Saturday, October 24, 2020

NFL 2020 Draft: Where are the 2009 draft class now?

Continuing on with our look at the draft classes from years gone by, we come to the class of 2009. We’ll dive right in with the number one pick.

First Pick – Matthew Stafford – QB – Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions selected their franchise QB Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick of the 2009 draft. He became the fastest QB ever to reach 40,000 yards. He doesn’t have any rings yet, but he is a Pro-Bowler.

There’s been some talk of the Lions replacing him with their pick in the draft this year, but I can’t see it. The Lions will line up with Stafford under centre in 2020.

Second Pick – Jason Smith – OT – St Louis Rams

Jason Smith was the top offensive line talent in the 2009 draft was selected at number two by the Rams. His career suffered a blow during his first season when he suffered a concussion he described as ‘pretty serious’, forcing him to miss the remainder of his rookie season.

After that, he was traded to the New York Jets in 2011 having lost his starting spot in St Louis to Roger Saffold. His time at the Jets lasted just one season after which he joined the Saints only to be released a few months later, followed by a short lived second stint with the Jets.

Third Pick – Tyson Jackson – DE – Kansas City Chiefs

With the third pick, the Kansas City Chiefs took defensive end Tyson Jackson out of LSU. Jackson spent five seasons with the Chiefs, playing almost every game in that time.

When his contract ended, Jackson found a home in Atlanta where he would spend the next three years without missing a single regular season game. He was released in March 2017 and subsequently retired from football.

Fourth Pick – Aaron Curry – LB – Seattle Seahawks

Aaron Curry was selected as the first linebacker of three taken in the first round of the 2009 draft. He was only in the league for five seasons, spending three of them with the Seattle Seahawks – who drafted him at number four.

He played most of his rookie season, missing just two games. He then played every game of his second season but lost his starting position to K.J Wright after two games in his third year. He then spent with Oakland, playing 13 games.

He ended his career after a stint with the New York Giants wherein he was released before the season even started. These days, you’ll find him coaching at the Charlotte Country Day School.

Fifth Pick – Mark Sanchez – QB – New York Jets

Mark Sanchez was the second QB to be taken in the first round of the 2009 draft. There was some concern about his readiness with then USC coach Pete Carroll saying he thought Sanchez was too inexperienced for the league.

Despite that, New York traded up to make sure they got him. The Jets moved up to five trading their first and second round selections as well as three players, Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff, to the Cleveland Browns.

Sanchez spent four seasons with the Jets. His time there was cut short as he missed the entire 2013 season with a shoulder injury and was released the next year. He subsequently bounced around the league, spending time with the Eagles, Broncos (pre-season only), Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins.

He announced his retirement in 2019 and these days can be found on ESPN’s coverage of college football.

Sixth Pick – Andre Smith – OT – Cincinnati Bengals

Andre Smith was initially viewed as the best OT in the entire draft but, after a poor showing at the combine and his pro day, he was dropped to the third. Despite that, he was selected high with the Bengals taking him at six.

He spent seven seasons with the Bengals and left to join the Vikings. His first and only season in Minneapolis was cut short with a tricep injury. In March 2017, he returned to the Bengals but again saw his time cut short with an injury.

In 2018, Smith signed a two-year deal with Arizona. He started 8 games at right tackle, missing three with an elbow injury. He was released in November 2018 and then three days later signed with the Bengals AGAIN. He spent a year in Cincy and eventually left in November 2019.

He joined up with the Baltimore Ravens in January 2020, where he still plays and is preparing for the 2020 season. Whether he makes the squad or not is a different matter – hopefully he can stay clear of injuries.

Seventh Pick – Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR – Oakland Raiders

Darrius Heyward-Bey was the top wide receiver in the draft and was the first of six to be taken in the first round. He was taken at seven by the Raiders, where he would spend four years.

Heyward-Bey left Oakland in 2013 and spent the 2014 season with the Colts. After that, he found himself in Pittsburgh where he spent the next five years of his career before retiring at the end of his contract.

Eighth Pick – Eugene Monroe – OT – Jacksonville Jaguars

Eugene Monroe was selected with the eighth pick of the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played seven seasons in the NFL, playing his early years with the Jags before a trade sent him to the Ravens in 2013.

After being released by the Ravens in June 2016, Monroe announced his retirement from football at the age of 29, citing concerns over head trauma he sustained during his career.

Ninth Pick – B.J Raji – DT – Green Bay Packers

B.J Raji has my favourite name in the 2009 class (If you’re from Newcastle, you’ll know why) and he ended up becoming one of the more successful selections from the top ten.

Drafted by the Packers, Raji went on to win a Super Bowl ring and earn selection to the Pro Bowl in 2011. He spent his whole time in the NFL with the Packers before announcing he was taking a “hiatus” in 2016.

Despite saying he would return, Raji remains outside of pro football.

Tenth Pick – Michael Crabtree – WR – San Francisco 49ers

Michael Crabtree is a very well known wide receiver having spent over a decade in the NFL. He was initially drafted by the 49ers where he would spend the first six seasons of his career. He then spent two years with the Raiders before spending a season with each of the Ravens and Cardinals.

He’s currently still a player and seemingly has no intention to retire just yet. Despite that, he is a free agent and on the look out for his fifth NFL team.

Other notable 2009 draft picks

Brian Orakpo – Defensive End Brian Orakpo was taken at number 13 by the Skins. He went on to enjoy a successful nine year career in the league during which he earned four Pro-Bowl selections during stints with the Redskins and Titans.

Malcolm Jenkins – Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins was taken by the Saints at 14. After spending four years in New Orleans, he moved to the Eagles for five years. During his career he has earned two Super Bowl rings and three Pro-Bowl selections. He recently rejoined the Saints for the 2020 season.

Brian Cushing – Linebacker Brian Cushing was taken at 15 by the Houston Texans. He spent his whole nine year career there, earning a Pro-Bowl selection in his rookie year. Currently, he’s on the coaching staff at the Texans.

Jeremy Maclin – Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin was taken at 19 by the Eagles. He spent five years in Philly before ending his career with spells at Kansas City and Baltimore. He earned a Pro-Bowl selection in 2014 while with the Eagles.

Alex Mack – Center Alex Mack was selected as the 21st overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. He currently plays for the Atlanta Falcons and has enjoyed a cracking career that has saw him earn six Pro-Bowl selections and inclusion in the NFL team of the decade.

Percy Harvin – Wide receiver Percy Harvin enjoyed eight seasons in the NFL that saw him turn out for the Minnesota Vikings, who drafted him, as well as the Seahawks, Jets and Bills. Garvin has quite the awards collection too, with a Super Bowl ring, a Pro-Bowl selection and first team All-Pro selection as well as Rookie of the Year 2009.

Vontae Davis – Cornerback and two time Pro-Bowler Vontae Davis was selected at 25 by the Miami Dolphins. He went on to enjoy a nine year career, spending five years with the Colts before ending his career with the Bills.

Clay Matthews – Linebacker Clay Matthews is a SIX time Pro-Bowler, Super Bowl champion, 2010 first team All-pro and 2010 PFWA NFL defensive player of the year. He spent nine year with the Packers, who drafted him at 26 in ’09. He spent last year with the Rams and is currently a free agent.

Eric Wood – Center Eric Wood spent his entire playing career with the Buffalo Bills, earning a Pro-Bowl selection 2015. He retired in 2017 following a neck injury.

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