Best of the Firsts, No. 25: Ted Washington
Ted Washington's best years in a long, successful career came as a Bill. He played in Buffalo from 1995-2000. (AP)
As part of our offseason coverage, we're taking a look back at some of the best first-round draft picks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. We'll work our way up the draft board, starting with the best selection made with the No. 32 pick and ending with the top No. 1 pick. Track all the choices here.
The No. 25 Pick: Ted Washington, 1991, San Francisco 49ers
His Credentials: Played 17 NFL seasons, four-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, Super Bowl XXXVIII champion, 34.5 career sacks
The Denver Broncos have the No. 25 pick in this year's draft which, based on precedent, means that it will be difficult for them to find a true impact player. The evidence to support that? Since 1970, a grand total of two No. 25 picks have been named All-Pros (Washington and Beason), and 12 of the players selected wound up as starters for one full season or less.
There are no real superstars in this pick's history, just some nice role players -- Chris Hovan, Charles Grant, Jason Campbell and O.J. McDuffie, to name a few of the more familiar names.
Had Beason not torn his Achilles one game into the 2011 season, he might have staked his claim to this spot already. Through his first four seasons in Carolina, Beason averaged 135 tackles and earned three Pro Bowl nods, one fewer than Washington.
A big point in Washington's favor, though, comes from his longevity. He played 17 seasons in the NFL and suited up for every regular season game in 12 of them. Over a career spanning seven teams (San Francisco, Denver, Buffalo, Chicago, New England, Oakland and Cleveland), "Mount Washington" established himself as one of league's top nose tackles. His official NFL bio from his final season, 2007 with the Browns, lists him at 6-foot-5 and a gargantuan 375 pounds.
It doesn't hurt Washington's cause that, in his one season with the Patriots, he started up front as the team went on to claim a Super Bowl title.
Washington's best run of success, though, came during his time with the Bills (1995-2000). There, Washington started every single game but one and tallied 19.5 of his 34.5 career sacks. He also made three of his four Pro Bowls while in Buffalo, adding the fourth with Chicago in 2001. When compared to Ray Lewis at the 26th pick or Dan Marino at No. 27, Washington cannot hold a candle to either player. He did have a solid and long-lasting career, however -- Washington's 236 games played are the most ever for a first-round No. 25 selection. That's enough to put him over the top at one of the draft's most disappointing slots.