SI repicked the top 30 players of the 1998 draft based
on how they ultimately performed as pros. No matter which way you slice it,
Peyton Manning was still the right choice at No. 1
1 Peyton Manning, QB Drafted by Colts (1st overall)
One Super Bowl ring, two-time league MVP, eight Pro Bowls. Any questions?
2 Randy Moss (above), WR Vikings (21) Only predraft
question was character-related. He acted up for two seasons—in Oakland
3 Matt Hasselbeck, QB Packers (187) Three Pro Bowls,
one NFC title—not bad for a guy who wasn't even invited to the combine
4 Hines Ward, WR Steelers (92) Among the WRs drafted
before him: Brian Alford, E.G. Green, Jammi German, Larry Shannon ... who?
5 Alan Faneca, G Steelers (26) Highest-paid guard in
NFL history has made seven straight Pro Bowl appearances
6 Olin Kreutz, C Bears (64) Unquestioned team leader
and Chicago's best offensive lineman of this decade
7 Fred Taylor, RB Jaguars (9) Has quietly moved to
within 521 yards of O.J. Simpson at No. 17 on the alltime rushing list
8 Tra Thomas, T Eagles (11) What more can you ask of a
player who has made 149 regular-season starts in 10 years?
9 Leonard Little, DE Rams (65) Over his last seven
seasons, he had 68 1/2 sacks and 29 forced fumbles