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Draft countdown: Pick No. 4

About the Author

Alex Mayster
Editorial assistant

Recent posts by Alex Mayster

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Posted April 24, 2011 @ 11:02 a.m. ET
By Alex Mayster

Overview: Some of the NFL's elite talent in the past decade has been taken with the fourth pick in the draft — a selection held by the Bengals this year — but it has been no sure thing. PFW found that many of the No. 4 picks over the past 10 years haven't panned out as expected:

2010: Redskins select Oklahoma OT Trent Williams
Williams started 13 games for the Redskins in his rookie season and is viewed as the team's left tackle of the future. He played well last season, holding his own against some of the NFC's top pass rushers.

2009: Seahawks select Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry
Although Curry started every game for the Seahawks in 2010, he has not developed into the type of player he was expected to be. He's at his best as a pass rusher, although he did have an interception in Seattle's playoff loss to the Bears.

2008: Raiders select Arkansas RB Darren McFadden
After somewhat of a slow start to his career, McFadden had a breakout season in '10. His rushing totals of 223 carries, 1,157 yards and seven touchdowns all were career-highs, as was the 47-507-3 receiving he added. McFadden is a do-it-all back who is extremely dangerous when healthy.

2007: Buccaneers select Clemson DE Gaines Adams
Adams spent three seasons in the league before he passed away suddenly in January 2010 because of issues with an enlarged heart. He was a starter for the Bucs in '08 and '09 before being traded to the Bears for a second-round pick.

2006: Jets select Virginia OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Ferguson has become of the NFL's premier offensive tackles. He plays well against both the run and pass, is athletic and strong and does a great job protecting QB Mark Sanchez's blind side. He has not missed a start in his career.

2005: Bears select Texas RB Cedric Benson
Benson never worked out in Chicago. He had trouble finding carries early as Thomas Jones outworked and outperformed him, then gained just 3.4 yards per carry as a regular starter in '07. After being released by the Bears, his career took off in Cincinnati, where he had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in '09 and '10.

2004: Giants select North Carolina State QB Philip Rivers
Rivers never played a game for the Giants after being traded for QB Eli Manning on Draft Day, but he has gone on to have a spectacular career in San Diego. The three-time Pro Bowler has 136 career TD passes and led the league in passing yards in '10 with 4,710.

2003: Jets select Kentucky DT Dewayne Robertson
Robertson never turned into an elite player. He was a starter for the Jets for five seasons, but never recorded more than four sacks in a season and struggled with sore knees. He was eventually traded to the Broncos for a late-round conditional pick and is now out of the league.

2002: Bills select Texas OT Mike Williams
Williams didn't work out as an offensive tackle in Buffalo and, following a failed attempt to convert him into a guard, he was released by the team. Williams was out of football for a couple years before signing with the Redskins in '09.

2001: Bengals select Missouri DE Justin Smith
Smith was a high-energy player during his seven seasons in Cincinnati, but was not named to his first Pro Bowl until 2009, his first of back-to-back trips to the NFL all-star game while with the 49ers. He hasn't missed a start since '01 and has 65 career sacks.

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