Embattled ex-Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman became the latest 2009 first-round pick to
leave the franchisethat drafted him this week.
When you take a look back at it, the 2009 NFL Draft was a disaster. Nine of the 32 first-round picks are no longer with their teams, and four are out of the league entirely.
That’s not to mention the relative disappointments who are still with their teams — guys like Mark Sanchez, Larry English, and Peria Jerry.
Just take a look at the top-10.
You probably don’t even recognise many of these names:
- Matthew Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions): Firmly in the second-tier of NFL quarterbacks
- Jason Smith (OT, St. Louis Rams): Cut in 2012, now out of the league
- Tyson Jackson (DE, Kansas City Chiefs): A rotation player with six sacks in five years
- Aaron Curry (LB, Seattle Seahawks): Now retired
- Mark Sanchez (QB, New York Jets): Got off to a promising start before his career fell apart
- Andre Smith (OT, Cincinnati Bengals): A really solid lineman
- Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, Oakland Raiders): Now on the Colts after a disappointing career with the Raiders
- Eugene Monroe (OT, Jacksonville Jaguars): A starting-level player who just got traded to the Ravens
- BJ Raji (DT, Green Bay Packers): The best player taken in the top-10, and the lone Pro Bowler
- Michael Crabtree (WR, San Francisco 49ers): Plagued by injury, but started to show some promise in 2012
This isn’t necessarily a new information (The Big Lead slammed the 2009 Draft last summer).
But when you look at teams like the Jets, Bucs, and 49ers today, it’s interesting to see that their biggest issues can be directly traced to what happened in 2009.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best example. This is one of the most talented teams in the NFL. They have the third best defence in the league, and their skill players at running back and wide receiver are Pro Bowl calibre. But they’ve been undone by quarterback play. They picked Josh Freeman 17th overall in 2009, and built their entire team under the assumption that he’d grow into the franchise QB by 2012. He never did, and now they’ve regressed as a franchise.
Some other teams still dealing with the fallout:
St. Louis Rams. They had to give offensive tackle Jake Long a $US34 million contract this summer to replace the gaping whole left by Jason Smith. That crippled their cap space (although with Sam Bradford’s contract), and now they’re struggling with holes all over the field.
New York Jets. The team’s mishandling of Mark Sanchez turned him into a laughingstock last year. They had to draft Geno Smith in 2013, and now they’re back in a rebuilding phase four years after doing the same exact thing with Sanchez.
San Francisco 49ers. They still can’t find anyone to catch the ball four years after drafting Michael Crabtree to be the No. 1 option. They’ve had to return to a power running game after experimenting with an up-tempo passing attack failed.
Arizona Cardinals. They have one of the worst rushing attacks in the league, and had to pick up Rashard Mendenhall (!) this offseason. They drafted Beanie Wells in 2009 under the impression that he’d be the running back for years to come.
Every draft has its busts, but 2009 was particularly debilitating.
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