NFL.com is diving into some historical work this offseason, ranking some of the biggest powerhouse football program’s biggest hits in the NFL Draft. This time around, it was Tennessee’s turn. Keep in mind that these rankings start with the year 2000, so that’s why Peyton Manning isn’t listed.
They used a formula to keep their rankings uniform. It goes as follows.
Here’s how they ranked the top five.
1. Jason Witten
2. Eric Berry
3. Albert Haynesworth
4. Jamal Lewis
5. Jerod Mayo
A quick look at their formula should explain pretty easily why Jason Witten is number one on this list. He’s done nothing but produce in the spotlight of Dallas since entering the league, become a perennial Pro Bowler along the way. His 14 years of play and 10 Pro Bowl appearances are staggering. He’s still going strong, somehow getting it done despite lacking virtually any suddenness to his game. Eventually father time will catch up with him, but he’s ready to roll for at least one more season with the Cowboys.
Eric Berry should overtake Witten on this list before too much longer. When he’s healthy, there’s just not too many guys that are better on the football field. He beat the odds and returned to the football field after beating Hodgkin lymphoma, coming back better than ever. Berry still has plenty of time to add to his legacy in the NFL.
The next three are debatable. Albert Haynesworth put together one of the absolute best seasons you are ever going to see from a defensive tackle in 2008. He was the anchor of that defense, leading the Titans to a 13-3 record in the process. He turned that season into a monster free agency deal, but couldn’t put it back together with Washington.
I’d probably have Jamal Lewis ahead of Haynesworth, simply for his 2,000 yard season in Baltimore. Not a lot of guys can say they did that. He ran for 295 yards alone in week two of that 2003 season against the Browns. Lewis actually sits 24th on the NFL’s all time rushing leaders list with 10,607 yards.
Mayo landed in the best spot possible playing for the New England Patriots. He did nothing but produce early and often, taking home defensive rookie of the year honors in 2008. He went on to become a leader of that unit before abruptly retiring at just 29 years old. He now works for a health company in the corporate world.
Did they get the rankings right? Would you add anyone to this list?