One of the most exciting times during the life of a pro football fan is the NFL Draft that takes place every Spring. The NFL Draft is how most of the better college football players are dispersed to the various teams in the NFL every year. Many teams, based on their drafting ability alone, can develop themselves into one of the more dominant teams in the league by adding the best players available to their roster. Often it takes quite some time to evaluate the successes and failures of a particular draft, it is much easier to do using hindsight from a number of years later.
The 1999 NFL Draft was known at the time to be very deep in terms of the amount of quality quarterbacks available for selection. In the first twelve picks of the draft that year, five quarterbacks were selected. This shows that the teams involved in drafting that year also thought there were a number of talented quarterbacks available. While the Philadelphia Eagles pick of quarterback Donovan McNabb and the Minnesota Vikings selection of quarterback Daunte Culpepper seem to have come out of the draft in good shape, there were a few high picks used on quarterbacks that year that did not pan out. The Cleveland Browns used the first overall pick on Tim Couch who would only play through the 2003 season, the Cincinnati Bengals used the third overall pick on quarterback Akili Smith who would only play in the league through the 2002 season, and the Chicago Bears would use the twelfth overall pick of the draft on quarterback Cade McNown who would only play two seasons in the league.
Here are a number of other facts about the 1999 NFL Draft.
As far as the quarterback from the 1999 NFL Draft that has so far put together the best career, it would have to be Donovan McNabb. He has thrown for more yards, more passing touchdowns, and more completions than any other quarterback selected in 1999. Second in all of those categories is Daunte Culpepper, and third is Aaron Brooks who was picked in the fourth round that year by the Green Bay Packers, but would go on to make his name with the New Orleans Saints. Other quarterbacks taken in the 1999 NFL Draft include Shaun King, Brock Huard, Joe Germaine, Kevin Daft, Michael Bishop, Chris Greisen, and Scott Covington.
The Running Backs
The most successful running back selected in the 1999 NFL Draft is easily Edgerrin James who first experienced success playing for the Indianapolis Colts before moving on to play for the Arizona Cardinals. James leads all other running backs picked that year in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns. Second place in all of those categories belongs to another very talented running back, Ricky Williams who first played for the New Orleans Saints before being traded to the Miami Dolphins. Other running backs taken during the 1999 NFL Draft include Kevin Faulk, Mike Cloud, Olandis Gary, Amos Zereoue, Shawn Bryson, J.J. Johnson, Joe Montgomery, Jermaine Fazande, Sedrick Irvin, Sean Bennett, Cecil Collins, Charlie Rogers, De’Mond Parker, Lamarr Glenn, Madre Hill, and Autry Denson. Those listed as fullbacks and taken in the 1999 NFL Draft include Rob Konrad, Jeff Paulk, Joel Makovicka, Nick Luchey, Terry Jackson, Cecil Martin, Dennis McKinley, and Jim Finn.
The most successful receiver picked in the 1999 NFL Draft would be St. Louis Rams great Torry Holt. He leads all other receivers selected that year in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Second place in all of those categories belongs to a receiver drafted in the seventh round that season by the Packers, Donald Driver. The tight end drafted that year that has the best numbers is Desmond Clark. Other wide receivers taken in the 1999 NFL Draft include David Boston, Troy Edwards, Kevin Johnson, Peerless Price, D’Wayne Bates, Marty Booker, Karsten Bailey, Travis McGriff, Craig Yeast, Dameane Douglas, Brandon Stokley, Larry Parker, Wane McGarity, Na Brown, Darrin Chiaverini, Eugene Baker, Malcolm Johnson, Tai Streets, Darran Hall, MarTay Jenkins, Dee Miller, Troy Smith, Chad Plummer, Tim Alexander, Sulecio Sanford, Darnell McDonald, Sean Morey, and Rondel Menendez. The tight ends taken during that season’s draft include Reggie Kelly, Jim Kleinsasser, Steve Heiden, Daniel Campbell, Bobby Collins, Jerame Tuman, James Dearth, Jed Weaver, Billy Miller, Mike Lucky, Sheldon Jackson, and Justin Swift.
-The player drafted in 1999 that has gone on to make the most Pro Bowls is defensive back Champ Bailey who so far has appeared in eight Pro Bowls.
-The player drafted in 1999 that has gone on to play in more NFL games than any other player picked that year is punter Hunter Smith.
-No player selected in the 1999 NFL Draft has scored more NFL touchdowns than running back Edgerrin James.
-The non-quarterback selected in the 1999 NFL Draft that has thrown the most touchdown passes in his career so far is wide receiver Marty Booker who has thrown for two TDs.
-Two colleges tied as the college that had the most players selected from it. The University of Florida and Ohio State University both had eight players from their football programs taken during the 1999 NFL Draft. Florida players selected in the draft: Jevon Kearse, Tony George, Reggie McGrew, Terry Jackson, Zach Piller, Mike Peterson, Johnny Rutledge, and Travis McGriff. Ohio State players selected in the draft: Antoine Winfield, Damon Moore, Andy Katzenmoyer, Brent Bartholomew, Joe Germaine, Joe Montgomery, David Boston, and Dee Miller.
Other notable players taken in the 1999 NFL Draft and not already mentioned include Chris McAlister, John Tait, Damien Woody, Luke Petitgout, Ebenezer Ekuban, L.J. Shelton, Fernando Bryant, Antuan Edwards, Patrick Kerney, Dre’ Bly, Jared DeVries, Joey Porter, Martin Gramatica, Dat Nguyen, Mike McKenzie, Chike Okeafor, Josh Bidwell, Eric Barton, David Bowens, Jason Craft, and Kris Brown.
The 1999 NFL Draft may not be the strongest in history, but despite a number of the highly touted quarterback prospects not panning out, it did produce its fair share of star quality players. There should also be a few players selected that year that will end up reaching the next level of achievement, the Professional Football Hall of Fame. In a way, each NFL team and the league as a whole are built little by little each year through the NFL Draft, and the selection process of 1999 played its part too.