The Last 25 Years: Best Second-Round Picks – Defense


Yesterday, we looked at the best all-time second-round picks on offense.  I won’t bore you with some fancy-shmancy intro today.

Let’s get right to it with the best defensive players selected in the second-round of the NFL Draft over the last twenty-five years.

Defensive Tackle – Cornelius Griffin, Pick 42, 2000, New York Giants

Not a bad stat line for Griffin after eight seasons in the league – 293 tackles, 26 sacks, 1 interception and 21 passes defensed, especially for a defensive tackle.  He’s almost been an after thought around the league but has been solid in the middle.  He was drafted by the Giants but moved on to Washington in 2004.

Defensive Tackle – Shaun Rogers, Pick 61, 2001, Detroit Lions

The knock on Rogers is that he takes plays off and his motivation has been lacking.  But when he plays his best, he’s hard to stop.  Just take a look at the numbers he’s compiled in his seven NFL seasons – 250 tackles, 29 sacks, 1 interception, 1 very memorable TD, 21 passes defensed and 4 forced fumbles.

Defensive Tackle – Michael Dean Perry, Pick 50, 1998, Cleveland Browns

He may be better known as the Refrigerator’s brother but Michael Dean Perry had a very good NFL career – 534 tackles, 61 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, 8 fumble recoveries, 1 TD.  Maybe he became a forgotten man playing in Cleveland but he was a great pickup for a second-rounder.

Others – Kris Jenkins, Carolina Panthers (#44, 2001); Larry Tripplett, Indianapolis Colts (#42, 2002).

Defensive End – Michael Strahan, Pick 40, 1993, New York Giants

If there was any doubt about a player from this list being voted to the Hall of Fame, that doubt is gone.  Strahan should be a first-ballot, sure-fire inductee.  Over 15 seasons, he’s proven to be a tremendous pass rusher.  And his career numbers stand up to anyone’s – 851 tackles, 141.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 32 passes defensed, 22 forced fumbles, 2 TD’s.

Defensive End – Leonard Marshall, Pick 37, 1983, New York Giants

Consider the Giants defense during their heyday of the 80’s without Marshall.  It’s not really possible.  Marshall was a tremendous player who collected 83.5 sacks in 177 games played, adding another 12 in the postseason.  He was voted to the Pro Bowl three times.  He was a fierce player who may be best remembered for a hit on Joe Montana in the 1990 NFC Championship Game.  Montana suffered a bruised sternum, bruised stomach, cracked ribs, and a broken hand on the hit.

Others – Mike Rucker, Carolina Panthers (#38, 1999); Phil Hansen, Buffalo Bills (#54, 1991); Danny Stubbs, San Francisco 49ers (#33, 1988); Tony Brackens, Jacksonville Jaguars (#33, 1996); Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants (#56, 2003); Sean Jones, Oakland Raiders (#51, 1984); Marcellus Wiley, Buffalo Bills (#52, 1997).

Linebacker – Darryl Talley, Pick 39, 1983, Buffalo Bills

Talley played in the shadows of Bruce Smith but had a solid NFL career.  His stats, though not spectacular, are solid – 1190 tackles, 38.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, 17 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries, 2 TD’s.

Linebacker – John Offerdahl, Pick 52, 1986, Miami Dolphins

Offerdahl didn’t have a long career – only eight seasons.  But he was a solid player making the Pro Bowl five times.  He was all over the field.  His career total of 9.5 sacks hardly tell the story.  Offerdahl saw his career cut a little short but was a solid performer.

Linebacker – Chris Spielman, Pick 29, 1988, Detroit Lions

In eleven seasons with Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland, Spielman established himself as a top talent at the linebacker position.  He made four career trips to the Pro Bowl and was named All-Pro twice.  His knack for always being around the ball was evident during the 1996 season when he had 206 tackles.

Others – Michael Barrow, Houston Oilers (#47, 1993); Sam Rogers, Buffalo Bills (#64, 1994); Simon Fletcher, Denver Broncos (#54, 1985); Levon Kirkland, Pittsburgh Steelers (#38, 1992); Pepper Johnson, New York Giants (#51, 1986); DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans (#33, 2006); Jamie Sharper, Baltimore Ravens (#34, 1997).

Cornerback – Samari Rolle, Pick 46, 1998, Tennessee Titans (Oilers)

Rolle has been an outstanding corner in his ten seasons in the league.  He has totalled 412 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 28 interceptions, 1 TD and 91 passes defensed.  He also has one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro selection to his credit.

Cornerback – Sam Madison, Pick 44, 1997, Miami Dolphins

In eleven NFL seasons, Madison has been a very good cover corner.  The stats bear out his abilities – 460 tackles, 2 sacks, 37 interceptions, 2 TD’s, 93 passes defensed.  He spent his first nine seasons in Miami before moving on to play for the Giants.  Madison has also been honored with four trips to the Pro Bowl.

Cornerback – Patrick Surtain, Pick 44, 1998, Miami Dolphins

It’s no wonder the Dolphins had a solid defense for years hitting on cornerbacks in back to back drafts.  Surtain has been a very good one – 534 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 36 interceptions, 2 TD’s and 77 passes defensed.  He moved on after seven years in Miami to play the last three in Kansas City.  His career has been highlighted by three Pro Bowls and 2 All-Pro selections.

Others – Dre’ Bly, St. Louis Rams (#41, 1999); Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears (#35, 2003); Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville Jaguars (#39, 2003); Ken Lucas, Seattle Seahawks (#40, 2001); Darren Sharper, Green Bay Packers (#60, 1997); Phillippi Sparks, New York Giants (#41, 1992); Devin Hester, Chicago Bears (#57, 2006); Fred Smoot, Washington Redskins (#45, 2001).

Safety – Darren Woodson, Pick 37, 1992, Dallas Cowboys

Woodson has been a very solid safety – 965 tackles, 11 sacks, 23 interceptions, 2 TD’s, 83 passes defensed.  He has been to five Pro Bowls and been named All-Pro four times.

Safety – Bob Sanders, Pick 44, 2004, Indianapolis Colts

Every NFL scout and personnel guy has to be kicking themselves over missing on Sanders.  He virtually single-handedly transformed the Colts’ defense making them more physical.  In his first four seasons, his numbers have been excellent – 249 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 11 passes defensed.  While his interception numbers are lacking, it’s his physical play in the secondary that has made him so valuable.  He has also added two Pro Bowls and 2 All-Pro selections to his resume.

Others – Tim McDonald, St. Louis Rams (#34, 1987); Ken Hamlin, Seattle Seahawks (#42, 2003); Eugene Wilson, New England Patriots (#36, 2003); Jason Sehorn, New York Giants (#59, 1994); Mike Doss, Indianapolis Colts (#58, 2003).

Tomorrow, we’ll begin with the best picks from the third-round of the last twenty-five years.