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Reviewing The History Of The 21st Pick In The NFL Draft

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I'm doing some research on the history of the 21st pick in the NFL Draft and I wanted to pass along a sortable table of the pick's history that I created with the help of Pro Football Reference's Draft Finder. Thanks to their data, I was able to grab the history of the 21st pick - the player, position, college team and NFL team that drafted them - and drop it into the sortable table you all know and love.

I chose the last thirty years of draft picks for no other reason than thirty sounded like a nice round number that wasn't too big. Any longer than 30-years and that can get overwhelming, especially in table form. I know that the past history of the 21st pick is little indicator what will happen in the future but nevertheless, it's interesting to see the historical action around the pick. 

Pick No. 21 has been traded quite a bit in the last few years, as Larry McDaniel tweeted out recently. In 2009, the Eagles traded the 21st pick to the Browns so Cleveland could land C Alex Mack. In 2008, the Falcons traded up with the Redskins to get OT Sam Baker at No. 21. And in 2007, Denver traded the 21st pick (and a second and sixth round pick) to Jacksonville for the No. 17 pick. 

As far as the players actually drafted at No. 21, here's how the positions break down by count:

  • Running back (7);
  • Wide receiver (5);
  • Tight end (3):
  • Tackle (3);
  • Defensive end (3);
  • Defensive back (3);
  • Center (2);
  • Nose tackle (2);
  • Linebacker (1); and,
  • Guard (1).

The top four positions (and more than half of the total picks) are offensive ones, but again I don't think you can draw many conclusions as to what the Chiefs may do from this data. Just interesting food for thought.

The Kansas City Chiefs' own history at No. 21 is somewhat scattered - Sly Mo in 2000, Harvey Williams in 1991 and John Alt in 1984. Scott Pioli's history with the 21st pick is a bit more lively. Pioli drafted RB Laurence Maroney in 2006; NT Vince Wilfork in 2004; and TE Daniel Graham in 2002.

Here's that table of the No. 21 draft picks over the last thirty years. Thoughts on what you see?


Click the header of a column to sort it. 


Year Player Position NFL Team School
2010 Jermaine Gresham TE CIN Oklahoma
2009 Alex Mack C CLE California
2008 Sam Baker T ATL USC
2007 Reggie Nelson DB JAX Florida
2006 Laurence Maroney RB NWE Minnesota
2005 Matt Jones WR JAX Arkansas
2004 Vince Wilfork NT NWE Miami (FL)
2003 Jeff Faine C CLE Notre Dame
2002 Daniel Graham TE NWE Colorado
2001 Nate Clements DB BUF Ohio State
2000 Sylvester Morris WR KAN Jackson State
1999 L.J. Shelton T ARI Eastern Michigan
1998 Randy Moss WR MIN Marshall
1997 Renaldo Wynn DE JAX Notre Dame
1996 Pete Kendall G SEA Boston College
1995 Rashaan Salaam RB CHI Colorado
1994 Johnnie Morton WR DET USC
1993 Robert Smith RB MIN Ohio State
1992 Vaughn Dunbar RB NOR Indiana
1991 Harvey Williams RB KAN LSU
1990 Eric Green TE PIT Liberty
1989 Bill Hawkins DE RAM Miami (FL)
1988 Clifford Charlton LB CLE Florida
1987 Roger Vick RB NYJ Texas A&M
1986 Tim McGee WR CIN Tennessee
1985 Jerry Gray DB RAM Texas
1984 William Fuller DE RAM North Carolina
1984 John Alt T KAN Iowa
1983 Gabe Rivera NT PIT Texas Tech
1982 Gerald Willhite RB DEN San Jose State