 class certainly had a ton of friend-end talent, such as Michael Vick, Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson, but the players drafted in the second rounds and beyond never really panned out into anything special. 

8. 1988 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Michael Irvin, Randall McDaniel, Thurman Thomas, Dermontti Dawson and Tim Brown. 

    The 1988 draft class featured two of the greatest wide receivers to play the game in Michael Irvin and Tim Brown, as well as one of the greatest running backs ever in Thurman Thomas. 

7. 1996 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Ray Lewis, Zach Thomas, Eddie George, Stephen Davis, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins and Keyshawn Johnson.

    Just take a look at the names listed: Two of the greatest linebackers ever in Ray Lewis and Zach Thomas, one of the greatest running backs in Eddie George, one of the greatest wide receivers in Marvin Harrison as well as one of the most physical safeties to ever play the game in Brian Dawkins.

    Yeah, the 1996 draft class was loaded with talent. 

6. 1998 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck, Fred Taylor, Hines Ward, Randy Moss and Charles Woodson.

    Peyton Manning? I could just stop right there, as he's one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

    However, we also saw Randy Moss come out of this draft, as well as Charles Woodson, one of the greatest defensive backs of our generation. 

5. 2004 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Sean Taylor, Jared Allen, Steven Jackson and Michael Turner. 

    The 2004 draft class was filled with star power, with the likes of Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger.

    Even the second-tier guys from this draft have had successful careers thus far, such as Steven Jackson and Michael Turner. 

4. 1989 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders, Trace Armstrong and Andre Rison. 

    Four Hall of Famers in Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders. Enough said. 

3. 2006 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Mario Williams, Reggie Bush, Vernon Davis, Jay Cutler, Haloti Ngata, Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, Elvis Dumervil, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew and Greg Jennings. 

    I actually think that the 2006 draft class is somewhat of a disappointment, as it could have been one of the greatest of all-time, as it was loaded with so much potential.

    Guys like Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart didn't turn out the way that they could have, but Bush has certainly been a serviceable player. 

    Mario Williams heads this class, as he's been one of the most consistent pass-rushers since 2006. 

2. 2003 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Andre Johnson, Jason Witten, Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, Dallas Clark, Nnamdi Asomugha, Anquan Boldin, Willis McGahee, Terence Newman and Dan Koppen. 

    Some may argue that the 2003 draft class should be No. 1, which there's certainly a case for that argument, as it's absolutely loaded with talent.

    All of the players listed are stars in the NFL today and are faces of their respective franchises. 

1. 2007 Draft Class

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    Notable players: Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, Darrelle Revis, Joe Thomas, Marshawn Lynch, Dwayne Bowe, Ben Grubbs, LaMarr Woodley, David Harris, Marshal Yanda and Dashon Goldson.

    Why is this the greatest draft class in the last 25 years? Well, the draft consists of this generation's top running back, top wide receiver, top linebacker, top cornerback and top offensive tackle in Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, Darrelle Revis and Joe Thomas.

    That's a possible four Hall of Famers mixed in with a deep list of talent led by Dwayne Bowe, LaMarr Woodley and Marshawn Lynch. 


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