The 5: Most notable selections at No. 15 in the NFL Draft
Barring a trade up, the Arizona Cardinals will pick at No. 15 on Thursday’s Day 1 of the NFL Draft.
The first round is not only where teams can find players with the potential to become one of the best players in the league at their position, but players that can make an impact immediately.
Here are five of the most notable names selected at No. 15 in past NFL drafts.
Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers, 2015
If you’re going to select a running back in the first round, he better be worth it and Gordon has been so far with the Chargers.
The second running back taken in the 2015 NFL Draft behind Todd Gurley, Gordon made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and rushed for a career-high 1,105 yards in 2017. Gordon is also a pass-catching threat, where he had a career-high 58 receptions, 476 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2017.
The Chargers plan on picking up Gordon’s fifth-year option in his contract, a sign of faith in his sustainability at a Pro Bowl level for the next two seasons.
Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2014
The Ohio State product had a thrilling start to his NFL career as a tremendous linebacker for Pittsburgh before a horrific turn this season.
One of the fastest linebackers the NFL has seen this decade, Shazier made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017. In his 12 games in 2017, Shazier had 68 total tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
On a Monday Night Football game in early December, a jarring hit taken by Shazier was a career-threatening one that caused a spinal contusion, which required spinal stabilization surgery that ended his 2017 season. Shazier will not be able to play in 2018 but has every intention of making a comeback.
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants, 2010
Pierre-Paul has had quite the up-and-down career. He made a monstrous impact in his second season with the Giants, racking up 16.5 sacks and being named First Team All-Pro in 2011.
He has only reached double-digit sacks once since that season, totaling 12.5 in 2014. In July of 2015, Paul suffered a serious hand injury via a fireworks accident that forced him to have his right index finger amputated.
In 2016, he turned down an offer from the Arizona Cardinals and returned to the Giants, recording seven sacks. He would then sign a four-year, $62 million deal with New York the next season, only to be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in mid-March.
Albert Haynesworth, Tennesee Titans, 2002
Speaking of up-and-down careers, Haynesworth was a dominant interior lineman in his heyday, making First Team All-Pro two straight years in 2007 and 2008. He, of course, was involved in various controversial incidents, such as stomping on then-Cowboys center Andre Gurode’s head and failing to make payments on a loan of over $2 million.
He signed a seven-year, $100 million deal ($41 million guaranteed) with the Washington Redskins in 2009, only to cause problems with the coaching staff. He underperformed and was traded to the Patriots in 2011, before being waived less than four months later and also being waived in his last stop with Tampa Bay in 2012.
Alan Page, Minnesota Vikings, 1967
In the second NFL Draft to feature over 14 selections in the first round, the 1967 NFL Draft had the one and only Hall of Famer selected at No. 15 in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Page was a nine-time Pro Bowler as a defensive tackle for the Vikings, making it nine years in a row from 1969-76. He was First Team All-Pro six times and made the second team another three times.
If Page’s name rings a bell, that’s likely because he’s only one of two defensive players to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award and was the first in 1971. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor joined him in 1986.
Page has had a notable post-football career, becoming an associate justice with the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1992-2015.