In the NFL, it’s assumed that a draft class cannot be properly evaluated until after their third season.
This allows draftees enough time to adapt to the league and develop into starting-calibre players.
Although this may change due to the prevalence of first-year quarterbacks starting (and succeeding) in the NFL, the time has come for those drafted in 2010 to face the microscope.
Below is a round-by-round selection of the best (more specifically, the greatest positive impact for their team) players from that draft.
Top Player: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants (Pick 15)
JPP was a big part of the Giants’ Superbowl winning team in 2011, and has generally performed better in a competitive environment than any other first round draft pick. He’s had 27.5 sacks over three years.
Honourable Mentions: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys; Mike Iupati, G, San Francisco 49ers, Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks.
Top Player: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (Pick 42)
‘Gronk’ had a record-setting 2011 season, with 17 touchdowns and 1,327 receiving yards. Over three years, he’s managed a massive 38 touchdowns and 2,663 yards.
Honourable Mentions: Sean Lee, LB, Dallas Cowboys; Nate Allen, S, Philadelphia Eagles; Daryl Washington, LB, Arizona Cardinals
Top Player: NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers (Pick 91)
Bowman has bolstered a strong 49er defence and started every game in the last two seasons, matching up with perennial All-Pro Patrick Willis. Bowman has 246 tackles over three years.
Honourable Mention: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints; Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
Top Player: Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals (Pick 120)
In the 2012 season, Atkins showed he was one of the best defensive tackles in the league, making his second Pro Bowl and getting an unheard-of 23 sacks (for a tackle) over three years.
Honourable Mention: Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots; Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens; Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Top Player: Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle Seahawks (Pick 133)
Chancellor and his fellow safety Earl Thomas have created a strong tandem for Seattle, and in 31 starts over three years Chancellor has 167 tackles and 18 pass deflections.
Honourable Mention: Reshad Jones, S, Miami Dolphins; Marshall Newhouse, T, Green Bay Packers
Top Player: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (Pick 195)
Brown, who was voted the Steeler’s MVP in 2011, has provided great late-round value, with a thousand-yard season in 2011 and 2,062 yards (7 touchdowns) over three seasons.
Honourable Mention: James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers; Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Top Player: J’Marcus Webb, T, Chicago Bears
Webb, while not an elite tackle, has been serviceable for the Bears, starting 44 games over three years and was great value for Chicago in round seven.
Honourable Mention: Kurt Coleman, S, Philadelphia Eagles