The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Picking First Isn't Best


This isn't the best year to have the first pick in the NFL draft. There isn't a Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning or John Elway -- all former No. 1 over selections -- out there, and you may be just as likely to land a cornerstone player at No. 5 as you would No. 1.

The Detroit Lions have the first overall pick, and the speculation is they will go with former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. At least that's the talk today. Tomorrow it could be Aaron Curry, maybe the safest pick in the draft. And the next day it could be Justin Smith. Goodness knows the Lions could use help on the offensive line.

The other problem with the No. 1 pick is the absurd amount of money Detroit will have to pay to whomever they select. Last year Atlanta drafted quarterback Matt Ryan with the third overall pick, and he got a contract worth more than $70 million, including $34 guaranteed. What do you think Stafford will want if he's picked first?

Seattle, with the No. 4 pick, could be in the best position. The Seahawks are going to land a blue chip prospect, but they won't have to pony up the ridiculous signing bonus that comes with the No. 1 overall selection. Last year Oakland picked running back Darren McFadden fourth and signed him to a contract worth $12 million less than Ryan. McFadden's signing bonus also was nearly $10 million less.

By Gene Wang  |  April 20, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  | Category:  Draft , Gene Wang Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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