If you get selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, you get three things in return: a lot of money, a lot of expectations, and a lot of pressure.
Almost two months ago, 32 players were taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and will have to deal with those three things. But, many of them will be able to learn from former first-round picks who, having dealt with the trifecta of challenges themselves, can tutor and mentor some of the league's newest players - and, hopefully, help them into stars.
But, there are also plenty of stars in this league - and I'd argue much, much more - who weren't selected in the first round whether it was because of injury history, players being regarded as being better, or even getting passed up on because they may go to smaller schools.
Today, we're going to look at some of the NFL's current stars and you're going to tell us if they were first-round picks or not. In all honesty, this is a relatively simple premise for a quiz: we show you an active NFL player and you tell us if they were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft or not. Some players will be more obvious than others - we're not trying to trick you or anything, we promise.
So, prepare to boo Roger Goodell as much as you can because we're talking the NFL Draft...somewhat!
We start this list off with, arguably, the greatest quarterback of all time (and if you have an argument for someone that isn't Joe Montana, I want to hear it) in Tom Brady. A lifelong Patriot, Brady has brought five rings to New England since taking over the starting role in 2001, setting numerous records and even engineering an undefeated season in the process. Well, an undefeated regular season, at least. Even now, we revere and look up to Brady, but was he a first-round pick?
From the best quarterback in NFL history to a signal-caller quickly making his case as one of the best in the current league, Oakland Raiders star Derek Carr is already entering his fourth season. Set to return after a broken leg sustained last season, Carr led the Raiders to their first winning season and playoff appearance since 2002 in 2016, though he missed said playoff game. With Carr healthy, the Raiders should contend for a Super Bowl this year. Did they find their franchise quarterback in the first round?
Really, there's two options for the face of the Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr or Khalil Mack - and honestly, I may be compelled to go with the former State of New York University at Buffalo linebacker with my pick. Drafted the same year as Carr, Mack became the first first-team All-Pro in NFL history named to two positions in the same season; in addition to linebacker, Mack also saw snaps at defensive end. Did the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year go in the first round?
Odell Beckham Jr.
Yet another player from that 2014 Draft (seriously, the amount of these guys that have become NFL icons is insane), Odell Beckham Jr.'s reputation is torn among football fans. To some, he's one of the greatest receiving talents we've seen in years and on his way to becoming more of a face of the game than Randy Moss or Terrell Owens ever were. To others, he's a spoiled brat that needs to grow up and stop getting into fights with nets. Those are arguments, but let's find a fact: did OBJ go in the first round?
The man who saved the New Orleans Saints? Yes. The man who saved the city of New Orleans? Perhaps. What Drew Brees has done on the field is exemplary, especially after a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2005, but his impact for the city of New Orleans should not go forgotten. The Super Bowl XLIV MVP, Brees has made ten Pro Bowls and twice won Offensive Player of the Year, but did the future Hall of Famer land with the San Diego Chargers as a first-round pick?
The Honey Badger and once a legitimate case to be a defensive winner of the Heisman Trophy (Baylor's Robert Griffin III instead won in 2011), Mathieu has gone from a prematurely ended career at LSU to becoming one of the league's top defensive backs. Partnering with Patrick Peterson in the Arizona Cardinals' secondary, Mathieu was a first-team All-Pro in 2015 but only played in ten games last season. Now healthy, Mathieu and the Cardinals will look to return to the playoffs. Did the Honey Badger go in the first round?
The veteran All-Pro linebacker who began his career as a safety, how can one hate what Thomas Davis has fought through? After career-threatening injuries that allowed him to play only nine of a possible 48 games from 2009-11 - including missing all of the 2010 season - Davis has been one of the game's best linebackers since returning in 2012, forcing ten fumbles, recovering five, and recording 14.5 sacks in addition to a total of 556 tackles. Did the Panthers find this gem in the first round?
Some will argue that Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters is among the best at his position - or, actually, may already be the best cornerback in the game - because he's picked off 14 passes in two years. Well, that actually means the quarterback feels comfortable throwing his way, but we digress. With two Pro Bowls and an All-Pro team under his belt after his first two NFL seasons, Peters has made a name for himself on a loaded Kansas City Chiefs defense. Did the Chiefs draft their cornerback of the future in the first round?
By this point, the Antonio Gates story is pretty well known: the guy played basketball in college but wanted to give football a try as well. I'd say that the San Diego Chargers have certainly benefited, as Gates has been a reliable target for close to 15 years and is putting the finishing touches on what will likely end up being a first ballot Hall of Fame career...although with the NFL voters, nothing is certain. Was Gates selected by San Diego in the first round?
Another tight end that has been a star with his team for over a decade, old man Jason Witten is still going and still making big plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Whether it's Tony Romo, Dak Prescott, Brad Johnson, or Kyle Orton behind center, Witten will beat the defense, move the chains, and get forgotten about in the age of Rob Gronkowski. Even with Gronk's talent, I'm still taking the durable Witten if I really have to choose. Was Witten a first-round pick?
If you were used to seeing Adrian Peterson in purple and gold, now is the time when you have to accept that the future Hall of Famer is trading those colors for black and gold. Entering his first season with the New Orleans Saints, we'll see how much Peterson has left in the tank after a career that has seen him average 4.9 yards per carry and nearly break the single season rushing record in 2012. Was Peterson a first-round pick in 2007?
Chris Harris Jr.
Definitely one of the league''s top cornerbacks, especially from an analytic point, there's no denying that the Denver Broncos found a steal in Chris Harris Jr. despite other questionable draft picks in the time span that was the late 2000s to early 2010s. We're looking at you, Knowshon Moreno and Tim Tebow. A Super Bowl champion two years ago, Harris helps lead a dominant Denver defense that kept the team in games last year when the offense sputtered. Was Harris a first-round pick?
Joining Chris Harris Jr. in the Denver Broncos secondary is Aqib Talib, who has bounced back from character issues to become one of the most productive and shutdown cornerbacks in the league. Though Talib's various arrests are a part of him, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about how much he's matured both on and off the field these past few years. After making his first All-Pro team in 2016, Talib seems primed for another big year in Colorado. Was he a first-round pick?
With all due respect to Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Odell Beckham Jr., is it possible that Larry Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver since Jerry Rice? Seriously, the numbers show it, the athleticism show it, and the personality and attitude most definitely show it. The face of NCAA Football 2005, Fitzgerald should be entering the twilight of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, yet continues to produce at an incredibly high pace while remaining healthy - and keeping his dreadlocks. Did the Cardinals take their greatest player in franchise history during the first round?
If you still think of Brian Orakpo in a Washington Redskins uniform, you're not alone - I still do it on instinct alone - but the Pro Bowl linebacker is currently in Tennessee as the face of a growing Titans defense. While Albert Haynesworth was a bust, Orakpo was a Redskins addition in 2009 that worked, with the linebacker making four Pro Bowls and totaled 57.5 sacks since coming into the league, reaching at least seven sacks every year he's played in at least eight games. Was Orakpo a first-round pick?
An offensive lineman? Hey, we wanted to include the Cleveland Browns on this list and he's their only proven star. Jokes aside, Joe Thomas should be a first ballot Hall of Famer when all is said and done, if only because he's one of the few Browns who has voluntarily wanted to stay in Cleveland while still playing at a high level. Sure, Thomas could star for a Super Bowl contender, but the man knows loyalty. Did he know how to be a first-round pick?
Staying in the AFC North, let's talk about arguably the best current wide receiver (I'd say he is, with Julio Jones probably coming in at two? That's a conversation for another day) in the NFL. While Pittsburgh seemed to always prefer a run-oriented offense with some passing involved, the evolution of Brown has helped Ben Roethlisberger and friends create the deadliest passing offense in the league. Pittsburgh found a face of the franchise in Brown, but was it in the first round?
Speaking of that deadly Pittsburgh Steelers offense, let's talk about the man who engineers that offense: Ben Roethlisberger, who is potentially entering his final season in 2017. A future Hall of Fame quarterback who has been a model citizen after some ugly off-the-field incidents earlier in his career, Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers and has a serious chance at a third this season with the weapons around him. Did the Steelers find potentially the greatest quarterback in team history (how do people still argue Terry Bradshaw?) in the first round?
Another future Hall of Famer (there's a serious case, at least) who has changed his life for the better after off-the-field issues, new Giants star Brandon Marshall joins Larry Fitzgerald among the most consistent wide receivers over the past decade. Whether it's setting the NFL record for most catches (21 in 2009 with the Denver Broncos) or leading the charge against the mental health stigma, Marshall is a role model the NFL needs right now. Did the Broncos find that role model in the first round?
Yet another likely future Hall of Famer, Julius Peppers keeps fighting old age and we love it. Returning home to the team that first drafted him in 2002, Peppers will attempt to give the Carolina Panthers the boost on defense that he did with the Green Bay Packers in recent years. Named to the All-Pro team three times, Peppers has totaled 143.5 sacks in his career, leaving him seven behind Chris Doleman and a likely-impossible-to-reach-this-year sixteen and a half behind Kevin Greene. Did the Panthers draft Peppers in the first round?
Really the only current positive for the Los Angeles Rams other than their upcoming stadium, Aaron Donald is the face of a team that has used first-round picks on a running back and a quarterback since 2015. Is that good or bad? Given Donald's fantastic play since coming into the league in 2014, we're going to say that the star defensive lineman being the Rams' icon is a good thing. A frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, was Donald a first-round pick in 2014?
Owner of maybe the NFL's best beard, Baltimore Ravens' safety Eric Weddle is as adorable as a hard-hitting, All-Pro safety can get. Yeah, the beard plays a big role, but so does being one of the best at your position for the past seven or eight years. While Weddle may be getting up there in age, entering the 2017 season at 32 years old, the Utah product is still playing at a high level. Was Weddle a first-round pick in 2007?
Is it fair to put Eifert on this list when he's really only had one good season so far? Talk to Bengals fans and they'll tell you that the ex-Notre Dame product is a top five tight end right now. I guess Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, Delanie Walker, and Travis Kelce all vanished? Anyways, Eifert's 2015 season was pretty good as the tight end caught 52 balls for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, but this will be a big season in determining whether or not he's the tight end of the Bengals' future. Did they take him in the first round?
So while Bengal fans will argue about how good Tyler Eifert is compared to those other tight ends, at least everyone can agree with Dallas Cowboys fans on how good Tyron Smith is. Still so reliable on that Cowboys offensive line, Smith is in the prime of his career and is coming off his second All-Pro team in the past three years? The best part? Smith doesn't turn 27 until December of this year. Did the Cowboys find this star in the first round?
And like with Smith, I don't think there's much arguing about Kelce being among the best at his position. After only playing one game in 2013, Kelce has totaled 224 catches for 2,862 yards and 14 touchdowns over the past three seasons, doing so in an Alex Smith-led offense that loves to focus on the running game. Coming off his first All-Pro team, Kelce has a chance to climb the tight end ladder with another big year. Did the Chiefs draft him in the first round?
Yet another player who many won't argue is among the best at his position, Dez Bryant is having the time of his life in Dallas. After behavior and maturity concerns, the Oklahoma State product has partnered with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, and old man Jason Witten to form a dangerous offense that could easily be a frontrunner in the NFC this season. Though Bryant will likely be forever plagued for the postseason game against Green Bay three years ago, the Pro Bowler is ready to bring a Super Bowl back to Dallas. Was Bryant a first-round pick?
Even if one didn't agree with LeSean McCoy's comments that he was forced out of Philadelphia by a racist Chip Kelly, there's no denying that the former Pittsburgh running back remains a dangerous option in the backfield. With Buffalo entering a rebuilding stage, we could potentially be seeing the last of McCoy in upstate New York, but a bounce back 2016 season that saw the two-time Pro Bowler average 5.4 yards per rush with 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns should give fans hope. Did the Eagles draft McCoy in the first round?
Joining LeSean McCoy on the 'we were forced out by the evil Chip Kelly' boat is DeSean Jackson - or, as Matt Dodge refers to him as, the horned devil. Though Jackson may lose some of his blazing speed with age, the three-time Pro Bowler's time in Washington showed that there's still some gas left in the tank; which, I'm sure, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is thrilled about. Before Jackson joined up with Tampa, though, was he a first-round pick in Philadelphia?
As we know by now, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has certainly had mixed results with his first-rounders in recent years - anyone remember Dominique Easley or Malcom Brown? - but the greatest coach of all-time excels in finding late picks and undrafted players. While we won't say where Hightower was drafted, we will say that it's looking like Belichick made the right call by adding him in 2012, as Hightower has become a vocal leader on the Patriots defense and made his first Pro Bowl last year. Was Hightower a first-round pick?
We love Earl Thomas. Do you love Earl Thomas? Well, we're really happy that the All-Pro safety is set to make a return after a broken leg sustained last season. Fresh from the University of Texas, the five-time All-Pro safety has been a key member of the Legion of Boom and, at age 28, remains in the prime of his career - which is already entering its eighth season. You feeling old yet? Did the Seahawks make Thomas a first-round pick?
Another defensive back who, unlike Thomas, doesn't get the national respect that he may deserve, Vontae Davis has come a long way since the Miami Dolphins flipped him to the Colts right before the 2012 season. As in, the Colts sent a second-round pick that he Dolphins would use on defensive back Jamar Taylor - who they let go last year and had a strong season with the Browns - for a cornerback that would become a shutdown force. Woof.. Was Davis a first-round pick by the Dolphins?
For a time, NFL fans who had nothing better to do with their time (also known as 'Sports Twitter') would joke about the similarities between then-Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron and New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Cameron Jordan. Well, here's one: Joran Cameron is out of the league after retiring from concussions, but Cameron Jordan is still around and getting to the quarterback. More or less the elder statesman of the Saints defense, Jordan made the Pro Football Focus All-Pro second-team last year. Was he once a first-round pick?
You know, we're going to feel pretty bad for Allen Robinson if Blake Bortles keeps performing at the level he does - and as we say that, my thoughts just got intercepted. But seriously, Robinson is an athletic talent that has shined when Bortles has played up to his potential, but has been left behind when the former first-round quarterback gives the ball up on easy plays. Before he had to deal with the nonsense that comes with Jacksonville, was Robinson a first-round pick?
Eric Berry is a warrior and we're not only saying that because of how terrifying he is on the field - or how much pain you're in when he lays the hit stick down. A cancer survivor, Berry's career was in danger in 2014 before fighting and returning in 2015, making several key plays to help Kansas City to their fourth postseason appearance in five years. Winning the Comeback Player of the Year in the process, Berry reminded us that there's positives in a game with so many negatives. Was Berry a first-round pick?
Our final player on this list - and potentially the deciding factor between you passing or failing - is Marshawn 'Money' Lynch himself. From his press conferences to his ability to break through even the most packed gang tackles, we are all so thrilled that Lynch has returned to the NFL after a one year hiatus to...do Marshawn Lynch things around the world. Now with his hometown Raiders, Lynch will try to bring the boom and a title back to the bay. Was Lynch a first-round pick?