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Old 08-03-2007, 03:22 PM   #1
Livinginthe past
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Default 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

They say that you truly need 3 years (minimum) to evaluate how well a team has drafted in any given year.

I'll take a look back at the 2004 draft, division by division, and give my thoughts...and finally a grade...everyone loves grades, right?

Im going to be taking the odd leap-of-logic along the way, so if anyone can correct something i've posted please do!

Baltimore Ravens

This is a team with the reputation of hitting the jackpot when drafting defensive players, but second round pick Dwan Edwards has failed to solidify his place as a starter at DT/DE. Coming into 2006 there were concerns that the performance (or lack of) of the Baltimore D-line was adversely affecting the the productivity of the All-Star LBer corps - and Ray Lewis in particular.
Haloti Ngata was drafted in 2006 and became a mainstay at NT (3-4) and opportunities for Edwards decreased further.
3rd round WR Devard Darling must be considered a bust at this point, he hasn't started a single game in a team with a weak WR corps and has only 2 career receptions.
The remaining lower round draft picks (rds 5-7) are a mixture of players no longer with the team or who have failed to gain significant time as part of the rotation.

Grade E

Cincinnati Bengals

1st round selection, RB Chris Perry has been plagued by injuries in his 3 years with the Bengals.
When fit has been used a change-of-pace back who is capable of catching the ball out of the backfield but his most successful year to date was 2005 and that only realised just over 600 yards.
Used primarily as a kick returner in 2006, and bearing in mind his replacement (Kenny Irons) was drafted this year, Perry has to be considered a high round bust.
Keiwan Ratliff (selected in the 2nd round) remains part of the DB rotation but doesn't look like beating out Deltha O'Neal any time soon.
Madieu Williams (2nd round pick from New England in Corey Dillon Trade) quickly established himself as a mainstay of the Bengals secondary.
Solid in both 2004 and 2006 (2005 was decimated due to injury) Cincinnati will be looking for Madieu to take the next step this year.
3rd round picks Caleb Miller and Landon Johnson are in the rotation at LBer, but the Bengals have long struggled in this area (leading to some unwise draft strategies regarding player character) - these guys need to step up their game this year.
Robert Geathers (4th round, DE) took a big step forward last year (and also left a large dent in Trent Green) while amassing 10.5 sacks mainly as a situational pass rusher.

Grade B+

Cleveland Browns

The selection of Kellen Winslow Jr dominates this teams draft - he is a guy who polarises opinion, some think he is an over-rated whiner living on his fathers name, others point to his 89 rec and almost 900 yards in 2006 and say he is ready to join the NFL TE elite.
Without a doubt, Winslow has maturity issues but last year he really stepped up his game despite having any back-up on the offensive side of the ball.
Second rounder, Sean Jones, has finally stepped to the starting SS - adding 111 tackles to a decent return of 5 INT's.
4th round QB Luke McCown has settled into the routine of being a serviceable NFL back-up and nothing more.
The rest of the draft sit on other teams benches

Grade B+

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger was Pittsburghs first genuine attempt in a long time to draft a franchise level player at the QB position. Almost continous success for the first two years of his career, Roethlisberger flourished in a system that surrounded him with a strong defense and powerful running game.
His second year, especially the postseason, proved Ben could put the team on his shoulders when required and lead them home - his awful SB performance tends to overshadow the good work he did getting Pittsburgh there in the first place.
Year 3 contained many elements seemingly designed to bring him back down to earth - one major accident followed by other injuries, poor form when he did take the field and a HC rumored to be less motivated than usual.
2006 is the anomaly in Bens career and should remain that way.
2nd round DB Ricardo Colclough has failed to impress in his time in Pittsburgh, and confidence has dropped to the point where even ST duties are beyond him.
3rd round OT Max Starks has tremendous tangibles but lacks consistency - Pittsburgh is a tough place to be an O-lineman where it has resembled a conveyor belt of highly paid Pro-bowlers at most positions.
Beyond this, the picks made in round 5-7 have results in very close to zero output - most of these guys are either not in the league or inhabit practice squad places.

Grade C-
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The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

I'm going to reserve comment. It's got to be tough trying to do this from the outside in.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Based on the way you graded the Steelers, I would have to a assume that these grades don't reflect the players impact on overall performance. For example, Ben taking his team to an AFC Championship game then Super Bowl over Winslow taking the Browns no where?

That's fine, I'm just asking if that is the case in this situation.

I'm not sure about the Browns ranking.

Both those guys have had A good year and in both cases it was the last one.

Its hard to argue that Starks hasn't been at least solid over there. Although Willie averaged almost a yeard less while running to the right (3.7) then to the left (4.6). Considering who is on the left sid of our line though, I can't say I'm surprised.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Also. Are we not counting UDFAs?

Because I can think of one that may boost the Steelers grade JUUUUST a little...
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Quote:
Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
I'm going to reserve comment. It's got to be tough trying to do this from the outside in.
There's no need, I don't mind constructive critcism or stuff that gets a dialogue going.
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The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crushzilla View Post
Based on the way you graded the Steelers, I would have to a assume that these grades don't reflect the players impact on overall performance. For example, Ben taking his team to an AFC Championship game then Super Bowl over Winslow taking the Browns no where?

That's fine, I'm just asking if that is the case in this situation.

I'm not sure about the Browns ranking.

Both those guys have had A good year and in both cases it was the last one.

Its hard to argue that Starks hasn't been at least solid over there. Although Willie averaged almost a yeard less while running to the right (3.7) then to the left (4.6). Considering who is on the left sid of our line though, I can't say I'm surprised.
Im grading the impact the players drafted form that year are having - the fact is, the Browns are weak across the board and no single player is going to get them to the SB.

On the other hand, the Steelers are strong across their 53 and were playoff candidates even before the arrival of Roethlisberger.

That was one good pick however, Max Starks maybe suffers from comparison to the guys on the left side (and even the centre previously) which I did allude to but he is the definite weaklink and no-one without a distinguished career precvious to last year deserves much praise.

I think finding two starters from a draft group is never a given, therefore Cleveland did a good job in 2004 - its the preceding 5 years that are killing them in terms of strength and depth across the whole team.

And no - UDFA's don't count - its ok to know who your own guys have as UDFA additions, but its a whole other ball game doing it for the other 31 teams.
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They've been great for a while now, three Super Bowls' worth of great. But only this season have the New England Patriots become The Show, the must-see team of stars, pretty boys and reformed bad boys. Suddenly, the Patriots are not simply great; they're compelling, fascinating, appearing to be almighty and a touch lawless.
The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
And no - UDFA's don't count - its ok to know who your own guys have as UDFA additions, but its a whole other ball game doing it for the other 31 teams.
I hear ya. Though the whole league now knows who that one was in 2004 out North Carolina.
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post

Cleveland Browns

The selection of Kellen Winslow Jr dominates this teams draft - he is a guy who polarises opinion, some think he is an over-rated whiner living on his fathers name, others point to his 89 rec and almost 900 yards in 2006 and say he is ready to join the NFL TE elite.
Without a doubt, Winslow has maturity issues but last year he really stepped up his game despite having any back-up on the offensive side of the ball.
Second rounder, Sean Jones, has finally stepped to the starting SS - adding 111 tackles to a decent return of 5 INT's.
4th round QB Luke McCown has settled into the routine of being a serviceable NFL back-up and nothing more.
The rest of the draft sit on other teams benches

Grade B+
good insight.. can't argue. Luke, however, is with Tampa Bay.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Alright, then, I'll elaborate.

The Steelers 2004 draft class was an A, and it's easy to justify. The Steelers typically take risks up front and backload with role guys that they believe they can develop. There have been a lot of busts in the last 10 years, but those busts were mitigated by quality finds in the later rounds, but almost always those were guys who were allowed to develop without all the pressure of being high round picks. In 2004, the Steelers went above board and made 3 high profile picks, not the least of which was Ricardo Colclough, who was considered a reach by some but impressed many in his post-collegiate performances.

Coke looks like a bust to the outsider and the uninformed "insider", but by all accounts, he was having an impressive camp last year and was challenging for a starting CB role when he was injured. He needs an extra year because he, like Ike, came from a small school. I expect to see great things from both him and Starks this year, and I've made no secret about my feelings about Ben's still untapped potential. If you have a draft where the top 3 picks are starters it's a good draft. If these guys recognize their potential (and they need to do it this year), it will have been a great draft.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2004 Draft Retrospective - AFCN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
Im grading the impact the players drafted form that year are having - the fact is, the Browns are weak across the board and no single player is going to get them to the SB.
so you think the steelers would have went 15-1 or won a sb with madox?

On the other hand, the Steelers are strong across their 53 and were playoff candidates even before the arrival of Roethlisberger.
2003 record 6 - 10 .....maddox......2004 15 - 1......ben ..... who considered them a playoff candidate after a 6 - 10 season ??

That was one good pick however, Max Starks maybe suffers from comparison to the guys on the left side (and even the centre previously) which I did allude to but he is the definite weaklink and no-one without a distinguished career precvious to last year deserves much praise.

I think finding two starters from a draft group is never a given, therefore Cleveland did a good job in 2004 - its the preceding 5 years that are killing them in terms of strength and depth across the whole team.

And no - UDFA's don't count - its ok to know who your own guys have as UDFA additions, but its a whole other ball game doing it for the other 31 teams.
so cleveland, bungholes and steelers all found 2 every snap players, but the bunholes and clowns get b+,and the steelers get a c-.....
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