2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

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    2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

         The conventional wisdom is that the best way to build or maintain an NFL championship team is through the draft. So...I went back 5 years, and reviewed the performance of the top 5 AFC teams in the 2004 NFL draft. 
     
         Who are the top 5 AFC teams? In alphabetical order, the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, and the Tennessee Titans. 

         I graded each player selected on a 0-5 point basis. Player rating are affected by whether they're still with the team, the quality of a player they were, and durability. A "5" player is a perennial pro-bowler (the grade for a true franchise QB is doubled...since these guys are so hard to find). A "4" is a very good starting player...a "3" is a starting player...a "2" is a starter/reserve...a "1" is a player who has contributed something to the team...while a "0" is a player who won't be discussed because he was, basically, a washout. 

         Based on this numerical system, any team scoring a 4 or below gets an "F"...anything from 5-7 is a "D"...from 8-10 a "C" from 11-14 a "B"...anything from 14-17 is an "A", and anything above that is an "A+". I've included the grade assigned by draft guru Mel Kiper, given immediately after the draft concluded for that year.  

         Anyway...here goes:

                                              2004 NFL Draft:

          A.) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: 12 points, Grade B (Mel Kiper: C)   

         1.) SS Bob Sanders (44th overall):
     A great player when able to stay on the field. Injuries clearly have hampered him over the past two years, as he is paying the price of playing up too much in the box. Still, Sanders was a primary reason why the Colts won their lone championship in 2006. GRADE: 4;

         2.) OT Jake Scott (141st overall):
    Scott was a 3 year starter at OT, before signing with the Titans as a free agent. GRADE: 3;

         3.) CB Jason David (125th overall):
    David was a starting CB for a couple of seasons before signing as a free agent with the Saints. GRADE: 2;

         4.) TE Ben Hartsock (68th) , LB Gilbert Gardner (69th), and QB Jim Sorgi (193rd):
    All three made some contributions...some more than others. Only Sorgi remains on the team: GRADE: 1, each. 

         B.) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: 7 points, Grade D+ (Mel Kiper: B+)

         1.) NT Vince Wilfolk (21st overall): 
    Has been the backbone of the Pats 3-4 defense, practically since day one. Extremely durable. GRADE: 4;

         2.) TE Ben Watson: (32nd overall): 
    Though Watson has has his moments, they've been too few and far between. Has missed lots of time due to injury. GRADE: 2;

        3.) DE Marquise Hill (#63...may he rest in peace), safeties Guss Scott (#95), Dexter Reid (#113), and RB Cedric Cobbs (#128): These guys contributed little, or nothing. Hill might have developed into a decent player...but Scott and Reid, especially, were major disappointments: GRADE: 1, collectively. 

         C.) PITTSBURGH STEELERS: 14 points, Grade A- (Mel Kiper: C+) 

         1.) QB Ben Roethlisberger (#11 overall):
    Perhaps the finest of some very fine selections by the Steelers over the years. Roethliberger is a true franchise QB. He deserves mention in the same company as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Has already acquired two SB rings. GRADE: 10...since his "5" is doubled;

         2.) OT Max Starks (#75):
    Solid OT. GRADE: 3;

         3.) CB Ricardo Colclough (#38), LB Nathaniel Adibi (#145): 
    Colclough was extremely disappointing. GRADE: 1 (collectively);

         D.) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: 21 points, Grade A+ (Mel Kiper: B+)    

         1.) QB Philip Rivers (#5 overall):
    Technically, Eli Manning, at #1 overall, was their selection. But the Chargers wisely traded Eli for Rivers, a 3rd round draft choice (which they used to select Nate Kaeding), and the Giants' #1 pick in 2005 (which turned out to be Shawne Merriman). This was the greatest/best trade in Charger history. Though not in Roethlisbergers' category yet, Rivers is beginning to approach the Brady/Manning rarified air. GRADE 8 (a "4" doubled due to pro-bowl QB status);

        2.) LB Shawn Phillips (#98): Solid starter at OLB. Is to Shawn Merriman what Robert Mathis is to Dwight Freeney in Indy. GRADE: 3

         3.) C Nick Hardwick (#66):
    Solid starter at C, pretty much from the get go. GRADE: 3;

         4.) DE Igor Olshansky (#35):
    Good rotational defensive lineman. No longer with team. GRADE: 2;

         5.) RB Michael Turner (#154):
    Great selection in the late rounds. Turner was a top flight reserve, who blossomed into a star after leaving through free agency, to Atlanta. GRADE: 2;

         6.) K Nate Kaeding: (#65):
    One of the better FG kickers in the game. Good range. But, has had some gagging problems in big games. GRADE: 2;

         7.) OT Shane Olivea (#209):
    Contributed some as a reserve. No longer with the team. GRADE: 1.     

         E.) TENNESSEE TITANS: 7 points, Grade D (Mel Kiper: A-)

         1.) DE Antwan Odom (# 57 overall): 
    Solid DE, but now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals through free agency. GRADE: 2;

         2.) DT Randy Starks (#71):
    Decent rotational DT. Now a member of the Miami Dolphins. GRADE: 2; 

         3.) TE Ben Troupe (#40):
    His career has in some ways mirrored that of Ben Watson...but not as good a player as Watson. No longer with the team. GRADE: 1;

         4.) DE Travis LaBoy (#42):
    Rotational defensive lineman...now playing in Arizona. GRADE: 1;

         5.) Remaining members of 2004 draft class: GRADE: 1 (out of generousity)

         
         Closing Comments:

    1.) The importation of their 2004 draft class marked the beginning of the ascention of the San Diego Chargers. It was perhaps the finest draft by any team during the past decade. 

    2.) Drafting Ben Roethlisberger saved the Pittsburgh Steelers from the throws of mediocrity...and made them a league power once again. Why can't the Lions get players like that?? Because they took WR Roy Williams of Texas at #7...and the Cleveland Browns passed on him at #6 in favor of Miami TE Kellen Winslow, Jr.  

    3.) The selection of 5' 8" SS Bob Sanders turned the Indianapolis Colts defense into a solid group.

    4.) NT Vince Wilfolk, acquired in a trade the previous year, when the Patriots traded down out of the first round with Baltimore (the Ravens took QB Kyle Boller), saved this draft from becoming a total wash-out for the Patriots. Wilfolk has anchored the Pats' 3-4 for the past 5 years. 

    5.) Tennessee were still the Tuxedos after this draft.


         Thoughts?          

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    [QUOTE]Love all your well thought out posts Tex, but you need to get out more...lol. With the 21, 34 and 63 picks it would have been nice if the Pats hit on all three not just one, but the draft is a crapshoot.
    Posted by Harleyroadking111[/QUOTE]

         Yeah, maybe I've got far too much time on my hands...LOL!! But, as you say, this shows just how much a crapshoot the draft really is.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Grogan77. Show Grogan77's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    Tex I agree with most of your grades with the exception of Turner.  If it wasn't for him being a backup to the best RB in the NFL for most of his years, he would have been a top RB for his years in SD.  Turner deserves at least a 4 considering what he's done as the starter in Atlanta.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from bobomul. Show bobomul's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    2008 - New England Patriots
    RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
    110Jerod Mayo ILBTennessee
    262Terrence Wheatley CBColorado
    378Shawn Crable OLBMichigan
    394Kevin O'Connell QBSan Diego State
    4129Jonathan Wilhite CBAuburn
    5153Matt Slater WRUCLA
    6197Bo Ruud LBNebraska
    2007 - New England Patriots
    RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
    124Brandon Meriweather DBMiami (Fla.)
    4127Kareem Brown DTMiami (Fla.)
    5171Clint Oldenburg TColorado State
    6180Justin Rogers LBSouthern Methodist
    6202Mike Richardson DBNotre Dame
    6208Justise Hairston RBCentral Connecticut State
    6209Corey Hilliard OTOklahoma State
    7211Oscar Lua LBUSC
    7247Mike Elgin GIowa
    2006 - New England Patriots
    RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
    121Laurence Maroney RBMinnesota
    236Chad Jackson WRFlorida
    386David Thomas TETexas
    4106Garrett Mills RBTulsa
    4118Stephen Gostkowski KMemphis
    5136Ryan O'Callaghan TCalifornia
    6191Jeremy Mincey LBFlorida
    6205Dan Stevenson GNotre Dame
    6206Le Kevin Smith DTNebraska
    7229Willie Andrews CBBaylor
    2005 - New England Patriots
    RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
    132Logan Mankins GFresno State
    384Ellis Hobbs CBIowa State
    3100Nick Kaczur TToledo
    4133James Sanders SAFFresno State
    5170Ryan Claridge LBNevada-Las Vegas
    7230Matt Cassel QBUSC
    7255Andy Stokes TEWilliam Penn
    2004 - New England Patriots
    RdSel #PlayerPositionSchool
    121Vince Wilfork NTMiami (Fla.)
    132Benjamin Watson TEGeorgia
    263Marquise Hill DELouisiana State
    395Guss Scott SAFFlorida
    4113Dexter Reid SAFNorth Carolina
    4128Cedric Cobbs RBArkansas
    5164P.K. Sam WRFlorida State
    7233Christian Morton CBIllinois

    What we see from the Pats over the last 5 years is that they've done consistently well in the 1st round but have been completely hit or miss after that.   The 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 has failed to produce a regular teams starter after the 1st round.

    The 2008 group still has time and the Pats did trade away some mid round picks for veteran players, but let's hope the 2009 class is deeper than most of NE's recent draft classes and produces 3-4 high level starting players.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

         Bobo:

         Good post...and good point about the Patriots failing to add starters with anything but their #1 picks in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008. As a result, their defense has gotten old.

         The 2004 draft was particularly bad. Promising DE Marquise Hill was slow to develop, and eventually passed away in that horrible jet-ski incident in Lake Ponchatrain. Guss Scott and Dexter Reid were awful selections.  Scott was  injured the minute he stepped on the practice field, and Reid was a complete washout. In fact, Reid nearly cost the Pats a SB win against the Eagles when he let WR Greg Lewis get behind him late in the 4th quarter for an easy TD.

         The Pats have been backpeddling, trying to find a good safeties ever since the Scott/Reid failure. They've used picks on James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather, and Patrick Chung to shore up the position.

         Just one point of contention, Bobo. You can't judge the 2007 draft class without taking into consideration that the Pats traded their first round pick that year to SF for the 49ers' 4th round pick, and #1 pick in 2008...which they flipped for Randy Moss and Jarod Mayo. They also traded their 2nd and 7th round selections that year to acquire Wes Welker. So...to me, 2007 was a great draft for the Patriots...as they got three pro-bowl quality starters out of it.  
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsChowder. Show PatsChowder's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    [QUOTE]You can't judge the 2007 draft class without taking into consideration that the Pats traded their first round pick that year to SF for the 49ers' 4th round pick, and #1 pick in 2008...which they flipped for Randy Moss and Jarod Mayo. They also traded their 2nd and 7th round selections that year to acquire Wes Welker. So...to me, 2007 was a great draft for the Patriots...as they got three pro-bowl quality starters out of it.  
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]

    This is the key. It's tough to go back and just look at who was drafted because there are other things that go on. Positioning for the following year, trades for veterans, etc. 2007 for the Patriots was that year as TexasPat3 described.

    Obviously, that didn't happen in every season, but if you only look at the drafted players in the 2007 lineup it looks like we had and AWFUL draft when in fact we came away with a franchise-shaking influx of talent.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from BostonBobBlowhard. Show BostonBobBlowhard's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    [QUOTE]2008 - New England Patriots Rd Sel # Player Position School 1 10 Jerod Mayo ILB Tennessee 2 62 Terrence Wheatley CB Colorado 3 78 Shawn Crable OLB Michigan 3 94 Kevin O'Connell QB San Diego State 4 129 Jonathan Wilhite CB Auburn 5 153 Matt Slater WR UCLA 6 197 Bo Ruud LB Nebraska 2007 - New England Patriots Rd Sel # Player Position School 1 24 Brandon Meriweather DB Miami (Fla.) 4 127 Kareem Brown DT Miami (Fla.) 5 171 Clint Oldenburg T Colorado State 6 180 Justin Rogers LB Southern Methodist 6 202 Mike Richardson DB Notre Dame 6 208 Justise Hairston RB Central Connecticut State 6 209 Corey Hilliard OT Oklahoma State 7 211 Oscar Lua LB USC 7 247 Mike Elgin G Iowa 2006 - New England Patriots Rd Sel # Player Position School 1 21 Laurence Maroney RB Minnesota 2 36 Chad Jackson WR Florida 3 86 David Thomas TE Texas 4 106 Garrett Mills RB Tulsa 4 118 Stephen Gostkowski K Memphis 5 136 Ryan O'Callaghan T California 6 191 Jeremy Mincey LB Florida 6 205 Dan Stevenson G Notre Dame 6 206 Le Kevin Smith DT Nebraska 7 229 Willie Andrews CB Baylor 2005 - New England Patriots Rd Sel # Player Position School 1 32 Logan Mankins G Fresno State 3 84 Ellis Hobbs CB Iowa State 3 100 Nick Kaczur T Toledo 4 133 James Sanders SAF Fresno State 5 170 Ryan Claridge LB Nevada-Las Vegas 7 230 Matt Cassel QB USC 7 255 Andy Stokes TE William Penn 2004 - New England Patriots Rd Sel # Player Position School 1 21 Vince Wilfork NT Miami (Fla.) 1 32 Benjamin Watson TE Georgia 2 63 Marquise Hill DE Louisiana State 3 95 Guss Scott SAF Florida 4 113 Dexter Reid SAF North Carolina 4 128 Cedric Cobbs RB Arkansas 5 164 P.K. Sam WR Florida State 7 233 Christian Morton CB Illinois What we see from the Pats over the last 5 years is that they've done consistently well in the 1st round but have been completely hit or miss after that.   The 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008 has failed to produce a regular teams starter after the 1st round. The 2008 group still has time and the Pats did trade away some mid round picks for veteran players, but let's hope the 2009 class is deeper than most of NE's recent draft classes and produces 3-4 high level starting players.
    Posted by bobomul[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for this great post. It vindicates my previously-stated position, met by the usual round of sarcastic, "Oh I suppose you know more than Belichik", comments, that the Pats have done better traded picks for players, not the reverse. Also, it was a good year for them to package picks and move up to get guys with impact, not keep passing on worthy guys to "get more picks", most of which will be cut. Our history past round one the last five years is NOT good. We are set up to be a high scoring team which also allows a lot of points this year. Anyone happy with an inexperienced and untested secondary, complimented by aging vets who are well past prime, is being Polyannish. Ty Law(maybe), Rodney Harrison, Springs are washed up...the young guys are untested. As a unit (the most important factor), they have not worked together. In today's game you need 5-6 good DBs and we do not have them. Maybe they develop, but that is a maybe almost all other NFL teams have now, also. Even if it does, that day is well down the road.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from bobomul. Show bobomul's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    [QUOTE]     Bobo:      Good post...and good point about the Patriots failing to add starters with anything but their #1 picks in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008. As a result, their defense has gotten old.      The 2004 draft was particularly bad. Promising DE Marquise Hill was slow to develop, and eventually passed away in that horrible jet-ski incident in Lake Ponchatrain. Guss Scott and Dexter Reid were awful selections.  Scott was  injured the minute he stepped on the practice field, and Reid was a complete washout. In fact, Reid nearly cost the Pats a SB win against the Eagles when he let WR Greg Lewis get behind him late in the 4th quarter for an easy TD.      The Pats have been backpeddling, trying to find a good safeties ever since the Scott/Reid failure. They've used picks on James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather, and Patrick Chung to shore up the position.      Just one point of contention, Bobo. You can't judge the 2007 draft class without taking into consideration that the Pats traded their first round pick that year to SF for the 49ers' 4th round pick, and #1 pick in 2008...which they flipped for Randy Moss and Jarod Mayo. They also traded their 2nd and 7th round selections that year to acquire Wes Welker. So...to me, 2007 was a great draft for the Patriots...as they got three pro-bowl quality starters out of it.  
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]

    I agree that the Pats trading mid round picks for veteran players (Moss, Welker, Dillion, etc) has generally worked out well and has added some excellent talent, but the team still needs to hit on some of the post 1st round picks it does use.  The benifit of these mid round (rounds 2-5) draftees are that they are cheap and young.  With the Pats being up against the cap each year and getting up their in collective age, CHEAP and YOUNG is what the Pats need right now.  The veterans they pick up also come with big price tags in terms of $$$$.

    So it is vital for the Pats to have hit on a couple of these mid-round picks in the last 2 years (2008-2009).  For NE to keep the bus rolling in the upcomming years they will need 4 to 6 of these picks to become legitimate NFL starters (maybe 2 from 2008 and 3 from this year's draft if they're fortunate). 
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    [QUOTE]I agree that the Pats trading mid round picks for veteran players (Moss, Welker, Dillion, etc) has generally worked out well and has added some excellent talent, but the team still needs to hit on some of the post 1st round picks it does use.  The benifit of these mid round (rounds 2-5) draftees are that they are cheap and young.  With the Pats being up against the cap each year and getting up their in collective age, CHEAP and YOUNG is what the Pats need right now.  The veterans they pick up also come with big price tags in terms of $$$$. So it is vital for the Pats to have hit on a couple of these mid-round picks in the last 2 years (2008-2009).  For NE to keep the bus rolling in the upcomming years they will need 4 to 6 of these picks to become legitimate NFL starters (maybe 2 from 2008 and 3 from this year's draft if they're fortunate). 
    Posted by bobomul[/QUOTE]

         Bobo:

         The Pats already appear to have two starting caliber players from the 2008 draft...Mayo and Wheatley (provided he can stay healthy). The key to that draft will be whether Crable and O'Connell develop into good players.

         This years draft boasts several top prospects in Chung, Butler, and Brace. All three should evolve into starters eventually. The key to the 2009 draft is whether the Pats can get anything out of Sea Bass, Orhnberger, McKenzie, and Tate. Too bad that McKenzie has bit the dust already this season. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    Tex, sure has been a long off-season, hasn't it?

    As for drafting...  it is a rarity the Pats go for something big, name wise.  Seems they focus on role players, someone who fits there scheme of plug and play.  Plus the Pats, more than any other franchise it seem, as has been mentioned here and many other posts, to find that player, almost, if not in the twilight of their careers, who seem rejuvinated when coming to a contending team like the Pats. There definitely must be something BB does right to get these folks in that right mindset to do real well for a couple years or so.  Other teams may have tried to model their approach similar to the Pats, but they can't replicate BB.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from titletownfan. Show titletownfan's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    I don't think we can call the '06 draft a complete failure.  Gotskowski is one of the league's best kickers.  O'Callaghan and Smith are both good backups.  Finally, I think this is Maroney's last year to prove he was a good investment.  He has shown promise when healthy, but he has been hurt for the most of the past three seasons.  Jackson is the biggest bust, Thomas is O.K, despite the fact he lost us a playoff spot.  And the rest were late round picks, any production is a bonus.    
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Paul_K. Show Paul_K's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    This draft system compares BB's often drafting at number 32 (and he even lost one of those #31s to Goodell) to the other teams all drafting higher.  the 2004 class is the first class in a long string of the Patriots drafting in the 20s or in the 30s, broken only by Mayo in 2008, a high pick which San Francisco had to earn for BB.  We're so parochial here that we can't imagine 31 other teams getting a high first round draft pick half the time instead of a #32, and the Pats get a #32 second rounder too, and so on.  Drafting as high as #23 is a real treat!  And then on top of the crummy pick positions, BB trades picks for Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Wes Welker, who earn zero draft points under this system.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from siestafiesta. Show siestafiesta's posts

    Re: 2004 Draft Reviews of the Top 5 AFC Teams

    Interesting stuff but you lose some credibility with me by having a rating system of 1-5 and then giving Roethlisberger a 10.  That seems pretty arbitrary.  I know it's tough to argue with 2 rings but I don't think Ben is even close to Brady or Manning.  Too inconsistent.  I've seen him make too many terrible decisions.  I'd put him in the next tier of QB's with guys like Rivers or Brees.
     

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