Picking a kicker in the first round has never been looked upon as a smart move. Same goes for punters. If you did it in fantasy football, you’d be either be mocked mercilessly or make for some angry fellow ‘GM’s’ who see you as not taking the draft seriously.
In actual NFL drafts it was something Al Davis did twice in his long career in charge of the Raiders. Most recently in 2000 when he took kicker Sebastian Janikowski with the 17th overall pick. Some 27 years earlier, he took punter Ray Guy with the 23rd overall pick in the 1973 draft.
Also in that ‘73 draft was one Dan Fouts. He was a third round pick out of Oregon to the San Diego Chargers who went on to a 15-year Hall of Fame career. But apparently he never lost his affinity for the only ever pure punter taken in the first round because when he had the fourth overall pick in MMQB’s All Time fantasy draft, he took a page out of Al Davis’s book and chose none other than Ray Guy.
Guy was inducted into the Hall of Fame a couple years ago, thanks to the Senior Committee. Even still, his selection by Fouts sticks out like a sore thumb when you see the names surrounding him.
Johnny Unitas went just ahead of that pick at 3rd overall. Jim Brown a couple picks later with Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and John Elway as three of the final four picks of the 12-team first round.
Those picks make sense in a fantasy draft. They would make sense in an actual draft.
“I really wanted Unitas,” Fouts said after his Guy selection. “But he was taken. So I thought I would shock the world. Not that many punters had the impact Ray Guy did on a game. He came into the league the same year as me, and I watched him affect games for so many years. He was such a weapon.”
That is true. No one argues that. I mean, we all love Ray Guy, but come on Foutsy. What about those other guys? Maybe Jerry Rice? Walter Payton? Peyton Manning? — all of whom went 17, 18, and 20 respectively in the second round... RIGHT AFTER FOUTS CHOSE TIGHT END KELLEN WINSLOW!
So, Fouts goes from picking the punter who was selected in the first round of his own draft to passing up all time NFL greats in favor of his personal favorite target. A tight end, no less. So, um, yeah, that’s... a strategy.
And it gets worse.
After a brief moment of partial sanity taking Packers legendary linebacker Ray Nitschke in the third, Fouts... oh, Foutsy. Foutsy, Foutsy, Foutsy. He drafts KICKER Jan Stenerud.
The next round, Fouts finally gets his QB — Terry Bradshaw. Said Fouts of the Bradshaw pick “I thought I could get a great quarterback down the road, and I did.” Not Dan Marino. Not Brett Favre — both of whom were still available — Bradshaw.
A little while later, in the 8th round, Fouts heads back to the Raiders’ well, and grabs Mike Haynes, who Fouts had to face twice a year for the final five years of his career. Two rounds later he went with another Raiders great, grabbing a surprisingly still available Willie Brown in the 10th round.
Even with these great later picks, the MMQB guys were apparently so befuddled by Fouts’ picks, they listed his 19th round pick Jacob Green (a defensive end) as a punter.
They probably filled it out ahead of time assuming picking two punters is just the kind of thing Fouts would do.
The following round, it was back to selecting Raiders greats for Fouts, grabbing Bo Jackson. The round after that (21st) — while most other GM’s were just finally getting around to grabbing special teamers including Shane Lechler who was selected by Gil Brandt — Fouts went with FIVE more fellow Chargers from his playing days, grabbing wide receiver WR Charlie Joiner, WR John Jefferson, DT Gary Johnson, OT Russ Washington, and of course his coach, Don Coryell.
At this point I’m just surprised he didn’t select himself. Does he know something we don’t?
So, it seems Fouts’ idea of a Fantasy team is one led by special teams, full of players with whom he was unable to win a championship, and supplemented by Raiders greats.
You are one funny dude, Dan Fouts. We just don’t know if it’s intentional or not.