I've said many times over that I love drafts and one of my favorite things to do is take a look back at the best drafts by slot or position.
So, I'll break this one in two halves - one this week (1-16) and one next week (17-32). Here's the best draft pick by slot in the 2000s - last 15 years.
#1 - QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (2012) - it's not as if the first pick in the draft has been a slam dunk, piling up Pro Bowl frequent flyer miles. There's been plenty of duds at the top spot. But, Luck, from day one, has been the face of that franchise (dang it!)
Honorable Mention: DE Mario Williams, Houston Texans (2006) & QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (2011)
#2 - WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (2007) - this one was really close between Megatron and Julius Peppers, but Johnson gets the nod over the former Tar Heel star.
Honorable Mention: DE Peppers, Carolina Panthers (2002), OLB Von Miller, Denver Broncos (2011) & Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions (2010)
#3 - (Tie) WR Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (2004) and WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (2003) - two of the three most dominant receivers in the NFL for a stretch of time, it's hard to decide between the two, so I won't.
Honorable Mention: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (2008), LT Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns (2007) & DT Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010)
#4 - QB Philip Rivers, New York Giants, traded to San Diego (2004) - really there are only a few candidates for this spot but Rivers' longevity and production for a decade wins out.
Honorable Mention: WR AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals (2011), LT Trent Williams, Washington Redskins (2010)
#5 - RB LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (2001) - HOF? HOF. Done deal.
Honorable Mention: S Sean Taylor, Washington Redskins (2004), S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs (2010) & CB/PR Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals (2011)
#6 - DE Richard Seymour, New England Patriots (2001) - dominant player and the best defender on the Patriots championship winning teams in 2003 and 2004.
Honorable Mention: WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (2011) & TE Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (2006)
#7 - RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (2007) - if I went back one more year to 1999, I'd have to consider Champ Bailey, but AD is the clear pick here.
Honorable Mention: CB Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns (2010), OLB Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers (2011) & WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014)
#8 - WR Plaxico Burress, Pittsburgh Steelers (2000) - by default, wow. Not a standout group by any means.
Honorable Mention: S Donte Whitner, Cleveland Browns (2006), LT Jordan Gross, Carolina Panthers (2003)
#9 - ILB Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears (2000) - he should be up for HOF consideration and was the face of the Bears franchise for over a decade.
Honorable Mention: ILB Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers (2012), LT Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys (2011) & OLB Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings (2014)
#10 - OLB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens (2003) - T-Sizzle is the clear pick at No. 10 and it took all of one glance at the rest of the list to know for a 1,000% fact. It's not an established group (Taylor Jacobs, Blaine Gabbert, Jamal Reynolds anyone??)
Honorable Mention: ILB Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots (2008)
#11 - DE JJ Watt, Houston Texans (2011) - this one was seemingly a slam dunk until you study the names at this spot. WOW! Watt still takes the spot. Look at honorable mention.
Honorable Mention: ILB Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers (2007), OLB Demarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys (2005), QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (2004), OLB/DE Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts (2002)
#12 - RB Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills (2007) - this was a tough call between Lynch and fellow Pac-10 (at the time) star DT Haloti Ngata. But, I'll roll with Beast Mode, especially due to his immense production leading the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowls.
Honorable Mention: Ngata, Baltimore Ravens (2006), OLB Shawne Merriman, San Diego Chargers (2005) & WR Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (2014)
#13 - OLB/DE John Abraham, New York Jets (2000) - not a ton to pick from here but I'll take Abraham's lengthy, steady career over dynamic young defenders.
Honorable Mention: DT/DE Sheldon Richardson, New York Jets (2013) & DT Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams (2014)
#14 - CB Darrelle Revis, New York Jets (2007) - the man has his own island, by gosh, but it was close between Revis and former Texas safety Earl Thomas
Honorable Mention: Thomas, Seattle Seahawks (2010), DE Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams (2011) & TE Jeremy Shockey, New York Giants (2002)
#15 - G Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins (2011) - again, not a distinguished group here but the 2011 continues to dominate these selections.
Honorable Mention: OLB Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers (2007), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (2010) and LB Brian Cushing, Houston Texans (2009)
#16 - S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers (2003) - the recently retired star is, again, the clear recipient of this spot.
Honorable Mention: OLB Julian Peterson, San Francisco 49ers (2000) & OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins (2011)
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 4/14/2021)