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Little demand for skill position players at top of NFL draft

Tavon Austin was the first offensive skill position player drafted in 2013.

Gregory Payan/AP

Tavon Austin was the first offensive skill position player drafted in 2013.

The 2013 NFL draft was unique in that four offensive linemen were drafted before a skill position player was taken, the first being wide receiver Tavon Austin going to the Rams eighth overall.

It’s just the fifth time since the merger in 1970 that the first skill position player drafted came outside the top five.

Continue reading below

As for the other four drafts, it was a bad year to underestimate playmakers:

1985

First skill position player: WR Al Toon, 10th to Jets

Missed out on: WR Jerry Rice (16th to 49ers), QB Randall Cunningham (37th to Eagles), WR Andre Reed (86th to Bills), *RB Herschel Walker (114th to Cowboys)

*Walker’s rights were acquired from USFL.

1988

First skill position player: WR Tim Brown, 6th to Raiders

Missed out on: WR Sterling Sharpe (7th to Packers), WR Michael Irvin (11th to Cowboys), TE Keith Jackson (13th to Eagles), RB Thurman Thomas (40th to Bills)

1991

First skill position player: WR Herman Moore, 10th to Lions

Missed out on: QB Brett Favre (33d to Falcons), RB Ricky Watters (45th to 49ers), TE Ben Coates (124th to Patriots), WR Keenan McCardell (326th to Redskins)

1997

First skill position player: WR Ike Hilliard, 7th to Giants

Missed out on: RB Warrick Dunn (12th to Buccaneers), TE Tony Gonzalez (13th to Chiefs), RB Tiki Barber (36th to Giants), RB Corey Dillon (43d to Bengals)

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