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.