With the NFL Draft approaching, we always go back and look at the previous draft classes. I’ve seen some special ones over the years as have many football fans. Today, I’ve decided to do my homework and reveal my top five draft classes of all time. Enjoy ladies and gentlemen.
5. The Class Of 1981– From a defensive standpoint, this class will be very difficult to top. Some of the most iconic players in NFL history began their legendary careers in 1981. We may never see anything like this again
– Ronnie Lott: The San Francisco 49ers selected him with the eighth overall pick in 1981. He had an immediate impact and he became the face of the 49ers defense during their domination period in the 1980s. He displayed so much toughness both physically and mentally. Let’s not forget that this was the guy who had his finger amputated after the 1985 season after it got crushed when trying to bring down Timmy Newsome. He was the most feared guy in the secondary during his playing days. He’s the greatest safety of all time and he was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2000.
– Lawrence Taylor: He’s one of the greatest football players ever to play the game. He paved the way for so many linebackers after him. He did everything. Tackled, dropped back into coverage, rushed the quarterback (he’s the reason why there’s a blindside for the quarterback), ran his mouth and backed everything up with his play on the field and he was the guy you had to prepare for when playing the Giants because he was that disruptive at his position. The best year of his career came in 1986. He recorded 20.5 sacks and was named defensive player of the year and league MVP as he became the second defensive player ever to win the award.
– Mike Singletary: The Chicago Bears drafted him in the second round in 1981. With the Bears, he became the heart and soul of the defense known as the “Monsters of the Midway”. He was small to play the position at 6’0 tall but he left everything on the field. He finished as the Bears first or second leading tackler in each of his eleven seasons. He was known as “Samurai Mike” because of the intimidation factor he held and intensity he displayed on the football field. He’s one of the best linebackers ever to play the game just like his draft classmate, Lawrence Taylor. He was a leader that had complete control of that defense in Chicago.
Some other names drafted in class were Cris Collinsworth, Howie Long, Rickey Jackson and Russ Grimm. Six guys from this class are enshrined in Canton.