“From Blair Thomas to Tony Mandarich”: 5 NFL Players who were drafted one pick before future Hall Of Famers

Here are the five footballers who were roped in just one pick before future HOFs

Tony Mandarich and Blair Thomas
Tony Mandarich and Blair Thomas

The 2022 NFL draft is around the corner and fans across the world are getting anxious. Everyone is excited to see how the teams fare out ahead of the 2022 season.

However, before that, we have compiled a list of five footballers who were rated highly by experts, who were in fact drafted one pick before future Hall of Famers, but they just couldn’t harness their potential.

Tony Mandarich

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Tony Mandarich and Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders is regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all time. He was roped in by the Detroit Lions in 1989 as their third overall pick and he immediately had a major impact. In fact, in 1991, he guided his team to their first-ever postseason victory since 1958.

However, taken at number two in 1989 was Tony Mandarich who was roped in by the Packers. Also known as “The Incredible Bulk,” Tony was rated very highly by experts, and his imposing figure made everyone believe that he will be the next big thing in the NFL. However, he played for six seasons and wasn’t able to contribute much.

Eric Moore

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Eric Moore and Michael Irvin

Legendary Wide Receiver and a three-time Super Bowl champion, Michael Irvin played for more than a decade for the Dallas Cowboys. He retired as the Cowboys’ all-time receiving leader. He was the 11th overall pick back in 1988. Whereas the 10th overall who was roped in by the Giants was Eric Moore.

While the offensive lineman did play for six seasons and even started a Super Bowl. His overall numbers aren’t as great as many would have expected them to be when he first burst onto the scene. Moreover, he played for 4 franchises in a 6-season long career which suggests that teams ran out of patience with him pretty soon.

Blair Thomas

Blair Thomas
Blair Thomas and Cortez Kennedy

Cortez Kennedy also had a fantastic career. Drafted into the side by the Seahawks as the 3rd overall pick in 1990, Kennedy instantly had an impact on the big stage. In 1992, he was named the defensive player of the year. For his astounding achievements, Kennedy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

On the other hand, the same year, the Jets opted for the 2nd overall pick Blair Thomas. There was a lot of hype around him, however, Blair’s career was plagued by injuries and the talented running back could stay active for 6 seasons and ended up with 5 different franchises during his tenure as a player.

Jermane Mayberry

Jermane Mayberry
Jermane Mayberry and Ray Lewis

Ray Lewis, the 26th overall pick went to the Baltimore Ravens back in 1996. He went on to be regarded as one of the greatest linebackers. The two-time Super Bowl champion played for a whopping 17 seasons and was named the NFL defensive player of the year on two occasions.

The same year, Jermane Mayberry, the 25th overall pick went to the Philadelphia Eagles, and despite a few good performances, he could never become what everyone expected him to be. He went to the Saints in 2005 but couldn’t do much there either. Although he was a Pro Bowler in 2002, he lacked consistency which eventually prevented him from attaining the heights he deserved.

Jerome McDougle

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Jerome McDougle and Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu, the strong safety for the Steelers delivered some astonishing performances in his illustrious career. The two-time Super Bowl champion is one of the most iconic players to come out of the Steelers camp. He was the 16th overall pick back in 2003.

Whereas the 15th pick which went to the Eagles was a pass rusher named Jerome McDougle. Although he was rated highly by experts, Jerome was brought down by injuries. He played for the Eagles till 2007 and then went to the Giants in 2008. After that, he wasn’t signed by any of the teams.

Also read: “He is absolutely livid”: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is furious after losing Randy Gregory to the Broncos