2009 NFL Draft the Worst Of All Time?

Updated: September 20, 2010

The NFL draft is supposed to be the day where every fan in the NFL has hope.  Every named called by the commissioner could be a potential All-Pro, fan favorite, or even a Hall of Fame player to suit up for your favorite team.  Every year your team has a chance to “reboot & reload” and finally, yes finally, this year could be the year.

Every year except for 2009.  Statistically it is turning out to be the worst NFL Draft of all-time.  All time? Yes, all time. As in ever!

Rick Gosselin wrote a great statistically piece over at Dallas News in which he writes, and I quote:

The NFL has played only 17 games since conducting the 2009 draft and already a third of that class has been waived, traded or retired. Of the 257 selections in 2009, 85 are already off the rosters of the drafting teams – a stunning 33.1 percent.

That is beyond crazy.  In just one year over 1/3 of the rookie class is now looking for a job.  But what are the reasons? Is it money, talent, or just a crazy mixture of both?

Look at it this way, most teams are gearing up for what could be a 2011 season without football.  That means that team owners may be trying to lean out their salaries heading into negotiations.  No need to pay a bunch of guys who aren’t really contributing to their bottom line, when street free agents and veterans are so plentiful.  Another factor is the rookie cap.  If it looks anything like the NBA’s current rookie cap, draftees, especially those in the top of round 1 will be making a fraction of what they make now.

Another factor is the plain talent.  Last year a lot of underclassmen came out, which always tends to make scouting harder.  There is simply no test that can indicate what will happen to a 21 or 22 year old’s motivation once he gets his first check for six figures.  A couple high draft picks from last year are already on their second team, one his second sport, and another his second career.

At this point in time at least 5 first round picks from last year (that will go unnamed in this article) are already on the verge of bust status.

To put the draft’s alleged downward spiral in perspective, in 1999 there were 22 out of 92 draft picks in the first 3 rounds that went on to become Pro Bowlers, even with bust Tim Couch leading the group #1 overall.  3 of those players will likely be selected in the Hall of Fame: Donovan McNabb, Champ Bailey, and Torry Holt.

Just 9 years later, the 2008 draft class has only produced 7 Pro Bowlers from the first 3 rounds, with Jermichael Finley, Joe Flacco, and Jamaal Charles likely to make it for after this season.  Thats still only 10 Pro Bowlers from the drafts “premium” rounds as opposed to more than double less than a decade prior.

The number of Pro Bowlers has gone down drastically over the last decade and will likely continue to do so.  If one thing is certain, that is that more than just the 2009 class has a lot left to prove.