Great NFL draft classes of the past
The Associated Press
Jan. 13, 2015
Seattle's 2012 draft class has six key contributors on its active roster, including quarterback Russell Wilson and All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. Here's 10 other draft classes that have proven valuable in the construction of contenders and championship in the past:
— 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers: Almost certainly the best draft class ever with Hall of Famers Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster.
— 1958 Green Bay Packers: Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke and Jerry Kramer. Enough said.
— 1989-1992 Dallas Cowboys: The four-year draft run of the Cowboys laid the foundation for their title surge. The group included Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston, Mark Stepnoski, Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Alvin Harper, Leon Lett, Larry Brown and Darren Woodson.
— 1995 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Hard to argue with two Hall of Famers in the first round: Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.
— 1985 Buffalo Bills: Taking Bruce Smith with the No. 1 pick and seeing him develop into a Hall of Famer was a no-brainer. Finding Andre Reed in the fourth-round and seeing him do the same was Buffalo's steal.
— 1996 Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens first draft after the team moved to Baltimore was invaluable: Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in the first round.
— 1986 San Francisco 49ers: Tom Rathman, John Taylor and Charles Haley gave the 49ers depth they used for a title run two seasons later.
— 1981 Washington Redskins: Where the "Hogs" first started: Guards Mark May and Russ Grimm, tight end Clint Didier and defensive end Dexter Manley.
— 1965 Chicago Bears: Dick Butkus was taken by Chicago with the third overall pick. Lucky for the Bears, they had No. 4 too and took Gale Sayers.
— 1964 Dallas Cowboys: Hall of Famer Mel Renfro was taken in the second round, but it was later in the draft the Cowboys cleaned up, getting Bob Hayes in the seventh round and Roger Staubach — the Heisman winner committed to a Navy tour — was a 10th-round pick.