In this series of sponsored posts, we'll be looking at the ten worst and ten best Atlanta Falcons draft picks of all time. We've reached the bottom of our ignoble countdown with cornerback Bruce Pickens.
We navigated a regular rogue's gallery of draft busts to get here. There were recent picks (Jamaal Anderson), old picks (Joe Profit) and truly awful picks (Michael Booker). Yet no one could approach the sheer bustitude of one Nebraska cornerback, a man so horrible on the football field that his name has become synonymous with failure for Falcons fans the world over.
I refer, of course, to Bruce Pickens.
It wasn't supposed to be like that, which might be the understatement of the century. Pickens was in over his head almost immediately, getting embroiled in a lawsuit with his own player representation and threatening to sue the very team that drafted him. Ultimately, Pickens didn't sign until October, played in bits and pieces of seven games and managed to log only eight starts over parts of four seasons in Atlanta, registering a paltry two interceptions.
Given his awful play and the fact that he threatened legal action against the franchise that drafted him, it's amazing Pickens lasted as long as he did in Atlanta. He was finally, mercifully traded away to the Packers, who had the odd habit of picking up some of the Falcons' biggest draft busts over the years.
What propels Pickens to the top (bottom?) of this list is a perfect storm of putridity. Being the third overall pick in in the draft, failing to make any sort of significant on-the-field contributions and being equally inept away from the stadium is no way to build a career. To this day, Pickens is regarded as one of the worst picks of all-time, though Aundray Bruce sometimes passes him for reasons that are hard to fathom.
The fact that the Falcons could have had Todd Lyght instead of Pickens is enough to make me physically ill two decades later. Feeling nauseous seems like an appropriate response to this post, at least.
So there's your worst pick of all time. Beginning Friday night, we'll count down the ten best picks of all time. I hope you're as thrilled as I am to change the subject.
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