April 20, 2009: It certainly is apropos that the company anteing up significant dollars and generating a great deal of interest for the NFL Draft is online job recruiter Monster.com and its "fandemonium" campaign. Even the player who will be drafted No. 1 overall on April 25 will be hard-pressed to find extra-curricular employment based on recent history and the current economy. And the situation is even more tenuous considering that the No. 1 pick belongs to the Detroit Lions. coming off an 0-16 in a town hit so hard by the economy that Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, is keeping the General Motors ads in place and has added signage from Chrysler and Ford at the Tigers' Comerica Park without charging them.
How would any No. 1 this year do regarding marketing and endorsements? Nike, EA, adidas and Under Armour always are quick out of the gate, so OLB Aaron Curry (Wake Forest), who tops the list of numerous pre-draft predictions, and any QB might have a shot at $5-6 million. After that, history and current events would indicate $2-3 million for No. 2 on down. Among the last 11 No. 1 NFL picks, there have been eight QBs: Peyton Manning, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, has fared best and tops the list among all NFL players with about $15 million in annual endorsement income (including Sprint, MasterCard, Gatorade and DirecTV).
His brother, Eli, who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and then traded to the New York Giants, saw his endorsement status spike after the team won Super Bowl XLII, but he leveled out at about $9-10 million and his best known national spots are the Nabisco Oreo Double Stuf campaign and an ESPN "This Is SportsCenter" spot, both of which he does in tandem with Peyton. Michael Vick, selected No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001, had a nice endorsement income of about $10 million (including Nike, EA Sports, Coke and Kraft) before losing it all as a result of pleading guilty to a federal felony charge involving illegal dog-fighting. Among the other No. 1 QBs selected since 1998, Carson Palmer (2003 Cincinnati Bengals) has had the best career but has barely made a dent on the national endorsement playing field. Such QBs as Tim Couch (1999 Cleveland Browns), David Carr (2002 Houston Texans), Alex Smith (2005 San Francisco) and JaMarcus Russell (2007 Oakland) got initial deals but never moved the endorsement needle.
Monster.com will at least offer limited-time employment to one NFL fan. The company partnered with the NFL before Super Bowl XLIII to unveil its "Department of Fandemonium" campaign, and this week will select a "director," the fan whose duties this year begin with announcing one of this year's draft selections. "It`s a competitive job market out there, and people are looking for help more than ever," Ted Gilvar, evp and chief global marketing officer at Monster, said in a statement. "This director of fandemonium promotion is an innovative, creative and fun way to drive attention to Monster`s new tools and products that help people find new jobs every day." The April 25-26 NFL Draft, which will be carried live from New York on ESPN and NFL Network, also has other NFL partners involved, including Visa, Coors Light and Sprint. The Lions are planning a draft day party on April 25 at Ford Field, with sponsors including the Metro Detroit Ford Dealers and MasterCard, where fans can watch the draft live from New York.
Among the top players, according to Scouts Inc., are: QBs Matthew Stafford (Georgia) and Mark Sanchez (USC), WRs Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech) and Jeremy Maclin (Missouri), RBs Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) and Chris Wells (Ohio State), OLB Aaron Curry (Wake Forest), OTs Jason Smith (Baylor) and Eugene Monroe (Virginia), DEs Brian Orakpo (Texas) and Aaron Maybin (Penn State) and DT B.J. Raji (Boston College). Curry would be the first LB taken at No. 1 since Aundray Bruce in 1988 (Atlanta Falcons). But Detroit might opt for a sexier position and go for a QB. Among the three non-QB's selected No. 1 overall since 1998, two were DEs (Courtney Brown, 2000 Cleveland; and Mario Williams 2006 Houston) and one was an OT (Jake Long 2008 Miami). The last WR at No. 1 was Keyshawn Johnson (New York Jets 1996), the last RB at No. 1 was Ki-Jana Carter (Cincinnati 1995).
The Past 15 No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks:
2008: Jake Long OT Miami Dolphins
2007: JaMarcus Russell QB Oakland Raiders
2006: Mario Williams DE Houston Texans
2005: Alex Smith QB San Francisco 49ers.
2004: Eli Manning QB New York Giants (drafted and traded by the San Diego Chargers)
2003: Carson Palmer QB Cincinnati Bengals
2002: David Carr QB Houston Texans
2001: Michael Vick QB Atlanta Falcons
2000: Courtney Brown DE Cleveland Browns
1999: Tim Couch QB Cleveland Browns
1998: Peyton Manning QB Indianapolis Colts
1997: Orlando Pace OT St. Louis Rams
1996: Keyshawn Johnson WR New York Jets
1995: Ki-Jana Carter RB Cincinnati Bengals
1994: Dan Wilkinson DT Cincinnati Bengals