Life is an infinite series of small choices, often with no true downside: Now or later? Movie or ballgame? Paper or plastic? Even when pondering more far-reaching decisions, we often select one option that works out well enough, even if hindsight says a different choice might have been more rewarding. For instance: You're OK with your job, but it gnaws at you that the guy who took the one you turned down earned a quick promotion. Or you like the house you bought, though the one you passed up on the other side of town recently sold at a nice profit. And your marriage is working out pretty well, but ... well, let's not even go there.

NFL executives often find themselves in a similar position at draft time. Sure, every so often, a first-round stink bomb is tossed: Think Ryan Leaf. And let's not forget even the Colts for a while agonized over this pick and nearly took Leaf, who was perceived to have more upside, over Peyton Manning with the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft.

But when dealing with legitimate top-of-the-board talent, franchises seldom blunder terribly. Still, that doesn't mean draft headquarters wouldn't like the occasional do-over. So with the combine, pro days, individual workouts and Wonderlic tests behind us, it seemed a good time to analyze decisions made on first-round selections since the 1970 merger comparing two players who played the same position.

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