Every year the postseason and, even more so, the Super Bowl have an effect on the value of certain positions in the draft. Positions will become trendy and will be subsequently overdrafted by teams. Rather than recoup the full value of their pick, teams will reach for a player that will hopefully make their team more like the teams that were successful in the playoffs.
The 2006-07 Colts were carried by a terrific offense, but they were afterthoughts for the Super Bowl due to a horrible run defense that had been exposed in the worst way by the Jaguars in a 44-17 drubbing. However, when the postseason came the Colts defense transformed due mostly to the return of safety Bob Sanders. Instantly the Colts defensive woes disappeared and it was actually their defense that carried them to a championship.
So which position was overdrafted most that April? Safety. Draft busts LaRon Landry, Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross and our very own Reggie Nelson were all taken in the first round in the hopes that they could have the impact that Bob Sanders had for his defense. The only safety taken in the first round of this draft that has had success at the level expected of a first rounder has been Brandon Meriweather.
In 2007 the Patriots dominated the NFL with a passing attack that could not be stopped. They won every game that season, all the way until they faced the Giants in the Super Bowl. The pass rush of Strahan and Tuck held the Patriots to only 14 points allowing the Giants to win in dramatic fashion.
The trendy draft pick in the 2008 draft was instantly the defensive end position. Chris Long, drafted 2nd overall, has been good for the Rams, but he has not played up to his draft expectations. Vernon Gholston, Derrick Harvey and Lawrence Jackson rounded out the first round picks at defensive end. It's hard to argue that any of those 4 are worth the value invested in them.
The 2008 postseason was headlined by the outstanding play of Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald. He appeared to be unstoppable, tallying postseason records in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Although the Cardinals didn't win the Super Bowl that year, Fitzgerald became a household name and the receiver position became a hot commodity.
It's a little premature to judge the wide receivers as overdrafted or not, but what can be noted is that 6 first round picks were used on wide receivers in 2009. Compare that to not a single first round receiver in 2008 and it's not a stretch of the imagination to say that teams may have been drafting these receivers earlier than they should have been drafted.
So that brings us to the 2010 NFL Draft and how the 2009-10 postseason and Super Bowl XLIV may have affected it. Two positions come to mind. First, the quarterback position, but that position is overdrafted every year, so to say that the Peyton Manning-Drew Brees duel will affect the draft position of Jimmy Clausen and Sam Bradford is probably off base.
The second position that comes to mind is cornerback. Tracy Porter's interceptions in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl were both monumental plays in the games. However, even more influential was the play of Darelle Revis. Revis Island became a well known place for top receivers to die. Although the Jets didn't make the Super Bowl, the influence of Revis on the field was undeniable. In the Jets' loss Peyton Manning hardly looked to the side of the field Revis was on and attacked Dwight Lowery play after play.
Perhaps Joe Haden is the next shutdown corner and other cornerbacks belong in the early rounds, but the Jaguars and Gene Smith should be careful not to fall into the trap of picking the trendy position rather than the best available player.
- Adam Stites