MIKE O'HARA

O'HARA'S MONDAY COUNTDOWN: A history of who's been available at 20

Posted Jan 29, 2018

This week's Monday Countdown analyses how teams fared with the 20th overall draft pick in the last 10 years.

Based on history and early evaluations of positions where the Detroit Lions have primary needs – defensive line and running back topping the list – a good prospect should be available for the Lions with the 20th pick in the first round of this year’s draft.

But there’s a catch. Looking back at the last 10 drafts, teams haven’t always made the right choice with the 20th pick. Sometimes a better player was on the board than the one that was taken at No. 20.

Even with the value of hindsight being 20-20, looking back to evaluate who got it right, wrong or broke even at No. 20 is not a perfect science. Sometimes it’s a matter of a team filling a need with a good player and leaving a better player at another position on the board.

Injuries also play a role. And sometimes it’s a matter of personal judgement that a team could have done better had it drafted another player.

As part of this year’s path to the draft, this week’s Monday Countdown looks back to see how teams fared with the 20th pick compared to other options on the board. The one caveat in this exercise of second guessing is that only the next five draft picks – 21 through 26 – are used for comparison.

That eliminates examples of how a team could have done better on a later round than it did on the first round. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, drafted 199th overall in the sixth round, is the classic example of the player that teams missed drafting.

What also should be noted in the case of Brady and others is that the Patriots passed on him for five rounds, too.

Here’s a comparison of the last 10 drafts:

2008 20: CB Aqib Talib, Kansas, Bucs.

Next 5: 21. OT Sam Baker, Southern Cal., Falcons; 22. RB Felix Jones, Arkansas, Cowboys; 23. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois, Steelers; 24. RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina, Titans; 25. DB Mike Jenkins, South Florida, Cowboys.

Bottom line: No beef with the Bucs taking Talib. He’s an elite cornerback. The only problem was that they didn’t keep him. He later played for the Patriots, and currently the Broncos.

2009 20: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State, Lions.

Next 5: 21. C Alex Mack, Cal., Browns; 22. WR Percy Harvin, Florida, Vikings; 23. OT Michael Oher, Mississippi, Ravens; 24. DT Pierre Jarry, Mississippi, Falcons; 25. DB Vontae Davis, Illinois, Dolphins.

Bottom line: Pettigrew was a solid player in his first five seasons, with 284 catches before injuries struck. Mack is the star of this group, with five Pro Bowl appearances. Harvin was a game-breaker, but not consistent. The Lions got a good player in Pettigrew, but Mack was better – but the Lions were not looking for a center.

2010 20: DB Kareem Jackson, Alabama, Texans.

Next 5: 21. TE Germain Gresham, Oklahoma, Bengals; 22. WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech., Broncos; 23. OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa, Packers; 24. WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State, Cowboys; 25. QB Tim Tebow, Florida, Broncos.

Bottom line: Jackson has been a steady starter for the Texans, but Gresham, Thomas and Bryant played in multiple Pro Bowls. At least the Texans didn’t draft Tebow.

2011 20: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa, Bucs.

Next 5: 21. DT Phil Taylor, Baylor, Browns; 22. OT Anthony Costonzo, Boston College, Colts. 23. G Danny Watkins, Baylor, Eagles; 24. DE Cameron Jordan, Cal., Saints; 25. OT James Carpenter, Alabama, Seahawks.

Bottom line: Clayborn’s had a nice career, posting 30 sacks for the Bucs and Falcons and overcome injuries to do it. But Jordan’s had a better career – 59.5 sacks and three Pro Bowls in seven seasons, all with the Saints.

2012 20: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor, Titans.

Next 5: 21. DE Chandler Jones, Syracuse, Patriots; 22. QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State, Browns; 23. OT Riley Reiff, Iowa, Lions; 24. G David DeCastro, Stanford, Steelers; 25. LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama, Patriots.

Bottom line: Five of the six teams could feel good about their pick. The exception was the Browns, with a failed QB. But the Patriots got two Pro Bowl defenders at the bottom of the draft. Funny how that happens.

2013 20: G Kyle Long, Oregon, Bears.

Next 5: 21. TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, Bengals; 22. DB Desmond Trufant, Washington, Falcons; 23. DT Shariff Floyd, Florida, Vikings; 24. DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State, Colts; 25. CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, Vikings.

Bottom line: Werner was the only bust of the group, and he was a king-sized one. Long is one of the league’s most athletic offensive linemen. He can dominate at guard or tackle. He's the best of this group, but only the Colts came up empty-handed in the first round. For the future, Rhodes could be No. 1.

2014 20. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, Saints.

Next 5: 21. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama, Packers; 22. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, Browns; 23. LB Dee Ford, Auburn, Chiefs; 24. CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, Bengals; 25. S Jason Verrett, Chargers, TCU.

Bottom line: Dix and Verrett each made one Pro Bowl, but Cooks and Ford might be the best picks. No reason for the Saints not to feel good about taking Cooks – but maybe regret trading him to the Patriots in 2017. What would a draft round be without the Browns taking a flop QB?

2015 20. WR Nelson Agholor, Southern Cal., Eagles.

Next 5: 21. OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M, Bengals; 22. OLB Bud Dupree, Kentucky, Steelers; 23. DE Shane Ray, Missouri, Broncos; 24. OT D.J. Humphries, Florida, Cardinals; 25. OLB Shaq Thompson, Washington, Panthers.

Bottom line: This is mostly a group of role player and contributors, with the exception of Humphries. Agholor contributed to a Super Bowl team with his best season. That counts for something.

2016 20. LB Darron Lee, Ohio State, Jets.

Next 5: 21. WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame, Texans; 22. WR Josh Doctson, TCU, Washington; 23. WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi, Vikings; 24. CB William Jackson, Houston, Bengals; 25. CB Artie Burns, Miami (Fla.), Steelers.

Bottom line: There is no favorite pick here -- yet. Someone has to emerge from this group of six. Lee came on in 2017, with three sacks in 15 starts while Burns started all 16 games. Catching seven TD passes in Houston’s offense was an accomplishment for Fuller.

2017 20. OT Garett Bolles, Utah, Broncos.

Next 5: 21. MLB Jarrad Davis, Florida, Lions; 22. OLB Charles Harris, Missouri, Dolphins; 23. TE Evan Engram, Mississippi, Giants; 24. CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State, Raiders; 25. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan, Browns.

Bottom line: The Broncos took what they needed to patch up their offensive line, then saw draft picks taken for defense play better. The most intriguing player in the bottom half of the first round was Peppers. He didn’t show any sizzle. Davis played well early and late for the Lions. He has to improve pass coverage. The Broncos got the right pick for their needs. The Lions got the better player – who also filled a need.