The only downside of counting down players like a weekend disc jockey ranks the top songs of the week is that, when you get to a certain point, it isn’t that difficult to figure out what players are going to be in the top 10.
The long offseason countdown of the players voted the “Top 100 Players of 2012” concluded Wednesday after 10 weeks of building drama (sort of). Earlier this week, Viking Update broke down who the top 10 would be and, when the players were unveiled, all 10 made the final list.
Adrian Peterson checked in at No. 8, part of a four-man contingent from the draft class of 2007. That draft will go down in history for its hits and misses. Peterson was joined by Patrick Willis (No. 10), Darrelle Revis (No. 5) and Calvin Johnson (No. 3) in the top 10 selections. They join fellow 2007 draftees Joe Staley (No. 67), Joe Thomas (No. 82), Marshawn Lynch (No. 94) and Ryan Kalil (No. 99) on the final list of the top 100 – making the 2007 draft memorable beyond first-round busts JaMarcus Russell, Alan Branch, Ted Ginn Jr., Amobi Okoye and Brady Quinn.
However, while the 2007 draft stole much of the spotlight, three of the top four spots went to quarterbacks – none of whom was guaranteed anything when he was drafted. Aaron Rodgers checked in at No. 1, but there were more than a few concerns when he fell on draft day to the point of embarrassment before being claimed by the Packers. He spent three years playing caddy behind Brett Favre before getting his chance to shine and, with a Super Bowl title to his credit, he has more than lived up to expectations.
At No. 2 was Drew Brees, another Super Bowl champion whose career was far from certain when he came to New Orleans. Vikings fans will remember that Brad Childress had to make a hard decision on Daunte Culpepper and decided to shop him around in 2006. At the time, Brees was coming off a torn labrum and the Chargers were willing to let him go and ascend Philip Rivers to the starting job. Only two teams had an interest in Brees – New Orleans and Miami – because of a shoulder injury that produced a lot of speculation. When the Dolphins made the decision to pass on Brees, who wouldn’t have required compensation, to trade a second-round draft pick for Culpepper, the Saints were the only team with an interest. Brees and the Saints haven’t looked back since and Miami continues to have a revolving door at quarterback.
The third QB, checking in at No. 4, is Tom Brady – the No. 1 player on last year’s list. Brady got the Patriots back to another Super Bowl last year and remains one of the dominant forces in the NFL. But, when he was drafted – he was taken on the sixth round (No. 199 overall) – every team in the league had passed on him multiple times.
If the top-100 list, as voted by the players themselves, proved anything (other than the NFL can milk a concept for two-and-a-half months), it was that where you were drafted doesn’t mean as much as what you do with your opportunity. Rodgers was a Green Room laughingstock. Brees was left for dead. Brady got passed on by every team in the league and, when he finally was drafted, it happened during an ESPN commercial break late Sunday afternoon. Four of the top-10 players were drafted after Uberbust JaMarcus Russell.
At times, timing and opportunity are everything, not necessarily when a player was drafted.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.