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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2015: Amari Cooper, WR - Oakland Raiders

The Raiders were able to acquire Amari Cooper who was a fantastic player at Alabama. In his first year with the Raiders, Cooper not only was voted to the Pro Bowl but he finished in third place in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting behind Jameis Winston and Todd Gurley. Cooper ended up being voted as a Pro Bowler twice in three seasons with the Raiders. After the Raiders picked up the fifth-year option for Cooper, they ended up trading him away to the Dallas Cowboys for a first round pick in the middle of his fourth season.

Cooper averaged 5 touchdowns a year with the Raiders and was the number one option for the Raiders. This is a somewhat similar situation like Fournette where both players were productive with the team that drafted them, but it was short-lived.

2014: Sammy Watkins, WR - Buffalo Bills

The Bills gave up a great amount of draft capital to go from No. 9 to No. 4 in the 2014 draft to select Clemson star wide receiver Sammy Watkins. With so much talent and the Bills getting their expected franchise wide receiver, things started to look up for the Bills who were in the middle of their long playoff drought. Even though Watkins had production, his injury history took a toll which limited him from becoming the superstar that he was projected to become. 

After three seasons with the Bills, Watkins would be traded to the Los Angeles Rams before becoming a journeyman to Kansas City, Baltimore and Green Bay.