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Ten years ago today...

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Posted April 19, 2007 @ midnight
Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

... the 1997 NFL Draft was held in New York. To me, this seems to be a draft that's fallen through the cracks over time, and that's probably because there wasn't a great QB debate at the top of the draft. We will always remember '83 (Marino, Elway, etc.), '98 (Manning vs. Leaf), '99 (Couch, McNabb, Smith, Culpepper, McNown, Heather Kozar), 2004 (Eli Manning makes a weird face and puts on a Chargers hat).

So let's take a look back at the '97 selection meeting and see how the teams fared. I'll list the team's first-rounder and other significant picks. We'll go by division; I really, really miss the old AFC Central. You'll note that this was a draft long on OT talent but lacking in many other areas.

Two other random notes:

1) Headline from PFW's post-draft issue: "Ditka finds plenty of 'Grabowskis.' "

2) Ohio State OLT Orlando Pace made the cover of PFW's 1997 Draft Preview. The other pictures on the front of the book? USC DT Darrell Russell and Colorado WR Rae Carruth.

AFC East

Buffalo — First-rounder: RB Antowain Smith (No. 23 overall). Other selections of note: DE Marcellus Wiley (Round Two, No. 52)

Indianapolis — First-rounder: OT Tarik Glenn (19). Other selections of note: LB-DE Bert Berry (R3, 86).

Miami — First-rounder: WR Yatil Green (15). Other selections of note: CB Sam Madison (R2, 44), DE Jason Taylor (R3, 73).

New England — First-rounder: CB Chris Canty (29). Other selections of note: None. Widely regarded as one of New England's worst drafts.

N.Y. Jets First-rounder: LB James Farrior (8). Other selections of note: DT Jason Ferguson (R7, 229).

AFC Central

Baltimore  First rounder: LB Peter Boulware (4). Other selections of note: LB Jamie Sharper (R2, 34).

Cincinnati  First-rounder: LB-DE Reinard Wilson (14). Other selections of note: RB Corey Dillon (R2, 43).

Houston Oilers  First-rounder: DE Kenny Holmes (18). Other selections of note: CB Denard Walker (R3, 75), WR Derrick Mason (R4, 98).

Jacksonville  First-rounder: DT Renaldo Wynn (21). Other selections of note: DT Seth Payne (R4, 114).

Pittsburgh  First-rounder: CB Chad Scott (24). Other selections of note: DE-LB Mike Vrabel (R3, 91).

AFC West

Denver  First-rounder: DT Trevor Pryce (28). Other selections of note: C Dan Neil (R3, 67).

Kansas City  First-rounder: TE Tony Gonzalez (13). Other selections of note: None.

Oakland   First-rounder: DT Darrell Russell (2). Other selections of note: OL Adam Treu (R3, 72), DT Grady Jackson (R6, 193).

San Diego  First-rounder: None. (Bobby Beathard-style.) Selection of note: TE Freddie Jones (R2, 45).

Seattle  First-rounders: CB Shawn Springs (3) and OLT Walter Jones (6). Seahawks also drafted TE Itula Mili in Round Six.

NFC East

Arizona  First-round selection: Iowa CB Tom Knight (9). Other selections of note: QB Jake Plummer (R2, 42).

Dallas  First-round selection: TE David LaFleur (22). Other selections of note: LB Dexter Coakley (R3, 65).

N.Y. Giants  First-round selection: WR Ike Hilliard (7). Other selections of note: Virginia RB Tiki Barber (R2, 36), S Sam Garnes (R5, 136).

Philadelphia  First-round selection: DE Jon Harris (25). Other selections of note: South Carolina RB Duce Staley (R3, 71), Rice DT N.D. Kalu (R5, 152).

Washington  First-round selection: DE Kenard Lang (17). Other selections of note: LB Derek Smith (R3, 80).

NFC Central

Chicago  Bears traded No. 1 pick for Seahawks QB Rick Mirer. Their first pick was in Round Two, when they selected TE John Allred. Other picks: OG Bob Sapp (R3, 69, now best known as a K-2 fighter) and WR Marcus Robinson (R2, 108).

Detroit  First-rounder: CB Bryant Westbrook (5). Other picks of note: None. Not a good draft for the Lions.

Green Bay  First-rounder: OT-OG Ross Verba (30). Other selections of note: S Darren Sharper (R2, 60), PK Brett Conway (R3, 90), FB Jerald Sowell (R7, 231).

Minnesota  First-rounder: LB Dwayne Rudd (30). Other selections of note: DT Tony Williams (R5, 151).

Tampa Bay  First-rounders: RB Warrick Dunn (12) and WR Reidel Anthony (16). Other selections of note: OT Jerry Wunsch (R2, 37), OG Frank Middleton (R3, 63), CB Ronde Barber (R3, 66), LB Al Singleton (R4, 128), CB Al Harris (R6, 169).

NFC West

Atlanta  First-rounder: CB Michael Booker (11). Other selections of note: None.

Carolina  First-rounder: WR Rae Carruth (27). Other selections of note: S Mike Minter (R2, 56).

New Orleans: First-rounder: OG Chris Naeole (10). Other selections of note: RB Troy Davis (R3, 62), QB Danny Wuerrfel (R4, 99).

St. Louis: First-rounder: OLT Orlando Pace (1). Other selections of note: CB Dexter McCleon (R2, 40), C-ORT Ryan Tucker (R4, 112).

San Francisco: First-rounder: QB Jim Druckenmiller (26). Niners only made three selections.

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