On Saturday, we all fessed up and admitted our biggest draft whiff. None of us are draft gurus, as much as we like to play one on the internet. There is no secret code to the NFL Draft, and we all miss occasionally (though some more than others).
Now that you have all confessed, it is the time for your reward. You’ve all earned a moment to strut your stuff and give yourself a pat on the back. Because we’re wrong often about the draft, it feels damn good when the player you’ve been thumping for turns into an absolute stud in the NFL.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is the biggest draft crush you’ve ever had that you were absolutely right about?
My answer: Anthony Barr.
Let’s flash back all the way to 2014. It was year before Sean Yuile would step down from the managing editor position and I was just a lowly contributor (just kidding, current contributors, I love you guys). I was the acting general manager for the Detroit Lions in our annual Pride of Detroit community mock draft. At 10th overall in 2014, I selected Barr, and was hammered by y’all in the comment section pretty hard. I earned just a 65 percent approval rating, which was seventh-worst among all first-round picks. Just take a look at some of these comments:
My disgust with this pick is too long to post here. I will write a contrarian fan post. Barr is not the player that you think he is, was not used in college as you assume he was. Gonna take at least 2 years before he becomes even moderately productive in a 4-3 defense.
If Detroit did this and it failed; next year you’d tell us why did the Lions selected a raw project at the top of the draft; same ole Lions and commence to writing why Detroit are horrible at evaluating talent. I am glad you are not a GM. I can’t believe this dude, grab a situational rusher at 10.
Now, sure, I probably should have gone Aaron Donald instead—and I remember being immediately remorseful that I didn’t pick him—but Barr turned out to be a stud for the Minnesota Vikings. The biggest knocks on my pick were twofold. First, some said he was a big reach at 10th overall. I immediately got the satisfaction of being proven right when he ended up going ninth to the Vikings.
Then there was the impression that Barr was a raw product out of UCLA and would not be able to contribute immediately. Barr started 12 games as a rookie and has made the Pro Bowl in every season since.
There remain questions as to whether he would have been a good fit in Detroit, but on a talent level, there is no question that Barr was worth the 10th overall pick.