Taylor changed the game
Lawrence Taylor and Eric Dickerson top the list of the best selections with the No. 2 pick.
Most teams picking in the top 10 of the draft expect to land impact players. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way, but we decided to show the kind of player who can be added when a front office gets it right by ranking the 10 best selections at each spot in the top 10 since 1967 (the first common draft between the AFL and NFL). Here are the all-time best No. 2 picks, as we count down to Friday's posting of the best No. 1 picks.
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The man who changed the LB position. Taylor's impact was immediate, as he earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1981. He would go on to play 13 NFL seasons, recording 132.5 sacks (he also recorded 9.5 sacks in 1981, the year before sacks became an official statistic).
Taylor was named Defensive Player of the Year three times (1981-82, 1986), and NFL MVP once (1986). A 10-time Pro Bowl selection, Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999, his first year on the ballot.
2. RB Eric Dickerson (1983) -- Rams
Dickerson played 11 NFL seasons and his presence was felt immediately. In 1983, he rushed for a rookie-record 1,808 yards and was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 1984, he set an NFL-record with 2,105 yards rushing. Dickerson is the only man to rush for at least 1,800 yards in three separate seasons (1983-84, 1986), and won four rushing titles. He is sixth on the all-time rushing list (13,259), and was also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
3. RB Marshall Faulk (1994) -- Colts
The recently-retired Faulk made a great first impression when he scored three touchdowns in his first NFL game against the Oilers in 1994. Faulk is one of only three players in NFL history with at least 10,000 rushing yards (12,279) and 5,000 receiving yards (6,875 ). Faulk was the NFL MVP in 2000 and won three straight Offensive Player of the Year Awards (1999-2001). In 1999, he set a single-season record with 2,429 yards from scrimmage. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection is fourth on the all-time career touchdown list (136).
4. LB Randy White (1975) -- Cowboys
"The Manster" missed only one game in 14 NFL seasons, and is third on the Cowboys' all-time list for games played (209). Drafted as a linebacker, White reached his peak when he moved to defensive tackle. He made nine trips to the Pro Bowls and was named co-MVP of Super Bowl XII (with Harvey Martin), as he led the Cowboys' dismantling of Craig Morton and the Broncos. A member of the 1980s NFL All-Decade Team, White was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.
The 1976 Heisman Trophy winner rushed for 1,007 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns, helping lead the Cowboys to the Super Bowl title during his rookie season in 1977. Dorsett would go on to rush for at least 1,000 yards in eight of his first nine seasons. The only season he missed out on the mark was the strike-shortened 1982 season. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Dorsett is currently seventh on the all-time rushing list with 12,739 yards. Dorsett also holds the distinction of being the only man in NFL history with a 99-yard run (Jan. 3, 1983 vs Vikings). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.
6. QB Donovan McNabb (1999) -- Eagles
McNabb has done his best to make fans who booed him when he was drafted second in 1999 eat crow. He has thrown for 22,080 yards and 152 touchdowns. He has the second best TD-INT ratio in NFL history for any QB with at least 100 touchdown passes. In 2004, he threw 31 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdown passes and fewer than 10 interceptions in a single season. McNabb led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance in 24 years. He is a five-time Pro Bowl selection.
7. T Tony Boselli (1995) -- Jaguars
While his career lasted only seven NFL seasons, Boselli became the cornerstone of the Jaguars' offensive line, helping to turn the expansion franchise into a perennial playoff contenders in the late 1990s. The Jaguars' first-ever draft pick in 1995, Boselli would go on to be selected to five Pro Bowls (1996-2000). He was named to the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team before a shoulder injury cut his career short.
8. LB Cornelius Bennett (1987) -- Colts
Bennett was involved in a three-team deal that brought Dickerson to Indianapolis. He was a member of the Bills' defense that helped the team make four straight Super Bowl appearances during the 1990s. Bennett played 14 NFL seasons, recording 71.5 sacks. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Bennett is one of only 13 players to appear in five Super Bowls, as he was also a member of the Falcons when they reached the Super Bowl in 1998. Bennett was named to the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team.
9. QB Archie Manning (1971) -- Saints
While he never played on a team with a winning record, Manning went on to play 13 NFL seasons, throwing for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns. He played most of his career on the New Orleans Saints and was selected to two Pro Bowls (1978-79).
10. DE Julius Peppers (2002) -- Panthers
Peppers has become one of the most dominating defensive players in the league. He earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 after recording 12.0 sacks. In his five NFL seasons, Peppers has recorded 53.5 sacks and forced 17 fumbles. Peppers has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons.
DE Neil Smith (1988) -- Chiefs
G Bill Fralic (1985) -- Falcons
QB Bert Jones (1973) -- Colts
David Rose and Russell S. Baxter work for ESPN Research.
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The NFL staff has ranked the 10 best selections at each spot in the top 10 since 1967.
Monday, April 16
Best No. 10 picks of all time
Tuesday April 17
Best No. 9 picks of all time
Wednesday, April 18
Best No. 8 picks of all time
Thursday, April 19
Best No. 7 picks of all time
Friday, April 20
Best No. 6 picks of all time
Monday, April 23
Best No. 5 picks of all time
Tuesday, April 24
Best No. 4 picks of all time
Wednesday, April 25
Best No. 3 picks of all time
Thursday, April 26
Best No. 2 picks of all time
Friday, April 27
Best No. 1 picks of all time