More coverage » | Back to NFL ». He was selected to two Pro Bowls and carried on the legacy of Michael Strahan. Aaron Rodgers could make a convincing argument to be in this position now, and he has a great chance to take over by the time he retires. His first year as a starter came in 1988 when the 49ers went on to win the Super Bowl, and Wallace added two more title rings to his resume by the time he left the Bay Area to play his final season in Kansas City. Houston was named to the Pro Bowl four straight times from 2012-15 while also earning first-team All-Pro distinction in 2014, when he piled up a league-best 22 sacks. Incognito has been a controversial player on and off the field, but he has been one of the most dominant interior offensive linemen in the game during his career. Carmichael was eventually elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020 36 years after the end of his career. He compiled over 12,000 rushing yards and 91 touchdowns. • Picking underrated, overrated signings » What actually happened: Traded up, drafted edge Jerome McDougle 15th overall, Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Bills. He's pretty good. He has made five Pro Bowl appearances and was named a first-team All-Pro for his 16-touchdown performance in 2013. The 2013 class is about as bad as it gets at the league's most important position. Marion who played 10 NFL seasons with New England, made the Pro Bowl during the Patriots' excellent 1985 season thanks to his seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries. The Bengals, who won zero playoff games during Palmer's tenure, would be better off giving a shot to Romo in this do-over. Ratliff, who started 102 games and recorded 35 sacks in his career, made four straight Pro Bowls for the Cowboys from 2008-11, including a first-team All-Pro distinction in 2009. Maybe, under those circumstances, they'd have overcome the Colts in 2009 or Polamalu's Steelers in 2010. He has four first-team All-Pro selections as well as seven Pro Bowl appearances. Given that Terrell Davis just made the Hall of Fame for a relatively short peak, Sharpe's seven-year career -- which included four top-three finishes in terms of fantasy production at wideout -- might deserve further Hall consideration in its own right. This doesn't even include Von Miller or Justin Houston, who are treated as linebackers for the purposes of this list. Long's contribution to the game continued beyond his own playing career in the form of his sons, Chris and Kyle Long. He made six Pro Bowl appearances in 13 seasons, all coming in Buffalo, and while he wasn't known for racking up sacks as a penetrating pocket attacker, Williams did have one double-digit sack season in his career. Green played for 12 years but only started more than five games in six of them, despite racking up four Pro Bowl appearances. The Niners needed help on that side of the ball, and Redding was a solid player all the way through their next contention window in the early part of the next decade. Wells made 135 starts while playing in 146 games during his 11-year career. Todd Blackledge and Tony Eason didn't reach lofty heights, but Eason was still good enough to start a Super Bowl. Brown, who made one Pro Bowl appearance in 2001, played a big role during the playoffs in two of his three Super Bowl-winning seasons. He has made four Pro Bowl appearances as a result of his 74.5 sack during his 10 year-career despite not featuring as a starter until his fifth season. Without Tyree, we wouldn't have The Helmet Catch, which helped knock off the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Ham is one of the least discussed but most impactful linebackers in NFL history. • Winners and losers from free agency » Driver, who made three Pro Bowls with the Packers, was outstanding from 1999 to 2012. Tillman was a great player but will likely never be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He earned three Super Bowl titles as a member of the dominant Cowboys teams in the 1990s, but his best season didn't come until 1996, when he tallied a career-best 12 sacks to earn his first and only trip to the Pro Bowl. Three of those scores came in 2012 when he was a first-team All-Pro. Four of those seasons have ended with Pro Bowl recognition. He caught 557 passes for 6,366 yards and 31 touchdowns during the regular season but also contributed in the return game and even on defense at times. Will Shields and Steve Smith are other strong candidates for this spot. Perry, who started 144 of 165 games played, was a nine-year starter in the league, while no other No. The 2011 class has Miller and Houston, but the 2012 class has a better shot at delivering two Hall of Famers with inside linebackers Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. If Manning's career did not run parallel to arguably the most dominant dynasty in football history, he likely would have had a few more Super Bowl victories to his name. From 2003 to 2013, only four NFL players recorded more picks (36). Carson made nine Pro Bowl appearances during 13 NFL seasons before being ushered into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a long career manning the middle of the Giants defense while serving as a team captain for most of his tenure. With a few more Super Bowls, his argument as the best quarterback of all time would grow stronger. He is a four-time Super Bowl champion and a three-time Super Bowl MVP. A number of players on the board in this spot had better careers than Palmer, but the Lions were so bad at the time that the talents of Andre Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Antonio Gates or Terrell Suggs would have been wasted in the Motor City. The draft took place April 20–21, 2002 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Casey was traded this offseason but has long been one of the most underrated interior defenders in the NFL. Timmerman won a Super Bowl in his first year as a starter with the Packers, then went on to win another with the 1999 Rams. The most notable member of this line is otherwise longtime Steelers right tackle Tunch Ilkin. Between them is five-time Pro Bowler Ray Childress. Travis Frederick could have surpassed him if he had continued his career, which was unfortunately cut short. The linebacker set a career-high with 120 tackles in his first year with the Jets. Bishop, who made four Pro Bowl appearances for the Oilers/Titans, started 120 games over the course of his career. He played eight seasons and started 107 games, finishing his career with 59.5 sacks. • Watch: Patrick Mahomes He accumulated 10,643 rushing yards and 4,248 receiving yards during his career. Montgomery is one of only two No. Plus, Johnson is a legend in Houston and arguably the best offensive player in franchise history. 184 are pretty sparse, but Shelton deserves a shoutout for playing a role on some great Jaguars offenses in the late 1990s. Before going on to call NFL games for the NFL on CBS, Beuerlein starred as a quarterback with several teams during his 16-year career. Trevathan took advantage of his opportunity with Denver, where he won a Super Bowl in his final season with the Broncos, and parlayed that into a lucrative long-term deal with the Bears. 220 managed to carve out solid careers largely as reserves, but Stephen has done enough in his six seasons that we're giving him the nod. The '83 draft already has three legendary quarterbacks enshrined in John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, who combined for 23 Pro Bowl appearances. From 2003 to 2013, only four NFL players recorded more picks (36). If we assume that Rob Gronkowski is going to be a Hall of Famer in five years, this is the second-best tight end class of all time. What actually happened: Drafted LB Nick Barnett. And what was the most productive draft year in league history? Here are the specifics in a re-draft that includes only two quarterbacks, just one running back, just two wide receivers, two tight ends, four offensive linemen, 11 front-seven defenders and 10 defensive backs. He faded a bit from there but remained a pretty solid starter for four more years. J.R. Sweezy deserves consideration here, but Davis was able to enjoy a long career as defensive lineman with three different teams, including starting 122 of his 139 games played. Instead, they'll replace one Mathis with another, albeit at a different defensive position. Moss was known for his on-field antics as much as his posterizing catches down the sideline. Perry played 10 seasons in the NFL, making six Pro Bowl appearances during that time. That gives him a slight edge over Asante Samuel, who was also a killer playmaker at corner but wasn't as consistent in coverage. When removing the pre-merger players from the candidate pool, the No. He was also a starter for the team's three Super Bowl bids during a four-year stretch in the 1980s. The three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver had seven 1,000-yard seasons altogether. 6-keys: media/spln/nfl/draft/free/stories, at Not all heroes wear capes. The third piece to Indianapolis' passing attack joins the party. Norman has at times been considered one of the best corners in the game, and he had two pick-sixes and four interceptions in all as a first-team All-Pro in 2015, his final season in Carolina. Still, this St. Louis team needed more talent in the front seven. He would go on to play for the Raiders and the Patriots. While that would be his peak, he did played 10 seasons and started 76 of his 123 games played. He won a Super Bowl with the Saints in his second season, then made two Pro Bowl appearances the following two years and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2011. The talent really drops off around this spot, but the Pats can utilize this pick—originally used by Baltimore on Kyle Boller—to add another middle-round steal who helped them forge a dynasty. The longtime Bears linebacker is the only player left from this class who earned five-plus Pro Bowl nods. The presence of a third Hall of Fame candidate pushes 1974 ahead of 1996. He accumulated 10,449 rushing yards as well as 5,183 receiving yards. He's returned five of his 12 career interceptions for touchdowns. Diehl played for 11 seasons and started 160 games, including all 16 as a rookie for the 2003 Giants. He played in 81 games for three different teams while topping 1,000 rushing yards twice. The Rutgers product had a team-high eight tackles in two separate Super Bowl starts and finished his career with five campaigns of 99-plus tackles. Southern has been really well-represented on this list with five players, and Osborne shined as a long-time starter in Chicago, where he started 154 of his 186 games played. Covering the impact of coronavirus on the sports world. Montana is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. From 2008 to 2011, he missed just one start and registered 10 picks, 43 passes defended, eight forced fumbles, four sacks and 362 tackles. The competitive Saints could have used a player like that when they didn't have a player hit the eight-sack mark in 2008, 2010 and 2011. It's fitting that San Francisco makes our list at No. It was essentially a coin toss between LaDainian Tomlinson and Sanders. Without any further ado, let's get started. Hall, who was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a first-team All-Pro, managed 14,386 all-purpose yards in his career. Both Taylor and Bell had the staying power to outlast that rut. Thomas made two Pro Bowl appearances and was a first-team All-Pro in 2006, when he recorded 11 sacks and returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown. Wallace, who played 12 NFL seasons and made one Pro Bowl appearance, was a primary starter for eight seasons in San Francisco. He started 200 games in the NFL over 16 seasons. That positive history in Houston gives him an edge over defensive stars Troy Polamalu and Terrell Suggs, partly because the Texans eventually became a damn good defensive team anyway thanks to guys like Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and J.J. Watt. I went ahead and built a simple, admittedly arbitrary stat to try and calculate that figure.