NFL Draft: (Moderate) Success Awaits Top 2 Picks

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford drops back to pass during the first quarter of the Big 12 Championship football game against Missouri Dec. 6, 2008 in Kansas City, Mo. Bradford won the Heisman Trophy Dec. 13, becoming just the second sophomore to do so following Florida's Tim Tebow last year. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Oklahoma Quarterback Sam Bradford
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is likely to be chosen first or second in the 2010 NFL Draft
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Amid all the hyperventilating over the size, speed, strength and leadership of each prospective football players heading into each NFL draft, one label hovers over the young athletes and lingers on the tip of every team scout's tongue: bust.

To be sure, draft day is littered with unfulfilled potential -- Andre Ware, Tony Mandarich, Steve Emtman, and nearly every Penn State running back come to mind. JaMarcus Russell and Alex Smith are waiting in the wings.

While the players selected first or second overall will get a giant heap of pressure along with their multimillion dollar checks, history tells us that they can be assured of collecting NFL-type money for at least five years.

In fact, among the 74 previous NFL drafts, 21 Hall of Famers have been selected either number one or number two; and that list doesn't include likely Canton inductees Bruce Smith, Payton Manning, and possibly Donovan McNabb and Marshall Faulk.

For those counting, that's about a 14 percent chance of achieving football immortality.

All Time No. 1 Picks

All Time No. 2 Picks

Among the history of the top two picks -- the draft first began in 1936 -- 30 players stayed in the league for less than five years (according to the NFL Players Association, the average career for a player is 3.5 seasons). On the flipside, the top two picks have appeared in more than 350 Pro Bowls.

So, Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy or whoever else might land the top two spots Thursday night, you're well on your way to not being a total bust.

CBSSports.com complete coverage of the NFL Draft:

CBSSports.com: Inside the Draft Live (Starts 6:30 Eastern)

CBSSports.com Draft Homepage

CBSSports.com Live Draft Tracker

  • Sean Alfano

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