Two days until the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off and future stars find their first NFL team.
Since the inception of the event, which NFL Drafts can be deemed the most successful? The Athletic's Larry Holder recently asked this question, ranking the top 10 drafts in league history. He wrote:
Ranking every NFL draft class can go in numerous directions. One method is to evaluate a class's top-tier talent. But a draft class goes much deeper than the best players in that particular year's crop.
So, for the second consecutive year, I'm using a formula to highlight the top talent and the drafts with the most depth for this argument.
View the best photos of Vikings legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss.
Holder used Pro Football Reference's "Weighted Approximate Value" metric, totaled the career WAVs of players in all 48 draft classes from 1967-2014 and compared them using the following three categories:
1. Overall class (total WAV of every player in each year)
2. Top 30 (total of the top 30 players' WAV in each year)
3. Top 10 (total of the top 10 players' WAV in each year)
View photos of Vikings legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel.
Holder then combined the rankings of the three categories from each class to create a composite ranking. He noted that he "also dove into a few areas of interest outside of the full chart of rankings":
1. Top 10 classes
2. Bottom five classes
3. Biggest disparities among the three yearly individual rankings
4. Future contenders to move into the top 10 classes
In Holder's rankings of draft classes, three Vikings Hall of Famers stood out: wide receiver Randy Moss in 1998, which Holder ranked the fifth-best in NFL history; guard Randall McDaniel in 1988 (fourth-best) and guard Steve Hutchinson, who was picked by Seattle in 2001 (third-best) before joining Minnesota in 2006.
Holder wrote the following of 1998:
Welcome to the Peyton Manning draft year! Want to talk about a top-heavy class? The top four WAV players went to the HOF: Manning, Moss, [Charles] Woodson and [Alan] Faneca. [Fred] Taylor and [Hines] Ward continue to be in the HOF conversation. This class yielded 12 players with a career WAV of 80 or more. It would have been very hard for this class not to rank among the top 10 given the group's quality at the top.
The 1988 NFL Draft produced an impressive five Hall of Famers: McDaniel, Thurman Thomas, Tim Brown, Michael Irvin and Dermontti Dawson. Holder noted the 1988 class "also carries 17 players with a 70 or higher career WAV," which tied with 1969 for the third-most in his study.
Three players from the 2001 class already are in the Hall of Fame: Hutchinson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Richard Seymour.
[Drew] Brees will make it four when he's eligible. [Reggie] Wayne and [Steve] Smith, Sr., will be in the conversation, too, with one or maybe both getting in at some point. This class produced 10 players with an 85 or higher WAV. The only other classes with as many or more are 1969 (10 players), 1983 (10) and 2011 (10).
Holder ranked the 1983 and 1996 drafts, respectively, as the NFL's most successful. Click here to read his full breakdown and rankings.
Theo Jackson helps launch 'Dream Board Initiative' for Miami high school
Vikings safety Theo Jackson is using his offseason to make a difference in the community.
Jackson recently partnered with youth mentoring program Always Progress to launch the Dream Board Initiative for the students at Miami Jackson High School.
The program is a quarterly initiative that focuses on using dream boards as an outlet to help inspire and guide local youth in the community. Dream Boards allow students to create visual representations of goals through a collage of pictures and words, which will serve as a daily reminder of what the students want to achieve and helps motivate them to make their vision a reality.
During Friday's event, Jackson provided mentorship and support for students.