The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

No Name Nick


As with any "best of List" the process commences and concludes in defining the question. With the NFL draft a mere fortnight away, a football fan's hope springs eternal. The question as to "Who is the best Defensive draft pick" raises many interesting questions as to the criteria and then the answer. It would be easier and a no brainer to define the question merely as the best defensive player ever selected. If that were the definition then the names of Bruce Smith (number 1 overall), Lawrence Taylor (number 3 pick overall) and Dion Sanders (number 4 overall) would headline the list. However, selecting for this list a player selected as "lottery picks" does not meet the proper criteria and is too simplistic.

The proper definition and proper criteria must include the best player drafted who far and away exceeded his draft selection potential. Sort of like the Tom Brady award for the defense. That is, a 6th sixth rounder who turned into a MVP and who dates super models (the perfect combination!) Other offensive players in this category include Johnny Unitas (ninth round 1955), Mike Webster (fifth round 1974), and Bart Starr (seventeenth round 1956).

Before naming the top drafted defensive player, some player who are worthy of recognition for this award include Joe Klecko (Jets, 144th overall in 1977 when healthy, was the best defensive lineman in football from 1981-1985) Karl Mecklenburg, (Broncos 310th overall in 1983 helped the Broncos to three AFC titles and was an All Pro from 1985 to 1989), Richard Dent, (Bears, 203rd overall in 1983 and the anchor of the great Bears defense in Chicago, retired with 137.5 sacks, fifth on the all-time list at the end) and the great Lester Hayes, (Raiders, 126th overall all in 1977).

However, the title of best draft choice of all time goes to Miami Dolphin great and all time over-achiever, Nick Buoniconti (thirteenth round selection of the 1962 AFL draft). Hall of Famer Bouniconti led the fabled and famous "No-Name Defense" of the undefeated Dolphins. No one ever gave Buoniconit a chance to play in college, let alone the NFL, let alone be selected to the NFL's Hall of Fame. Yet his passion, intelligence, and competitive fire overcame his lack of athleticism, size and seed and he is very deserving of this title.

By Peter Schaffer  |  April 10, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  | Category:  Draft , Miami Dolphins , Peter Schaffer Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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