Ranking the top 10 draft classes of the PFF era | NFL Draft

The draft is the cornerstone of any NFL team. Even though it is said that the draft is often a roll of the dice, it is amazing how quickly an extinct class can reverse the fortunes of a franchise. You won’t find a single team that made this list that didn’t enjoy a period of prosperity in the following years. Storing talented players on rookie deals is a surefire way to build a Super Bowl contender.

The competition to make this list was so stiff that a class with three first-team All-Pros — the 2016 Tennessee Titans with Jack Conklin, Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard — didn’t make the cut (a different draft from Titans did, however). Place value was considered slightly for this, but not to the extent that PFF WAR suggests not just making this a list of the best quarterbacks drafted in the last 15 years.


1. New Orleans Saints 2017

1(11): CB Marshon Lattimore
1(32): OT Ryan Ramczyk
2(42): Marcus Williams
3(67): RB Alvin Kamara
3(76): LB Alex Anzalone
3(103): EDGE Trey Hendrickson
6(196): EDGE Al-Quadin Muhammad

It’s the benchmark for modern writing. There’s no better way to visualize just how absurd this class is than to look at the contract numbers the five headliners are currently on:

  • Marshon Lattimore: 5 years, $97M ($19.4M APY)
  • Ryan Ramczyk: 5 years, $96M ($19.2M APY)
  • Marcus Williams: 5 years, $70M ($14M APY)
  • Alvin Kamara: 5 years, $75 million ($15 million APY)
  • Trey Hendrickson: 4 years, $60M ($15M APY)

That’s five players in a class who currently earn over $14 million a year. The Saints’ current “kick in the box” cap management strategy would never have been possible without this draft class here.

2. 2010 Seattle Seahawks

1(6): TO Russell Okung
1(14): S Count Thomas
2(60): WR Tate of gold
4(111): CC Walter Thurmond
4(127): EDGE EJ Wilson
5(133): S Chancellor of Kam
6(185): AND Anthony McCoy
7(236): KG Dexter Davis
7(245): AND Jameson Konz

Everything general manager John Schneider touched from 2010 to 2012 turned to gold in the draft. Both Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are potential Hall of Famers in this class. And Russell Okung and Golden Tate had decade-long careers as quality starters. It’s easy to forget that Walter Thurmond — who couldn’t break into the starting lineup in Seattle — had a terrific year with the Eagles in 2015 in which he allowed just 321 yards on 712 snaps. coverage and earned a 72.6 overall rating before abruptly retiring despite being a wanted free agent. What a spectacular class.

3. Baltimore Ravens 2018

1 (25): TE Hayden Hurst
1(32): QB Lamar Jackson
3(83): OT Orlando Brown Jr.
3(86): T Mark Andrews
4(118): CB Anthony Averett
4(122): LB Kenny Young
4(132): WR Jaleel Scott
5(162): WR Jordan Lasley
6(190): S DeShon Elliott
6(212): OT Greg Senate
6(215): OC Bradley Bozeman
7(238): DT Zach Sieler

We can just forget that the Hayden Hurst pick ever happened (although the Ravens somehow still swindled a Falcons second-rounder for him a few years later). After that, you have a former MVP, a tackle vying to be the highest-paid player in his position, the reigning first-team All-Pro tight end, and five other players who started at one point or another. another during their NFL career. (with two currently slated to start in Zach Sieler and Bradley Bozeman). It’s a carry no matter how you cut it.

4. 2012 Seattle Seahawks

1(15): EDGE Bruce Irvin
2(47): LB Bobby Wagner
3(75): QB Russell Wilson
4(106): RB Robert Turbin
4(114): DT Jaye Howard
5(154): LB Korey Toomer
6(172): CB Jeremy Lane
6(181): comics Guy Winston
7(225): OG JR Sweezy
7(232): EDGE Greg Scruggs

It was the draft that really pushed the Seahawks franchise into the stratosphere — and don’t worry, it’s not Seattle’s last draft on this list. Unfortunately, it also capped the biggest draft run in modern NFL history, as the team wouldn’t stop trading first-round picks after that (its next first-round pick was in 2016) . In the next nine seasons after the draft, the Seahawks won a total of 98 games and only missed the playoffs once.

5. 2014 Oakland Raiders

1(5): EDGE Khalil Mack
2(36): QB Derek Carr
3(81): OG Gabe Jackson
4(107): DT Justin Ellis
4(116): DB Keith McGill
7(219): CB TJ Carrie
7(235): DT Shelby Harris
7(247): Jonathan Dowling comics

A top-three rusher, a franchise quarterback outside of the first round, and a high-quality guard. That alone is enough to make this list. This class tops the others on this list, as it also featured three more capable starters in Justin Ellis, TJ Carrie and Shelby Harris. It’s a shame that an injury to Derek Carr and the subsequent trade of Khalil Mack dissolved that young core before it came to fruition.

6. Tennessee Titans 2019

1 (19): DI Jeffrey Simmons
2 (51): WR AJ Brown
3 (82): OG Nate Davis
4 (116): S Amani Hooker
5 (168): EDGE by André Walker
6 (188): LB David Long

It was general manager Jon Robinson’s version of when Josh Hamilton hit four home runs and a double in one game. There’s only one player in the 2019 Titans class you’d even want a slight shakeup on, and that’s obviously D’Andre Walker. Jeffrey Simmons, AJ Brown and Amani Hooker all ranked in the top 10 starters at their respective positions in 2021, while Nate Davis and David Long ranked above average. Sadly, Tennessee is a class man heading into 2022 after the AJ Brown trade, but that doesn’t change how ridiculous that transport was.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers 2010

1(18): CO Maurice Pouncey
2(52): EDGE Jason worlds
3(82): WR Emmanuel Sander
4(116): EDGE Thaddee Gibson
5(151): OG Chris Scott
5(164): comics Crezdon Butler
5(166): KG Stevenson Sylvester
6(188): RB Jonathan Dwyer
6(195): WR Antonio Brown
7(242): DT Doug Worthington

Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Maurkice Pouncey are all household names. Their inclusion does not need to be justified. Where this draft blows the Colts’ superb 2018 run is the addition of Jason Worilds. If you didn’t follow the Steelers or football closely in the early 2010s, you may have forgotten what a good player the Virginia Tech product was. Worilds has become a quality starting edge with top-20 ratings in his final two seasons as a Steeler. After playing 2014 on the transitional tag, Worilds was expected to hit free agency in 2015. Instead of signing a big contract, however, he shockingly retired to pursue other interests. At just 34, it’s unclear where Worilds could have ended up.

8. Indianapolis Colts 2018

1(6): OG Quenton Nelson
2(36): LB Darius Leonard
2(37): OG Braden Smith
2(52): Ed Kemoko Turay
2(64): Ed Tyquan Lewis
4(104): RB Nyheim Hines
5(159): Fountain WR Daurice
5(169): RB Jordan Wilkins
6(185): WR Deon Cain
7(221): LB Matthew Adams
7(235): LB Zaire Franklin

You won’t find too many better first three swings from the bat in NFL Draft history. Quenton Nelson, Darius Leonard and Braden Smith are all the top five players at their respective positions heading into 2022. That being said, the many puffs after that do a little bit to dull the class shine. It was still Chris Ballard’s magnum opus – and the cornerstone of the Colts franchise for years to come.

9. 2006 Denver Broncos

1(11): QC cutler jay
2(61): AND Tony Scheffler
4(119): WR Brandon Marshall
4(126): OF Elvis Dumerville
4(130): WR Dominique Hixon
5(161): g Chris Kuper
6(198): VS Greg Eslinger

Of all the drafts on this list, this one had the hardest time moving the needle. You can thank the organizational bustle for that, however, as much as the accumulated talent. The three headliners – Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil – all left in an unusual way. Cutler was traded for two first and a third, Marshall was traded for a second and Dumervil hit free agency after his agent faxed his contract documents late, voiding a $12 million contract for the 2013 season Still, all three earned top 10 marks at their respective positions in Broncos uniforms during their prime. And unlike some other classes on this list, it didn’t take a plethora of project capital to acquire them.

10. 2006 New Orleans Saints

1(2): RB Reggie Bush
2(43): S Romain Harper
4(108): TO Jahri Evans
5(135): OF Rob Ninkovitch
6(171): WR mike hass
7(210): TO Zach Strief
7(252): WR Colston Brands

The 2010 Patriots draft that included Devin McCourty and Rob Gronkowski, among others, as well as the 2007 49ers draft that included Patrick Willis and Joe Staley, were both left out. However, these were two very heavy drafts, with far from the depth accumulated by the Saints.

What the Saints’ 2006 draft lacked in elite talent, it made up for in success rate. Of their seven draft picks, six have become quality starters at some point in their NFL careers (Reggie Bush, Roman Harper, Jahri Evans, Rob Ninkovich, Zach Strief and Marques Colston). It’s made even more incredible by the fact that five of their seven picks were outside the top 100. You won’t find another draft in the PFF era with this many players and this kind of success rate. It’s not hyperbole to say that the Saints wouldn’t have won Super Bowl XLIV without this class.


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