(Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)
Talk of Fame Network
There are few things in life easier than picking the greatest third-round pick in NFL history. OK, so maybe choosing the greatest sixth-rounder is close. But nobody … nobody … is close to Joe Montana when it comes to naming the best third-rounder.
You said it. Our panel said it. And everyone knows it.
Joe Cool lapped the field in our latest Talk-of-Fame poll, pulling down an astounding 86 percent of the vote … as he should have. He was one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, not only winning all four Super Bowls he started but failing to throw an interception in any of them.
Hall-of-Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke was a distant second, and when we say distant we mean Montana couldn’t find him in his rear-view mirror. Nitschke had seven percent of the vote, while Terrell Owens and Mel Blount tied for third with four apiece and Art Shell pulled a Blutarksy.
“Of all the draft polls we’ve run,” said our Rick Gosselin, who spoke for the Talk of Fame’s three voters, “this was the easiest choice by far. You rarely find greatness of this magnitude this deep in the draft.”
But the 49ers did, taking Montana with the 82nd pick in the 1979 draft. New England did, too, choosing four-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady with the 199th pick in the 2000 draft. Brady was a landslide winner in our Best Sixth-Rounder poll, carrying 74 percent of the votes.
That seemed like a lopsided win. And it was … until Montana came along.
“There’s Joe Montana,” said our Ron Borges, “and then a bunch of Jimmys and Joes. How can there be a better third-round draft pick than one of the greatest quarterbacks who ever lived? Hell, they even named a state after him.”