Graphic Shows An Interesting NFL Draft Trend For Top-3 Pick

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Written By Maya Cantina

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Normally, an NFL team that has one of the top three picks in the draft has very little going for it and will have to wait and be patient before it becomes competitive.

But in recent years, there have been a number of teams that have had such a pick and yet managed to make the playoffs right away.

Per NFL GameDay, there has been one team in each of the last five years that went from having a top-three pick to reaching the postseason the very next season.

The most notable example is the Houston Texans, who selected quarterback C.J. Stroud at No. 2 last year, then surpassed the expectations of just about everyone by winning 10 games and reaching the divisional round of the playoffs.

The year before, the Jacksonville Jaguars took defensive end Travon Walker with their top pick, then got hot down the stretch and reached the divisional round.

The San Francisco 49ers are on this list twice, but there are two caveats: they traded up to be able to draft QB Trey Lance at No. 3 in 2021, and they got the No. 2 pick in 2019 mainly because starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played just three games in 2018 due to a torn ACL.

Everything is set up for the Chicago Bears, who have this year’s No. 1 pick, to continue this trend.

They acquired that pick by trading last year’s top pick to the Carolina Panthers, a trade that also brought them star wide receiver D.J. Moore.

They then traded for wideout Keenan Allen, a six-time Pro Bowler, while also snagging running back D’Andre Swift.

If the Bears’ quarterback choice in April’s draft plays well as a rookie, they could very well be 2024’s version of the Texans.

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