Move over NFL Draft class of 1984, you are no longer alone. This year’s draft class, much like 1984 will forever sit in the back of the NFL classroom of popularity due to the infamy the draft class a year prior had.
It has been well publicized that the 2012 draft class will forever be synonymous with the 1983 draft class because of the quality of QBs drafted. 1983 had three Hall of Fame QBs in the first round John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly. This year’s class sits back to seat to Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, all QBs that led their teams to the playoffs as rookies. But, you know about these storied draft classes, thus they are not the focus of this story.
Instead, let’s focus more on 1984 because they received much of the same lack luster praise as this year’s draft class. As noted, both classes followed arguably two of the greatest of all time, by default rendering them the proverbial stepchildren of the NFL. How would NFL history books write the story of the 1984 class? Does it give the class of 2013 hope?
There are many similarities in these two draft classes. This year had zero RBs in the first round and only one QB taken by the Buffalo Bills. 1984 had zero QBs in the first round and only one RB taken by (wait for it) the Bills. Three wide receivers were drafted in the first round in 1984; two would be drafted in 2013. Significant playmakers with fantasy football upside were not in abundance in either year. Both would be draft classes that focused more on the big men up front and defense. Both would be draft classes that play second fiddle to Stanford QBs. There are too many similarities to mention.
Although 1984 didn’t have the same bang as 1983, this year’s draftees can rest in the comfort that it did bring forth some historically relevant individuals. The ‘85 Chicago Bears wouldn’t have been the same without Wilbur Marshall, and the ‘86 New York Giants wouldn’t have had the same dominating defense without Carl Banks. The legendary Joe Montana to John Taylor last minute Super Bowl catch may have never happened had the Cincinnati Bengals not drafted Boomer Esiason in the second round. The Cleveland Browns would only have “The Drive” to reminisce what could have been without a tenth round selection of East Carolina‘s Earnest Byner – setting in motion the events that would lead up to “The Fumble.” Without it, would the mystic of the Hard Luck Kids of the Cuyahoga River be the same today? I think not.
The fantasy football bang of the 1984 class missed the fireworks of its predecessor, but there were still noteworthy names. Irving Fryar would be the first WR taken number one over all in an NFL draft by the New England Patriots. Steel Curtain nation remembers the importance of first round pick Louis Lipps in the post Lynn Swan and John Stallworth era. One of the greatest NFL QBs of all time, Warren Moon, although undrafted joined the NFL ranks with the 84 class.
When the smoke clears, the Class of 2013 can take comfort in the fact that they too will find their place in NFL and fantasy football history. Time will only tell how offensive weapons like Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson, Geno Smith, and Eddie Lacy will be viewed by the history books. No one can argue that there is certainly potential. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the NFL Draft class of 1984 would tally 24 Pro Bowlers and one Hall of Famer. Not too shabby.