“Jerod Mayo of the Patriots was one,”finnwormser said. “He was considered a bit of a reach at #10 overall, but he had a bunch of above-average seasons and a few really good ones. Unfortunately, his career ended a little early because of injuries but I heard he’s back with the Patriots as a linebackers coach.” Mayo won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in his first season as he proved his ability.
But he also proved his incredible loyalty to the Patriots and Bill Belichick made him a member of his coaching staff after his retirement. A Super Bowl champion and a two-time Pro Bowler, Mayo had some superb success on the playing field. Mayo’s work ethic is the stuff of legend. He never took his draft status for granted and worked hard on and off the field. No wonder Belichick holds him in such high regard.
“Mahomes was seen as a Clelin Ferrell type reach (~15 spots higher than expected to go) in 2017. It’s turned out okay,”IIHURRlCANEII pointed out. It’s evident that Mahomes is a generational talent, but this was by no means a guarantee when the Chiefs picked him up in the first round. But they did the right thing and redshirted him for his rookie year. Then, he exploded into life in 2018 and turned Kansas City into a force.
“Great one. I do recall plenty of people ripping the Chiefs about taking a QB so early that was a developmental QB, and while they had Alex Smith under contract and playing well,”AKraiderfan noted. Andy Reid and his staff deserve immense credit for the manner in which they guided Mahomes and fine=tuned him for the NFL. A Super Bowl champion and multi-time Pro Bowler, they definitely pulled off a steal.
“Bruce Irvin was a huge surprise at 15 and played a key role in that Super Bowl,”ImanShumpertplus observed. Irvin had influential roles in more than one Super Bowl but at least earned one ring. He helped the Patriots overcome the Broncos in 2013 and was an integral presence on the field. However, he became the first player to suffer the indignity of a Super Bowl ejection when the Patriots defeated his Seahawks in 2014.
“Yeah, not a superstar like a lot of other players being mentioned, but he was a very productive player on our defense and was widely seen as a reach when we drafted him. We haven’t really been able to find a good 3rd LB since he left,”hendrix67 said. Irvin wasn’t the most glamorous player but he was a tremendous athlete and his effectiveness was incredible. Every Super Bowl-winning team needs this.
“I remember Texans fans getting really p***ed in 2011 “reaching” for JJ Watt. Everybody was so mad we would get an unathletic DE over Prince Amukamara. Gotta say that turned out to be a good “reach” on the Texans part,”RhoAlphaPhii said. Many Texans fans were in tears when Watt finally departed Houston for Arizona in 2021. This was because of his incredible commitment to the team.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year broke every meaningful Texans’ record during his time with the franchise. He also led the league in sacks on two occasions. Meanwhile, a quick glance at one of his workouts illustrates that Watt is an incredible animal. His ferocious tackling and superb positional play make him one of the best defensive ends out there.
“Kyle Long wanted to return to school for one more year to improve his skills and increase his value. but the NCAA turned him down for a medical redshirt and forced him to go pro, too,”Hyperdrunk said. He applied for one more year of eligibility but after the NCAA’s refusal, he ended up playing for the Chicago Bears. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the former Oregon star.
Many fans criticized the Bears’ decision but it turned out to be a good one. “Long was only a starter for like half a season in college, and it was due to an injury. His age was less of a factor than the fact that he was a major unknown with fairly limited tape,”TheManWhoWasNotShort recalled. He became a three-time Pro Bowler during this time in the Windy City so it was an incredible decision.
“This has to be the winner, Ed Reed is without a doubt the best safety to ever play,”andyzaltzman1 agreed. “Probably the best DB to ever play, and easily one of the best defenders of the last 30 years.” This is not an overstatement by any means. Reed was an incredible athlete and deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame. He is one of Baltimore’s greatest ever players and deserves his place at the top of this list.
A Super Bowl winner with the Ravens, he was also the Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Reed was a nine-time Pro Bowler and led the league in interceptions. Meanwhile, he is also a massive personality and this endeared him to the fans. Every generation a player comes along who changes the game and Reed was one of these. Quite simply, he was outstanding and a top athlete.