NFL

The Greatest NFL Player From Every Draft Class Since 1960

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1960

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Ron Mix

Originally Drafted: 10th overall

As one of the only Chargers offensive tackles in the Hall-of-Fame, Ron Mix was something special. Drafted by the Baltimore Colts out of the University of Southern California, Mix was the standard for offensive tackles in the 1960s. He ended up playing in nearly every single game for the Chargers during his career, ten out of eleven seasons to be exact. Along with being named to the Pro Bowl for every single season from 1961-1968, Mix was named an All-Pro every single year from 1960-1968. His longevity and consistent dominance season after season on the Chargers offensive line cement him as one of the best Chargers ever. For his football accomplishments over the course of his life, Mix was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. What a career for the great Ron Mix. A special and memorable talent to be sure.

1961

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Fran Tarkenton

Originally Drafted: 29th overall

Fran Tarkenton set the Gold Standard while inventing the term “mobile quarterback.” Tarkenton was known to evade rushers in the pocket and scramble to the outside to keep plays alive and drop bombs into the hands of his receivers. Scramblin’ Fran is historically identified with his two separate stints with the Minnesota Vikings and the Purple People Eaters. Of course, the 1970s Vikings and Bud Grant are also defined by losing three separate Super Bowls to Miami, Pittsburgh, and Oakland. Super Bowl failures aside, Tarkenton remains one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He retired as the top quarterback in terms of yardage (47,003), completions (3,686), and touchdowns (342). On top of that, Frantic Fran finished his career with 3,674 rushing yards. Tarkenton’s antics as a scrambler prevented injury and extended the career of this 6-foot, 190 pound lightweight, who lacked the cannon arm of a prototypical QB.

1962

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Merlin Olsen

Originally Drafted: 3rd overall

Every one talks about Deacon Jones and his production on the Fearsome Foursome defensive line of the Los Angeles Rams, but Merlin Olsen was the guy in the middle that helped Jones get all those sacks. In fact, it was Olsen, not Jones, that won the NFL MVP in 1974, one of the rare defensive players to ever win the award. Olsen played all 15 years of his productive career in Los Angeles with the Rams and was a 14-time Pro Bowler and selected to nine All-Pro teams during that time. Olsen may have played one of the more grueling positions in the NFL, but he never missed a game in his entire career – an immensely underrated aspect of his career. Always an intelligent player, Olsen would be able to diagnose screen passes or draws quickly and led a defense that allowed the fewest yards ever in a 14 game season during the 1968 season. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982. Don’t sleep on Merlin Olsen, he is one of the all-time greats.

1963

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Bobby Bell

Originally Drafted: 16th overall

Over his 12 seasons in Kansas City, Bobby Bell was the picture of toughness, starting every game during that span. Bell was named to the last six AFL All-Star teams and, after the AFL-NFL merger, the next three NFL Pro Bowls. Bell was one of the most athletic players to ever grace a Chiefs uniform. As an outside linebacker with elite speed, Bell was an excellent pass rusher and pure tackler. His athleticism also made him one of the best coverage linebackers in football, resulting in 26 interceptions, six of which he returned for touchdowns. Inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, Bell transcended the linebacker position and will always be remembered as one of the greatest Chiefs.