The Best at 56: Top NFL Draft talent taken with the 56th pick
The Patriots currently have a pair of No. 56 overall selections on their roster. One is safety Obi Melifonwu, drafted by the Raiders in 2017. The 6-foot-4, 224-pounder is a project. The other is Duke Dawson, drafted out of Florida last year. He showed good promise in the summer but got hurt and never got on the field for an actual snap. So what are the chances the Patriots find a true contributor at 56? Well, it’s said to be a deep draft with plenty of talent spread out so you’d have to say the chances are OK. How good are best players at 56? Here are the five best who’ve been drafted at that spot in the past 30 years.
2003: Osi Umenyiora, DE (Giants)
Games: 161. Career AV: 63
One of the best players in this draft, he went two slots after the great Anquan Boldin. Terell Suggs, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson and Jason Witten are among the other good ones in what was a very deep draft.
1997: Mike Minter, S (Carolina)
Games: 148. Career AV: 53
Minter had 17 picks in a 10-year career with the Panthers. This was the season the Patriots took corner Chris Canty with the 29th overall pick. He was not very good.
1992: Jason Hanson, K (Detroit)
Games: 327. Career AV: 48
Hanson played 20 seasons for the Lions and retired at 42 after making 82.4 percent of his field goals. This was a deep draft but not strong at the top as Levon Kirkland, Troy Vincent and Jimmy Smith were the highest-players.
1989: Wesley Walls, TE (San Francisco)
Games: 196. Career AV: 43
Walls scored 54 touchdowns as a tight end for the Niners and Panthers. Four of the five top picks – Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Derrick Thomas and Troy Aikman – went to the Hall of Fame. It was a very deep draft which explains why I went undrafted out of Saint Anselm that year.
2004: Madieu Williams, DB (Cincinnati)
Games: 119. Career AV: 34
The draft made famous by its top-10 quarterbacks had a decent defensive back in Williams taken late in the second round. He started 102 games and came up with 13 career picks.
The Next 5 at 56
2002: Ladell Betts, RB (Washington). Games: 111. Career AV: 32.
2011: Shane Vereen, RB (New England). Games:79. Career AV: 25
1995: Todd Sauerbrun, P, Carolina. Games: 178. Career AV: 25
1993: Vincent Brisby, WR (New England). Games: 86. Career AV: 24.
1996: Derrick Mayes, WR, (Green Bay). Games: 58. Career AV: 16