2010 NFL Draft: the Falcons Won the 19th Pick Instead of the 20th. So What?

This guy was picked 19th in 1996. Do you know who went 20th?

As you may have heard, your Atlanta Falcons recently won the rights to the 19th pick in the 2010 draft over the HATED* Houston Texans.

For about twenty minutes after the coin flip, we held our heads slightly higher. It was our winning coin flip in the 2008 draft that brought us Matt Ryan and Curtis Lofton, after all. But how much difference is there really between the 19th and 20th picks?

I don't think any of us assume picking 19th instead of 20th equals punching a ticket to the Super Bowl, but I was curious to see what kind of players went in these spots for the past decade.

* We don't hate the Houston Texans.

We'll break down the last ten first-round 19th/20th duos by games played and started for drafting teams, '09 Football Outsiders DVOA, Pro Football Reference approximate career value, Pro Football Focus '09 rating (asterisk means '08 due to '09 injury), and -- just for gigsies -- Madden 10 rating. Last box to the right shows current team; if blank, they're still with the one what brung 'em. Follow me:

2009:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Jeremy Maclin WR Philadelphia 13/0 8.7% - -0.9 78
Brandon Pettigrew TE Detroit 9/0 -11.5% - -7 80

 

2008:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Jeff Otah T Charlotte * 25/25 - 6 -5 86
Aqib Talib CB Tampa** 30/17 - 2 3.6 82

 

* Suggested new Falcoholic rule: They're either the Charlotte Panthers, South Mint Street Panthers, or the North Carolina Panthers. There's no such place as Carolina. You don't see us calling ourselves the South Of Appalachia Falcons or the Georgiabama Falcons.

** Suggested new Falcoholic rule: They're the Tampa Bucs. They don't play in an estuary, though that would explain their past 30 years of offensive production!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2007:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Michael Griffin FS Tennessee 48/26 - 13 -22.1 95
Aaron Ross CB New York Giants 33/24 - 12 -10.9 * 81

2006:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Antonio Cromartie CB San Diego 63/23 - 21 -2.7 84 NYJ
Tamba Hali DE/OLB Kansas City 63/47 - 22 7.4 65

2005:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Alex Barron T St. Louis 63/58 - 23 -23.7 77
Marcus Spears DE Dallas 78/57 - 22 -3.7 71

2004:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Vernon Carey T Miami 80/64 - 27 12.2 86
Kenechi Udeze DE Minnesota 51/47 - 19 - - None

2003:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Kyle Boller QB Baltimore 53/42 -35.7% 19 -3.5 51 STL
George Foster T Denver 49/45 - 26 -30.5 * 66 DET

2002:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Ashley Lelie WR Denver 64/40 -38% 32 -6.7 * - OAK
Javon Walker WR Green Bay 48/18 -11% 25 - 3.9 * 71 OAK

2001:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Casey Hampton DT Pittsburgh 126/106 - 55 -6.2 91
Adam Archuleta SS St. Louis 72/69 - 29 - - None

2000:

G/GS FO PFR PFF Madden
Shaun Alexander RB Seattle 119/96 - 78 - - None
Stockar McDougle T Detroit 61/54 - 21 - - None

 

Total games/games started:

19th picks: 528/480

20th picks: 494/378

About 10 career starts more each for 19th picks.

Total PFR approximate career value:

19th picks: 274

20th picks: 178

So yep it's a small sample size and there's not a gigantic difference between 19s and 20s, but we weren't really expecting to uncover any trends here. Without five-time Pro Bowler Casey Hampton or 2005 MVP Shaun Alexander in the mix, the talent gap would be a whole lot closer. According to realgm.com, the difference in salary comes down to about $100k/year -- also negligible.

But the whole point is...

I SAY ALL THAT TO SAY THIS: Who do you think we'll have the option of picking at 19 that we might have missed if we were picking at 20? In other words, who are the Texans worried we'll get first crack at?

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