Are first-round picks overrated in crafting Super Bowl franchises?
What does it take to build a Super Bowl-winning franchise? Many are asking that question after watching the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals participate in the big game weeks ago.
After watching the Rams take down the Bengals, one can make the case that a team can win a Lombardi trophy without a bunch of number one draft choices.
The Rams put together a winning team with veterans like Odell Beckham Jr., Matthew Stafford, and Von Miller, all signed by the Rams to win and win now.
But if you take a look a bit deeper, Beckham, Miller and Stafford were all first-round draft choices at one point in their careers.
Stafford was a first-round draft pick out of the University of Georgia by the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Von Miller was the first-round draft choice for the Denver Broncos in 2011 and Beckham was the first-round draft choice for the New York Giants in the 2014 NFL Draft.
So first-round draft choices are indeed important if you are to make a run for the Super Bowl.
The Bengals were also led by two first-round draft choices in wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Burrow. Both were back-to-back first-round draft choices from LSU.
Another thing you may have noticed is that all these first-rounders all came from one conference: the SEC.
Building a Super Bowl team relies on getting great players
Here is a stat that most people may not know. Every recruiting class Nick Saban has ever coached at the University of Alabama has won a national championship.
Well, what does that say? First of all, Saban is a great recruiter and second, you have to have great players to win championships. Most of those national championship teams had four and five star athletes, including players like Julio Jones and Derrick Henry.
These types of players typically transition into first-round picks for the NFL.
Both were highly rated coming out of high school, and both are now All-Pro NFL players. They also won national championships while they were at Alabama.
Most of the teams who have won national championships recently, including Georgia, all had top five recruiting classes.
The same goes for the NFL. You can't win Super Bowls without great players and a great head coach. Many of these great players were taken in the first round of the NFL draft.
The Rams had the perfect storm of great head coaching and great players came together to win the Super Bowl with the acquisition of first-rounders Stafford, Miller, and Beckham.
You also have to have good management. The Dallas Cowboys are the perfect example of a team that has a lot of talent that hasn't won a Super Bowl recently because of incompetence in their front office and on their coaching staff.
But if you look at the Cowboys teams in the past, one of the main reasons they were so dominant in the 90's was because of good coaching and putting together a team with several first-round draft picks such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
So does having first-round draft choices matter? Yes, it does.