5 most shocking moments in NFL draft day history
The 2022 NFL Draft will kick off in just a few weeks. Commissioner Roger Goodell is due to get the proceedings underway in Las Vegas on April 28. Teams across the league will be hoping that their new players will make an immediate impact for them. They are hoping they won’t instantly regret the pick they’ve made.
Sometimes, fans across the NFL aren’t surprised by the selections, as the player is touted to go to a specific team, or draft analysts use their sources to predict where a player will end up.
However, there have been a number of shocking moments that have happened throughout the years during the NFL Draft, and here are five of the biggest all-time shockers.
NFL Draft's most shocking moments
#5 - Raiders take Kicker Janikowski in Round 1
The Oakland Raiders took kicker Sebastian Janikowski with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. With this selection, the Pole became only the third kicker in NFL history to be selected in the first-round of the draft. To add some context to why this pick is so shocking, future Hall of Fame Justin Tucker, widely regarded as the best kicker of his generation, went undrafted coming out of college.
While many analysts labeled Janikowski a bust after he struggled during his rookie season, he went on to prove the pick more than worthy, as he is the Raiders’ all-time leading points scorer, completing 436 out of 542 field goals during his career and also hit a 63-yarder in his time in the NFL, the third-longest field goal in league history.
#4 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers select the wrong player
Yes, you read that right, back in the 1982 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to select the wrong player. The Bucs were deciding between guard Sean Farrell and defensive end Booker Reese with their 17th overall pick. The team had decided to go with Reese, but due to a communication error between equipment manager Pat Marcuccillo and personal executive Ken Herock, they ended up selecting Farrell.
Herock told the tale to Sports Illustrated: "We thought we needed both of those players, but after we mulled it over and discussed it, the selection was to go with Booker Reese. So I told Pat, I said, ‘Listen, Pat, you’ve got two names there.’ I said ‘We’re not going with Sean Farrell. We’re going with Booker Reese. Turn it in.’ But he didn’t hear the Booker Reese part of it because of the noise. He took it that we were going with Sean Farrell and turned it in.”
The Buccaneers still managed to grab Reese, trading a future first-rounder to pick him, as well as Farrell. Reese was a bust, but Farrell carved out a decent career, playing 11 seasons in the NFL.
NFL Draft Most Shocking Moments
#3 - Vikings, Ravens miss their pick
Every NFL team is given a 15-minute window to make their selection, but this wasn’t enough time for the Minnesota Vikings in 2003, as their time ran out, and they dropped two spaces in the draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers both jumped up a spot before the Vikings finally made their selection, which was originally seventh-overall but became ninth-overall. There was a silver-lining, however, as they managed to draft defensive lineman Kevin Williams, who made it to six Pro Bowls.
The Baltimore Ravens repeated the Vikings’ feat in 2011. Their time expired with their 26th overall pick that year as they were in the middle of trade talks with the Chicago Bears. The Kansas City Chiefs stole the march and drafted in their spot before the Ravens eventually selected Jimmy Smith, who would be with the team until 2021.
#2 - Laremy Tunsil gas mask
One of the most shocking moments of one of the more recent NFL Drafts is the Laremy Tunsil gas mask incident. Offensive tackle Tunsil was touted by many to be taken with the first-overall pick in 2016, but a video of Tunsil wearing a gas mask and smoking a bong was posted onto his Twitter account just 10 minutes before the draft was due to begin.
His agent was adamant Tunsil’s account had been hacked, but multiple teams took him off their draft board, and he was the third tackle taken after Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin. Tunsil’s Instagram account also posted a screenshot of him requesting money from Ole Miss coach John Miller, but it was never found out who had hacked his accounts.
Tunsil has been a standout tackle since entering the league, making two Pro Bowls in 2019 and 2020. He was traded to the Houston Texans in 2019, before signing a three-year contract extension worth $66 million in 2020.
#1 - Eli Manning & Philip Rivers trade
In 2004, the San Diego Chargers held the first-overall pick after a 4-12 season. They were looking to pick Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning. The Chargers had planned to build their future around Manning before he and his camp told the Chargers he didn’t want to play for them.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith claimed Manning's father, former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, wanted his son to play for the New York Giants, who held the fourth-overall pick. "Manning's agent, Tom Condon, told me that Archie wishes that we do not select Eli and that they think he would be a good fit in New York," Smith told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Condon, then, told the Chargers that Manning would sit out the entire 2004 season if he was selected by them, which is exactly what San Diego did anyway. The Giants took Philip Rivers with their pick, and shortly afterwards, Manning was traded to the Giants in return for Rivers, a first-, third- and fifth-round draft pick.
The shocking move would work out well for both organizations, with Manning winning two Super Bowls while a member of the Giants, and Rivers breaking multiple franchise records with the Chargers to go along with eight Pro Bowl selections.