Monday, May 7, 2007

2002 NFL Draft Retrospective

The 2007 NFL Draft has come and gone, but it's obviously way too early to evaluate those guys. I'll take a look at some of the drafts from several years ago.

  1. Houston Texans- David Carr, QB (Fresno State): Carr never lived up to his expectations as the first pick in franchise history, and he’s now holding a clipboard in Carolina. His numbers are bad, and one might wonder what could’ve been had Houston Carr held onto the ball too long at points and took more sacks than any other QB in recent memory. really committed to building an Offensive Line in front of him.

The Rest: Chester Pitts has started every game in franchise history, but he hasn’t been a particularly strong player. Jabar Gaffney was another top pick that didn not pan out from this draft.

Grade: C-, this team bombed their first draft and it still shows today.

  1. Carolina Panthers- Julius Peppers, DE (North Carolina): Julius Peppers is probably the best Defensive End in the league today, and his unique mix of size and athletic ability cause headaches for Offensive Tackles. He doesn’t post eye popping sack numbers, but his impact is felt every Sunday. He’s the anchor of the Carolina defense.

The Rest: The oft-injured DeShaun Foster never became the franchise back they hoped, but Will Witherspoon was a great player for them in his days in Carolina.

Grade: A-, getting their superstar end makes it worth it, but they had little depth to secure a higher grade.

  1. Detroit Lions- Joey Harrington, QB (Oregon): Joey Harrington is yet another Jeff Tedford QB that couldn’t cut it in the NFL. In a weak QB class, he was generally considered to be the best prospect available, but things never worked out for him in Detroit. He never really had the skill players to work with, but even out of Detroit, he didn’t play well and is already on his third pro team.

The Rest: Kalimba Edwards never became the pass rusher the Lions had hoped for, and they got absolutely nothing out of the rest of their picks.

Grade: F, none of their picks panned out at all.

  1. Buffalo Bills- Mike Williams, OT (Texas): We come across another bust in the top five. Mike wasn’t considered to be the top tackle prospect, but he was off the board first anyway. Williams had a terrible work ethic and was often times incredibly overweight. He was a revolving door in pass protection and wasn’t helping matters in the running game either, but he’s Jacksonville’s problem now.

The Rest: Josh Reed and Ryan Denney were as mediocre as they come, and Coy Wire played a decent safety his rookie season.

Grade: D, none of these players make any sort of difference in the NFL today.

  1. San Diego Chargers- Quentin Jammer, CB (Texas): Jammer had a rough start to his career after the Chargers reached to draft him, but lately, he’s developing into a decent corner. He’s known for playing very aggressively and physically, and that got him into a lot of trouble in his first couple seasons. Even with the rules dampening tough play from corners, Jammer has settled into the league and is a pretty good player.

The Rest: Reche Caldwell and Ben Leber are average players elsewhere now. Toniu Fonoti is fat.

Grade: B-, Jammer is their best D-Back, and they’ve produced a couple other average players.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs- Ryan Sims, DT (North Carolina): Sims has trouble getting on the field due to injuries, and once he gets there, he’s very unproductive. The Chiefs went off the board a bit to select the 4th best DT available in the draft, and it’s been shown that he was most likely a product of having Julius Peppers playing next to him. Sims is a rotational player at best, and you need more than that out of the 6th overall pick.

The Rest: Scott Fujita had a good year once, and he was a part of last season’s New Orleans revival.

Grade: D+, another draft in a line of Chiefs scouting incompetency.

  1. Minnesota Vikings- Bryant McKinnie, OT (Miami): After eventually settling one of the longest rookie holdouts, McKinnie was mauled at LT for a little while before eventually becoming one of the better blindside protectors in the league. Mount McKinnie contributes in both the running and passing games, and he’s one of the better picks in the 2002 draft.

The Rest: Brian Williams isn’t a bad corner, but he plays for Jacksonville now.

Grade: B, they got a bookend tackle, and helped out the Jaguars by making Brian Williams a decent player.

  1. Dallas Cowboys- Roy Williams, S (Oklahoma): Roy Williams became one of the nastiest hitters in the league, but his coverage ability is still lacking. He’s delivered some great blows in his career and he’s not a bad pass rusher, but Dallas has done a bad job of making sure he’s in positions to succeed. They’ve never found the complimentary deep zone safety to help him out.

The Rest: They found a Pro Bowler in the second round in Andre Gurode, and Antonio Bryant has bounced around a bit, each time being more mediocre than the last.

Grade: B+, Roy Williams is one of the top box safeties in the league, and Gurode was a nice find in the second round.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- John Henderson, DT (Tennessee): Jacksonville Henderson was considered to be the best DT in the draft, and the Jaguars were fortunate he fell to them. At 325 pounds, Henderson is a huge part of one of the league’s most consistent defenses. makes a great pick here, and lands a big guy that’s part of one of the best DT duos in the league.

The Rest: Akin Ayodele was a good Linebacker before moving onto Dallas, and David Garrard is a good backup QB.

Grade: B, because Henderson is one of the top at his position and they got a decent return in later rounds.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals- Levi Jones, OT (Arizona State): This pick was questioned at the time of the draft, but Jones has developed into a pretty good player. Injuries shortened what was shaping up to be a pretty good 2006 season after a 2005 in which he finally became a better pass blocker. Jones will continue to be an important part in one of the league’s most explosive offenses in 2007.

The Rest: Here’s another team that has given other NFL teams two average players in LaMont Thompson and Matt Schobel.

Grade: B-, Jones is a solid player, and they got a little production out of Thompson and Schobel.

  1. Indianapolis Colts- Dwight Freeney, DE (Syracuse): Freeney’s size has always been questioned, but his pass rushing and athletic abilities are top notch. Freeney is the best player on the Colts’ generally undersized defense, and he’s a pain in the Quarterback’s butt every week. He may have had a down year in terms of sacks in 2006, but his pass rushing ability makes a huge difference on the Indy defense.

The Rest: Larry Tripplett’s not a bad situational guy in Buffalo now, and David Thornton is one of the more underrated Linebackers in football.

Grade: B+, Freeney is an elite Defensive End, and Thornton’s a good player in his own right.

  1. Arizona Cardinals- Wendell Bryant, DT (Wisconsin): Ouch. Wendell Bryant was thought to be a top tackle prospect in the draft, but in his brief three year career, he only managed to accumulate 3.5 sacks. Bryant could hardly find the field due to injuries, and eventually he just ended up out of football. Another pick in a long line of failed Cardinals drafts.

The Rest: Josh Scobey was probably the best player out of this draft. That’s all that needs to be said.

Grade: F, absolutely pitiful.

  1. New Orleans Saints- Donte’ Stallworth, WR (Tennessee): Stallworth never became the top receiver the Saints intended when they took him, but he still developed into a scary deep threat. He had a good year in his last year with the Saints, and he used a good season with the Eagles to land a decent one year contract with the Patriots. One of his problems has been staying on the field, but he’s one of the most feared deep threats in the game when healthy.

The Rest: See #25.

Grade: See #25.

  1. New York Giants- Jeremy Shockey, TE (Miami): People don’t like him because he talks a lot of trash, but with Tiki Barber gone, Shockey is the guy that will make the offense work. Whenever Shockey makes a few catches early, the Giants’ offense just seems to work better. It’s up to Tom Coughlin to keep Shockey involved, which is something he’s had lapses in at several points.

The Rest: Nick Greisen wasn’t a bad special teams guy, but that’s about it.

Grade: B, Shockey is one of the most dangerous threats at TE in the league.

  1. Tennessee Titans- Albert Haynesworth, DT (Tennessee): Stomping incident aside, Haynesworth is a pretty good tackle. The Titans were fortunate that this hometown pick worked out because this draft was notorious for DT busts. When Haynesworth isn’t hurting and on the field, he’s key in the Titans’ run defense.

The Rest: This draft was actually pretty deep, with Calmus and Boiman becoming decent special teams players, and Justin Hartwig and Carlos Hall at the end of the draft.

Grade: B-, it was a deep draft with some good players.

  1. Cleveland Browns- William Green, RB (Boston College): This was a puzzling pick not necessary because they took Green, but because they didn’t take Portis. Butch Davis was still pretty fresh off his coaching career with the Hurricanes, and it was a surprise that he didn’t go with his guy. The rest is history; Green’s out of the game, Portis is great.

The Rest: Their best pick came in the 5th round, and he’s probably their best defensive player.

Grade: C, because they accidentally picked Andra Davis.

  1. Oakland Raiders- Phillip Buchanon, CB (Miami): The Raiders probably felt lucky that the #1 corner in the draft fell to them, but Buchanon never became anything more than an average return man. He never got the hang of covering NFL receivers and by the time he was traded to Houston for a draft pick, he was nothing more than a special teams player.

The Rest: See #23.

Grade: See #23.

  1. Atlanta Falcons- T.J. Duckett, RB (Michigan State): Duckett was a big guy who was considered to be the #1 RB in the draft, but things never worked out for him. Warrick Dunn ended up stealing the show in Atlanta, and Duckett was reduced to a goal line and short yardage player. He never really got the chance to be a feature back, and he probably never will.

The Rest: Kevin Shaffer was taken in the 7th round, and that’s pretty much it.

Grade: C-, Shaffer is an average player.

  1. Denver Broncos- Ashley Lelie, WR (Hawaii): Lelie must’ve shown some great physical ability in the offseason to warrant this pick, because I just can’t see a Hawaii He showed some great big play capability, but his one dimensional game was never good enough for him to put up big numbers and be the player Denver wanted him to be. receiver being valued this high.

The Rest: They got a guy named Clinton Portis in the second round, along with a couple other decent players in Sam Brandon, Jeb Putzier and Monsanto Pope.

Grade: B+, Portis is an All-Pro player, and they had pretty good depth.

  1. Green Bay Packers- Javon Walker, WR (Florida State): Walker was an afterthought when it came to top receivers in this draft, but he may be the best of the bunch. He finally broke out in his 3rd year with the Packers, using his mix of size and speed to burn defenses to the tune of 1300 yards and 12 TDs. After a knee injury and a contract dispute with the Packers, he was shipped to Denver, where he got back on track.

The Rest: Aaron Kampman is a great DE, and Davenport pooped in a closet.

Grade: A-, Walker and Kampman are both great players.

  1. New England Patriots- Daniel Graham, TE (Colorado): The Patriots did it again with Graham. People joke about how often they draft Tight Ends, but Daniel Graham was a good guy to have around for his all-around game. He’s a very good blocker and when not bothered by injuries, which was almost never, he’s a reliable target in the passing game.

The Rest: They drafted three other quality players in Deion Branch, Jarvis Green and David Givens.

Grade: A-, another great Patriots draft.

  1. New York Jets- Bryan Thomas, DE/OLB (UAB): It only took several years, but Thomas has finally become… something. It only took a coaching change, but it appears he has found a place in Eric Mangini’s 3-4 as a pass rushing Linebacker. He never saw the field behind Shaun Ellis and John Abraham, but when Abraham went to Atlanta, Thomas worked hard and got some playing time.

The Rest: Chris Baker had a couple good games once.

Grade: D+, Thomas took too long and Baker is merely average.

  1. Oakland Raiders- Napoleon Harris, MLB (Northwestern): Napoleon Harris never became the big time MLB the Raiders had hoped, and this first round was just a bust. Harris was never very good in run support, and was never anything more than an average guy in coverage as well. He’s played on a couple teams since Oakland, and he really can’t stick anywhere.

The Rest: The Raiders actually got some average players from this draft, including Langston Walker, Doug Jolley and Ron Curry.

Grade: C, they didn’t get too much out of the first round picks, but they had some depth.

  1. Baltimore Ravens- Ed Reed, S (Miami): Ozzie Newsome is known for his drafting and eye for talent, and he did another good job with this pick. Ed Reed has become one of the most dynamic safeties in the league. He can make the big play against the pass, and he’s also a very good hitter. Teams have to make sure they know where he’s lined up before every play, or he could be making another interception.

The Rest: The Ravens had a lot of picks this draft, but they only truly hit on Dave Zastidul and Chester Taylor.

Grade: A, superstar player plus a couple other guys very good at their positions in respect to the rest of the league.

  1. New Orleans Saints- Charles Grant, DE (Georgia): The Saints use their second first round pick to take Grant, and he ends up being the better of the two. Grant slipped a little after being considered the #2 DE in the draft, so New Orleans made a good value pick here. Grant is part of a great DE duo with Will Smith, and he was a huge part in the Saints’ reaching the NFC Championship in 2006.

The Rest: LeCharles Bentley was a great center until suffering his knee injury.

Grade: B+, Bentley was at one point, the top player at his position, and Grant and Stallworth are good players.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles- Lito Sheppard, CB (Florida): Lito Sheppard wasn’t as highly touted as the other corners in the draft, but he may be the best of the bunch. He may have had a down year in 2005, but his athletic, playmaking ability is an asset to the Eagles and a huge headache for QBs. He’s scored several big touchdowns in his career and is a huge piece of the Eagles’ defense.

The Rest: Sheldon Brown, Brian Westbrook, Michael Lewis.

Grade: A, three great players, and another pretty good one that gave the Eagles a couple good years.

  1. San Francisco 49ers- Mike Rumph, DB (Miami): Teams generally had success drafting DBs in the first round of 2002, but San Francisco was unfortunate. Rumph is a big guy which is why he was moved to Safety eventually, but he just didn’t have the athletic ability to cover guys at corner. He was traded to Washington where he also amounted to very little.

The Rest: They didn’t get anything from this draft until the 7th round with Eric Heitmann and Kyle Kosier.

Grade: C-, the awful first round bust cancels out getting a couple pretty good linemen late.

  1. Seattle Seahawks- Jerramy Stevens, TE (Washington): The Seahawks reached to make this hometown pick and it shows. Stevens was the 5th best TE in the draft, and he was the second one off the board. He’ll be more known for talking trash before the Super Bowl or getting hit in the nuts by Tyler Brayton than anything he did on the field.

The Rest: Rocky Bernard is great at collapsing the pocket, and Maurice Morris is a decent backup.

Grade: C-, Stevens was a bad pick, but Bernard contributes.

  1. Chicago Bears- Marc Colombo, T (Boston College): Colombo was injured as much as anyone in league history, and his Bears career was over before it even really began. After not even having half a season’s worth of starts in Chicago, he moved onto Dallas where Bill Parcells eventually revitalized his career.

The Rest: Alex Brown is a big part of their dominating defense, and the other Adrian Peterson is a good backup.

Grade: C, Colombo was absolutely awful for them.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- Kendall Simmons, OL (Auburn): Simmons isn’t a bad player on the line; he’s not the best, and he’s not the worst. He’s not bad in pass protection, and in Pittsburgh’s smashmouth offense, he has to be able to create holes as well. This late in the first round, getting a solid player like Simmons is a good deal.

The Rest: The Steelers got a bunch of good players from this draft, including Randle El, Chris Hope, Larry Foote, Verron Haynes and Brett Keisel.

Grade: B, good depth all around.

  1. St. Louis Rams- Robert Thomas, LB (UCLA): Robert Thomas never developed into anything. He was never anything more than a good special teams player and could never contribute to the porous St. Louis defense. He’s moved on to two different teams since the Rams, and he’s been equally unimpressive with both Green BayOakland. and

The Rest: Travis Fisher’s an okay player, and they did take Eric Crouch.

Grade: D+, they didn’t get anything.

  1. Washington Redskins- Patrick Ramsey, QB (Tulane): Ah, what the Redskins can do with a number of draft picks. Wait. Ramsey couldn’t get his career off the ground in Steve Spurrier’s aggressive offense and awful offensive line, and Joe Gibbs never liked him either. Ramsey has a strong arm and decent mobility, but he wasn’t a good decision maker or very accurate.

The Rest: Ladell Betts is pretty good.

Grade: C-, Betts could probably start somewhere.

Teams without a 1st-rounder:

86. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Marquise Walker, WR, Michigan): The Gruden trade crippled their drafting for a couple years, and this is the result of that.

The Rest: Jermaine Phillips is a decent player.

Grade: D, not picking in the first two rounds kills, Jerry, kills.

90. Miami Dolphins- Seth McKinney, OL, Texas A&M): The Dolphins also didn’t have a first or second round pick, but they fared a little better than their Florida McKinney’s an average player. counterparts.

The Rest: Randy McMichael abuses his wife.

Grade: C, they didn’t do too bad for the position they were in.

Best drafts:

Philadelphia Eagles

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Worst drafts:

Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions

Buffalo Bills