View Full Version : When Draft Classes Make the Biggest Difference

04-24-2012, 09:06 AM
...no team found contributors in more places than Denver’s two Super Bowl champions. John Elway came aboard in 1983; a dozen years later, Denver drafted Terrell Davis. Rod Smith was an undrafted free agent and Ed McCaffrey came to Denver after playing with the Giants. Gary Zimmerman and Mark Schlereth manned the left side of the line, but were drafted by N.F.C. East teams in the 1980s. John Mobley, Tom Nalen and Shannon Sharpe were key contributors, but drafted years apart. The ’97 team fielded only two starters who were part of the same Denver draft class: middle linebacker Allen Aldridge and center Tom Nalen. In 1998, two second-year players — guard Dan Neil and defensive tackle Trevor Pryce — were the only starters from the same draft class (Aldrige was playing with the Lions in 1998).


Let’s look at the current Super Bowl champions. The 2011 Giants weren’t built predominantly from any one class, but rather by adding key contributors each of the last eight years. In ’04, the Giants drafted Chris Snee and acquired Eli Manning (technically, via trade, but we can include him as a Giants draft pick); in 2005, New York added Brandon Jacobs, Justin Tuck and Corey Webster. In 2006, it was Mathias Kiwanuka, followed by Aaron Ross and Ahmad Bradshaw in ’07, Mario Manningham and Kenny Phillips in ’08, Hakeem Nicks and William Beatty in 2009 and then Jason Pierre-Paul and Linval Joseph in 2010. Looking at it another way, however, the Giants got very little out of their 2011 draft class. The Giants are a classic example of how Super Bowl champions in February are almost never built on the work of the most recent April.