That Special Player

The "generational" player is no secret when he comes out of college. It’s hard not to notice his level of success practically starting from the first time he touched a football. His high school exploits are legendary, not to mention his college career.

This doesn’t mean the player is going to be drafted #1 overall, Priorities can shift. The position that he plays will be a deciding factor in where he might go. It shouldn’t be.

No matter what the "needs" of a team might be, passing on a generational player is an automatic decrease in the value of your pick. Even if your pick was a quarterback, he is a lesser selection.

What if he is a bust? Not possible if he is truly one of those iconic players. In fact, he will demonstrate his value immediately by his instant results on the field and how it affects his teammates. Not only does he inspire others on his team, opponents must dedicate more resources in an attempt to stop him. This means less resources against his teammates.

Again, his presence will be felt immediately, probably in the one and only preseason game the coaches allow him to participate in. The first practice in minicamp confirmed their evaluations.

They are fun to watch….when they are on your team. They generate hope.

One of the best ways to understand how your team was gifted one of the best players of his decade is the fact that he was compared to the best veterans in the entire league and was found to be the best in multiple ways including awards.

How many rookies in the NFL have ever been awarded Pro Bowl and 1st team All-Pro in their initial season?

Does that list confirm this method of determining generational players?

There are 44 players since 1970 that were Pro Bowlers and 1st team All-Pros in their rookie years.

However, I am eliminating the 7 players with kicking roles, either P or K. I am also eliminating 8 return specialists, even if they proved to be elite players on defense or offense unless their awards were based on his performance at that position.

For example, I eliminated Tyreek Hill who excelled in special teams that year but had less than 600 yards as a receiver. However, I am keeping Randy Moss who had 1313 yards and 17 TD’s his rookie season.

So that leaves 27 players in the past 73 seasons that were Pro Bowlers and 1st team All Pros during their rookie season. On the average, that’s one of these players every 2.7 seasons.

Very few of these players did not end up being a ROY and eventual DPOY or OPOY

Budda Baker __ SS

Zack Martin __ RG

Micah Parsons __ LLB

Ezekiel Elliott __ RB

Barry Sanders __ RB

Ndamukong Suh__ LDT

Al Baker __ RDE

John Brockington __FB

Earl Campbell __ RB

Quenton Nelson __LG

Edgerrin James __ RB

Derwin James __ FS

Randy Moss __ WR

George Rogers __ RB

Jeremy Shockey __ TE

Lawrence Taylor__ ROLB

Sauce Gardner __ CBe

Keith Jackson __ TE

Charle Young __ TE

Marcus Allen __ RB

Jerome Bettis __ RB

Eric Dickerson __ RB

Patrick Willis __ RILB

Ronnie Lott __ LCB

Ottis Anderson __ RB

Jevon Kearse __ LDE

Patrick Peterson__ RCB

Obviously, the list is not all inclusive when it comes to players that have impacted the league for a decade or longer. The position of quarterback is noticeably missing. There is a learning arc for quarterbacks, that is obvious. No matter how great they end up, their careers are not consistently productive from start to finish. It’s understood, by most, that he is going to struggle initially.

There have been a few times when the misfortune of injuries postponed historic careers during their rookie season. However, it’s difficult to argue that these ae not the most elite in the history of the NFL and their careers made them household names no matter the team or even if you were a die hard fan.

The Cowboys were fortunate to have three players on this list more than any other team. The position that had the most players making an immediate impact was RB.

Zack Martin was one of only two O-linemen, both guards.

25 of the 27 were first round picks and the other two were 2nd rounders so there was no surprise that would be productive. The only surprise for some was the level of production.

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