1992: A Dynasty Rookie Draft Time Machine!
By Shawn Gallagher – DFW Writer
I’ve spent plenty of hours reading and writing articles covering the 2013 NFL Rookie Draft, and I’m sure most of us are anxious to get the season started. Unfortunately, it is still early in July and we have another couple of months before we’ll see a Regular season NFL game again. I’ve decided to have a little fun in this column here, and rewind back to the year 1992, and try to figure out what a dynasty rookie draft would’ve looked like if I played in a hardcore dynasty league back in 1992. It is a great time of change in the United States, Bill Clinton has just been elected President, music is being taken over by flannel shirts and grunge, and the Buffalo Bills (sort of) dynasty is upon us, as they are in the middle of their 4 straight Super Bowl appearances!
Dynasty Rookie Draft: 1992
We are going to go over a mock dynasty rookie draft from 1992, and at least pretend we were drafting at this time, its of course fun to look back on these picks as we certainly know now how each of these turned out. Keep in mind this is from 1992’s perspective, and not knowing what the future held at this time. We’ll give a pick by pick analysis of the first round of this rookie draft, 12 teams, NON-PPR. (PPR hasn’t been invented yet) :)
Let’s get this party started!! Start the rookie draft!!!
Team #1 – Tommy Vardell – Running Back, Cleveland Browns (8th overall, Stanford)
– Of course in a Dynasty Rookie draft its always safe to draft the first running back off the board high up in your draft, and Browns Head Coach Bill Belichick has high hopes for the man known as “Touchdown Tommy Vardell”, a Touchdown machine at Stanford. While listed as a Fullback, dynasty owners and Browns fans can expect lots of offense and scoring from “Touchdown Tommy”.
Team #2 – Desmond Howard – Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins (4th overall, Michigan)
– I’m sure team #1 was tempted to take Desmond Howard 1st overall, as this Michigan Heisman winner is outstanding at receiving and returning. Howard is a great fit for Head Coach Joe Gibbs in Washington to help them make it back to the Super Bowl. Dynasty owners can salivate at a new playmaker for Washington QB Mark Rypien!!
Team #3 – Vaughn Dunbar – Running Back, New Orleans Saints (21st overall, Indiana)
– Dunbar, an All-American Running back from Indiana adds to an already loaded Saints backfield of Iron head Heyward and Dalton Hilliard. Head Coach Jim Mora is very high on Dunbar, however, and expects the rookie to make a significant impact right away for the playoff contending Saints. Dynasty owners realize that Heyward and Hilliard both won’t be there for too long and Dunbar could soon take over!
Team #4 – Tony Smith – Running Back, Atlanta Falcons (19th overall, Southern Miss)
While not the same household name as others like Vardell and Dunbar, the elusive Tony Smith fits in nicely with Head coach Jerry Glanville’s high powered “Run and Shoot” offense. Smith will get to learn the position from longtime pro Mike Rozier, and Atlanta has done nicely acquiring such a high pick after getting rid of backup quarterback Brett Favre, who has been battling quite a few off the field issues. Rozier owners definitely should look into Tony Smith as a tremendous handcuff of course, because we don’t know how long it will be until Rozier reaches the “End of the Road”.
Team #5 – David Klingler – Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals (6th overall, Houston)
This owner has reason to be ecstatic that a franchise quarterback like David Klingler is able to fall to the 5th pick overall in this rookie draft. The heir apparent to Boomer Esiason, Klingler takes over a Bengals squad that isn’t that far removed from appearing in a Super Bowl. Dynasty owners should salivate at the chance of getting Klingler, who shattered many NCAA passing records, paired with a quality franchise in the Cincinnati Bengals. Its pretty safe to say that Mr. Klingler will be seeing more of these Sports Illustrated covers in his future!
Team #6 – Carl Pickens – Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals (31st overall, Tennessee)
The rich get richer as the Bengals combo of “Klingler to Pickens” could go down as a great one, and dynasty owners can only hope they can get two high rookie picks to get this combo. Pickens had a spectacular receiving career and Tennessee, and look for Pickens to emerge as Klingler’s top weapon sometime very soon in Cincinnati. Its very clear to Carl Pickens, that QB David Klingler is the one who wants “To Be With You”.
Team #7 – Tommy Maddox – Quarterback, Denver Broncos (25th overall, UCLA)
Denver was very proactive in drafting UCLA’s Tommy Maddox, as quarterback John Elway is getting near his 10th year in the NFL, and may not last that much longer in Denver. Maddox was an all-American at UCLA, after having accumulated some very strong passing numbers against quality competition. While there will initially be a bit of controversy between Elway and Maddox, dynasty owners know that Maddox will end up being the long-term answer here, and that John Elway and Dan Reeves aren’t always on the same page in Denver.
Team #8 – Derek Brown – Tight End, New York Giants (14th overall, Notre Dame)
Giants fans realize how much of an impact that tight end Mark Bavaro has had in his career, and its finally time for the Giants to draft the next Bavaro, in rookie Derek Brown. Coach Bill Parcells has to be happy in finding Brown, who had many big games for nationally ranked Notre Dame in college, and always seems to step his game up when the spotlight is on. While much of the attention at Notre Dame was focused on Rocket Ismail, its important to remember how much of an impact Derek Brown had on the past few Notre Dame teams.
Team #9 – Johnny Mitchell – Tight End, New York Jets (15th overall, Nebraska)
This draft has now had its first tight end run, and ironically both of the top tight ends here went to New York teams! Mitchell had a great career at Nebraska for legendary coach Tom Osborne. Mitchell provides a quality offensive target for franchise quarterback Browning Nagle to grow with, and the Jets look to make it back to the NFL playoffs this year, and reach The Super Bowl, a.k.a. the “Nirvana” of the NFL!
Team #10 – Jimmy Smith – Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys (36th overall, Jackson State)
Dynasty owners have to be very intrigued with new Cowboys receiver Jimmy Smith who ends up going to a great situation in Dallas where the prospects of joining playmakers like Aikman, Smith, and Irvin of course. Not much is known about Smith, who came out of Jackson State, but the track record of Jerry Jones has been very solid as far as finding playmakers. Here is a look at Jimmy Smith’s rookie card, as he definitely looks the part, and hopefully will learn quite a bit from new teammate/mentor Michael Irvin.
Team #11 – Matt Blundin – Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs (40th overall, Virginia)
You’ve gotta love the toughness and grit of Chiefs quarterback Steve DeBerg, but we all know that a replacement needs to be groomed here, as DeBerg is getting older. Dynasty owners should get real excited that a quarterback prospect the caliber of Matt Blundin out of Virginia should have a huge advantage early by being able to be mentored by DeBerg and can also rely on the running back tandem of Christian Okoye and Barry Word. Blundin was an extremely accurate passer in college, and he sure looks ready to compete and win in this picture here doesn’t he?
Team #12 – Amp Lee – Running Back, San Francisco 49ers (45th overall, Florida State)
It is now time for dynasty owners and 49ers fans to get “AMPed UP” with new running back Amp Lee! Lee played on some great Bobby Bowden led teams at FSU, and brings that same impact to San Francisco. While there is still plenty of controversy going on between quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young, the opportunity is golden for Amp Lee to make an immediate impact in the high powered offense of the 49ers, and dynasty owners should definitely take note of this. Here is a really good highlight video of Lee making a tremendous run against Michigan!
First Round Draft Analysis
While Vardell no doubt could end up being a touchdown machine at 1st overall, I still keep going back to the tremendous value of David Klingler going at #5 overall in this draft. Vaughn Dunbar has great featured-back capability and Amp Lee has plenty of electricity (no pun intended). The Tommy Maddox owner needs to be very patient with his dynasty situation, and overall the best pick in this round could end up being little known Cowboy pick Jimmy Smith, who could end up being “ONE” in this draft!
Epilogue: Back to 2013
We’ll stop here with this first round, although there were a few later round gems if we kept going (Round 3 – Robert Brooks, Green Bay, Round 6 – Jeff Blake, New York Jets). Ironically, it was Jeff Blake who would end up beating out David Klingler for the quarterback job in Cincinnati. Klingler would end up as a big time bust, although as we know, the situation in Cincinnati wasn’t always ideal. Tommy Vardell at #1 overall may seem silly here, but keep in mind he was a top 10 pick by the Browns (and Bill Belichick of all people), and fullbacks were used as much bigger offensive weapons at this time or at least touchdown machines. Desmond Howard had a very nice NFL career, although probably not the greatest as far as fantasy numbers are concerned. The Vaughn Dunbar and Tony Smith picks help remind us that dynasty owners will almost always go early on running backs, especially those taken in the first round. It turns out that Jimmy Smith may have been the best draft pick of this group, who ironically never made much impact in Dallas before breaking through with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars. I also must admit I had totally forgotten about Matt Blundin in this draft. Kansas City also forgot about him quickly as not long after this they added the great Joe Montana! Drafts like this are fun to look back as we can always learn from good draft picks and mistakes made by NFL teams… … and of course dynasty owners.