CHARLOTTE – History suggests the Carolina Panthers might want to select a defensive back or an offensive lineman with the 59th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, but definitely avoid taking a quarterback.
I always find it interesting to research what players have been selected in the past at the particular spot the Panthers are picking – in this case, 59th overall -- and what type of success they’ve had in the league.
Interestingly enough, if the Panthers stand pat and don’t trade the pick they traditionally will get a pretty good player.
Each of the last five players selected 59th overall are currently starters in the league including guard Mike Pollak (Colts, 2008), center Ryan Kalil (Panthers, 2007), tackle Jeremy Trueblood (Bucs, 2006), defensive end Jonathan Babineaux (Falcons, 2005) and safety Sean Jones (2004), a three-year starter for the Browns prior to signing with the Eagles this year as a free agent.
However, to find the best players selected 59th overall in the past 20 years you have to go back to the early 90s when the Cardinals landed eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Aeneas Williams (1991) and the Giants found cornerback/safety Jason Sehorn (1994). Both had extremely productive and lengthy careers.
Two others who’ve been extremely successful are cornerback Sheldon Brown (2002), a five-year starter for the Eagles, and linebacker Marcus Washington (2000), who has started more than 100 games for the Colts and Redskins. Several others have had lengthy career ranking from seven to 10 seasons.
However, the Panthers may want to avoid finding the heir apparent to Jake Delhomme at this spot.
Of the two quarterback selected at No. 59 in the past 20 years, neither New England’s Tom Hodson (1990) or Oakland’s Marquis Tuiasosopo (2001) were able to find starting jobs in the NFL.
Here is the complete list of players selected 59th overall in the past 20 NFL drafts:
2008: G/C Mike Pollak, Colts
He started 13 games for the Colts last year.
2007: C Ryan Kalil, Panthers
We’re all familiar with Kalil, who did well in his first season as starter in ’08.
2006: OT Jeremy Trueblood, Bucs
Started all 16 games at tackle last year and will be a mainstay in Tampa for years to come.
2005: DE Jonathan Babineaux, Falcons
After three years as a backup, he started all 16 games for coach Mike Smith in 2008 and recorded 3.5 sacks.
2004: S Sean Jones, Browns
A three-year starter for the Browns prior to signing with the Eagles this past off-season.
2003: LB Alonzo Jackson, Steelers
Never could make as an outside linebacker in the Steelers 3-4 defense. Tried to catch on with the Giants and Eagles, but is currently out of the league.
2002: CB Sheldon Brown, Eagles
The Lancaster, S.C., native is enjoying a great career with the Eagles, having started 82 games with 14 career INTs.
2001: QB Marquis Tuiasosopo, Raiders
He’s bounced around the league most of his career but has never been able to nail down a starting job.
2000: LB Marcus Washington, Colts
Originally drafted by the Colts, he joined the ‘Skins as a free agent after his fourth season. He’s started 113 games and has enjoyed an extremely productive career.
1999: DB Scott Shields, Steelers
He was a notable bust for the Steelers, never amounting to the player the Rooneys thought he’d be.
1998: WR Mikheal Ricks, Chargers
The Stephen F. Austin product played seven seasons in the NFL, but caught only 155 passes and eight touchdowns. He was used as a return man.
1997: DE Brandon Mitchell, Patriots
He played eight seasons in the NFL, including five for the Patriots and started in Super Bowl XXXVI.
1996: TE Ernie Conwell, Rams
Conwell played 11 seasons in the NFL and caught 203 passes with 15 touchdowns for the Rams and Saints.
1995: TE Kendall Watkins, Cowboys
He managed one catch during his inglorious career with America’s Team and was later beaten out by Eric Bjornson.
1994: CB Jason Sehorn, Giants
Enjoyed a very good 10-year NFL career at cornerback and then later safety. Carolina fans may remember Steve Smith toasting him for a 69-yard game-winning touchdown in double overtime in the 2003 NFC Divisional playoffs. Bonus points for marrying Angie Harmon.
1993: LB Steve Tovar, Bengals
He played eight productive seasons in the league, including one with the Panthers at the tail end of his career.
1992: DT Mark Wheeler, Bucs
He played eight seasons in the NFL with three different teams enjoying a solid, albeit not outstanding career.
1991: CB Aeneas Williams, Cardinals
An eight-time Pro Bowler, Williams is arguably the greatest player ever to play for the Cardinals. He spent 14 years in the NFL before retiring after the 2004 season.
1990: QB Tom Hodson, Patriots
Saw action in six games as a rookie for the Patriots, but could never lock down a starting job and went on to work as a backup for the Dolphins. Spent six seasons in the NFL.
1989: G Mike Utley, Lions
He was a starting offensive lineman before a devastating spinal injury left him paralyzed.