02 May 2006

NFL Draft Recap

A mantra oft repeated during the ESPN coverage of NFL Draft 2006 was that you wouldn't really know whether or not each team made the right decision for another 2-3 years.

With that in mind here's my breakdown of the top 12 picks in NFL Draft 2003 (any Mel Kiper, Jr. clone can say stuff about future performance, it takes someone with real talent to talk about what everyone already knows and can see for themselves). And when I say my breakdown, what I really mean is that I'll summarize the draft tracker summary from 2003 and compare it to the team's career summary of each player from now (most team pages haven't updated to include '05 summaries, those lazy bastards!), 1st link draft tracker, 2nd link various team pages.

1. Cincinatti - Carson Palmer, USC QB
(then) Should be top QB and top player overall,
2. Detroit - Charles Rogers, Michigan State, WR
(then) Great size, speed, not quite Randy Moss, but close, easy top 5 pick
3. Houston - Andre Johnson, Miami (Fla), WR
(then) Another game breaking wideout prospect, might be some head problems
4. NYJets - Dewayne Robertson, Kentucky, DT
(then) Solid DT, needs to improve technique, huge upside potential
5. Dallas - Terence Newman, Kansas State, CB
(then)Top CB available, plus should be great return man in NFL, a bit undersized
6. New Orleans - Johnathan Sullivan, Georgia, DT
(then) Big, solid, but maybe too slow, still definite first rounder
7. Jacksonville - Byron Leftwich, Marshall, QB
(then) In the right offense, could put up impressive numbers
8. Carolina - Jordan Gross, Utah, OT
(then) A bit small, but still best left tackle available in draft, could develop into perennial pro-bowler
9. Minnesota - Kevin Williams, Oklahoma State, DT
(then) Undersized, one of the top ten DTs, seems a stretch at 9th overall
10. Baltimore - Terrell Suggs, Arizona State, DE
(then) A little small, but could develop into a top pass rusher, think Simeon Rice
11. Seattle - Marcus Trufant, Washington State, CB
(then) Not the fastest or most athletic CB, but great football knowledge, knows where to be at all times
12. St. Louis - Jimmy Kennedy, Penn State, DT
(then) Likely top five pick (so he slipped a bit), might be too slow, concerns about weight

Now for the Where Are They Now, portion of this post

Palmer, Bengals star QB, has to be considered one of the top 5 QBs in the league already, great first pick.

Rogers, Detroit WR, injured rookie year, injured 2nd year, suspended 4 games for league substance abuse violation, in other words, a Lion through and through.

Johnson, Houston WR, started 45 of 48 games since joining NFL, made last year's Pro Bowl, first Texan on offense to do so, so far, not so bad.

Robertson, NYJets DT, solid, not outstanding good rookie year, followed by a solid season, followed by a year where the whole team stunk.

Newman, Dallas CB, Excellent rookie year, has solid, but unspectacular since (*changed* from struggled, misread his stats, but hasn't been an impact player for the Cowboys, but one of the quickest CBs in the league)

Sullivan, New Orleans DT, Another top ten pick that started out strong and ended up struggling 2nd year, also last year was a nightmare year for all Saints, but started more games, and put up decent numbers, so maybe his performance will match his talent in 2006.

Leftwich, Jax QB, He's their starting QB, has quietly put up big numbers, and the team was 12-4 last year, but was injured, his backup, Garard, played well in his absence, and when Leftwich came back for the playoffs, the Jaguars were pasted by the Pats, so he will have a lot to prove in '06.

Gross, Carolina OT, Wears number 69, 'nuff said. (and has been solid for the Panthers, started and played in every regular season and playoff game since he was drafted)

Williams, Minnesota DT, Pro Bowler in his 2nd year, big drop in production in his 3rd, again, another case of a whole team collapsing, should return to form in '06.

Suggs, Baltimore DE/LB, Another Pro Bowler in 2004, more versatile than Williams, played in every game since being drafted, solid player on a great defense. Remember him come fantasy roster time, going to have a monster '06.

Trufant, Seattle CB, Best tackling CB in the league. Was a monster in '04, a little quiter in '05, but his team did make the Superbowl, and the addition of Tatupu improved the team, but screwed up the individual stats of players like Trufant.

Kennedy, St. Louis DT, injured for half of '04, solid numbers in '05, good interior tackle, run stuffer.

So looking over the careers of the picks, big winners so far, Cincy, Baltimore, Seattle and Carolina, big losers Detroit, Dallas, and New Orleans.

Now a quick look at each position and see if the teams missed anybody spectacular. At QB Palmer and Leftwich were clearly the best available, and have been the best pros. At WR Rogers has been a disappointment, but is still talented, and might turn around, Johnson's been solid, none of the other WR drafted have been better. All those DL taken in the first 12, if picking today, would probably be reordered some, but not much, Gross turned out to be a smart pick at OT, and the CBs though not great, were better than anyone else available. The only player not picked in the top 12 that stands out as someone that would have made a bigger impact than any of those chosen is Troy Polamalu (likely the Pro Bowl starting SS for at least the next 5-7 years) who slipped to Pittsburgh at 16, imagine a Seattle defense with Tatupu and Polamalu, would have been awesome (and likely reversed the Superbowl XL result).


Icepick said...

big losers Detroit....

Well, duh. Matt Millen is the Anti-Christ of football GMs. He's also a sympbol of all that has gone wrong with American automakers.

XWL said...

Your bitterness and anger suggests you are a putative Lions fan, my condolences (but howabout those Tigers?).

Having lived in NFL abandoned SoCal all my life, I get to root for good games rather than any particular team.

Frankly, I prefer it that way, screw this attempt to lure back the NFL.