2011: QB Christian Ponder, Vikings
A cautionary tale against reaching for a QB, Ponder started for parts of three seasons in Minnesota with underwhelming results before giving way to the Vikings’ next quarterback of the future. After a brief stint with Denver last year, Ponder remains unsigned.
2012: DT Fletcher Cox, Eagles
Cox, a Mississippi State product, made an instant impact and then blossomed into one of the NFL’s best interior D-linemen. Cox has 22 sacks in four seasons, including 9.5 last year, and two second-team All-Pro nods in addition to a 2015 Pro Bowl berth.
2013: CB D.J. Hayden, Raiders
A feel-good story who came back from a strange practice accident at Houston that tore the inferior vena cava in his heart, Hayden has been slow to develop. He started 13 games for the Raiders last season, but he has just three career interceptions.
2014: WR Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
Underrated out of LSU, Beckham fought off an early hamstring issue to instantly entrench himself as one of the NFL’s top receivers. Beckham, who won Rookie of the Year honors after a 91-catch debut, followed it with 96 catches for 1,450 yards, 13 touchdowns and his second Pro Bowl bid.
2015: NT Danny Shelton, Browns
Touted as a potential pick for the Saints at No. 13, Shelton instead went to Cleveland and started 15 games in an up-and-down year. Shelton made 36 tackles, but he had no sacks and forced no turnovers, and the Browns want him to take the next step in 2016.