The Last 25 Years: Best Fourth-Round Picks – Offense
Two rounds down and four to go. Time for part five of our series looking back at rounds two through seven of the annual NFL Draft.It’s time now to move on and get a close look at the best offensive players selected in the fourth round over the last twenty-five years.
Center – Tony Mayberry, Pick 108, 1990, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mayberry was the man in the middle in Tampa Bay for ten seasons. His career included three trips to the Pro Bowl. He started 145 out of a possible 160 regular season games.
Others – Dave Wohlabaugh, New England Patriots (#112, 1995).
Guard – Tom Thayer, Pick 91, 1983, Chicago Bears
Talk about a guy getting around! Thayer played for the Chicago Blitz in the USFL then later moved on to the NFL to play for the Bears. He helped the team reach and win Super Bowl XX. Unfortunately, Thayer was never voted to a Pro Bowl.
Guard – Ryan Diem, Pick 118, 2001, Indianapolis Colts
The guard position in this round is admittedly weak. Diem was drafted as a guard but has switched to tackle in the NFL to help protect Payton Manning.
Others – Floyd Womack, Seattle Seahawks (#128, 2001).
Offensive Tackle – Stacey Andrews, Pick 123, 2004, Cincinnati Bengals
In his three years in the league, Andrews has proven to be a versatile player. He can play both guard and tackle. He doesn’t officially have a starting job but was still franchised by the team this season.
Offensive Tackle – Jeff Christy, Pick 91, 1992, Phoenix Cardinals
Drafted as a tackle but moved to center, Christy has been solid. He has made three Pro Bowl appearances and has played for three teams – Cardinals, Vikings and Bucanneers.
Others – John Welbourn, Philadelphia Eagles (#97, 1999); Jason Fabini, New York Jets (#111, 1998); Jamie Nails, Buffalo Bills (#120, 1997).
Tight End – Owen Daniels, Pick 98, 2006, Houston Texans
Daniels came out of nowhere during his rookie season as a contributor and then picked it even more in his sophomore year with 63 catches for 768 yards and 8 TD’s. He was named to two publications’ all rookie teams and is likely headed for a long career.
Tight End – Randy McMichael, Pick 114, 2002, Miami Dolphins
McMichael has been knocked for dropping passes during his career but he’s also caught a few – 322 receptions, 3525 yards, 21 TD’s.
Others – George Wrighster, Jacksonville Jaguars (#104, 2003).
Running Back – Stephen Davis, Pick 102, 1996, Washington Redskins
Here’s a player near and dear to the hearts of Panthers fans! Davis had a solid start to his career in Washington having topped 1300 yards three times. But his 2003 season helped to propel Carolina to the Super Bowl. His career numbers are solid – 1945 carries, 8052 yards, 65 TD’s. He also added three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection to his career accomplishments.
Running Back – Rudi Johnson, Pick 100, 2001, Cincinnati Bengals
After Corey Dillon went down with an injury in 2005, Johnson seized the opportunity. Having not played much in his first two seasons, Johnson would gain 5178 yards on 1254 carries and score 45 TD’s over his next three. His playing time was cut due to injuries and the presence of Kenny Irons and Chris Perry in 2007.
Others – Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys (#109, 2005); Correll Buckhalter, Philadelphia Eagles (#121, 2001); Edgar Bennett, Green Bay Packers (#103, 1992); Leon Washington, New York Jets (#117, 2006); Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants (#110, 2005); Michael Pittman, Arizona Cardinals (#95, 1998).
Fullback – Najeh Davenport, Pick 135, 2002, Green Bay Packers
Davenport made a name for himself in Green Bay so much so that he was a highly sought-after fullback in free agency and landed in Pittsburgh. His rushing stats aren’t great – 384 carries, 1788 yards, 13 TD’s. It’s his ability to block and make catches out of the backfield that make him a valuable player.
Others – Stanley Pritchett, Miami Dolphins (#118, 1996).
Wide Receiver – Andre Reed, Pick 86, 1985, Buffalo Bills
From the fourth round to the Hall of Fame. Reed’s stats can be compared to the best who ever played the position – 951 catches, 13,198 yards, 87 TD’s. He also added seven Pro Bowls and one All-Pro selection to his resume. He was passed over for HOF induction in 2006 and 2007 but his day will come.
Wide Receiver – Derrick Mason, Pick 98, 1997, Tennessee Oilers (Titans)
Mason has played in both Tennessee and Baltimore over eleven years. He’s never been a flashy guy and hasn’t had the kind of fan recognition other wideouts might receive but he’s been very solid – 710 catches, 9024 yards, 47 TD’s. Four Pro Bowl appearances can also be credited to him.
Others – Brandon Stokley, Baltimore Ravens (#105, 1999); Justin McCareins, Tennessee Titans (#124, 2001); Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos (#119, 2006); Ernest Wilford, Jacksonville Jaguars (#120, 2004); Jerricho Cotchery, New York Jets (#108, 2004); Az-Zahir Hakim, St. Louis Rams (#96, 1998).
Quarterback – Steve Beuerlein, Pick 110, 1987, Los Angeles Raiders
His career spanned six NFL cities – Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Charlotte, and Denver. It was his time in Carolina during which he had his most success. His career numbers aren’t bad – 3328 attempts, 1894 completions, 24,046 yards, 147 TD’s and 112 ints. He made one Pro Bowl appearance and also led the league in passing in 1999 with 4436 yards while with the Panthers.
Others – Aaron Brooks, New Orleans Saints (#131, 1999); David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars (#108, 2002).
Tomorrow, we’ll look at the best defenders to be selected in round four of the NFL Draft over the last quarter century.