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Draft countdown: Pick No. 1

About the Author

Alex Mayster

amayster@pfwmedia.com
Editorial assistant

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Posted April 27, 2011 @ 9:22 a.m. ET
By Alex Mayster

Overview: The top pick has been used to select a quarterback in eight of the past 10 years. It has produced solid talent under center in most cases and the two non-quarterbacks selected have gone on to be elite players at their respective positions. PFW found, however, that a few of the quarterbacks selected with the No. 1 overall pick, held this year by the Panthers, failed miserably.

2010: Rams select Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
The Pro Football Weekly/Professional Football Writers of America Offensive Rookie of the Year, Bradford nearly led the Rams to the playoffs after the team finished with the worst record in the league in 2009. He didn't miss a snap all season and is the face of the franchise.

2009: Lions select Georgia QB Matthew Stafford
Stafford has the strength, toughness and ability to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL, but his ability to stay healthy is a huge question mark. He has made 13 starts in two seasons because of injuries.

2008: Dolphins select Michigan OT Jake Long
While passing on Matt Ryan is a tough pill to swallow, Long has proven to be worthy of the top selection. He has yet to miss a start in his career, playing through a separated shoulder last season, and has been named to the Pro Bowl in all three of his NFL campaigns.

2007: Raiders select LSU QB JaMarcus Russell
Russell will go down as one of the biggest busts in draft history. After missing the start of his rookie season because of a contract holdout, Russell never committed to the game. He has a career passer rating of 65.2 and was out of the league in 2010.

2006: Texans select North Carolina State DE Mario Williams
The decision to pass on Reggie Bush was questioned at the time, but Williams has developed into one of the NFL's best defensive ends. At 6-6 and 295 pounds, Williams' combination of speed and athleticism makes him difficult to keep out of the backfield. He has 48 sacks in 77 career games.

2005: 49ers select Utah QB Alex Smith
Smith failed to live up to expectations. He has been either good or awful when given the chance to play and is unable to find a middle ground. A long string of changes at offensive coordinator hasn't done him any favors. He might be back with the Niners in 2011, though word is he's looking to start anew elsewhere.

2004: Chargers select Mississippi QB Eli Manning
Manning was traded to the Giants on Draft Day and went on to lead the team to a Super Bowl victory at the end of the 2007 season. He has struggled with turnovers at times — he threw a career-high 25 interceptions in 2010 — but has developed into one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL.

2003: Bengals select USC QB Carson Palmer
There was a time when Palmer was considered one the AFC's top quarterbacks, but struggles with injuries have limited him. He had a difficult season in 2010 after helping Cincinnati win the AFC North in ’09 and has threatened to retire if the Bengals don't trade him. The 31-year-old hasn't been to a Pro Bowl since 2006.

2002: Texans select Fresno State QB David Carr
The first-ever draft choice of the Texans, Carr had no time to learn from the sideline. He was thrust into the action behind a shaky offensive line and set a league record by getting sacked 76 times as a rookie. The beating he took that season wreaked havoc with his confidence and he parted ways with the Texans after 2006 with a 59-65 TD-to-interception ratio. He has become a journeyman backup, serving time with the Panthers, Giants and 49ers the past four seasons.

2001: Falcons select Virginia Tech QB Michael Vick
Vick, who went to three Pro Bowls in his first five seasons, entered the league as a rare talent, allowing him to play the position differently than it ever had been played. After spending time in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring, Vick has re-emerged as an elite NFL quarterback with the Eagles.

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