Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces Trent Richardson (Alabama) as the number three overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Third Overall Pick in the NFL Draft: A Decade of Number Three


January 25, 2013; Ko Olina, HI, USA; AFC wide receiver Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans (80) looks on during practice at AFC media day for the 2013 Pro Bowl at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With three days left until Roger Goodell is booed off the stage at the 2013 NFL Draft, I decided to analyze the number three picks of the last decade. Of course the Oakland Raiders are up to bat at number three in 2013, and Reggie McKenzie is set on finding a cornerstone.

2003 – WR, Andre Johnson (Miami (FLA))

Andre Johnson has been a polarizing figure for the Texans ever since he arrived. When people think of the Houston Texans, Johnson comes to mind. One of the league’s most talented players, Johnson has helped turn what was once a newborn expansion team into a formidable foe. Today Johnson battles injuries, but at full speed and equipped with a capable quarterback in Matt Shaub he is still as dangerous as a deathclaw in an elevator.

Fun Fact – Carson Palmer was the number one pick.

2004 – WR, Larry Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh)

This receiver has become a household name as one of the best at what he does. His great size and speed has made for some of the NFL’s best circus grabs ever. Whether it is Kurt Warner or Kevin Kolb at quarterback, Fitz makes plays. In 2009 the long time Arizona Cardinal brought his team to their first ever Super Bowl. Fitzgerald played outstanding, including a 64 yard touchdown snag and run. This receiver is sure to go down as one of the best, compared to the likes of Jerry Rice and Calvin Johnson Jr.

Fun Fact – Robert Gallery was picked at number two. Another great pickup Al.

2005 – WR, Braylon Edwards (Michigan)

With all these receiver picks, one would think the Detroit Lions draft third every year. This former Wolverine standout has not lived up to expectations. Drafted by the Browns, Braylon has bounced around the league and landed with the Vikings after his latest stint with the Jets. Edwards still has his day, but the number three pick has never played like a true number three pick.

Fun Fact – Antrel Rolle is probably the best pick in the top ten. He was number eight. #baddraftclass

2006 – QB, Vince Young (Texas)

This former Titan drafted quarterback, has had more issues then Playboy Magazine. Between mental breakdowns and throwing his shoulder pads into the crowd during games, Young has not lived up to his draft status. Ironically after a couple stints as a mediocre backup, Young has found himself in talks with the Raiders. The former Longhorn claims he has renewed his ability on the field but still proves to be a risk.

Fun Fact – Brandon Mashall fell to pick 119 in this draft.

2007 – OT, Joe Thomas (Wisconsin)

One of the best lineman in the NFL today, was selected by the Cleveland Browns at number three. The 6-time Pro Bowler has become a building stone for this franchise to work off of, and is one of very few players whom have made said Pro Bowl every year of their career. In 2012, Thomas protected quarterback Brandon Weeden and allowed a personal best, 3.5 sacks.

Fun Fact – The era of Jamarcus Russell.

2008 – QB, Matt Ryan (Boston College)

Matty Ice is another number three standout. The quarterback is currently a key part of one of the NFL’s deadliest offenses. A team that features an exciting young running back and in my opinion, the absolute best receiving corps in the league. Leave Matt Ryan 20 seconds on the clock and the Atlanta Falcons will find themselves in field goal range with 3 seconds left. This team will be a future contender for the Lombardi for the next decade with Matt Ryan at the helm.

Fun Fact – The first two picks both shared the name Long (Jake Long/Chris Long).

2009 – DE, Tyson Jackson (Louisiana State)

Jackson, who originally held out his rookie season, has not lived up to his draft status. This end was brought in to Kansas City to usher in the Chief’s new 3-4 defense. Mediocre play has lead to Jackson being labeled as a work in progress.

Fun Fact – Could have pick B.J. Raji who fell to the ninth pick.

2010 – DT, Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)

McCoy was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his rookie season McCoy tore his left bicep, resulting in his placement on the Injured Reserve. After fully recovering from his injury McCoy became a force to be reckoned with on the Buc’s defensive line. In 2012 he found himself being selected to his first ever Pro Bowl.

Fun Fact – Picked after Ndamukong Suh

2011 – DT, Marcell Dareus (Alabama)

Dareus became a threat for the Buffalo Bills. In his rookie season the defensive tackle recorded 5.5 sacks. However, in the 2012 season the Bill suffered tremendous tragedy when he lost his brother in a shooting. Dareus has yet to show if he will truly live up to his draft status as a number three overall pick.

Fun Fact – Picked in between Von Miller and A.J. Green

2012 – RB, Trent Richardson (Alabama)

Roll Tide. Another member of the Crimson tide was chosen at number three in 2012. Despite Dareus’s NFL career being a work in progress, Trent Richardson has most definitely lived up to his draft status. Running behind former number three pick Joe Thomas, this Cleveland Brown has made Cleveland rock again. His rookie season featured him pushing off fearsome defenses like the Steelers and Ravens. No easy task for a rookie. The future of this franchise will rely a lot on this kids shoulder pads.

Fun Fact – The top 4 draft picks of this class all proved their worth. (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffith 3, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil)

Well, there you have it. A decade of the number three. Some good, some bad, some ugly. Just remember the good thing about picking third. At least Jamarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, and David Carr are already picked.

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  • Chris Candide

    I don’t think you know what “polarizing” means, bro.