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Best draft classes

Posted by Doug on April 23, 2008

Using my still-in-beta approximate value method (which you can read about here, here, here, and here), I decided to identify the best draft classes since 1970.

The obvious choice is the 1974 Steelers' draft, which produced three Hall of Famers and one other guy who also got elected to the Hall of Fame. Pacifist Viking, however, makes a strong case for the 1986 49ers' class which lacks Canton residents but boasts seven players who started for five or more seasons. Nailing down a third of a team for half a decade in a single draft is pretty impressive.

My method ranks these classes #2 and #4 respectively. In between them is the 1981 Saints class, which is even deeper (but also even more lacking in true star power) than the '86 49ers' class. The Saints landed an astounding 12 players who would be NFL starters for at least two seasons. To give you a sense, consider Russell Gary. He started every game of the first four years of his career, and was even named by the UPI to the all-NFC team one year. He was, according to my method, the seventh-best player drafted by the Saints in 1986.

Before I reveal #1, let me describe the method.

I looked at every player drafted since 1970 and noted his value. Then, for each team-year, I computed what percentage of that year's entire draft value was captured by that team. This allows me to compare the 1981 draft (in which all players have completed their careers) with the 2007 draft (in which all drafted players have registered very little career value so far) on equal footing. It also allows me to fairly compare a 12-round draft of the 80s to the 7-round drafts that are the norm today. One more adjustment. I multiplied every team's fraction by: (number of teams in the league)/32, because, obviously, it's easier to capture a higher percentage of the overall draft value if there are fewer teams drafting.

A few things I did not do (why? I guess because it would have been more work than I was willing to do for what really should just be a fun post):

1. I didn't make any adjustments for what percentage of the player's career value was accrued with the team that drafted him. The Falcons get full credit for drafting Favre.

2. I didn't adjust for the slots in which the team was drafting. Presumably, it's harder to get a good draft class from the #26 slot than it is from the #2 slot. Likewise, it's easier to draft a lot of good players if you have a lot of picks. I didn't account for these things.

OK, here we go:

1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Rod Woodson           1    10    179
Hardy Nickerson       5   122    135
Greg Lloyd            6   150    114
Tim Johnson           6   141     55
Thomas Everett        4    94     49
Merril Hoge          10   261     42
Delton Hall           2    38     13
Charles Lockett       3    66      5
Joey Clinkscales      9   233      2
Theo Young           12   317      1
Charles Buchanan      8   205      1

1974 Pittsburgh Steelers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Jack Lambert          2    46    139
Mike Webster          5   125    130
John Stallworth       4    82    104
Lynn Swann            1    21     73
Jimmy Allen           4   100     36
Charles Davis         9   229     30
Tommy Reamon          9   223      4
Jim Wolf              6   149      4
Rich Druschel         6   150      1

1981 New Orleans Saints
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Rickey Jackson        2    51    157
Jim Wilks            12   305     85
Hoby Brenner          3    71     58
Frank Warren          3    57     56
George Rogers         1     1     53
Johnnie Poe           6   144     46
Russell Gary          2    29     31
Jerry Boyarsky        5   128     20
Glen Redd             6   166     16
Hokie Gajan          10   249     14
Louis Oubre           5   112     13
Toussaint Tyler       9   222      3
Nat Hudson            6   139      2

1986 San Francisco 49ers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Charles Haley         4    96    106
Steve Wallace         4   101     92
John Taylor           3    76     68
Don Griffin           6   162     65
Tim McKyer            3    64     52
Tom Rathman           3    56     47
Kevin Fagan           4   102     42
Larry Roberts         2    39     26
Pat Miller            5   131      2
Tony Cherry           9   240      1

1971 Pittsburgh Steelers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Jack Ham              2    34    153
Larry Brown           5   106     86
Frank Lewis           1     8     82
Mike Wagner          11   268     77
Dwight White          4   104     74
Ernie Holmes          8   203     47
Gerry Mullins         4    86     41
Ralph Anderson        5   126     20
Steve Davis           3    60     14
Craig Hanneman        6   138      7
Mel Holmes            5   112      2
Al Young             13   320      1

1989 Dallas Cowboys
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Troy Aikman           1     1    133
Steve Wisniewski      2    29    102
Mark Stepnoski        3    57     79
Tony Tolbert          4    85     74
Daryl Johnston        2    39     31
Keith Jennings        5   113     17
Rhondy Weston         3    68      2
Randy Shannon        11   280      2
Willis Crockett       5   119      1

1987 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Vinny Testaverde      1     1    156
Mark Carrier          3    57     80
Winston Moss          2    50     73
Harry Swayne          7   190     63
Ricky Reynolds        2    36     55
Ron Hall              4    87     30
Henry Rolling         5   135     25
Bruce Hill            4   106     24
Curt Jarvis           7   169     15
Don Smith             2    51      6
Mike Simmonds        10   252      2
Don Graham            4    84      1
Tony Mayes            5   137      1

1985 Buffalo Bills
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Bruce Smith           1     1    220
Andre Reed            4    86    137
Chris Burkett         2    42     37
Derrick Burroughs     1    14     20
Frank Reich           3    57     20
Dale Hellestrae       4   112     13
Ron Pitts             7   169     11
Hal Garner            3    63      5
Jimmy Teal            5   130      4
Mark Traynowicz       2    29      4
Mike Hamby            6   141      2
Jacque Robinson       8   197      1

1975 Dallas Cowboys
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Randy White           1     2    155
Bob Breunig           3    70     81
Pat Donovan           4    90     72
Mike Hegman           7   173     70
Herbert Scott        13   330     65
Thomas Henderson      1    18     33
Burton Lawless        2    44     17
Scott Laidlaw        14   356     16
Randy Hughes          4    96     15
Rolly Woolsey         6   148      6
Ed Jones              9   226      5
Kyle Davis            5   113      1

1975 Chicago Bears
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Walter Payton         1     4    170
Mike Hartenstine      2    31     92
Doug Plank           12   291     52
Roland Harper        17   420     35
Virgil Livers         4    83     35
Bob Avellini          6   135     31
Revie Sorey           5   110     30
Tom Hicks             6   151     30
Joe Harris            8   197     17
Roger Stillwell       9   212     14
Earl Douthitt         7   178      1

1972 Cincinnati Bengals
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Sherman White         1     2     90
Stan Walters          9   210     84
Jim LeClair           3    54     80
Tom DeLeone           5   106     55
Tommy Casanova        2    29     51
Bernard Jackson       4    81     47
Steve Conley          7   158      1

1974 Baltimore Colts
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
John Dutton           1     5     99
Robert Pratt          3    67     66
Roger Carr            1    24     61
Fred Cook             2    32     56
Freddie Scott         7   174     48
Noah Jackson          7   161     44
Greg Latta            8   188     19
Doug Nettles          5   129     18
Bob Van Duyne        10   240     12
Dan Dickel            7   170      6
Glenn Robinson        3    57      4
Randy Hall           13   317      2
Tim Rudnick          11   265      1
Danny Rhodes          6   140      1
Dave Simonson        12   292      1

1997 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Warrick Dunn          1    12    114
Ronde Barber          3    66    109
Al Harris             6   169     51
Frank Middleton       3    63     33
Alshermond Singleton  4   128     33
Jerry Wunsch          2    37     27
Reidel Anthony        1    16     22
Patrick Hape          5   137     11

1978 Green Bay Packers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
James Lofton          1     6    145
John Anderson         1    26     77
Mike Douglass         5   116     63
Terry Jones          11   284     31
Leotis Harris         6   144     23
Estus Hood            3    62     19
Eason Ramson         12   312     14
Mike Hunt             2    34      9

1977 Dallas Cowboys
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Tony Dorsett          1     2    138
Steve DeBerg         10   275    119
Tony Hill             3    62     86
Jim Cooper            6   164     61
Dave Stalls           7   191     24
Andy Frederick        5   137     19
Guy Brown             4   108     16
Glenn Carano          2    54      1

1975 San Diego Chargers
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Gary Johnson          1     8     83
Billy Shields         6   136     77
Fred Dean             2    33     74
Rickey Young          7   164     59
Louie Kelcher         2    30     59
Mike Fuller           3    73     46
Mike H. Williams      1    22     45
Ralph Perretta        8   206     14
Larry Keller          9   214     11

1991 Atlanta Falcons
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Brett Favre           2    33    237
Mike Pritchard        1    13     51
Erric Pegram          6   145     32
Moe Gardner           4    87     32
Ernie Logan           9   226     29
Bob Christian        12   310     27
Joe Sims             11   283     14
Bruce Pickens         1     3      4
Brian K. Mitchell     7   172      2
Mark Tucker           7   186      1

1978 Miami Dolphins

                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Doug Betters          6   163     73
Bill Kenney          12   333     66
Karl Baldischwiler    7   178     48
Gerald Small          4    93     44
Bruce Hardy           9   247     44
Eric Laakso           4   106     33
Jimmy Cefalo          3    81     25
Mark Dennard         10   274     23
Ted Burgmeier         5   111      2
Sean Clancy           8   217      2
Lyman Smith           3    64      1
Guy Benjamin          2    51      1

1977 New York Jets
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Wesley Walker         2    33     97
Marvin Powell         1     4     95
Joe Klecko            6   144     87
Dan Alexander         8   200     74
Scott Dierking        4    90     35
Kevin Long            7   195     25
Matt Robinson         9   227     13
John Hennessy        10   256      9
Charlie White         7   168      2

1995 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Derrick Brooks        1    28    184
Warren Sapp           1    12    146
Jerry Wilson          4   105     18
Melvin Johnson        2    43     14
Wardell Rouse         6   179      1

2005 Dallas Cowboys
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
DeMarcus Ware         1    11     36
Marion Barber         4   109     24
Marcus R. Spears      1    20     18
Chris L. Canty        4   132     16
Rob Petitti           6   209      9
Jay Ratliff           7   224      9
Kevin Burnett         2    42      5

For the complete list, you can click here.

For what it's worth, here are all 32 teams ranked according to their average score in all the drafts they've participated in:

Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars
Dallas Cowboys
St. Louis Rams
Indianapolis Colts
New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans
Green Bay Packers
Buffalo Bills
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Carolina Panthers
Arizona Cardinals
Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Giants
Seattle Seahawks
Denver Broncos
New Orleans Saints
Philadelphia Eagles
Oakland Raiders
Atlanta Falcons
San Diego Chargers
Cleveland Browns
Detroit Lions
Kansas City Chiefs
Washington Redskins

Now let's look at the draft classes by position. For each position, for each year, I'll measure the total value of the drafted players at that position that year, divided by the total value of all players drafted that year. With that method, here are the best and worst draft classes at each position:

QB 1971
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Ken Anderson          3    67    173
Jim Plunkett          1     1    120
Joe Theismann         4    99    117
Archie Manning        1     2    100
Lynn Dickey           3    56     83
Dan Pastorini         1     3     73
Scott Hunter          6   140     26
Joe Reed             11   283     15
Bobby Scott          14   340     12

QB 1996
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Tony Banks            2    42     54
Danny Kanell          4   130     14
Bobby Hoying          3    85      3
Jeff Lewis            4   100      2

RB 1990
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Emmitt Smith          1    17    172
Larry Centers         5   115     92
Terry Allen           9   241     74
Chris Warren          4    89     70
Rodney Hampton        1    24     64
Leroy Hoard           2    45     53
Brian Mitchell        5   130     49
Harold Green          2    38     46
Johnny Johnson        7   169     40
Anthony Johnson       2    36     39
Barry Foster          5   128     37
Reggie Cobb           2    30     31
Steve Broussard       1    20     26
Blair Thomas          1     2     21
Johnny Bailey         9   228     20
Dexter Carter         1    25     20
Carwell Gardner       2    42     18
Darrell Thompson      1    19     17
David Lang           12   328      6
Anthony Thompson      2    31      6
Cedric Smith          5   131      6
Pat Chaffey           5   117      4
James Rouse           8   200      2
Richard Bell         12   319      2

RB 1992
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Edgar Bennett         4   103     53
Amp Lee               2    45     37
Sam Gash              8   205     34
Kevin Turner          3    71     31
Tommy Vardell         1     9     20
Charles Evans        11   295     11
Derrick Moore         8   216     10
Scottie Graham        7   188      9
Vaughn Dunbar         1    21      7
Michael Bates         6   150      6
Anthony McDowell      8   200      5
Rodney Culver         4    85      5
Tim Lester           10   255      4
Tony Smith            1    19      4
Dexter McNabb         5   119      2
Ronald Humphrey       8   212      2
Ostell Miles          9   226      1
Scott Lockwood        8   204      1
Mazio Royster        11   284      1

WR 1996
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Marvin Harrison       1    19    157
Terrell Owens         3    89    143
Keyshawn Johnson      1     1    104
Eric Moulds           1    24     98
Muhsin Muhammad       2    43     94
Eddie Kennison        1    18     88
Joe Horn              5   135     87
Amani Toomer          2    34     85
Terry Glenn           1     7     84
Bobby Engram          2    52     70
Jermaine Lewis        5   153     25
Derrick Mayes         2    56     19
Patrick Jeffers       5   159     17
Charlie Jones         4   114     14
Reggie Barlow         4   110      8
Bryan Still           2    41      8
Iheanyi Uwaezuoke     5   160      5
Stepfret Williams     3    94      4
Chris Doering         6   185      4
Dietrich Jells        6   176      2
James Roe             6   186      2
Alex Van Dyke         2    31      2
Terry Guess           5   165      1
Mercury Hayes         5   136      1
Jahine Arnold         4   132      1
Brice Hunter          7   251      1

WR 1973
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Isaac Curtis          1    15     86
Wallace Francis       5   110     38
Darryl Stingley       1    19     31
Golden Richards       2    46     29
Jim Lash              3    65     22
Bo Rather             4   104     16
David Knight         11   272     15
Steve Holden          1    16     11
Barry Smith           1    21      8
Ollie Smith           4    85      8
Charlie Wade         17   442      7
Willie McGee          5   123      6
Johnny Rodgers        1    25      4
Tom Geredine          4    94      3
Louis Neal            5   124      3
Dave Sullivan        15   384      1
Steve Sweeney         9   231      1

TE 1978
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Ozzie Newsome         1    23    101
Todd Christensen      2    56     75
Mickey Shuler         3    61     70
Bruce Hardy           9   247     44
Derrick Ramsey        5   136     29
Reese McCall          1    25     20
Larry Hardy          12   309     16
Eason Ramson         12   312     14
James Wright          7   179     12
Brooks Williams       8   199     10
Ken MacAfee           1     7      7
Conrad Rucker         6   154      2

TE 1971
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Bob Moore             5   123     26
Jan White             2    29     10
Len Garrett          15   374     10
John Andrews          5   130      2
Don Burchfield       13   314      2

OL 1998
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Alan Faneca           1    26     89
Tra Thomas            1    11     75
Flozell Adams         2    38     73
Ephraim Salaam        7   199     66
Jason Fabini          4   111     59
Matt Birk             6   173     57
Benji Olson           5   139     52
Kyle Turley           1     7     51
Olin Kreutz           3    64     49
Todd Weiner           2    47     49
Steve McKinney        4    93     48
Mike Goff             3    78     48
Victor Riley          1    27     45
Jeremy Newberry       2    58     44
Anthony Clement       2    36     42
Chris Liwienski       7   207     40
John Wade             5   148     35
Trey Teague           7   200     28
Oliver Ross           5   138     26
Mo Collins            1    23     24
Bob Hallen            2    53     20
Kevin Long            7   229     14
Robert Hicks          3    68     12
Gennaro DiNapoli      4   109     12
Patrick Mannelly      6   189      9
Todd Washington       4   104      9
Sammy Williams        6   164      6
Mark Fischer          5   140      5
Chris Conrad          3    66      3
Jim Bundren           7   210      3
Ben Fricke            7   213      2
Phil Ostrowski        5   151      2
Chris Ruhman          3    89      1
Jason Andersen        7   211      1

OL 1991
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Erik Williams         3    70     81
Kevin Donnalley       3    79     50
Antone Davis          1     8     43
Pat Harlow            1    11     39
Clarence Jones        4   111     37
Bob Dahl              3    72     31
Gene Williams         5   121     30
Eric Moten            2    47     23
Charles McRae         1     7     19
Ed King               2    29     17
John Flannery         2    44     16
Scott Conover         5   118     16
Mike Arthur           5   130     15
Joe Sims             11   283     14
Harry Boatswain       5   137     11
Jerry Crafts         11   292      9
Rob Selby             3    75      8
Stan Thomas           1    22      7
Jeff Pahukoa         12   311      6
Joe Valerio           2    50      5
Ariel Solomon        10   269      4
Mike Sullivan         6   153      4
Blake Miller          7   168      2
Tim T. Ryan           5   136      2
Mark Vander Poel      4    96      2
Sean Love            10   264      1
Chris Thome           5   119      1
Mark Tucker           7   186      1
Tom Dohring           8   218      1
Calvin Stephens       3    56      1
Nick Subis            6   142      1

DL 1992
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Marco Coleman         1    12    101
Chester McGlockton    1    16     99
Keith Hamilton        4    99     89
Robert Porcher        1    26     87
Santana Dotson        5   132     70
Sean Gilbert          1     3     63
Michael Bankston      4   100     61
Joel Steed            3    67     59
Tracy Scroggins       2    53     51
Chuck Smith           2    51     49
Roy Barker            4    98     48
Brad Culpepper       10   264     47
Alonzo Spellman       1    22     46
Shane Dronett         2    54     45
Mark Wheeler          3    59     39
Tony McCoy            4   105     38
Chris Mims            1    23     38
Robert Harris         2    39     36
Marc Boutte           3    57     34
Bill E. Johnson       3    65     33
Larry Webster         3    70     26
Mark Thomas           4    89     20
Stacey Dillard        6   153     15
Steve Emtman          1     1     14
Matt LaBounty        12   327     11
Reggie E. White       6   147     10
Tim Roberts           5   136      8
Shane Collins         2    47      6
Mike Frier            7   178      5
Corey Mayfield       10   269      4
Tommy Jeter           3    75      3
Michael Brandon      12   309      2
Mario Johnson        10   266      2
Roosevelt Nix         8   199      1
Mike Evans            4   101      1
James Patton          2    55      1
Alberto White        10   268      1

DL 1998
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Greg Ellis            1     8     80
Grant Wistrom         1     6     69
Vonnie Holliday       1    19     64
Greg Spires           3    83     57
Leonard Little        3    65     54
Kenny Mixon           2    49     44
Michael Myers         4   100     43
Brandon Whiting       4   112     39
Joe Salave'a          4   107     24
Derrick Ransom        6   181     16
Chuck Wiley           3    62     15
Lorenzo Bromell       4   102     13
Andre Wadsworth       1     3     13
Eric Ogbogu           6   163     12
Jason Peter           1    14     10
Glen Steele           4   105     10
James Cannida         6   175      8
Martin Chase          5   124      6
Dorian Boose          2    56      4
Jeremy Staat          2    41      3
Ron Warner            7   239      3
Jason Chorak          7   236      1
Vincent Amey          7   230      1

LB 1981
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Lawrence Taylor       1     2    188
Mike Singletary       2    38    164
Rickey Jackson        2    51    157
David Little          7   183     78
Hugh Green            1     7     72
E.J. Junior           1     5     72
Bryan Hinkle          6   156     70
Mel Owens             1     9     53
Jim Collins           2    43     47
Don Blackmon          4   102     41
Eddie Johnson         7   187     41
Dave Ahrens           6   143     32
Steve Busick          7   181     28
Avon Riley            9   243     27
Byron Hunt            9   224     20
Guy Frazier           4    93     19
Glen Redd             6   166     16
Jeff Schuh            7   176     15
John Woodring         6   142     11
Robin Sendlein        2    45      9
Scott Pelluer         4    91      7
Carlos Bradley       11   300      5
Danny Spradlin        5   137      5
Cliff Lewis          12   311      4
Larry Kubin           6   148      4
John Gillen           5   116      3
Derrie Nelson         4   108      3
Lyman White           2    54      2
Al Washington         4    86      1

LB 2001
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Kendrell Bell         2    39     45
Morlon Greenwood      3    88     43
Ed Hartwell           4   126     34
Tommy Polley          2    42     34
Dan Morgan            1    11     32
Matt Stewart          4   102     29
Orlando Huff          4   104     25
Sedrick Hodge         3    70     20
Jamie Winborn         2    47     15
Keith Adams           7   232     15
Monty Beisel          4   107     12
Zeke Moreno           5   139      9
Markus Steele         4   122      8
Patrick Chukwurah     5   157      8
Brian L. Allen        3    83      8
Jason Glenn           6   173      7
Carlos Polk           4   112      7
Torrance Marshall     3    72      6
Eric Westmoreland     3    73      5
Quinton Caver         2    55      5
Brandon Spoon         4   110      5
Roger Knight          6   182      4
Riall Johnson         6   168      2
Anthony Denman        7   213      2
Karon Riley           4   103      1

DB 1989
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Deion Sanders         1     5    122
Carnell Lake          2    34    101
Steve Atwater         1    20     95
Ray Crockett          4    86     75
Greg Jackson          3    78     63
Donnell Woolford      1    11     52
Myron Guyton          8   218     47
Louis Oliver          1    25     46
J.B. Brown           12   315     43
Stevon Moore          7   181     43
Maurice Hurst         4    96     41
Bubba McDowell        3    77     40
Robert Massey         2    46     37
D.J. Johnson          7   174     34
Bo Orlando            6   157     27
Darren Carrington     5   134     25
Darryl Henley         2    53     19
A.J. Johnson          6   149     14
Jay Taylor            6   150     12
Brian Jordan          7   173     11
Alvoid Mays           8   217      9
Johnnie Jackson       5   122      9
Markus Paul           4    95      9
Marcus Turner        11   283      9
Charles Washington    7   185      6
Richard Shelton      11   292      6
Michael Mayes         4   106      3
Stan Petry            4    88      3
Chris Hale            7   193      3
R.J. Kors            12   322      3
Rodney Rice           8   210      2
Cornell Holloway     10   256      2
Calvin Nicholson     11   300      1
Kyle Kramer           5   114      1
Jerry Woods           7   170      1
Thom Kaumeyer         6   148      1
David Arnold          5   118      1
Tony Zackery          8   223      1
Elliot Smith          5   120      1

DB 1979
                    Rnd  pick   Value
=====================================
Nesby Glasgow         8   207     67
Glenn Blackwood       8   215     56
Dwayne Woodruff       6   161     54
Rick Sanford          1    25     32
Johnny Lynn           4    98     24
Clinton Burrell       6   151     23
Larry Braziel         5   115     22
Lawrence Johnson      2    40     18
Carter Hartwig        8   214     16
Mike Kozlowski       10   272     14
Don Bessillieu        5   134     12
Rod Kush              5   114     11
Donald Dykes          3    68     11
Aaron Mitchell        2    55     10
Kim Anderson          3    69      9
Jeff Nixon            4    87      9
Henry Williams        6   156      6
Charles Johnson       4   101      5
Jeff Delaney          7   190      5
Ricky Ray             6   146      4
Judson Flint          7   177      3
Frank Duncan         12   321      2
Scott Burk            9   223      1
Gerald Jackson       10   260      1
Jim Browner          12   304      1
Steve Henry           5   118      1
Dave Becker          12   312      1
Vaughn Lusby          4    91      1
Dave Parkin           9   239      1

Actually, the computer spit out 2007 as the top DB class, but I threw that out because, well, because it looked silly.

Also, I have to admit that, at first glance, I wasn't completely sure which of those DL groups was supposed to be the best and which was supposed to be the worst. But after a bit more investigation, I guess it adds up. The methodology helps '92 out a little because it was a fairly weak draft overall. Also, while players like Joel Steed and Michael Bankston are pretty forgettable, they're stout if you're talking about the 7th- and 8th-best defensive linemen in a single draft. Other years have better players at the top, but can't match the depth or had to compete with better overall draft classes. Contenders would include 1975, 1970, 1994, and 1979.

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