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2012 NFL Draft: History of the Eighth Position

Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans was last year's eighth overall draft pick.
Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans was last year's eighth overall draft pick.

The Miami Dolphins have the eighth draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. As we close in on the draft, I felt it was time to take a look back at the last 20 years, and see who was drafted at that position each year. We will look at each pick, seeing how effective the player selected was for their team.


First up, we have 2011. The Tennessee Titans had the eighth pick last year, selecting Washington quarterback Jake Locker. Locker was seen as a reach at the spot, having been projected to go around the 20th selection. He spent last year as the second string quarterback behind Matt Hasselbeck, appearing in five games for the Titans, throwing 66 passes, completing 34 of them, for a 51.5% completion rate. He had four touchdowns, to zero interceptions, with a 99.4 passer rating.

Related: 2012 NFL Draft: Who ya got?


The 2010 NFL Draft saw the Oakland Raiders select linebacker Rolando McClain from Alabama, who was the top rated linebacker heading into the draft. In his two years with the Raiders, McClain has started 29 of the 30 games in which he appeared, tallying 5.5 sacks, 1 interception, 17 passes defensed, and 185 tackles. McClain was arrested in December 2011 for misdemeanor assault, firearms, and other charges after firing a gun near a man's ear during a fight at his home in Alabama.


The Jacksonville Jaguars held the eighth pick in 2009, selecting Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe - one of the two offensive lineman the Jaguars would pick with their first two selections in the 2009 draft. Monroe started Week 1 of his rookie year at left tackle, starting 13 of the 15 games in which he appeared. Since being drafted, Monroe, despite inconsistent play at times, has remained the left tackle for the Jaguars, appearing in 45 total games, starting 42 of them.


The 2008 Draft saw the Jaguars trade up to the eighth pick. The team would select Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey, the third defensive end selected in the first eight picks of the draft (Chris Long was selected second by the St. Louis Rams, while the New York Jets selected Vernon Gholston). Harvey would never amount to that eighth overall selection - in fact, Big Cat Country, the SB Nation Jaguars blog, ranks Harvey as one of the Top 10 Busts in team history:

"In the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars moved up to the 8th overall selection to pick defensive end Derrick Harvey. To move up, the Jaguars sent away their 1st round pick, two 3rd round picks, and a 4th round pick to the Baltimore Ravens. Harvey was touted along with second round pick Quentin Groves as being the solution to the pass rush of the future. In Harvey's rookie year he played just OK. At the end of the season his play started to turn for the better and he ended the season having a monster game against the Baltimore Ravens. Harvey looked primed to bust out in 2009. The bust out, however never occurred. Some thought it was because of the Jaguars defensive scheme, moving Harvey from right end to outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment and also playing the 5-technique in the 3-4. Harvey also lined up at defensive tackle at times in the 4-3 alignment on passing downs. That's a lot to put on a second year player, so a lot of people thought that stunted his growth.

"Entering the 2010 season, most everyone expected Harvey to break out with the Jaguars picking up veteran defensive end Aaron Kampman in free agency. Like 2009, that break out never occurred. The only thing that broke out was Derrick Harvey riding the pine towards the middle of the season. Harvey's status on the roster for the 2011 season is also up in the air. I personally have a hard time seeing the Jaguars cut loose a 24 year old defensive end only 3 seasons in, but I wouldn't be shocked by the move either. Unless Harvey suddenly nets a double-digit sack season in 2011, he's going to go down as one of the biggest draft busts in Jaguars history. He was drafted in the Top 10, and the Jaguars used 4 picks to draft him. That's a hefty investment for only 8 career sacks."

Harvey spent the 2011 season with the Denver Broncos, appearing in just five games.


As part of the trade sending Matt Schaub from the Atlanta Falcons to the Houston Texans, the Falcons held the eighth pick in 2007, selecting Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson (one pick ahead of the Dolphins selection of Ted Ginn, Jr. - just to throw that in there). And, just like would happen with the 2008 draft, the trade into the eighth spot to take a defensive end would result in a bust ranking among the team's ten biggest. From The Falcoholic, SB Nation's Atlanta Falcons' blog back in April 2011:

History may eventually judge Jamaal Anderson differently, but with four seasons under his belt, the former Arkansas defensive end can't really be characterized as anything other than a bust. Brought on board to bolster the pass rush-man, that sounds familiar-Anderson has done nothing of the sort, posting an anemic 3.5 sacks in four seasons. He pairs that with 98 tackles and a whole lot of angry, bewildered fans who have watched him play in that span.

What saves Anderson from being lower on this ignoble list? Well, he's only played four seasons, so there's still time for him to carve out a nice career. Even though he's been colossally disappointing for his draft position, he's turned himself into a valuable member of the rotation at both end and tackle, unlike some of the guys we'll be looking at a little later on. In fact, by virtue of starting for a while and providing some kind of value, Anderson almost didn't make this list at all.

Unless he gets cut in the off-season, 2011 will likely be the last year that Anderson dons a Falcons uniform. There's still time for him to rescue his career, so let's hope he does.

Anderson was released by the Falcons prior to last season, spending the year with the Indianapolis Colts. He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.

Related: The Phinsider Podcast - 2012 NFL Draft, Cameron Wake, and the Miami Dolphins


The Buffalo Bills selected eighth in 2006, taking safety Donte Whitner from Ohio State. Whitner would start 66 games in his five years with the Bills, tallying 1.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, with 1 touchdown, 19 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, and 450 tackles. Although a solid player, the Bills would let Whitner walk away in free agency in 2011, seeing him sign a three year deal with the San Francisco 49ers. He would start 15 games with the 49ers in 2011, picking off two passes, recovering three fumbles, and recording 65 tackles.


In 2005, the Arizona Cardinals would select the first Pro Bowler on our list, grabbing Antrel Rolle, cornerback from Miami, with the eighth pick. Rolle missed nearly his entire rookie year due to a knee injury, but would start 59 games, with 68 appearances, in his five years with the Cardinals. He would make his first Pro Bowl in his final year with the Cardinals, tallying 1.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 8 passes defensed, and 71 tackles in 2009. He also recorded a 9.2 yards per punt return average on 6 returns for that season. The Cardinals would release Rolle after the 2009 season, rather than pay him a $4 million roster bonus. Rolle would move over to the New York Giants, becoming the richest safety in league history (5 years, $27 million) for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, starting all 32 games over both seasons, and making another trip to the Pro Bowl in 2010.


The 2004 season would have a Pro Bowl selection at the eighth position as well, with the Atlanta Falcons selecting Virginia Tech cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Hall would play four seasons with the Falcons before being traded to the Oakland Raiders. Hall would make the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006 with the Falcons, but he would alienate the fan base, and the team, along the way. Once again, let's turn to the Falcoholic for their take, this time on Hall:

"I had such high hopes for DeAngelo Hall when he first came to the Falcons, and he never completely disappointed me. No, he very quietly chugged along as a competent to great #1 corner and teammate, never running into trouble until you opened that yawning bear trap he calls a mouth. With it, he managed to alienate the higher-ups, the media and the fans. No matter how hard of a worker he was, there was always something to pick on with him. I'm neither convinced that he was the greatest thing ever nor compelled to slam him as an awful cornerback. He was just D-Hall, distinctly above average.

"Now he's gone.

"I won't miss D-Hall all that much, to be honest. His insistence that he didn't want to be on a losing team was trumped by a desire to make $67 million, so I won't miss him lying about that. I also won't miss his occasional temper tantrum, his tendency to throw the coach and GM under a bus and his tributes to Mike Vick. I'm sure we'll miss him on the field, but D-Hall made it clear that he wanted to be more than that. So be it."

Hall would be released mid way into his first season with the Raiders, despite signing a seven-year, $70 million ($24.5 million guaranteed) contract following the trade. He was then signed by the Washington Redskins, where he has been since. He returned to the Pro Bowl following the 2010 season.

Related: SB Nation Bloggers 2012 NFL Mock Draft Round 1


The Carolina Panthers selected eighth in the 2003 draft - jumping ahead of the Minnesota Vikings who allowed time to expire on their pick - grabbing offensive tackle Jordan Gross from Utah. Gross has spent his entire career with the Panthers, starting in all 135 games in which he has appeared. As a rookie, Gross played every offensive snap for the Panthers at right tackle, before moving to left tackle for his sophomore season. Over the next few years, Gross has bounced back and forth between the two positions, playing well enough to be named the Panthers' franchise player in 2008. He's been to the Pro Bowl twice, following the 2008 and 2010 seasons, along with being named 1st Team All-Pro after the 2008 season.


The 2002 NFL Draft continues the current streak of Pro Bowlers taken with the eighth overall pick. This year, it was the Dallas Cowboys selecting safety Roy Williams from Oklahoma following a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams would spend seven years with the Cowboys earning Pro Bowl berths after each season from 2003 to 2007. He was also a 1st Team All Pro selection in 2003. During his time with the Cowboys, Williams would start 95 of 98 games in which he appeared, tallying 6.5 sacks, 19 interceptions, with 3 touchdowns, along with 501 tackles. Williams' 2008 season would see him break his arm during the second game of the year, causing him to miss the next four games. He would return during the team's seventh game, only to break his arm again, and end up on injured reserve. The Cowboys would grant Williams' request and release him after the season. He would sign with the Cincinnati Bengals in May 2009, only to again break his arm in November of that year and be placed on injured reserve. He would play one more year with the Bengals before retiring following the 2010 season.


After going back through four straight Pro Bowlers picked at the eight spot, we once again find a team's all time bust candidate in 2001. The Chicago Bears were picking in the eighth position that year, and would select wide receiver David Terrell from Michigan. Terrell would last only four years with the Bears, before trying to catch on with the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos for the 2005 season. Terrell would also try to make a come back with the Broncos in 2007. He would finish his career with just 128 receptions, 1,602 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Windy City Gridiron, the SB Nation Bears blog, writes about the Terrell pick:

"Terrell was the 8th pick overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. The former Michigan Wolverine had the attitude and the mouth of an NFL Diva wide out, but not the talent. He declared for the draft after his Junior season in which he caught 63 balls for 994 yards and 13 TDs. That was his only season of production at Michigan.

"As a Bear he totaled 128 receptions for 1,602 yards with 9 TDs in four years. After being cut by Chicago he tried to catch on with a couple other teams but none were dumb enough to put him on the field.

"That 2001 Draft also netted WRs (chosen after Terrell): Koren Robinson, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers, Steve Smith, and TJ Houshmandzadeh... all Pro Bowlers."


The 2000 NFL Draft saw the Pittsburgh Steelers select Michigan State wide receiver Plaxico Burress with the eighth pick. During his time with the Steelers, Burress never lived up to the eighth overall pick. He tallied 261 receptions for 4,164 yards and 22 touchdowns. About the pick, the SB Nation Steelers blog, Behind the Steel Curtain, writes:

"Burress did actually post solid postseason numbers with the Steelers. In six playoff games during the '01, '03 and '05 seasons, Burress caught 23 passes for 381 yards and 3 TDs. In the AFC Championship Game against New England though, Burress dropped a difficult but catchable TD pass at a critical moment in the game. It happens, but it's harder to stomach when the guy goes on the record after the loss to whine about not getting the ball enough. Make football plays with the opportunities you do have please before coming off as out of touch and selfish with your personal agenda.

"To me, it comes down to several concrete factors: (1) he was a top ten pick, not a late 20s or early 30s first rounder. Top ten picks are supposed to pan out in a big way. Burress' tenure in Pittsburgh was not exactly a 'bust', but I don't think it's unfair to say it didn't live up to its top ten billing. And (2) even though his statistical productivity was nothing to sneeze at, I've hopefully laid the groundwork for the argument that he really wasn't that productive when you consider how featured he was in the Steelers offense during his five years in black and gold. Finally, (3) you have to ding Colbert & Co. at least slightly for rolling the dice on a guy that they probably knew had at least some semblance of 'baggage' attitude wise.

"That's fine. I want the Steelers to take appropriate gambles on players that may not be ideal character guys. There just aren't that many great talents that are also awesome, selfless personalities in the group dynamic. That's human nature. You best though be confident that you're going to get maximum production out of volatile personalities before they have the time and leeway to adversely affect your team chemistry. And quite simply, I don't think the Steelers got maximum production from the eighth overall pick in the 2000 Draft in their selection of Plaxico Burress."

Burress would join the New York Guants in 2005, playing four years for the team, including catching the winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII, as the Giants stopped the New England Patriots from claiming the second perfect season in NFL history. However, Burress is probably best known for going to prison for shooting himself in the thigh in a New York night club. After his prison time, Buress rejoined the NFL, signing with the New York Jets for the 2011 season. He is currently a free agent.

Related: 2012 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins Scheduled Prospect Visits 2.0


The 1999 draft is probably best remembered as the draft in which the New Orleans Saints traded their entire draft for Ricky Williams, who they selected fifth overall. Three choices later, the Arizona Cardinals would select David Boston, the Ohio State wide receiver. Boston would appear in one Pro Bowl with the Cardinals, leading the league in 2001 with 1,598 yards and a 99.9 yards per game average. However, after the 2002 season, the Cardinals would allow Boston to leave, seeing him sign a seven-year, $47 million contract with the San Diego Chargers. After just one season, however, Boston was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a sixth round draft pick. Boston would test positive for steroids before the 2004 season, then tear the ligaments in his knee, leading him to miss the entire season. Boston returned for the 2005 season, playing in five games before tearing the ligaments in his knee again. Boston would be released by the Dolphins, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006, only to be released following a DUI. Boston would sign with the Toronto Argonauts in 2008 as he tried to return to the game, only to have a stress fracture in his foot sideline him for good.


In 1998, the Dallas Cowboys selected Greg Ellis, the North Carolina defensive end, with the eighth overall pick. The pick was immediately ridiculed by the team's fans, who had wanted the Cowboys to select wide receiver Randy Moss. The team, instead, chose Ellis rather than risk picking up Moss, and his character issues. Ellis would spend 11-years with the Cowboys, starting 155 of his 162 appearances. He racked up 4 interceptions, with 1 touchdown, 20 forced fumbles, nine recoveries, with an additional touchdown, and 505 tackles, along with being named to the 2007 Pro Bowl. The Cowboys would release Ellis before the 2009 season, saving over $4 million in cap space. Ellis would sign with the Cincinnati Bengals on a 3-year, $10 million contract, but would only play one year before being released, and subsequently retiring. Blogging the Boys, the Dallas Cowboys' SB Nation blog, has a great look at the parting shot Ellis gave as he left the team:

"Back to parting shots, every once in a while, you get one so hilarious and unhinged that you can't ignore it. Vying for the crown of craziest parting shot is our own, errr...our formerly own, Greg Ellis. Did you guys catch his gem about playing time in Dallas and the secretive help he was receiving from DeMarcus Ware? Sure, Ellis used to upset the apple cart with his constant offseason complaints about his contract, his playing time, who the Cowboys were drafting at his position, etc. That stuff is common place. You hear it all the time from players. It took Greg leaving the Cowboys for him to really project his inner-fears into the public consciousness like he did on Michael Irvin's radio show yesterday.

'It's a disgrace when DeMarcus Ware comes off the field just so I can get in the game and when the coaches tell him to come on the field, he tries to hide so I can play,' Ellis said on Irvin's show. 'And you're telling me we're trying to win the Super Bowl?'

"Wow, talk about revealing your inner-most fears about your own inadequacies. Ellis is projecting onto Ware his own thoughts that the Cowboys obviously weren't trying to be the best team they can be and win the Super Bowl, because they weren't playing him enough. So instead of his own complaints that we've heard year after year, he puts those same complaints into the mind of Ware, so he can say, 'that's not just me thinking that way, the best guy on the Cowboys defense also thinks that way.' I can't wait to hear Ware's reply to this.

"More from Ellis:

"'On his own. He would say, "G, come on." And I would tell him, "No, DeMarcus, go ahead, man. You're coming up on your contract year. Don't mess that stuff up. Go ahead and do you, and we're just going to do what the coaches, or whoever the powers that be, what they want to do."'


The New York Jets took Virginia linebacker James Farrior with the eighth pick in the 1997 NFL Draft. Farrior would play five years for the Jets, starting just 43 of the 76 games in which he appeared. During those years, he would only pick up 5.5 sacks, with 3 interceptions, and 335 tackles. After the 2000 season, the Jets, seeing Farrior as a bust, would allow the linebacker to leave via free agency. He would play the next 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning two Super Bowls, and having two Pro Bowl and All Pro selections following the 2004 and 2008 seasons. He was also named the Steelers' team MVP in 2004. For his career, Farrior has 1,411 tackles, with 35.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, and 19 forced fumbles. The Steelers' released Farrior back in March.


Carolina Panthers - Tim Biakabutuka, Running back, Michigan - 6 years, 611 carries, 2,530 yards, 14 touchdowns


Seattle Seahawks - Joey Galloway, Wide receiver, Ohio State - 16 years (5 with Seattle, 5 Tampa Bay, 4 Dallas, 1 New England, 1 Washington), 701 receptions, 10,950 yards, 77 touchdowns

Related: SB Nation Profiles Melvin Ingram For 2012 NFL Draft


Seattle Seahawks - Sam Adams, Defensive tackle, Texas A&M - 14 years (6 Seattle, 3 Buffalo, 2 Baltimore, 1 Cincinnati, 1 Denver, 1 Oakland), 44 sacks, 3 interceptions, 401 tackles, 3 Pro Bowls


New Orleans Saints - Willie Roaf, Offensive tackle, Louisiana Tech - 13 years (9 New Orleans, 4 Kansas City), 11 Pro Bowls, 3 First Team All Pro, 2012 Hall of Fame Inductee


Atlanta Falcons - Bob Whitfield, Offensive tackle, Stanford - 15 years (12 Atlanta, 1 Jacksonville, 2 New York Giants), 1 Pro Bowl