NFL Draft Lesson: The recent history of the fourth overall pick

We take a look back at the last ten 4th overall picks in the NFL draft.
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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2020: Andrew Thomas, OT - New York Giants

The Giants actually received criticism when they took Thomas over guys like Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton. All four of these players were drafted from early-to-mid round in the first round in 2020. Thomas has established himself as one of the best pass-blocking tackles in the game, which earned him a 5 year contract extension with the Giants before the 2023 season. Even though the Giants are in shambles right now as an organization, they do not need to worry about their franchise left tackle in Thomas.

2019: Clelin Ferrell, DE - Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders

As a former 4th overall pick, the Raiders missed on Clelin Ferrell. In 4 seasons with the Raiders, Ferrell had just 10 sacks and 105 total tackles. In his last two seasons with the Raiders, Ferrell started only 4 games. It is safe to say that this was a big miss on the Raiders’ part. Not to mention, the Raiders passed on players like edge rusher Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, T.J. Hockenson, and Dexter Lawrence.

Ferrell played with the San Francisco 49ers this past season and had a slight improvement.

2018: Denzel Ward, CB - Cleveland Browns

In the 2018 NFL draft, the Browns not only selected quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick, three picks later they selected Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. Unlike Mayfield, Ward has been a key factor in the Browns defense. He has been voted as a Pro Bowler in 3 of his 6 seasons and has no less than 2 interceptions in a season since his rookie season. The only down part of Ward’s career is that he has yet to play an entire season without an injury. Aside from that, Ward showed to be a great pick in a 2018 first round class that was loaded with talent.