Recent history lesson of NFL draft's No. 6 pick


Here's a look at the last 20 years of the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft. By Dave Zangaro

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After losing in the regular season finale last week, the Eagles ended up with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft. It’ll be their highest naturally earned pick since they had the No. 4 pick in 2013 and took Lane Johnson.

So let’s take a look at the last 20 years of No. 6 picks.

Of the last 20 players drafted at No. 6, 12 of them have become Pro Bowlers and 6 have become All-Pros.

* - Pro Bowl

# - All-Pro

Let’s take a closer look:


The future looks bright for the Chargers after they took Herbert out of Oregon with the No. 6 pick. As a rookie, Herbert ended up starting 15 games. The Chargers went 6-9 with him at QB but the 22-year-old completed 66.6% of his passes for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 31 touchdown passes were a rookie record and Herbert finished just 38 yards behind Andrew Luck’s rookie passing record. Not bad for the third QB off the board.


The Giants made Jones the second quarterback taken behind Kyler Murray and the jury is still out on the Duke product. In two seasons, he has an 8-18 record. He has completed 62% of his passes for 5,970 yards with 35 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. The problem here is that Jones didn’t take a step forward in his second season. In fact, he regressed. After throwing 24 touchdowns and 12 picks as a rookie, Jones threw 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in Year 2.


It’s rare for an offensive guard to go in the top 10 but, boy, did the Colts nail this one. The Notre Dame draft pick has been dynamic in the NFL. In his three seasons, Nelson has played and started all 48 games and is already a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro. We’re seeing the beginning of what looks like a Hall of Fame career.


The Jets took Adams out of LSU as one of just two defensive players in the top 10 that year. After three seasons in New York, Adams was traded to Seattle and finally made it to the playoffs. In the four years he’s been in the league, Adams is a three-time Pro Bowler and was an All-Pro in 2019. This season he had an incredible 9 1/2 sacks in 12 games for the Seahawks.


A few picks after the Eagles took Carson Wentz at No. 2, the Ravens found their left tackle out of Notre Dame. Stanley became a starter as a rookie and has been very good for the Ravens. He was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 2019. Before landing on Injured Reserve this season, he signed a five-year contract extension worth $112 million.


The Jets took Williams out of USC, making him the second defensive player off the board after Dante Fowler at No. 3. Williams spent his first four seasons with the Jets, who traded him to the Giants during the 2019 season. He had a very good year in 2020, setting a new career high in sacks with 11 1/2.


Coming from a football family, Matthews was seen as a really safe pick out of Texas A&M. He hasn’t become a perennial Pro Bowler but he was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and has started every game but once since he’s been in the NFL. He’s been a really solid player for the Falcons since they took him and he’s under contract through the 2023 season after signing a five-year extension in 2018.


The Browns drafted the LSU edge rusher a couple picks after the Eagles took Lane Johnson at No. 4. Mingo has been in the league for eight seasons but he hasn’t blossomed into a star. After three years in Cleveland, Mingo was traded to the Patriots for a 5th-round pick. After one season in New England, Mingo has played for the Colts, Seahawks, Texans and the Bears. He’s in Chicago in 2020; he played in all 16 games and started three.


The cornerback out of LSU spent the first five years of his career with the Cowboys after they drafted him but was a disappointment. The Cowboys even traded up to get Claiborne and he never lived up to the hype. He played in 47 games with 43 starts in Dallas before playing for the Jets in 2017-18 and the Chiefs in 2019. Claiborne, 30, was not in the league in 2020.


Two picks after A.J. Green was taken by the Bengals, the Falcons drafted Jones out of Alabama and have watched him become an all-time great player. Now 31, Jones has been a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. He’s one of the greatest receivers we’ve seen in the NFL in recent history. Despite playing in nine games in 2020, he still had 771 receiving yards, putting him on pace for another 1,300 yard season had he stayed healthy.


The Seahawks took Okung out of Texas A&M and he played his first six seasons in Seattle. He then played three years for the Chargers and was with the Panthers in 2020. He has dealt with injuries the last two years, paying in just 13 games. But overall, Okung has been a very good player and a two-time Pro Bowler.


Unlike some other tackles on this list, Smith never became a star. But he was a solid player. The Bengals took him out of Alabama and he ended up playing a decade for the Bengals. In 10 years with Cincinnati, he played in 104 games with 86 starts. Smith opted out of the 2020 season.


There aren’t many players we’d consider complete busts on this list but Gholston definitely counts. He’s one of the biggest busts in the last 20 years. The Ohio State pass rusher was drafted by the Jets and lasted just three seasons. He played in 45 games with five starts and never recorded a single sack.


Washington took Landry out of LSU and he lasted five seasons there before moving on to the Jets as a free agent. His one season with the Jets ended up being the best of his career. That season he was a Pro Bowler, totaled 100 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 pick-6, 8 passes defensed and 4 forced fumbles. After two seasons with the Colts following that year, his NFL career was over.


The tight end out of Maryland spent 10 years in San Francisco before half a season in Denver before joining Washington in 2016. He retired after the 2019 season. His best season came in 2009, when he had 965 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler. He’s one of just four tight ends to go top 10 in this millennium.


The Titans took Pacman out of West Virginia and he was a good player when he was able to stay out of trouble, which wasn’t always easy. Jones ended up playing just two seasons with the Titans and was a starting cornerback and a dynamic return man. Pacman was able to resurrect his career with the Bengals, playing eight years in Cincinnati. He ended up being an All-Pro in 2014 and a Pro Bowler in 2015.


The Browns took Winslow out of Miami but injuries ruined his first two years. He suffered a broken leg as a rookie and missed his entire second season with a torn ACL. The loud and cocky Winslow made his only Pro Bowl team in 2007, when he caught 82 passes for 1,106 yards and 5 touchdowns. After leaving Cleveland in 2008, he played for the Bucs, Pats and Jets and was out of the league after the 2013 season.


Another rare bust on this list. Sullivan came from Georgia but lasted just three seasons in New Orleans before he was traded to New England but never played again. The Saints actually traded up to get Sullivan and he was an absolute disaster. He ended up playing in 36 games with 16 starts but totaled just 1 1/2 sacks.


At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, Sims came out of North Carolina and was drafted by the Chiefs. He played five years in Kansas City before playing four years in Tampa Bay. He was definitely considered to be a bust in KC.


The Patriots found a good one from Georgia. Seymour ended up playing eight seasons in New England and finished his career with four years in Oakland. Overall, he made seven Pro Bowls and was a three-time All-Pro. Seymour is one of 15 Hall of Fame finalists for the 2021 class.

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