2011 NFL Draft: The Top 32 Greatest Second Round Picks of the Super Bowl Era

Max RauschSenior Writer IIApril 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: The Top 32 Greatest Second Round Picks of the Super Bowl Era

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  NFL Commissioner Roer Goodell speaks at the podium during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    The first round of the NFL draft gets all the media love.  All the mock drafts, all the Kipers, all the McShays, all the hype and all the prime-time ESPN coverage.

    But, true NFL fans know the six rounds that follow that make or break teams and general managers' careers. 

    The NFL is the ultimate meritocracy, where hard work and production are valued over everything else.  First-round draft picks cease to be special the day they walk into their first team meeting.  No matter if a player was taken with the second pick of the first round or the 25th pick of the seventh round they are all lowly rookies with something to prove. 

    It is with that in mind that I give you the ultimate second round, the best of the rest, the 32 greatest second-round selections of the Super Bowl era.  

Honorable Mention

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    ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11:  Anquan Boldin #81 of the Baltimore Ravens against Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Matt Light T Purdue 2001 17th (48) to the New England Patriots

    Alge Crumpler TE North Carolina 2001 4th (35) to the Atlanta Falcons

    Ron Jaworski QB Youngstown State 1973 11th (37) to the LA Rams

    Matt Millen LB Penn State 1980 5th (43) to the Oakland Raiders

    Jim Haslett LB Indiana (PA) 1979 23rd (51) to the Buffalo Bills 

    Ken Norton Jr LB UCLA 1988 14th (41) to the Dallas Cowboys

    Bob Sanders Safety Iowa 2004 12th (44) to the Indianapolis Colts

    Ricky Watters RB Notre Dame 1991 18th (45) to the San Francisco 49ers

    Lawyer Miloy DB Washington 1996 6th (36) to the New England Patriots

    Anquan Bolden WR Florida State 2003 22nd (54) to the Arizona Cardinals

    LaMarr Woodley DE Michigan 2007 4th (46) to the Pittsburgh Steelers

    Deion Branch WR Louisville 2002 33rd (65) to the New England Patriots

    Ray Rice RB Rutgers 2008 24th (55) to the Baltimore Ravens 

    Clinton Portis RB Miami 2002 19th (51) to the Denver Broncos

    Lofa Tatupu LB USC 2005 13th (45) to the Seattle Seahawks

    Icky Woods RB UNLV 1988 4th (31) to the Cincinnati Bengals (For the Bringing the world the Icky Shuffle not his career) 

32. Deion Branch

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - FEBRUARY 6:  Wide receiver Deion Branch #83 of the New England Patriots receives a pass over Matt Ware #21 of the Philadelphia Eagles during Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium on February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Patriots d
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    2002 33 (65): WR Louisville to the New England Patriots

    Super Bowl XXXIX MVP

    Branch is a solid NFL wideout who makes this list by virtue of playing his best game in the biggest moment, under the lights in Super Bowl XXXIX.


31. Randall Cunningham

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    20 Sep 1998:  Quarterback Randall Cunningham #7 of the Minnesota Vikings in action during the game against the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Lions 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon  /Allsport
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    1985 QB: UNLV 9th (37) to the Philadelphia Eagles

    Four-Time Pro Bowler

    Four-Time All Pro

    1992 NFL Comeback Player of the Year 

    Led Vikings to a 15-1 record in 1998; finished the season with a 106.0 QB Rating. 

30. Cris Collinsworth

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    HOUSTON - 1985:  Wide receiver Cris Collinsworth #80 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks on the field during a game in the 1985 NFL Season against the Houston Oilers at the Houston Astrodome in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tony Duffy/Getty Images)
    Tony Duffy/Getty Images

    1981 WR: Florida 9th (37) to the Cincinnati Bengals

    Three-Time Pro Bowler 

    Four-Time All-Pro 

    Collinsworth is most well known for his broadcasting career, but he was also a pretty damn good player in his time.   The former All-American began his career with three straight Pro Bowl seasons before ankle injuries cut his career short. 

29. Mike Alstott

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    CHICAGO - DECEMBER 17:  Mike Alstott #40 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears December 17, 2006 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 34-31 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Ima
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    1996 RB: Purdue 5th (35) to the Tampa Bay Bucs

    Six-Time Pro Bowler 

    Four-Time All-Pro

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in good hands with Alstott for 11 years including the franchise's only Super Bowl season in 2002.   For most of his career, the converted college RB perfectly played the Thunder to Warrick Dunn’s Lightning.

29. Wesley Walls

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 10:  Tight End Wesley Walls #85 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Ericsson Stadium on November 10, 2002 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Saints defeated the Panthers 34-24.
    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    1989 TE: Ole Miss 28th (56) to the San Francisco 49ers

    Five-Time Pro Bowler 

    Four-Time All Pro 

    Considered one of the best tight ends of the 1990s.

27. Boomer Esiason

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    George Rose/Getty Images

    1984 QB: Maryland 10th (38) to the Cincinnati Bengals 

    1988 NFL MVP 

    Four-Time Pro Bowler 

    1988 All-Pro 

    Led the usually hapless Cincinnati Bungles to Super Bowl in 1988.

26. Osi Umenyiora

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    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Defensive end Osi Umenyiora #72 of the New York Giants sits on Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
    Elsa/Getty Images

    DE Troy State: 24th (56) to the New York Giants 

    Two-Time Pro Bowler 

    Two-Time All-Pro 

    When he is healthy, Umenyiora is one of the best pass rushers in the game.  Holds the New York Giants’ record for most sacks in a game with six.

25. DeSean Jackson

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after a play against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    2008 WR: Cal 18th (49) to the Philadelphia Eagles 

    Two-Time Pro Bowler

    One-Time All-Pro

    Jackson is an improved version of the Bears’ Devin Hester as he is a vastly better WR; fans hold their breath whenever he touches the ball.

24. Maurice Jones-Drew

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars breaks the tackle of Travis Goethel #50 of the Oakland Raiders during the game at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Ge
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    RB UCLA: 28th (60) to the Jacksonville Jaguars 

    Two-Time Pro Bowler 

    Two-Time All-Pro

    Mighty Mouse is the catalyst for the Jaguars offense and is on his way to breaking all of Fred Taylor’s team rushing records.

23. Devin Hester

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears returns a kick against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    2006 WR: 25th (57) Miami to the Chicago Bears

    Three-Time Pro Bowler 

    Three-Time All-Pro

    Three-Time NFL Special Teams POY

    Member of NFL’s 2000’s All Decade Team

    NFL’s All-Time Leader in Punt Returns for TD

    NFL’s All-Time Leader in Kick/Punt Returns for TD

    Hester has the power to change the course of a game any time he touches the ball.  He is arguably the best special teams player in NFL history.

22. Jim Youngblood

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    1973 LB: Tennessee Tech 16th (42) to the LA Rams

    Six-time All Pro 

    HOF Finalist 

    Part of one of the best defenses ever. Contrary to common belief, Jim is not related to former Hall of Fame Rams’ teammate, Jack Youngblood. 

21. Ken Stabler

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    1968 QB: Alabama 25th (52) to the Oakland Raiders

    Four-Time Pro Bowler

    Two-Time All-Pro Selection 

    1974 NFL MVP

    Member of NFL’s 1970’s All-Decade Team 

    Stabler harkens back to a time when Al Davis didn’t suck at drafting.  

    He led Oakland to their first Super Bowl victory in 1977.  Stabler broke Johnny U’s record of fastest QB to win 100 games, now stands in third behind only Joe Montana and Tom Brady.  

    Retired as the Raiders’ all-time leader in completions, passing yards and touchdown passes. Ranked as one of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs of all time.

20. Chad Ochocinco

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    INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 14:  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals reaches for a pass during the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    2001 WR: Oregon State 5th (36) to the Cincinnati Bengals 

    Six-Time Pro Bowler 

    Three-Time All-Pro 

    Ochocinco is one of the most explosive WRs in the game but unfortunately for Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer, he is also a all-world Diva.  Chad Johnson may have been drafted in the second round but, in his own mind, Ochocinco went first overall.

19. Tiki Barber

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 10:  Tiki Barber #21 of the New York Giants runs against the Carolina Panthers on December 10, 2006 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Giants defeated the Panthers 27-13.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    1997 RB: Virginia 6th (36) to the New York Giants 

    Three-Time Pro Bowler 

    One-Time All-Pro 

    New York Giants’ All-Time Leading Rusher

    Barber makes this list despite his embarrassingly terrible and brief TV career.  As a player Barber overcame fumblitus to be the heart and soul of the Giants’ offense from 2000 through his retirement in 2006. Retired one year short of winning the Super Bowl.  Retired as the the Giants' all-time rushing leader.

18. Flozell Adams

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass as Flozell Adams #71 blocks against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Packers wo
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    1998 T: Michigan State 8th (38) to the Dallas Cowboys 

    Five-Time Pro Bowler 

    One-Time All-Pro

    1997 All-American 

    The Hotel’s stock fell in the days and weeks leading up to the 1998 draft as it was revealed that he was partially deaf in his right ear.   One of the NFL’s most penalized players, but a dominant force in the trenches.

17. Kevin Mawae

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ- OCTOBER 20:  Center Kevin Mawae #68 of the New York Jets on the gives directions before the snap during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings on October 20, 2002 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Jets defeate
    M. David Leeds/Getty Images

    1994 C: LSU 7th (36) to the Seattle Seahawks

    Seven-Time Pro Bowler 

    Seven-Time All-Pro 

    Member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team

    Mawae was one of the toughest men ever to play in the NFL.  Started 177 consecutive games in the trenches from 1994-2005.  One of the best run blockers in NFL history.

16. Issac Bruce

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    ST. LOUIS - AUGUST 10: Isaac Bruce #80 of the St. Louis Rams smiles on the bench during the preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Edward Jones Dome on August 10, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    1994 WR: Memphis 4th (33) to the LA Rams 

    Four-Time Pro Bowler 

    One-Time All-Pro

    Third NFL All-Time Receiving Yards

    Bruce was the consummate pro and a key member of Mike Martz’s “Best Show on Turf” offense.  Caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXIV.

15. Andre Tippett

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    1982 LB: Iowa 14th (41) to the New England Patriots 

    Five-Time Pro Bowler

    Four-Time All-Pro

    Member of NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team 

    HOF 2008

    Tippett was a quarterback’s worst nightmare.  He holds the Patriots’ team record for sacks with 100.  Recorded 18.5 sacks (third-most among LBs in NFL history) while helping to lead the Pats to the Super Bowl in 1985. 

14. Dave Casper

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    1974 TE: Notre Dame 19th (45) to the Oakland Raiders 

    Member of NFL’s 1970’s All-Decade Team 

    HOF 2002

    Casper is most famous for his role in the “Ghost to the Post” play in the 1977 Divisional Playoff round.  Casper made an amazing, over-the-shoulder catch which led to the game-tying field goal and paved the way for a Raiders' overtime victory and eventual Super Bowl title.  

13. Rickey Jackson

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    1981 LB Pitt 23rd (51) to the New Orleans Saints

    Six-Time Pro Bowler

    Six-Time All-Pro

    HOF 2010

    Jackson was a member of the Saints’ "Dome Patrol" LB Corps, which NFL network ranked as the best of all time. He holds most of the Saints’ defensive records including sacks, sacks in a game, fumble recoveries and games played.  Jackson was third on the NFL’s All-time sacks list when he retired. 

12. Chris Spielman

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    8 Oct 1995:  Linebacker Chris Spielman of the Detroit Lions jogs off the field during the Lions 38-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan.   Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    1988 LB: Ohio State 2nd (29) to the Detroit Lions 

    1987 Lombardi Award Winner 

    Four-Time Pro Bowler 

    Three-Time All-Pro 

    2009 College Football HOF 

    The Lions found magic in a bottle when they drafted college football’s best LB with their second-round pick in the 1988 draft.  Spielman led the formidable Lions’ defense to four playoff appearances in the mid-90’s.

11. Lem Barney

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    1967 Jackson State: DB 8th (34) to the Detroit Lions 

    Seven-Time Pro Bowler 

    Seven-Time All-Pro

    1967 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

    Member of NFL’s 1960’s All-Decade Team

    HOF 1992

    In 1999 Sporting News ranked Barney as the 97th-best football player of all time.  Barney’s 56 career interceptions ranked third all time at the time of his retirement in 1977.

    Barney sang back up in Marvin Gaye’s classic, “What’s Goin’ On.”

10. Dan Dierdorf

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    1971 OT: Michigan 17th (43) to the Arizona Cardinals

    Six-Time Pro Bowler 

    Six-Time All-Pro

    Member of NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team

    College Football HOF

    NFL HOF 1996

    Dierdorf was one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history and was a key member of the Cardinals' 1975 O-Line who only gave up eight sacks all year.  Dierdorf followed that up by not giving up a sack for two consecutive seasons (1976-1977). 

9. Dwight Stephenson

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    1980 C Alabama 20th (48) to the Miami Dolphins

    Five-time Pro Bowler 

    Five-time All-Pro

    Member of NFL’s 1980’s All-Decade Team

    Many remember Stephenson as the greatest center of all time.  He paved the way for Dan Marino’s success as he anchored a Dolphins' offensive line that gave up the fewest sacks in the NFL for six consecutive seasons from 1982-1987.

8. Willie Lanier

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    1967 LB: Morgan State 24th (50) to the Kansas City Chiefs 

    Eight-Time Pro Bowler 

    Eight-Time All Pro

    Selected to NFL’s 75 Anniversary All-Time Team

    HOF 1986

    Lanier was the defensive leader of the Chiefs' 1969 Super Bowl winning team.  He was nicknamed “Contact” by his teammates for his aggressive style of play.

7. Thurman Thomas

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    22 Nov 1998:  Running back Thurman Thomas #34 of the Buffalo Bills in action during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the Colts 34-11. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    1988 Oklahoma State RB 13th (40) to the  Buffalo Bills 

    Five-Time Pro Bowler 

    Five-Time All-Pro

    1991 NFL MVP 

    1992 NFL Offensive Player of the Year 

    Three-Time AFC Rushing Champion

    2007 Pro Football HOF

    Thomas proved to be the best of the best in 1988’s stacked second round. One of only three Oklahoma State Cowboys with his number retired.  Slipped to the second round because of questions surrounding a knee injury he suffered his senior year in Stillwater.  Led the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowls.

6. Jack Ham

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    Jack Ham 1971 8 (34) LB Penn State to the Pittsburgh Steelers 

    Eight-Time Pro Bowler

    Eight-Time All-Pro

    Member of NFL’s 1970’s All Decade Team

    Member of NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

    HOF 1988

    Ham played alongside Jack Lambert in Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense.  He beat out Lawrence Taylor for an LB spot on the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.  Ham is one of only eight players to record 20 interceptions and 20 sacks in his career.

5. Howie Long

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    1987:  Defensive lineman Howie Long #75 of the Los Angeles Raiders walks on the field during a 1987 NFL season game.  (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    1981 DT: Villanova 20th (48) to the Oakland Raiders 

    Eight-Time Pro Bowler 

    Five-Time All-Pro

    1985 NFL Co-Defensive Player of the Year

    HOF 2010

    Long was the anchor of the Raiders' defense throughout the 1980's.

4. Darren Sharper

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Darren Sharper #42 of the New Orleans Saints in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
    Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images

    1997 DB: William & Mary 30th (60) to the Green Bay Packers 

    Five-Time Pro Bowler 

    Six-Time All-Pro 

    Member of the NFL’s 2000’s All-Decade Team 

    Led the NFL in Interceptions in 2000 

    Sixth on the All-Time interceptions list

    Sharper has been a dominant DB for the last 10 years.  His leadership helped the usually questionable Saints defense do just enough to win Super Bowl XLIV.

3. Jack Lambert

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    1974 LB Kent State 20th (46) to the Pittsburgh Steelers 

    Nine-Time All-Pro 

    1976 Defensive Player of the Year 

    Sports List Ranks him as the toughest football player of all time 

    1990 HOF

    Lambert is famous for his gap-tooth snarl and was a key part of the Steel Curtain defenses which won four Super Bowls in the 1970s.  One of the best, most feared players in Steelers' history.

2. Drew Brees

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    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 27:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints looks upfield to pass in the first half during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on December 27, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    2001 QB: Purdue 1st (32) to the San Diego Chargers

    Five-Time Pro Bowler 

    Three-Time All-Pro

    Two-Time NFC MVP

    2010 AP Male Athlete of the Year

    2004 NFL Comeback Player of the Year

    Super Bowl XLIV MVP

    Like Lil’ Wayne, Drew Brees put New Orleans on his back in 2010 and delivered the Dirty Dirty their first professional sports championship.   Brees left Purdue as the Big Ten’s All-Time leader in attempts, completions, passing yards, total yards and touchdowns.

    His draft stock dropped due to concerns about his size and perceived lack of arm strength.  Never gained the trust and respect of San Diego’s front office and was dealt to the Saints after the Chargers drafted Phillip Rivers as his replacement.  Had his first All-Pro season in 2006, his first with the Saints.

1A. Mike Singletary

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    CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Linebacker Mike Singletary #50 of the Chicago Bears looks on during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 10, 1989 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bears defeated the Bengals 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan D
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    1981 LB: Baylor (38) to the Chicago Bears

    10 Pro Bowl selections in 11 seasons in the NFL. 

    Eight-time All-Pro 

    Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year 

    No. 56 on Sporting News’ Top 100 NFL Players of All Time

    1998 HOF

    Samurai Mike may have flamed out as a coach, but he was a helluva player.  Singletary was the unquestioned leader of the Bears’ Monsters of the Midway defense in the mid-80’s.  Nicknamed the “Minster of Defense,” a title he would later pass on to fellow adorned minister, Reggie White. 

1. Brett Favre

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    GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 20:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after throwing a 12 yard touchdown recption during the third quarter of the NFC championship game against the New York Giants on January 20, 2008 at Lambeau Field
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    1991 QB: Southern Miss 6th (33) to the Atlanta Falcons

    11-Time Pro Bowler

    Six-Time Al Pro

    Three-Time NFL MVP

    Three-Time NFC Player of the Year

    Member of NFL’s 1990s All-Decade team 

    Pretty Much Every NFL Passing Record 

    First Ballot Hall of Famer

    The Gunslinger was the third QB off the board in the 1991 draft following busts, Dan McGwire and Todd Marinovich.  All sexting jokes aside, Favre is one of the most charismatic players in NFL history and  arguably the best QB ever to play the game.  Led the Packers to their first Super Bowl since Lombardi.