The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to pick 18th in the 2019 NFL Draft. The last time the Minnesota Vikings held the No. 18 overall pick in the NFL draft, who did they take? I’m glad you asked, because that is exactly what you are going to find out in this piece.
27 of the 32 first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft feature teams that have drafted previously in those spots. Let’s examine what happened then and for the rest of the league, which player they drafted the last time they made a pick at their current highest draft selection.
Some (most) teams are hopeful history doesn’t repeat itself. As a big fan of Draft history, this was fun to research.
1. Cardinals, 1958: King Hill, QB, Rice
It’s been over 60 years since the Cardinals made a selection at No. 1 overall, when the Chicago Cardinals took Hill who played just three seasons with the franchise before spending eight seasons with the Eagles, one with the Vikings and the finishing his career back with the Cardinals. I know the game was quite different back in the late 50s and 60s, but Hill attempted 881 passes in his career, throwing 71 interceptions compared to just 37 touchdowns, boasting a QB rating of 49.3. Hill was involved in the game for 35 years as a player, coach, scout and NFLPA rep. He was part of the Players Association that formed the first ever collective bargaining agreement in pro football.
2. 49ers, 1965: Ken Willard, RB, North Carolina
Willard was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and when he retired in 1974, was the league’s 8th all-time leading rusher with 6,105 yards. While he had a stellar 10-year career, he will be remembered as the player drafted just ahead of Dick Butkus at No. 3 and Gale Sayers at No. 4. Of the 14 first-round picks in 1965, three were eventual Hall of Famers in Butkus, Sayers and Joe Namath at No. 12.
3. Jets, 2018: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Here’s one you you know! One season after trading up to No. 3 overall, the Jets earned the spot with its 4-12 mark last season. Darnold’s rookie season was a mixed bag, but the flashes of him being a long-term franchise quarterback where evident. A new coaching staff and improved roster around him, hopefully has the Jets moving way down the order in the coming years.
4. Raiders, 2015: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
It wasn’t that long ago that Oakland was picking No. 4 overall and came away with Cooper, who has since netted them the No. 27 overall pick in this year’s draft after the in-season trade to Dallas. Cooper has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in three of his first four seasons and has been named to three Pro Bowls. Turning 25 in June with a contract expiring after the 2019 season, Cooper is primed for a big payday within the next year.
5. Bucs, 2005: Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn
Pour one out for Cadillac! We’ll always have that standout rookie season that lead to Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, but Williams will be remembered for his extensive injury history that plagued his career. He would play seven NFL seasons, missing game after game while compiling 4,038 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Williams was recently hired as Auburn’s running back coach.
6. Giants, 1944: Billy Hillenbrand, RB, Indiana
Drafted by the Giants, Hillenbrand went onto play his professional football for three seasons in the AAFC. He was a multi-purpose player who contributed as a receiver, runner, returner and even played defense.
7. Jaguars, 2003: Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall
Known for his gritty run as Marshall’s QB where he was carried by teammates to the ball between snaps after breaking his tibia to finish a game against Akron, Leftwich’s playing career in the NFL will be remembered as flashy but unfulfilled. He started 44 games across four seasons for the Jaguars before getting permanently replaced by David Garrad in 2007 and getting released. He continued his career for five seasons as a backup for the Falcons, Steelers and Bucs. Leftwich is currently climbing up the coaching ranks where he has gone from training camp coaching intern in 2016 to Bruce Arians’ current offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. He’s believed by many to be a future NFL head coach.
8. Lions, 1974: Ed O’Neil, LB, Penn State
O’Neil enjoyed a six-year run as a linebacker in Detroit before closing his career with a season in Green Bay. O’Neil went on to pursue a career in coaching where he had stints at Indiana, Rutgers, Buffalo, NFL Europe, CFL and high school.
9. Bills, 2010: CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
What an electric player Spiller was at Clemson where his No. 28 jersey has since been retired. Unfortunately those dynamic playmaking skills didn’t consistently spill over to the NFL where his poor decision making as a runner on account of timidness to contact was too much to overcome. Spiller did enjoy a Pro Bowl season for the Bills in 2012 where he racked up 1,244 rushing yards and six touchdowns with 459 receiving yards and two touchdowns. That 2012 season proved to be an anomaly and the rest of his career was highly inconsistent, having stints with four different teams from 2015-2017 after his contract expired with the Bills.
10 (41). Broncos, 2004: Tatum Bell, RB, Oklahoma
The Broncos have existed since 1960, but never have they picked No. 10. Slated to make the 41st pick in 2019, that won’t be new territory for the franchise where Bell was the pick 15 years ago. Blessed with 4.3 speed, Bell appeared to be an ascending player for the Broncos. He led all AFC rookies in rushing in 2004, tallied 921 yards with eight touchdowns averaging 5.3 yards per carry in 2005 and then rushed for 1,025 yards in 2006. He was traded in March of 2007 to the Lions for Dre Bly. He played in just five games for Detroit before being replaced by Kevin Jones. Bell returned for a brief run with the Broncos in 2008.
11. Bengals, 1986: Joe Kelly, LB, Washington
Kelly had a three-year stint with the Bengals to start his career and ultimately played for 11 seasons for six total teams. He racked up 542 tackles, six interceptions and six sacks.
12. Packers, 1984: Alphonso Carreker, DE, Florida State
Green Bay has a thing for Florida State pass rushers… Brian Burns anyone? Carreker played nine seasons in the league with the Packers and Broncos, compiling 94 tackles and 24 sacks. He started Super Bowl XXIV and recorded a sack in Denver’s 55-10 loss to the 49ers.
13. Dolphins, 2016: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Who could ever forget what happened to Tunsil on draft night. Just minutes before the draft started, a video was released from Tunsil’s Twitter account that revealed him in a gas mask smoking from a bong which led to his slide to No. 13. A natural tackle, Miami forced him to guard to start his career because of its unwavering commitment to Branden Albert at left tackle. Tunsil has since replaced Albert at left tackle and is Miami’s current starter there. Tunsil is blossoming into a top pass blocking offensive tackle in the league.
14 (45). Falcons, 1994: Bert Emanuel, WR, Rice
Atlanta has never made a pick at No. 14 overall, but has a No. 45 where its next scheduled 2019 pick is currently slotted. Emanuel had a productive four-year stint with Atlanta to start his career, averaging 900 yards and six touchdowns per season across his first four years. He then bounced around from 1998-2001, spending time with the Bucs, Dolphins, Patriots and Lions. Yes, he’s that Bert Emanuel.
15. Redskins, 2001: Rod Gardner, WR, Clemson
Gardner played four seasons with the Redskins before getting traded to the Panthers for a sixth round pick. His best season came in 2002 where he tallied 1,006 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He played six total seasons, hauling in 242 receptions for 3,165 yards and 23 touchdowns for the Redskins, Panthers, Packers and Chiefs.
16 (77). Panthers, 2017: Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
Carolina has never picked at 16 overall or 47 where the Panthers are scheduled to make its second pick. The Panthers have picked at No. 77, just two years ago where Hall was the selection. Hall appeared in one game for Carolina before getting waived in September of 2018. Hall is currently on the Eagles after being on the 49ers and Texans practice squad.
17. Giants, 1995: Tyrone Wheately, RB, Michigan
Wheately enjoyed a 10-year career, mostly as a complementary power back for the Giants and Raiders. He carried the ball 1,270 times for 4,962 yards with 40 touchdowns. He and Napoleon Kaufman where instrumental in Oakland’s 12-4 season for Jon Gruden’s offense. Wheatley is currently the head coach of Morgan State after spending time as a running backs coach from 2008-2018 for various college and NFL teams.
18. Vikings, 2005: Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin
I very much remember watching James at Wisconsin and his elite nickname “The Eraser” because he was so dominant creating sacks for the Badgers. Unfortunately his NFL career was quickly derailed on account of injuries after four seasons. Oh, what could have been…
19. Titans, 2007: Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Griffin enjoyed a 10-year career, nine of which came with the Titans, where he racked up 803 tackles, seven sacks, 11 forced fumbles and 25 interceptions. A two-time Pro Bowler, Griffin recently launched Gigi’s Cupcakes along with former teammate Brian Orakpo.
20. Steelers, 1985: Darryl Sims, DE, Wisconsin
Two seasons with the Steelers, followed by two with the Browns and that was it for Sims in the NFL. He is currently the Athletics Director for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
21. Seahawks, 1996: Pete Kendall, G, Boston College
Kendall was never named to a Pro Bowl, but he was essentially a 13-year starter in the league for the Seahawks, Cardinals, Jets and Redskins. He started 188 of a possible 208 games for his career and never less than 11 in any season.
22. Ravens, 2005: Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
Clayton put together a modest seven-year career, catching 260 passes for 3,448 yards and 14 touchdowns, primarily for the Ravens but spent his final two seasons with the Rams. Clayton is the founder of Livv Headphones and MyChristianT which is a clothing line.
23 (161). Texans, 2012: Randy Bullock, K, Texas A&M
The NFL’s newest franchise, the Texans have never picked at 23, 54, 55 or 86 which leads us to No. 161 overall where Houston drafted Bullock in 2012. The current Bengals’ kicker, Bullock was Houston’s kicker for three seasons and has a career field goal percentage of 82.8. Bullock holds the Texan’s franchise record for most field goals in a game with six.
24. Raiders, 2017: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Conley battled injuries and was limited to just two games as a rookie, but emerged last season for the Raiders and flashed the potential of a lockdown corner. Expectations are high for Conley entering his third season and he has the makings of a Pro Bowl caliber defender.
25. Eagles, 2005: Freddie Mitchell, WR, UCLA
Mitchell was a bust but he did leave us with some memorable moments. Converting 4th and 26 in the Playoffs against Green Bay from Donovan McNabb that led to an overtime win. “I just want to thank my hands for being so great.” Calling out Rodney Harrison prior to the Super Bowl against the Patriots. After beating the Eagles, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said, “All he does is talk. He’s terrible, and you can print that. I was happy when he was in the game.” BELICHICK SAID THAT. After he was released in 2005, Andy Reid simply said, “I did not want him here.” He recently served a 37-month sting in federal prison for tax fraud. We could spend a lot of time here but Mitchell was/is wild.
26. Colts, 1977: Randy Burke, WR, Kentucky
Burke had an uneventful career that lasted just four seasons with the Colts. He totaled 30 receptions for 489 yards and three touchdowns.
27 (35). Raiders, 2015: Mario Edwards, DL, Florida State
The Raiders have never picked 27th overall, but No. 35 is familiar territory where Oakland last made a selection in 2015. Edwards was an underachiever at Florida State but Oakland still took him in the early second round. Dealing with frequent injuries, Edwards’ impact for the Raiders was minimal and he was waived last September. Edwards signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Saints last week.
28. Chargers, 2005; Luis Castillo, DT, Northwestern
Castillo blew up the 2005 Combine, but his urine test came back positive for steroids. He then sent a letter to all 32 teams, admitting the use of androstenedione to help heal from an elbow injury and perform better at the Combine. Chargers GM AJ Smith acknowledged it, but still invested a first-round selection on Castillo. Castillo went onto start 179 games for the Chargers, racking up 151 tackles and 19 sacks. A broken leg in 2011 quickly derailed his career.
29. Chiefs, 1978: Sylvester Hicks, DE, Tennessee State
Four seasons for the Chiefs from 1978-1981 was all she wrote for Hicks in the NFL. He wore No. 75 and measured 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds.
30. Packers, 2015: Damarious Randall, DB, Arizona State
Randall bounced around between safety and corner for the Packers before getting traded to the Browns prior to the 2018 season. Randall had the best season of his career for the Browns, functioning primarily as a free safety. He’s expected to play a big role for Cleveland in 2019 in what is a contract year for Randall.
31. Rams, 2002: Robert Thomas, LB, UCLA
I remember being very surprised when Thomas was a first-round pick because he was so different from what I knew NFL linebackers to be at the time. A 6-foot, 229 pounds linebacker with 4.51 speed was not normal. Thomas went on to play in eight seasons, starting 50 games while racking up 304 tackles.
32. Patriots, 2015: Malcolm Brown, DT, Texas
Starting 51 games across four seasons in New England, Brown is a two-time Super Bowl Champion. In typical Patriot fashion, Brown was not extended and he recently signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Saints.
I didn’t forget teams without a first round pick.
49. Browns, 1958: Jim Ninowski, QB, Michigan State
Ninowswki played in 12 seasons for the Browns, Lions, Redskins and Saints where he completed 49 percent of his passes for 7,133 yards with 34 touchdowns and 67 interceptions. I don’t know what was up with the TD to interception ratio back in the day, but these dudes threw a startling number of picks compared to touchdowns.
87. Bears, 2000: Dustin Lyman, LB, Wake Forest
Lyman played five seasons for the Bears, hauling in 37 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. He has since enjoyed a career in business as the former CEO of Famous Brands International and is the current President and General Manager of Copper Mountain Ski Resort.
62. Saints, 1997: Troy Davis, RB, Iowa State
Davis was a tremendous college football player, twice earning consensus All-American honors and was a Heisman finalist in 1995 and 1996. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016 but his NFL career was fairly modest, racking up 446 rushing yards and just one touchdown across three seasons for the Saints. He did have a highly productive eight year run in the CFL where he was a CFL East All-Star from 2002-2004.
58. Cowboys, 1992: Clayton Holmes, DB, Carson-Newman
A three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Cowboys, Holmes NFL career lasted five seasons. He dealt with repeated substance-abuse policy suspensions and his NFL career was over in 1997. Holmes continued playing Indoor Football in 1999 and again in 2003-2004.