2001 NFL Draft: Six Years Later

by Michael David Smith

What were the Browns thinking when they drafted Gerard Warren in 2001, even though Richard Seymour was still on the board? What were the Bears thinking when they drafted David Terrell, even though Santana Moss was still on the board? With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we present here a review of the 2001 NFL draft, looking at the good picks, the bad picks, and the things every general manager knows now and wishes he had known then.


Conventional wisdom: Everyone agreed that Virginia Tech's Michael Vick was a unique talent, but no one was quite sure whether he was going to be a good enough passer to be an elite NFL player. Six years later, everyone agrees that Michael Vick is a unique talent, but no one is quite sure whether he is ever going to be a good enough passer to be an elite NFL player.

Highest pick: Michael Vick, Virginia Tech, first overall to the Falcons

Best player: Drew Brees, Purdue, 32nd overall to the Chargers. That's an easy choice.

Biggest bust: You could argue that, given how much the Falcons have invested in him, Vick was a bust. But if you don't count Vick, there wasn't any major quarterback bust in the 2001 draft. The closest thing is probably Marques Tuiasosopo, the Raiders' second-round pick, who spent six years in Oakland but started just two games. He recently signed with the Jets.

Best value: Without a doubt, the best value was Brees, as the Chargers' second-round pick.

Other noteworthy picks: Dallas surprised a lot of people by choosing Georgia's Quincy Carter in the second round. Carter looked OK as a rookie but wasn't willing to work hard enough to improve, and after falling into trouble with the league's substance-abuse policy, he was released.

Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke of Florida State lasted until the fourth round, when the Panthers took him. He won the starting job as a rookie but lost it after that.

Running back

Conventional wisdom: Just about everyone agreed that LaDainian Tomlinson was the best back in the draft, although Deuce McAllister of Ole Miss had a few supporters. Some folks thought McAllister was a better all-around player and more ready to step in and contribute immediately.

Highest pick: LaDainian Tomlinson, Texas Christian, fifth overall to the Chargers

Best player: Tomlinson. Chargers general manager John Butler made no attempt to hide that Tomlinson was the highest player on his draft board. So for Butler to trade down from the top spot, pick up Tomlinson with the Falcons' pick (fifth overall), and grab a couple of extra later picks, was an outstanding move and one that helped build the Chargers into the elite team they are today.

Biggest bust: Michael Bennett of Wisconsin wasn't a bad player for the Vikings, but he wasn't as good as Minnesota hoped. The Vikings might have reached a bit to select Bennett, thinking they had to choose a running back to replace the retired Robert Smith.

Best value: The best of the second-day picks was Auburn's Rudi Johnson, whom the Bengals chose in the fourth round.

Other noteworthy picks: The Saints, who already had Ricky Williams, drafted McAllister anyway. That was the first sign that they'd send Williams packing, which they did a year later.

Chicago took Michigan's Anthony Thomas in the second round, and he made an instant impact as a rookie. He never did much of anything after that, but he may get one more chance. As of right now, he's the starter in Buffalo for 2007.

Wide receiver

Conventional wisdom: Everyone loved this wide receiver class, but there was quite a bit of disagreement about who was the best of the bunch. Was it Michigan's David Terrell, North Carolina State's Koren Robinson or Miami's Santana Moss?

Highest pick: Terrell, eighth overall to the Bears

Best player: Too close to call between Oregon State's Chad Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals' second-round pick, and Utah's Steve Smith, the Carolina Panthers' third-round pick. As a rookie Smith made an immediate impact as a kick returner, and he's developed into one of the league's best offensive threats. Johnson was the Bengals' third receiver as a rookie and has been one of the league's elite receivers since winning a starting job his second season.

Biggest bust: There are a lot of choices for this category: Terrell was a bust for the Bears. Robinson's off-field problems kept him from reaching his promise with the Seahawks. UCLA's Freddie Mitchell, the Eagles' first-round pick, talked a bigger game than he played. But if I have to choose one, I choose Terrell.

Best value: A tie between Smith and Oregon State's T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the Bengals' seventh-round choice.

Other noteworthy picks: Rod Gardner of Clemson, the Redskins' first-round pick, seems like a Dan Snyder choice: More style than substance. But don't blame Snyder for choosing Gardner. It was actually coach Marty Schottenheimer who was making the decisions in the Redskins' war room on draft day 2001.

Indianapolis took Miami's Reggie Wayne with the 30th pick overall. He had the best season of his career last year.

Tight end

Conventional wisdom: Arizona State's Todd Heap was the clear top choice in a tight end class that was generally considered fairly weak.

Highest pick: Todd Heap, Arizona State, 31st overall to the Ravens

Best player: A close call between Heap and North Carolina's Alge Crumpler, the Falcons' second-round pick, who became Vick's favorite target.

Biggest bust: No true busts, but San Jose State's Sean Brewer, the third tight end off the board, didn't produce as much as the Bengals expected him to when they chose him in the third round.

Best value: Arizona's Brandon Manumaleuna, the Rams' fourth-round pick, was mostly a blocking tight end and therefore seemed like a strange fit in the Mike Martz offense, but he's had a solid NFL career.

Other noteworthy picks: Eric Johnson, the 49ers' seventh-round pick out of Yale, showed promise but had a hard time staying healthy. He recently signed as a free agent with the Saints.

Offensive line

Conventional wisdom: There were two tackles whom every draft analyst loved: the enormous Leonard Davis of Texas and the agile Kenyatta Walker of Florida. Michigan had three offensive linemen who made scouts drool in guard Steve Hutchinson and tackles Jeff Backus and Maurice Williams. Nebraska's Dominic Raiola was the best of a mediocre class of centers.

Highest pick: Leonard Davis, Texas, second overall to the Cardinals

Best player: Hutchinson, the 17th overall pick of the Seahawks, has developed into one of the elite guards in the NFL. He has had a bigger impact than any of the tackles.

Biggest bust: None. You can call all three first-round tackles -- Davis, Walker, Backus -- disappointments because none has turned into a great player. But they've all started plenty of games for the teams that drafted them, so you can't really call any of them busts.

Best value: Purdue's Matt Light was a great choice for the Patriots in the second round, and Georgia's Jonas Jennings was a great choice for the Bills in the third round.

Other noteworthy picks: People were shocked when Walker fell all the way to 14th, where Tampa Bay traded up to draft him. But Walker never developed into the kind of offensive lineman just about everyone expected he would.

Defensive line

Conventional wisdom: It was supposed to be a very deep draft for defensive linemen, and nine of them ended up going in the first round. Scouts thought Florida's Gerard Warren was such a great athlete that he was a can't-miss prospect at defensive tackle. Missouri's Justin Smith was a good pass-rushing end, although opinion was more divided on what kind of pro he would be.

Highest pick: Gerard Warren, Florida, third overall to the Browns

Best player: Richard Seymour, Georgia, sixth overall to the Patriots. There was talk of the Patriots taking one of the wide receivers -- Terrell or Robinson -- with that pick, and there was talk that the Seahawks were praying that Seymour would still be around when they were on the clock. Just think how much worse the Patriots would have been and how much better the Seahawks would have been in recent years if Seymour had gone to Seattle and one of the receiving busts had gone to New England.

Biggest bust: Several options: Warren was a hugely expensive disappointment for Cleveland. Green Bay wanted Seymour but settled for defensive end Jamal Reynolds of Florida State with the 10th overall pick, and he never did much of anything. The Rams took two defensive linemen in the first round: Damione Lewis of Miami No. 12 overall, and Ohio State's Ryan Pickett No. 29 overall. Neither one lived up to expectations.

Best value: Marcus Stroud, Seymour's college teammate, was seen as a reach when Jacksonville took him 13th overall. And while the scouts were right that Stroud isn't as good as Seymour, he's developed into one of the league's better defensive tackles.

Texas nose tackle Casey Hampton was an excellent choice to the Steelers with the 20th pick overall.

Maryland's Kris Jenkins (Carolina) and Texas's Shaun Rogers (Detroit) were good picks in the second round who might have been great picks if they could stay healthy. Ditto for the Broncos' third-round pick, Iowa State's Reggie Hayward, who's been a very good player when healthy but has played just 63 games.

Other noteworthy picks: The San Francisco 49ers thought Cal defensive end Andre Carter would be a pass-rushing demon when they chose him seventh overall. He spent five good (but not great) years in San Francisco before signing with the Redskins.


Conventional wisdom: If you wanted a linebacker who could step in and start right away, you had to draft Miami's Dan Morgan, who was seen as, by far, the best linebacker in this draft. Morgan had size, speed and toughness. After him there was a huge drop-off in talent in what was seen as a generally weak linebacker class.

Highest pick: Dan Morgan, Miami, 11th overall to the Panthers

Best player: The scouts were right; Morgan was the best linebacker in this draft class -- at least when he could stay on the field. Unfortunately, Morgan has had several injuries, especially some severe concussions, and he's played in just 56 games in six seasons. Morgan has said he wants to keep playing, but when you're dealing with repeated brain injuries, that seems like a bad idea.

Biggest bust: The Eagles' second-round pick, Quinton Caver of Arkansas, was a disappointment. He looked like he had the ideal size and athleticism, but he never made much of an impact in Philadelphia or in his later stints with Dallas and Kansas City.

Best value: Edgerton Hartwell of Western Illinois was a great value for the Ravens in the fourth round, although he later became a terrible value for the Falcons when they paid him $26 million and injuries limited him to just 13 games in Atlanta. Clemson's Keith Adams, the Titans' seventh-round pick, has become a very good player and was a very good value.

Other noteworthy picks: Georgia's Kendrell Bell was the second linebacker off the board, going to the Steelers with the 39th pick. His career got off to a very good start, with nine sacks as a rookie, but he missed 17 games in his next three seasons in Pittsburgh, and hasn't been nearly as good the last two years in Kansas City.

Defensive backs

Conventional wisdom: There wasn't any one defensive back who looked like a sure thing, but it was thought to be a deep class. As it turned out, six defensive backs went in the first round, all between the 20th and 28th picks. Adam Archuleta was a good but not great player at Arizona State, but his workout numbers were incredible: He was fast enough to play safety but stronger than a lot of defensive linemen. That made scouts salivate. Ohio State's Nate Clements had the look of a lockdown corner.

Highest pick: Adam Archuleta, Arizona State, 20th overall to the Rams

Best player: North Carolina safety Adrian Wilson, selected in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals. If he played for any other team, Wilson would be recognized as one of the league's elite defensive players. Wilson narrowly gets the "best player" nod here over Clements. It remains to be seen whether Clements will be worth the enormous free-agent contract he just signed with San Francisco, but he was definitely worth the 21st overall pick for Buffalo.

Biggest bust: Willie Middlebrooks, Minnesota, 24th overall to the Broncos. Middlebrooks played special teams almost exclusively and is now out of the league.

Cornerback Will Allen of Syracuse hasn't had a terrible NFL career, but considering that the Giants gave up their first-, third-, and sixth-round picks to move up and take him, he didn't live up to expectations.

Best value: Wilson. To get such a great player in the third round is positively un-Cardinal-like.

Other noteworthy picks: Mississippi State cornerback Fred Smoot was a great choice for the Redskins in the second round. Smoot at one point looked like a sure-thing first-round pick, but there were concerns about his attitude. He made an instant impact with the Redskins.

Other classics in the Six Years Later series:


153 comments, Last at 31 Mar 2013, 5:50am

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Points: 0

#151 by Jason (not verified) // May 19, 2007 - 9:35pm

You failed to mention to excellent second round picks by Buffalo.

Travis Henry was taken at the end of round 2, but he doesn't even fit in as an Other Noteworthy Pick?

Aaron Schobel, fresh off a trip to Honolulu this year, was taken in the middle of the 2nd round and he's not considered the best value pick?

What am I missing here?

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#150 by fiddycentbeer (not verified) // May 07, 2007 - 8:16pm

More fluff than stuff, ya ask me. for instance:

Green Bay didn't just "settle for Jamal Reynolds" as MDS wrote. They traded 1.17 and Matt Hasselbeck for the opportunity to draft that turkey.

Casey Hampton was drafted 1.19, not 1.20. as MDS wrote. The Steelers went down 3 spots thus acquiring a R4 that they used to go get Kendrell Bell in R2. The Jets took S.Moss.

MDS cites Reggie Hayward as a R3 bargain. Very true. However, Derrick Burgess surely deserves mention. R3 that year as well, and a more productive player (in some aspects).

MDS mentions the oft-injured Jonas Jennings as a R3 value for the Bills. Well, I guess tho it seems Joe Staley will have his gig by '08 or so. Or not; either way, Kareem MecKenzie was in that frame too. However, Ryan Diem, R4, was the 2001 OL value pick. No doubt.

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#149 by SJM (not verified) // May 04, 2007 - 6:37pm


You're right about Norv, but entirely wrong about Jeff George. George was brought in as a backup. Brad Johnson was still the starter in 2000 except for about 5 games mid-season when he was hurt. Turner was fired with 3 games left in the season, while Johnson was starting and George was the backup. Only after that was Johnson let go, and George became the starter under Marty (for two games).

So actually the blame for the regression of the 2000 Skins offense had very little to do with George, and a lot to do with Norv (and numerous injuries to the offense).

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#148 by Brad (not verified) // May 02, 2007 - 3:54pm

One correction to the safety section Adrian Wilson went to North Carolina STATE not UNC.

And he was one of my favorite players while there.

It is an ablsolute shame that Koren Robinson could not stay clean. He was as good or better than fellow NC Stater Torry Holt in college. Guess it just shows that in the NFL work ethic, character, and intelligence is often what ultimately separates players.

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#147 by Rich Conley (not verified) // May 01, 2007 - 1:25pm


DoubleB, looking at that, maybe you should start to realize that "Total Offense" is an absolutely awful indicator of success.

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#146 by Kevin Ailes (not verified) // Apr 27, 2007 - 11:01pm

Maybe I am still bitter about Brees getting the All-Pro nod over Manning last year and the constant ballwashing over the season, but revisionist historians forget that the reason that they had to waste the #1 pick in 2004 on Eli Manning was because Brees looked like he would never amount to anything. So because the tightfisted Chargers low-balled Rivers, kept him out of camp and gave Brees one final chance to prove himself, he is called best player, best value, etc. Because the Chargers were spooked about drafting a QB high and repeating the Leaf mistake, they trade out of #1 in 2001 and get LT2 (Brees was their own pick in round 2). Acorsi over valued Eli Manning and the Chargers got fat with Rivers, Merriman & Keating.

It would have been the ultimate irony this post season had the Chargers won the Super Bowl like they were supposed to. People continue to pile on the Leaf/Manning '98 debate, when 1.) It wasn't like Leaf was taken 1st and 2.) In retrospect, people forget just how highly regarded Leaf was - especially after the Rose Bowl. If the Chargers would have won, SD would have won the SB before the Colts despite having the #1 pick two different times after that 1998 season.

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#145 by DoubleB (not verified) // Apr 27, 2007 - 2:48pm


I agree with your assessment of Norv's head coaching acumen. He's not going to make anybody forget about Vince Lombardi.

I disagree with regards to his coordinator abilities. Six stops. At every place the offense has improved markedly and immediately. Granted these haven't been spectacular offenses and most have been downright poor, but this accomplishment isn't something that just any decent coordinator could accomplish. His quarterbacks at those stops have been Troy Aikman, Heath Shuler/John Freisz, Doug Flutie, Jay Fiedler/Ray Lucas, Kerry Collins, and Alex Smith (these are QBs who threw for 1000 yards in that season). That's a pretty wide variety of natural ability and talent he's worked with.

Let's look at some of the other coordinators mentioned above:

Weis managed to take Pete Carroll's team from 99 and lose 40 ypg and 3 more games. Brady rode pine that year.

Shanahan has generally gone to mediocre to good offenses already. He did lose 19 ypg (from 329 to 310) his first year as the Raiders head coach, although the team won 2 more games.

Reid took a bad offense in 1998 (261 ypg) and made it worse (239 ypg). To his credit the Eagles did win 2 more games that year.

Holmgren was able to improve bad offenses twice: Green Bay (270 to 299 ypg) and Seattle (289 to 300 ypg).

Gruden took Philly's offense from 320 ypg to 300 ypg in 94 and 95. And then he repeated the "feat" his first year in Oakland (declined from 319 ypg to 301 ypg).

This isn't done to bash these coaches. At other spots they've immediately improved offenses. Shanahan's actually done a great job of taking good offenses and making them fantastic. Weis did a phenomenal job his 1st year with the Jets. Gruden did a good job of improving Tampa's offense his Super Bowl year. But as a singular point of comparison, Turner comes out pretty well.

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#144 by MRH (not verified) // Apr 27, 2007 - 11:48am

I think Turner had plenty of time as HC in Washington to prove his merits. From '94-98 he consistently had mediocre offenses (see stats in #112 above). He had an excellent offense in '99 and made the playoffs for the first time.

To over-simplify, Daniel Snyder then channeled Jason Whitlock and signed Jeff George. Turner was forced to start George and the 2000 offense regressed. Turner was fired because he resisted playing George and then the team played poorly when he did.

Snyder bought the team in Apr-May 99 (not sure exactly when the league approved the deal). For obvious reasons he did not replace Turner at that point. But if the ownership of the Redskins had been settled earlier, Turner would never have gotten the chance to coach that team and would never had his one year of excellent offense in WAS nor his one playoff appearance.

Why do I say that?

1st, Jack Kent Cooke died in '97 and his estate was trying to sell the team for over a year before Snyder's bid won. No changes were made in the management of the team in that period.

2nd, Turner took over a 4-12 team. In his 1st year, it went 3-13. OK, the team was crappy and he gets a mulligan. Then he put it on a path of improvement: 6-10, then 9-7. In '97, it leveled off to 8-7-1. At this point, many coaches would get fired - a team on an upward path slips up, coach gets blamed. However, many other coaches get another year to prove the setback was temporary. In '98, Redskins fell to 6-10. I haven't done the digging thru records to verify this, but my belief is that almost every coach who gets five years and produces no playoff appearances and has a W-L record get worse two years in a row after "peaking" at 9 wins, gets fired. (Click link below to see some fan comments on what Snyder should do with the team: fire Norv is prominent among the opinions). But with the ownership in flux, Turner stayed on.

He had over six seasons in WAS and one playoff appearance to show for it. That’s a pretty long time. You can blame the ownership mess for the ’98 season if you like. You can blame the front office (by that I mean Charley Casserly as well as Snyder) – Turner clearly had less than an ideal situation. But there is no evidence in his HC experience to prove that he’s a good HC. The best case you can make is that he hasn’t had a fair opportunity to prove it; the evidence so far is that he’s mediocre or worse.

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#143 by Sam (not verified) // Apr 27, 2007 - 10:24am

"Let me be as clear as I can: Turner has been offensive coordinator or head coach for 6 teams since 1999. He’s never inherited a team with an offense this good. He’s previously made bad offenses average, but he’s never had a consistently good offense.

Turner’s current situation bears no resemblance to his previous ones. That’s why I’m so confused why you’re putting so much stock in his past performances."

So the other situations were exactly alike? No. This is just one way to frame Turner's career. It's misleading to claim that every other job Turner has had was exactly the same and this one is radically different.

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#142 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 27, 2007 - 9:54am

136- I like Kubiak myself. I'd say Tom Moore is more of a product of Peyton. Weis is good, but I'm not sure I'd throw him at the top yet. I do like Jon Gruden. Andy Reid and Mike Holmgrenn have proven to build strong west coast offenses. Al Saunders has had an impressive track record before Gibbs let's him call plays on only 60% of the field

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#141 by kibbles (not verified) // Apr 27, 2007 - 7:32am

I think it's unfair to talk about Gerard Warren in the busts category. He didn't handle the pressure well in Cleveland, but he came to Denver and played phenominally in his first season (and was rewarded with a $36 million dollar contract), and while he didn't play nearly as well last year, he did have turf toe on both feet and couldn't push off all season. I think there is still plenty of hope that Warren can and will be, if not an elite DT, then at least well above average. At the very least, I'd call Gerard Warren better than the likes of Kenyatta Walker.

Cleveland might not have gotten much return on its investment, but when you play for a sucky team, you tend to look like a sucky player. Besides, they did get a 4th rounder out of him when they sent him to Denver, too.

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#140 by MC2 (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 11:53pm

Interesting. If the Raiders had taken Kiper's advice and picked Brees, they might not have the #1 pick this year.

On the other hand, if the Patriots had taken his advice and picked Kenyatta Walker, they might not have those 3 rings ... and BB might not have a job.

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#139 by KnickerBlogger (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 11:17pm

Kiper 2001 ESPN Mock Draft.

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#138 by NF (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 9:03pm

Freddie Mitchell is the worst first-round pick of Andy Reid's tenure in Philadelphia.

(Corey Simon is currently just eating up Indy cap space, but before he held out after being tagged as a franchise player, he averaged 6 sacks a year for 5 seasons, and missed only 2 games. Few players other than Jerome McDougle have missed 29 games in only 4 seasons due to injury, and McDougle missed just one game in college due to injury in three seasons.)

If the Eagles had drafted Chad Johnson they'd certainly have at least one championship by now, and even with Reggie Wayne the team would have had an average to good WR group from 2002-2004 and probably would have never gotten TO, possibly instead getting a top run stuffing DT and bolstering a front 7 that has been suspect against the run since 2004.

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#137 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 6:36pm

Nothing like your disdain for those who don’t agree with you.

Please, please, please, don't believe you can infer someone's opinion in text. There was absolutely no disdain in that post whatsoever. Just confusion.

Who would that be? Give me an average offensive coach that has done something similar? That has taken a bad offense and made it markedly better at a number of stops.

I can't think of another offensive coach who has constantly gone from one bad offense to another one, either. I really don't get why you're so fascinated with the fact that he's done this multiple times. As far as I know, he's pretty much the only one who's been in that situation. Can you think of someone else who has become offensive coordinator or head coach for four bad teams (bottom 5!) in a row? I can't.

Let me be as clear as I can: Turner has been offensive coordinator or head coach for 6 teams since 1999. He's never inherited a team with an offense this good. He's previously made bad offenses average, but he's never had a consistently good offense.

Turner's current situation bears no resemblance to his previous ones. That's why I'm so confused why you're putting so much stock in his past performances.

Pat, give it up. this time you’re trying too hard to make your argument fit.

My argument? Trust me, I'm not saying anything that a half-dozen other people haven't said.

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#136 by Ilanin (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 6:16pm

Like Pat, I'm unconvinced that Turner's an impressive offensive mind. He's shown he can make a bad offense average. This is what you'd expect to happen with the addition of high draft picks and the regression to the mean. A few offensive minds I'd rather have, in addition to Chris' list of Shanahan and Martz.

Gary Kubiak has shown he knows how offense works. He learned from Shanhan in Denver, and whilst all he's done in Houston so far was make a bad offense average, the way he did it inspires confidence. ("What, can nobody here pass-block at all? Right, I'm off to draw up a playbook with 162 different three-step drop pass plays in").

Tom Moore has created and installed a system in Indianapolis about which the numbers don't lie. It takes Peyton Manning to make it work? Yeah, well, he's got Peyton Manning, he's allowed to create a system that needs him.

Charlie Weis can be mentioned though obviously he's left the NFL at least for the time being, and Ken Whisenhunt needs to prove himself with the Cardinals but looks like he knows what he's doing.

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#135 by Mark (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 5:54pm

Pat, give it up. this time you're trying too hard to make your argument fit. Or maybe it's just your contrarian nature.

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#134 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 4:15pm

So who are the top offensive minds, and what offensive minds do you want for YOUR team?

For example, I think Mike Martz has a good offensive mind, but his more boom/bust style puts more pressure on his defense.

I'd have to agree that Turner is a good offensive coordinator. I like Mike Shannihans offensive mind. Please, nobody call Brian Billeck an offensive genius either.

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#133 by DoubleB (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 4:08pm

Nothing like your disdain for those who don't agree with you.

"An average offensive coach, coming into those situations, would improve the team in exactly the same way."

Who would that be? Give me an average offensive coach that has done something similar? That has taken a bad offense and made it markedly better at a number of stops.

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#132 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 2:37pm

And you really think any coach could have stepped in and made Alex Smith viable as a QB?

Let me think... a #1 overall draft choice, who's extremely young, and historical evidence seems to show that young QBs make big jumps in their second year...

This isn't an amazing accomplishment.

He’s done it EVERYWHERE he’s been. Not just San Francisco. Six stops, all an improvement of at least 10% or more in yards per game.

I don't get why you're putting so much credit in this. Greg Knapp, in Oakland, will do exactly the same thing. Exactly. And the sole reason will be that he's an improvement over Tom Walsh. Which is not a shining endorsement.

Is there an OC you actually respect that’s been around the league?

I'm not criticizing Turner nearly as much as you seem to think I am. But Turner hasn't given any evidence that he's anything more than an average offensive coach.

An average offensive coach, coming into those situations, would improve the team in exactly the same way.

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#131 by DoubleB (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 12:38pm


He's done it EVERYWHERE he's been. Not just San Francisco. Six stops, all an improvement of at least 10% or more in yards per game.

And you really think any coach could have stepped in and made Alex Smith viable as a QB?

Is there an OC you actually respect that's been around the league? Martz improved Detroit's offense by 40 ypg this past year (269 to 309). Of course, he had a much more veteran QB to work with.

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#130 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 11:55am

I just don’t think it is fair to bin Turner when I personally blame the crappy organisations he wound up working for. I think his biggest failing is that he lacked judgement in his job choices.

I'm not sure he didn't do it on purpose. It's a lot easier to take a disaster and make it appear to be less of a disaster than it is to take a good team and make them a great team.

Think about Oakland, for instance. Whoever comes this year, in order to have them improve, just needs to be better than Tom Walsh. Dang, be better than a guy who ran a bed & breakfast two years ago. That'd be real hard.

I understand there’s a regression to the mean factor. But the offense has improved EVERYWHERE he’s been by a pretty substantial margin. That’s not all due to chance.

You don't understand how awful the 2004 offense was. It couldn't possibly stay that bad.

The simple fact remains: all he did was take an awful offense and make them bad. An average coach would do that, too. He's now being asked to take a great offense and make them stay great. The last time he did that was in 1991-1993, and the league's changed a bit since then.

As a quick example, Spurrier’s last year generated 307 ypg in 2003. Gibbs 2.0 managed to generate 290 the following year.

Yes? So? Spurrier's offense wasn't worst in the league. It was only 23rd in the league in terms of yards/game, so it's perfectly believable that it'd be worse the next year. The 49ers were 32nd in the league in terms of yards/game. They could not possibly be worse the next year.

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#129 by DoubleB (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 11:02am


An 80 ypg improvement doesn't impress you? With Alex Smith who had a career path similar to Ryan Leaf at this time last year? I understand there's a regression to the mean factor. But the offense has improved EVERYWHERE he's been by a pretty substantial margin. That's not all due to chance.

As a quick example, Spurrier's last year generated 307 ypg in 2003. Gibbs 2.0 managed to generate 290 the following year.

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#128 by steelberger1 (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 8:55am

RE 32: I dont think there is ANYTHING about the Patriots that hasnt been "sufficiently recognized".

RE 61: As for Kendrell Bell not recovering from his injury. His rookie year showed that he could have been the next great LB in the league. He missed most of the rest of his stay in Pittsburgh with a high ankle sprain that just wouldnt go away. His game was based on speed and power, and missing so much time just ruined him. He never recovered.

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#127 by steelberger1 (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 8:40am

Casey Hampton should at least be a tie for best DL of the draft. The guy is a beast. 3 time pro-bowler, and he has anchored the defense that has ranked no lower than 9th overall since he has been there.

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#126 by James C (not verified) // Apr 26, 2007 - 8:14am

"Norv’s problem is that he’s never stayed anywhere long enough to prove that he can build a good offense."

That is certainly a valid theory. My theory runs more that he was very foolish in the jobs he took and didn't make sure he was working for a solid organisation. One of the shrewdest moves Belichick ever made was turning down the Jets job, if he hadn't would he be regarded as one of the best coaches in the game? Failed in Cleveland, failed in New York but can coach good defenses, doesn't relate well to the media which turns off the fans, can only succeed under a good head coach. It isn't too far fetched. Obvously as everyone knows Belichick waited for the right job to come along and thrived, I just don't think it is fair to bin Turner when I personally blame the crappy organisations he wound up working for. I think his biggest failing is that he lacked judgement in his job choices, I guess now we will find out either way as the Chargers appear to be a well run franchise.

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#125 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:37pm

Even more stark, look at the absolute crap he’s had to try to improve. It explains the low ordinal numbers shown above.

Which is why the improvement isn't impressive. Chance alone will improve those numbers - you can't consistently be worst in the league without putting real effort into it (just look at the Bears), just from statistics. Since virtually *everyone's* above you, and no one's below you, better chance that someone gets worse than you than you stay below everyone.

Norv's problem is that he's never stayed anywhere long enough to prove that he can build a good offense.

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#124 by BadgerT1000 (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 10:47pm

Will and others:

What amazes me is that every single player drafted by Sherman in that draft had a HUGE red flag. Not just a few questions. Or some minor issues. Reynolds, Ferguson, and Marshall (the top three as a quick example) all were considered "at risk" picks for obvious reasons.

Reynolds was undersized for DE and didn't have the skills to play elsewhere.
Ferguson had barely played a full season of college ball and wasn't very bright.
Marshall had scored a 9 on the Wonderlic test and had interviewed poorly with the team.

Ron Wolf had learned his lesson about "small" players with the Terrell Buckley brou-ha-ha. Wolf talked all the time about not being fooled into thinking that a player would be fast enough to overcome a lack of size. So when he insists he advised Sherman to draft Morgan I believe him. I had heard NUMEROUS interviews with Wolf long before Mike Sherman showed up where Wolf belabored the point about erring on the side of size/strength versus raw speed. And all Reynolds brought to the table was his supposed "speed to the corner".

The Ferguson pick can be attributed to Sherman having come from A&M and allowing his friendship with the coaching staff there to affect his judgement. Again, Wolf states that he recommended Chambers over Ferguson and here nobody disputes it beyond Mike Sherma having admitted that he "trusted other people too much". Clearly I am biased but I still cannot fathom how anyone could look at Robert Ferguson's collegiate resume, Cris Chambers collegiate resume, their respective physical profiles, and declare Ferguson superior. It was a stupid choice.

The Marshall choice was a single coach on the Packer coaching staff INSISTING that Marshall would be a great linebacker. Marshall was one of the DUMBEST guys ever drafted by any Packer team. The stories of Marshall's inability to understand even the most basic concepts are numerous. My favorite is during his rookie training camp when the coaching staff spent an entire morning session just planting him in a spot for the formation. Over and over again they would call out the formation, lead him by the hand through his responsibilities, and then repeat what just happened. Everyone breaks for lunch, comes back, coach calls out the formation and Marshall is set up wrong. Coach tells Marshall to repeat what he had done that morning. Marshall's response (with puzzled expression), "Eat breakfast?"

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#123 by DoubleB (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 8:46pm

90 Dallas 255 ypg
91 Dallas 318 ypg

93 Washington 267 ypg
94 Washington 299 ypg

00 San Diego 269 ypg
01 San Diego 325 ypg

01 Miami 301 ypg
02 Miami 337 ypg

03 Oakland 285 ypg
04 Oakland 322 ypg

05 San Francisco 224 ypg
06 San Francisco 304 ypg

The first number is an offense prior to Norv, the second is the offense generated on Norv's 1st year on the job. The WORST improvement is the 32 ypg at Washington.

Even more stark, look at the absolute crap he's had to try to improve. It explains the low ordinal numbers shown above.

Say what you will about his head coaching acumen (he was no worse than Gibbs 2.0 in Washington and he was terrible in Oakland), but the man has made significant improvements in offenses at every stop he's made. It will be very interesting to see what he does at San Diego (a situation completely different than every other stop he's made).

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#122 by morganja (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 7:38pm

How about some love for the Panthers draft that year. Dan Morgan, Kris Jenkins, Steve Smith in the first three rounds and a QB starter for one, horrible, horrible, horrible year. Weinke (1-15)

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#121 by Carlos (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 7:25pm

It was supposed to be a very deep draft for defensive linemen, and nine of them ended up going in the first round

Seems like D line is an area of perpetual need for almost every team, which leads to a lot of wishcasting when it comes to the draft. Look at this year, when another whole bunch of d linemen will go in rd 1 again.

I liked the study done here about what round NFL starters at various positions were taken, but has their been a study of "yield" on round taken? My sense is that lots of D linemen get drafted at the top of the draft, and most of them end up stinking. Is D line the most overdrafted position? Has this been studied?

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#120 by Carlos (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 7:20pm

Really interesting article.

Norv Turner? Haven't we had this thread already a few times? I can sum up my view in one sentence:

You have to see his teams play to appreciate just how craptastic he is.

And now that I'm on the west coast and see a lot of chargers games, I get to revisit my DC days. Undoubtedly some karmic payback.

Oh, and my grandma would look like a decent OC with the triplets and the Dallas O-line. Turner is still living on those memories.

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#119 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 6:33pm

Statistics can make a bad team average, too - there are more teams above you than below, and so you're more likely to improve than decline. Long term consistency is the only way you can really judge a coach, and Turner's never really stuck around long enough anywhere to know.

I think that was the basic jist of a FO blog article a while ago. Turner basically only ever sticks around long enough to get back to "average".

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#118 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 6:16pm

So if Turner goes 12-4 with the Chargers does that mean he finally "got it" and now he's a good coach? What about a 6-10 record with the Faders?

I wouldn't argue Turner to be a good head coach, but you can't just list off his W/L record. You also can't just list off his offenses scoring, yardage and DVOA to judge his performance as an OC. If he makes a bad team average, there is something to be said for that. On the other hand, a bad coach might make a good unit average, and the different coaches would have similar rankings.

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#117 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 6:09pm

Trogdor, at the risk of reigniting a sometimes testy debate from a couple of months ago, at least the guys Turner coaches will probably be lined up right, which can't be said with confidence about the guys who are coached by Turner's defensive coordinator.

The Chargers might win the Super Bowl (if Switzer coached a team to a Lombardi Trophy, anything's possible), but they also have a chance to become one of the great, all-time, front office-engineered meltdowns in league history. I've got nothing against San Diego's players and fans, but I'm kinda' hoping for the latter, purely for entertainment value.

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#116 by jimmo (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 5:33pm

Turner will feel the love when he's voted into the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame...

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#115 by bmw1 (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 5:09pm

Re: 84

I was so disgusted by this draft when it happened, and reviewing it like this just makes me mad at Sherman. It says a lot about your draft when the best player you picked was David Martin. If anybody ever compiles a list of Worst Draft Classes by Team, this Packers draft would have to be near the top. Every player was a bust, oft injured, or just not that good to begin with.

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#114 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 4:53pm

Leaving behind the theological discussion, I’m curious as to whatever evidence there is about Bentley and the Eagles.

It's all supposition. It has to be - it's tampering by the Eagles, technically. Mark Eckel had a fairly detailed article regarding the Bentley "signing," - it's obviously been pulled, but of course, the Internet keeps all (here).

The fact that Eckel had monetary amounts (which don't match up with what he got from the Browns) tends to make that story more plausible.

Further rubbing salt in the wound, he seems to regard Bentley’s injury as karmic payback to the Browns despite the fact that the Browns didn’t do anything wrong (well, at least no more wrong than the Eagles, if you accept that version).

You're absolutely right - Florio's a complete jackass about a bunch of things, and that's one of them. The Browns, nor Bentley, didn't do anything wrong. I hate people who treat that injury as karmic payback. It's not. It's just horrendous luck.

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#113 by Bill Barnwell // Apr 25, 2007 - 4:37pm

#101 - "I'm aware of that. Save your self-righteous indignation."

Joe, play nice.

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#112 by Trogdor (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 4:36pm

Calm down, Pat. You're out of control, and have been for a while. Just stop it already. Geez. Just stop before somebody gets hurt. Calm reasoning and debate has no place on the internet. You are way out of line.

But anyway, getting back to the Turner issue, for some reason. First thing, I'm not sure why Gibbs is relevant to the discussion. Why not bring up Lombardi's record with Washington too? It sounds like a bit of a red herring - I can't defend Turner, so I'll bash someone else and hope nobody notices I've changed the subject.

Now, if we're going to debate Turner's merits as a coach, can we look at how teams he's coached have actually performed? Or possibly it would be more fair to just look at offense, since that's where his reputation lies. The heart of the claim is in post 78:

"Never mind the fact that he has consistently demonstrated the ability to make offenses work..."

So, let's look at that. Here are the offensive ranks for teams Turner has been head coach of, according to the link in my name:

(Year, Point rank, yard rank)
1994 13, 19
1995 18, 16
1996 8, 16
1997 15, 19
1998 17, 12
1999 2, 2
2000* 24, 11
2004 18, 20
2005 23, 21

Hmmm. One really good offense in 99, a good scoring offense in 96, and everything else is middle of the pack or worse. But that's conventional stats. What does DVOA have to say?

Year Overall, Weighted
1994-1996 - ????
1997 14, ?
1998 14, 13
1999 2, 9
2000* 13, 18*
2004 16, 15
2005 13, 17

Again, we have one good year, a bunch of mediocrity, and some years where Aaron wants the PBP any day now. In 2000, he was fired mid-year, and the weighted is lower than overall; this means the offense declined over the second half, but whether that was the effect of firing Norv, a cause, or unrelated is for a Skins fan to comment on.

So what about the years where he was OC? Maybe he's a great OC, but for whatever reason it doesn't carry over when he's a head coach?

Year Team Pts, Yds, DVOA, wDVOA
1991 Dal 7, 8, ?, ?
1992 Dal 2, 4, ?, ?
1993 Dal 2, 4, ?, ?
2001 SD 14, 15, 15, 21
2002 Mia 12, 15, 13, 15
2003 Mia 17, 24, 20, 22
2006 SF 24, 26, 22, 22

OK. Well. San Diego rose from "horrible" to "decidedly mediocre" in that year under Turner; of course, you'll also note that the starting QB changed to "Flutie" from "Leaf". Miami was never anything special. San Francisco went from historically bad to really bad, an improvement to be sure.

His best years by far were with the Cowboys, who ranked pretty bad before he got there, and stayed really good for two years after he left. Was Turner the reason they improved so greatly? Was he the beneficiary of being promoted just as everything was coming together for a historically great team? Was he a main cause, lucky enough to be along for the ride, or some combination? The world may never know.

But what we can say for certain: in the 13 years since leaving a historically good Dallas team, Turner has coached a really good offense exactly once.

Now, I don't know for sure what this means. Maybe it's possible that every single year, he's been saddled with historically bad talent, and he's done an incredible job just to get most of them to mediocrity. But the evidence points more towards him catching lightning in a bottle, and he's been living off the 'genius' label for over a decade. With anything less than multi-HOF talent, his offenses always seem to wind up right in the middle.

So how will he do in San Diego? Well, we can't really predict the future, now, can we? But if any team has the talent to replicate what he did in Dallas, it's the Chargers - they are absolutely loaded offensively (#2 DVOA last year, with awesome, young talent). So you would certainly hope that they'd be one of the top offenses in the league. You could pretty much just roll out the balls at practice, let them draw up plays in the dirt, and they should finish in the top 6. So if this team falters offensively, well....

Points: 0

#111 by mawbrew (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 4:26pm

Re: 105 - "Instead, they had to grab a center away from the grasp of one of the best teams in the NFL, gaining them a few months of patting themselves on the back… only to lose him on the first snap of practice, possibly for his career, requiring them to finally get a replacement center from said team that they snubbed."

LOL. Well, maybe you're right after all.

Leaving behind the theological discussion, I'm curious as to whatever evidence there is about Bentley and the Eagles.

I'm curious largely because Florio at PFT seems to regard this as fact. Further rubbing salt in the wound, he seems to regard Bentley's injury as karmic payback to the Browns despite the fact that the Browns didn't do anything wrong (well, at least no more wrong than the Eagles, if you accept that version).

It could reasonably be viewed as karmic payback to Bentley (assuming he did double cross the Eagles), but Bentley hasn't lost a dime.

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#110 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 3:48pm

and I'll lay money down right now that gibbs is either fired or resigns after this year.

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#109 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 3:47pm

Gibbs 2.0 didn't even use the shotgun his first year back in the league. I'm suprised he didn't send the redskins out in leather helmets.

Although the players actions in the Turner years were comical, the coaches are comical in the Gibbs 2.0 era. The Redskins have more coaches on staff than anyone. Their staff is so big that certain guys don't even talk to anyone... like the DB coaches. The safeties coach won't talk to the other DB coaches and the corners and safeties have seperate meetings before the games.

So who calls the plays? Well Al Saunders calls the plays, but not at certain areas of the field. For example, once the Redskins get into field goal range, Gibbs said he gets on the Radio with Al and they discuss. Sounds like a great idea. Your the offensive coordinator always thinking about setting up your next play when wooosh, old man gibbs gets on the radio and calls a good old HB Dive. Brilliant.

The coaches playing favorites has been questionable at best. Everybody knows Gibbs was in love with Brunell and Portis, while Saunders didn't want to throw to Portis. Portis probably leaked more than he should have on John Thompsons radio show after the season ended. You get the impression that that team was a circus behind the scenes... but then again when you watch the Redskins you get that impression anyways.

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#108 by Fergasun (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 3:25pm

I forgot to add that this excludes Sean Taylor... since he's done quite a few silly things to get himself labeled a headhunter by the league (I think he's more of a body-hunter... and some things are unavoidable when you play like him).

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#107 by Fergasun (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 3:22pm

What is the point of your comments? Are you trolling for something?

Just come out and say, "Gibbs is an overrated coach and the 2007 Redskins will not be a successful team because of Gibbs." That's what you really want to say, right?

I know Redskin fan comments on Turner are mainly anecdotal... but they seem to be fairly consistent as to the type of coach he is.

Now maybe you think we suffer from Gibbs delusion, but I can't remember his players doing too many bone-headed things the past 3 seasons, other than spotty QB play. The Rabach holding call in the San Diego game, and an illegal motion call that wiped out a late touchdown against Green Bay (that was a dubious call).

Regardless, I can understand if you really don't want to discuss this especially amongst Redskin fans.

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#106 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 3:04pm

#104: He meant #95 - although "self-righteous indignation" isn't correct. That would imply I think I'm better than him. I don't. I'm just desperately afraid of constant flamewars on the threads. I lose my temper just like everyone else, and hey, if someone wants to tell me to calm down, feel free.

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#105 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 3:01pm

I wouldn’t say He favors them, just that He’s merciful enough to limit their suffering regardless of their best efforts to self-inflict even more..

Either that, or He decided that merely picking a tackle who wouldn't pan out wasn't impressive enough suffering.

Instead, they had to grab a center away from the grasp of one of the best teams in the NFL, gaining them a few months of patting themselves on the back... only to lose him on the first snap of practice, possibly for his career, requiring them to finally get a replacement center from said team that they snubbed.

Man. That definitely looks like "yes, that pain would be far too simple for you. You deserve special suffering."

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#104 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:57pm

Joe, could you explain what was self righteously indignant about #94? Geez, it's just football. Chill.

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#103 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:52pm

Richie, I meant a huge part of the ineptitude. If Gallery was pancaking guys on runs, and stoning pass rushers, I wouldn't have written that.

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#102 by Richie (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:51pm

Sorry, I misunderstood Will's point about Gallery before I posted #95.

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#101 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:49pm

#94 - I'm aware of that. Save your self-righteous indignation.

#97 - I'm critical of Gibbs style, but there are some differences between his teams and Turner's. True, both have equivalent winning percentages. But Turner has an equivalent percentage over 6 seasons, vs Gibbs, who has the same % over 3 seasons. It took Turner 5 years to get to 10-6 + playoffs, and most seasons were spent hovering at mediocrity. Gibbs scored 10-6 + playoffs at year 2. The fluctuation between Gibb's year 2 and year 3 I think can be attributed to a severe backfire in personnel decisions, coaching and players both. I would argue that Gibbs succeeded with less talent, but thats primarily a subjective assessment. Plus, I would also argue that Gibb's Redskins compete in a more challenging NFC East than Turner's Skins did. The Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys all challenged for the playoffs the last several seasons. This coming season should determine whether Gibbs should stay or leave.

I didn't mean for this thread to become a Norv Turner Hate-a-thon. Someone bring up Michael Vick.

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#100 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:48pm

Yeah, Fergason, it coulda' been worse, and there is still an outside shot at Williamson being a replacement level player or above, if he starts catching the ball. I highly suspected he was having trouble tracking the ball, and the Nike people, who certainly have a motivation to help, seem to have some test results which indicate this, and are working with Williamson to improve his vision; the guy's work ethic hasn't been called into question, which is more than can be said of Williams. The Vikings saved Jake Reed's career by working with him to improve his vision, so the pick may be worth something yet.

What really got me thinking about this a few weeks ago was when somebody (probably Tice) planted an item with a Twin Cities columnist that in 2005 Tice wanted to draft Merriman in the Williamson slot, and then Matt Jones where Erasmus James was drafted. Obviously, if the Vikings had done so, their roster would be much better today, although it may have meant that Ted Cottrell would have kept his dc job, which would have been problematic.

In any case, it would be nice to know if the director of college scouting, Scott Studwell, was in support of the Williamson draft, or whether he wanted to take Merriman or Demarcus Ware in that slot, since Studwell still holds the position. I will say this; if Tice really wanted Merriman and Jones, and instead got Williamson and James, that is more evidence that he wasn't given a chance to succeed with the Vikings.

Points: 0

#99 by mawbrew (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:48pm

Re: 96 - "If God likes the Cleveland Browns, after the past few years, man, I really, really hope he hates the Eagles."

I wouldn't say He favors them, just that He's merciful enough to limit their suffering regardless of their best efforts to self-inflict even more..

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#98 by Rich Conley (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:34pm

"Turner’s teams found tons of bonehead ways to lose… I especially despise Ron Lynn (and to some extent Mike Nolan) for their absolutely disciplineless defenses."

As opposed to Gibb's team, that has less and less talent every year, and seems to be one of the most poorly coached teams in the league?

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#97 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:32pm

Yep, Gallery was supposed to be terrific. I know Cleveland fans were desperately hoping he would end up a Brown. That this did not happen, I regard as proof of the existence of God.

If God likes the Cleveland Browns, after the past few years, man, I really, really hope he hates the Eagles.

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#96 by Richie (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:29pm

Being a huge part of the most inept offensive performance in the league is not proof that one has avoided bust-dom. Now, he wouldn’t be the first player to salvage a career after three lousy seasons, but it ain’t lookin’ good at this point.

Isaac Bruce played 61 games on one of the worst offenses from 1994-1998 - the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams.

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#95 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:26pm

#81 - I’m not the one with a stick up my butt who has to be snide to everyone I disagree with.

From the person who posted:

#78 - Another thing, don’t be such a dick because I knocked some sorry coach you have wet dreams about on a nightly basis.

Actually, you were being snide.

C'mon. Be civil. There's no prize for "World's Greatest Football Outsiders Message Board Insult." Just because someone insulted you doesn't mean you need to insult them back. That's the way message boards devolve into drivel.

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#94 by mawbrew (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:19pm

Re: 80 'Keep in mind that the buzz about Gallery heading into the 2004 draft was that he was the top offensive line draft prospect since Orlando Pace.'

Yep, Gallery was supposed to be terrific. I know Cleveland fans were desperately hoping he would end up a Brown. That this did not happen, I regard as proof of the existence of God.

Re: 81

I LOVE this idea. Of course, I don't think 'hands-off' owners really need to submit a list. And the hands-on owners will insist that everybody else's list match theirs.

There have be claims over the years that Lions ownership insisted on the selection of Joey Harrington over the protestations of Millen. Given that Detroit ownership has been about as uninvolved in the football side of the business as is possible, I've always suspected that Millen planted these stories. It's nice to dream that somehow we might know.

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#93 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:19pm

#90 - Marty was a good coach and was unfairly sacked by Danny Boy. However, I did question Marty's choice of QBs. Nevertheless, despite the tumultuous preceding offseason, Marty was able to wring a decent 8-8 finish out of them. I would have liked to have seen a 2nd season out of him. Instead, we got the Ol' Ball Coach - was that ever a debacle. Spurrier made Marty look like a QB guru.

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#92 by Fergasun (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:17pm

Just think... Minny could've had Mike Williams instead of Williamson.

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#91 by Fergasun (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:11pm

I thought the point of this website was to go beyond numbers such as records.

The Gibbs 2.0 Redskins are far far ahead of the Turner Redskins. Just watching them has been a much happier experience, compared especially to Turner and Spurrier (Marty is a great coach).

Turner's teams found tons of bonehead ways to lose... I especially despise Ron Lynn (and to some extent Mike Nolan) for their absolutely disciplineless defenses.

Highlights from the Turner regime include Frerotte's head-butt of the wall, Westbrook getting a penalty to move them out of FG range, Westbrook punching Stephen Davis to the ground, the penalty machine that was ND Kalu, with his partner in crime Kenard Lang, and one of the worst safety tandoms in football... Stanley "I can't tackle" Richards and Matt "I can't cover" Stevens (distant cousin to this years Archuleta). Having Turner's lone playoff run come to an end on a botched snap attempt to a FG is the perfect illustration of what Redskin fans will remember of his team... not to mention never beating the Cowboys... and never winning in Arizona as well... those Cardinal games always killed me...

He might be a decent offensive coordinator, but should never be allowed to be a head coach again.

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#90 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:00pm

That's what I'm talking about, Badger! We suffering fans should eventually be provided definitive proof as to who is most responsible for screwing up a draft! You think anybody is gonna' own up, and not finger point, regarding the Vikings selection of Troy Williamson with the number 7 pick in 2005?

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#89 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:57pm

Above was directed at #85, not #81. Silly fallible me.

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#88 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:56pm

#81 - I'm not the one with a stick up my butt who has to be snide to everyone I disagree with. There is such a thing as respectful disagreement, but you carelessly crossed that line in your first post. Why don't you read some of my other posts where I disagree with people. I don't get accusative or snotty, I try and maintain a degree of civility. Unfortunately, there are too many people who think criticism aimed at a sports personality ought to be repaid with criticism against the commentator. Thats the last I'm saying on the matter. If you would like to dissect my comments on why I think Turner is a poor coach, or more precisely, an "idiot," then be my guest.

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#87 by Rich Conley (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:42pm


"His record as Skins coach over 6 seasons was 49-59-1, this during a period in which the Cowboys were steadily declining and the rest of the NFC East not particularly spectacular"

Because Gibb's 21-27 record is all that much better?

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#86 by AmbientDonkey (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:36pm

Will, #81 is an outstanding idea. ESPN could have a show that reveals the draft boards the week before the draft. I think they should wait 2 years before revealing though.

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#85 by James C (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:34pm

Well done you have managed to create a new low for the message boards. What is really incredible is that you posted once, went away and then came back with that. You had time to think and still decided to post that. I am truly amazed.

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#84 by BadgerT1000 (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:30pm

The Jamal Reynolds pick lives in infamy in Green Bay as it completely undermined the organization's efforts to compete at a high level during the early "aughts". The 2001 Packer draft is easily the worst in history highlighted by the Reynolds debacle. The impact can be shown as follows:

--team drafts Reynolds who immediately gets hurt and misses his rookie season
--coaching staff quickly discerned BEFORE injury that Reynolds is a stiff and look for alternatives
--team signs defensive end Joe Johnson to massive contract despite injury history
--Johnson plays part of a season before re-injuring shoulder and never playing again in the NFL
--with a depleted defensive line corps Sherman panics when word gets out that the Eagles will make an offer for KGB who gets a crazy $38 million contract
--with the double whammy of Johnson's dead money (and some others) coupled with the KGB signing Green Bay is hamstrung in trying to find adequate linebackers reyling on the likes of Hannibal Navies to man the middle while hanging onto another 2001 loser in Torrance Marshall.
--team continues to expand on the original mistake by re-signing Cletidus Hunt who immediately tanks beyond belief
--with more money designated on losers the team tries to fill defensive backfield holes via draft reaching for "Grabby Smurf" in Ahmad Carroll and "Mr. Angry Face" in Joey Thomas whose only notable accomplishment as a twosome in Green Bay were getting into a massive brawl.

There is more. But it can all be traced to the 2001 draft and more specifically the draft of Reynolds. To this day Ron Wolf (who was acting in an advisory role) insists he wanted Morgan and the only person who disputes that claim is Sherman. While Morgan has missed time when on the field he has been WAY more productive than anyone Green Bay had at linebacker from 2001-2003.

I know this much. Dan Morgan would have dropped back in coverage against the Eagles instead of sticking with the TE at the line of scrimmage on 4th and 26.


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#83 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:24pm

#78 - Another thing, don't be such a dick because I knocked some sorry coach you have wet dreams about on a nightly basis.

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#82 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:23pm

#78 - I watched Norv Turner coach the Redskins for several very irritating seasons. He had one post-season appearance to show for it. He exercised little discipline over the team, which led to more than a few in-game collapses. He neglected defense completely. At a time when Washington had lots of talent, he squandered it. His record as Skins coach over 6 seasons was 49-59-1, this during a period in which the Cowboys were steadily declining and the rest of the NFC East not particularly spectacular. He only coached one year under the ownership of Dan Snyder, who very smartly canned him, probably the smartest thing Snyder has done in his ownership. His record as Raiders coach was 9-23. The man is justifiably an idiot.

I feel sorry for San Diego fans, as they'll get to see firsthand Turner piss away the potential of their team. If they succeed it won't be due to Turner's skills as a coach, but to the efforts of Schottenheimer and the personnel management of AJ Smith.

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#81 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:15pm

As part of a superior fan experience, NFL teams should be required to have their head coach, gm, college scouting director, and owner each submit their own draft board, through the first two rounds, for public examination, in a sealed envelope, to an accounting firm, the day before the draft. The envelopes then would be unsealed prior to the following year's draft, thus giving fans insight as to who should be most held in contempt.

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#80 by CA (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:55pm

I'm the one who called the pick of Gallery one of the biggest draft busts of all time. I'm sorry to say that I have watched a lot more Raiders games in the Gallery era than many of you seem to suppose. I have watched Gallery closely, often in disgust. Those who are apologizing for Gallery are the ones who must not watch Raiders games, because Gallery is unmistakably awful. Tackle is one of those positions that casual fans tend to notice only when a player does something wrong. Well, let's just say that those casual fans who are unfortunate enough to watch Raiders games notice Gallery a lot. When Gallery is playing LT, he may well be the worst starting LT in the NFL.

Of course, it wasn't until his third year in the league that Gallery even played LT in the NFL. For the first two years of his career, he was stuck at the less glamorous position of RT, where his lack of quickness and poor hands were slightly less problematic because he generally faced lesser pass rushers and didn't have the burden of protecting the QB's blind side. I would say that he was equally bad as a RT, but he did less damage to his team due to the relatively lower importance of the RT position.

I watched the Raiders' first game of 2006, in which they played the Chargers on Monday Night Football (the famous Nessler/Vermeil/Jaworski game), Gallery's first game in the NFL at left tackle, with a friend of mine who is a Raiders fan. At one point in the first half, I told my friend that Gallery needed to show some initiative and tackle Aaron Brooks himself immediately after the snap. That way, the Raiders would lose only three yards on the play instead of the ten that they would lose when Gallery's man inevitably would blast past him virtually untouched.

Keep in mind that the buzz about Gallery heading into the 2004 draft was that he was the top offensive line draft prospect since Orlando Pace. He was expected to be the franchise cornerstone at the premier position on the offensive line and one of the best left tackles in the NFL for the next decade. Instead, he was relegated to a lesser position, where he played poorly for the first two years of his career, before moving to the position that he was supposed to play all along, where he played spectacularly poorly.

Robert Gallery is simply not good enough to be a starting tackle in the NFL, and I highly doubt that he ever will be. There are two reasons he starts in Oakland, neither of which is impressive: 1. The rest of the Raiders' linemen are so bad that Gallery doesn't stand out as much as the weak link that he would be on almost any other team. As Will has pointed out, the fact that a player has started for a historically bad unit is not exactly a sign that the pick of that player worked out. 2. The Raiders have invested so much in him that they stubbornly refuse to give up on him completely, as they arguably should.

At this point, I would say that the reasonable best-case scenario for Gallery is that he eventually grows into a serviceable guard. I think the Raiders should have attempted to move him permanently to guard long ago after he demonstrated instantly that he was incapable of being an NFL-caliber tackle. The more likely scenario that I see for Gallery is a Mike Williams-like fate (i.e., eventually cut/benched only to fade into obscurity). I sure hope that he proves me wrong, but I think I'm just being realistic.

So, yeah, I absolutely believe that the Raiders' pick of Gallery is one of the biggest draft busts of all time. End of rant.

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#79 by James, London (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:36pm


You can't blame Turner for draft selections or, come to that, any other Raiders coach. Al Davies calls the personnel shots.


The link is to a piece where, among other things, Davis tries to blame Art Shell for taking Michael Huff over Matt Lienart last year.

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#78 by James C (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:32pm


I think you are going to be proved wrong about Norv Turner. He was doing a decent (if not spectacular) job with the Redskins when Snyder turned up and pretty much let everyone know that the coach was on borrowed time, dooming the coach and the team for the season. Do you think Dan Snyder is a football genius? No I thought not. Considering what followed it looks like an even dumber move than it did at the time, but you like it so go you!!

His next job was in Oakland where he had a half decent offense (16th DVOA) which if you had put with last year's Raider defense would have provided you with a decent team. All the talent aquisition was run through Al Davis who only wanted old retreads and then spent most of the draft picks on defense anyway so that his golden child (Ryan) could spend two years producing excreble defenses. Not suprisingly the team lost and the owner decided to make a move so he fired the coach. It was a dumb, cowardly thing to do as the head coach wasn't the problem. But you have read somewhere or heard some talking head say that Norv Turner is rubbish so it must be true. No need to look any deeper into why his teams struggled or what went on behind the scenes at his previous jobs. You can call him an idiot and thats that. Never mind the fact that he has consistently demonstrated the ability to make offenses work and has had the rug pulled from under him under demented circumstances by the two of the most asinine owners in the NFL. If you agree with Snyder and Davis it isn't Norv Turner who is the idiot.

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#77 by MJK (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:26pm

Then again, you can’t blame the line for not blocking for 4+ seconds in that vertical passing game, but still. Don’t you think SOMEBODY would realize it won’t work?

The problem is that anyone who did, or at least anyone who spoke up that it wouldn't work, was probably promply fired by Al Davis.

Teams that are meddled with too much by their owners typically are bad. Ask any Raiders or Redskins fan.

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#76 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:05pm

#73 - Gallery was chosen while that idiot Norv Turner was the coach.

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#75 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:59am

To get a handle on how bad the Raiders offensive line has been, reflect on the fact that Brad Badger just recently was cut, after spending five years on that roster. Badger was HORRIBLE in his two years with the Vikings; I'd watch him and be astounded that he was starting in the NFL. He then went to the Raiders as a back-up in 2002, and when the Silver and Black made their descent into the cellar, he hung around, largely as a starter, for four years.

If one of the positive things you can say about Gallery is that he performed better than Badger, well, that is almost the epitome of damning with faint praise.

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#74 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:44am

Oh, definitely, Pat. Like I said, Gallery wouldn't be the first guy to resurrect his career after starting with three sub-par seasons. He could still have a productive career, but the odds don't favor it at this point. I expect this will be the sink or swim year for him, as far as the Raiders go. However, if he plays in the pre-season like he did last pre-season, which left me rubbing my eyes in disbelief, he may well get cut. A new coaching staff, combined with a looming personnel department shake-up, likely means there will be little motivation to extend Gallery much more opportunity.

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#73 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:43am

Isn't it funny that Art Shell is an O-Line guy, with a #2 pick, and the Raiders have one of the worst offensive lines ever?

Then again, you can't blame the line for not blocking for 4+ seconds in that vertical passing game, but still. Don't you think SOMEBODY would realize it won't work?

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#72 by mactbone (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:33am

Ugh, the Bears have had some horrible drafts. Although, does anyone know the average number of starters a team should expect from a draft class? 22 starters on a team, and I would think you'd want about half of them on their rookie contracts (average NFL career is ~5 years IIRC) so, maybe 3 starters per draft? That way 4 drafts = 12 starters.

David Terrell=bust
Anthony Thomas=One year wonder
Mike Gandy=started some for Chicago, but I don't remember anyone thinking he was a long term answer. Started every game for Buffalo the last two years and got a three year deal from Arizona earlier this month.
Karon Riley=Out of the league as far as I know
Bernard Robertson=utility backup lineman, out of the league
John Capel=fast guy that never made it off the practice squad IIRC, out of the league

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#71 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:33am

It is way, way too early to talk about Gallery being a total draft bust. As of next year, he'll have had 3 head coaches in 4 years. He hasn't hit free agency yet, so we don't know what the rest of the league thinks about him. He's been moved between multiple positions. And the offensive coordinator last year in Oakland was so bad last year it's hard to know if Gallery wasn't told to do what he did.

Now, as for being a draft bust in general, yes, absolutely. There's no way he'll live up to being the #2 pick in the draft. Period. That makes him a bust.

My larger point was that Gallery has become shorthand for “draft bust� when I doubt most people here have seen him play more than a couple times.

That's very presumptive of you. Gallery's called a draft bust because he wasn't worth the #2 overall pick. It's not that he wasn't worth any draft pick at all. Just not one that high.

Whether someone is a disappointment completely depends on your expectations.

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#70 by wrmjr (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:32am

Reading this, I think Leonard Davis must qualify as the most fortunate pick in the draft. He ends up the top OL pick (2nd overall) among a pretty good class. Then, after a mediocre start to his career, hits the jackpot on the FA market just as caps get a big expansion. Timing is everything!

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#69 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:32am

I don't know much about Gallery other than he was highly touted coming out of college. I do know that Oakland's offense is pretty vertical so I would anticipate they need quick lineman who can defend the pass rush. What was the U of Iowa offense that Gallery played in like? I thought it was primarily a ground-game offense. That might help us understand why he's been inadequate thus far.

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#68 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:18am

Chris, Gallery has played right and left tackle, and I have observed him sucking symetrically. I normally don't watch a ton of AFC games, but being a fan of offensive line play, I usually try to watch highly drafted o-lineman, to see if they are going to be a dominant player for years to come. I have thus seen at least 20% of his starts. Maybe I just happened to catch him on his worst days, but he has been terrible. Period.

Derek, I guess my point is that "making a contribution" to the worst offense in the league means practically nothing, unless one actually plays at something approaching the median level of performance for that position in the league. Gallery hasn't come close to that level, so the only thing his number of starts signifies is that the Oakland Raiders' personnel and coaching staffs have sucked as well.

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#67 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 11:06am

Re #62
I said there were games where he looked like their best lineman. I don't think he was, primarily because (i) there were games where he was clearly the sort of blocking liability that could ruin a team's entire offensive performance and (ii) even in his better games, I'd rate him no better than "above average." I agree with #61: evaluating offensive linemen is really subjective, and I subjectively think Gallery is a poor offensive linemen.

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#66 by ZasZ (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 10:53am

Wait a sec. Why and when did Domanick (Davis) Williams change his name? Does anybody know?

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#65 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 10:30am

I agree 100 percent derek. How many people have seen even 10 Raiders games with Gallery? Their line sucks, but Gallery is only 20% of that line. When it looks like a jailbreak at the QB, then it's not all his fault.

63- The funny thing is the guy on the radio was arguing that " you can just tell who can play and who can't from day 1". He said that they just knew Ferotte was better than Shuler since day 1 of camp. I'm not so sure I agree that you know who will make it and who won't from day 1, but it was interesting that he said everybody agreed on day 1 that the 7th round guy was better than the 1st round guy ( and the coaches still played Heath)

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#64 by Derek (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 10:21am

Will, I didn't mean to misrepresent your position but I never claimed Gallery was a great player (or even a good one). I would suggest that Gallery's impressive number of starts (even for a poor offense) disqualifies him from being considered one of the biggest draft busts ever. He has actually made a contribution to the team that drafted him, however small.

My larger point was that Gallery has become shorthand for "draft bust" when I doubt most people here have seen him play more than a couple times.

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#63 by Joe T. (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 10:21am

#62 - In a sense, Shuler was a bigger bust than Leaf. Leaf at least was canned for a veteran QB (Harbaugh I think), while Shuler was so bad they handed the reigns to an untried, late-round rookie.

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#62 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 10:04am

I'm with Derek on this one, how many people actually watched Gallery? To his defense he was playing the toughest O-Line position and #50 even admits he was his teams best lineman. There aren't very good metrics to measuring an O-Lineman.

51- When the Falcons suck it's not Vicks fault, but when Brett Favre has 4-5 turnovers and the Packers lose at Lambeau, then it's Mike Vick mania.

61- Courney Brown was a 275 pound man child who could run the 40 yard dash faster than Dwayne Jarret and Marcus Vick. I'm not saying those guys are speed Demons, but he's a defensive end!

Speaking of teams starting the higher drafted ( and paid) player for political reasons. There was an old Redskin on the radio the other day who said " when Heath Shuler and Gus Ferotte came into camp, we knew from day 1 that Ferotte ( the 7th round pick) was better than Shuler ( the top 5 pick)"

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#61 by mawbrew (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 8:54am

Judging whether an OL is a bust is pretty subjective. There are virtually no metrics for evaluating (individual) OL play. I don't think sacks allowed have even been tracked consistently. That said, my subjective opinion is that Gallery is terrible. Easily near the bottom of starting tackles in the NFL. I remember watching him in a preseason game against the Lions and thinking someone had nailed his shoes to the turf.

Regarding Kendrell Bell, does anybody have a theory on why he's never again played to that rookie level. I didn't think his injuries were that bad. That is, other players with similar injuries (at least superficially) have been able to fully recover, why not Bell?

On the topic of 'bad picks' these are easy to point out in hindsight. And for some guys there is reasonable justification. I think the Warren pick is one where blame can reasonably be assigned. There were issues they knew about and I'm sure lots of teams picking at #3 would have made a different decision. For somebody like Courtney Brown (from 2000), I think it's tougher to blame the team. Everybody seemed to think he was 'can't miss' and I would think most teams had him at the top (or damn close) of their draft boards.

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#60 by Mr Shush (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 8:46am

#58 - And two of them are now Texans (Fletcher was signed as a free agent to replace Lewis Sanders competing for the nickel/dime positions). Goody.

"I noticed that reviewing old drafts this past weekend with Domanick Williams, nee Davis."

Strewth, I knew about the name change but I didn't realise he'd had a sex-swap too!

"who’s drafted worse: the Houston Texans, or the Cleveland Browns v.2.0?"

Gimme a break. Restricting ourselves for the moment to first rounders:

Let's equate Carr to Couch on the bust scale for the sake of argument, even though I think Carr is clearly better.

Let's assume, on the basis of his mediocre first year and injured second, that Travis Johnson is a bust comparable to Warren, although obviously being picked at #16 in a weak draft class he didn't cost nearly so much in terms of opportunity or salary.

That leaves us comparing

#1 Courtney Brown
#16 William Green
#21 Jeff Faine
#6 Kellen Winslow
#3 Braylon Edwards
#13 Kamerion Wimbley


#3 Andre Johnson
#8 Dunta Robinson
#27 Jason Babin
#1 Mario Williams

Andre Johnson is the one true superstar on either list. Dunta Robinson has yet to quite recapture the form of his sensational rookie season, but is still a top-16 NFL CB and the second best player of the ten. Jason Babin never properly made the transition to 3-4 OLB, and is now a decent situational pass-rusher. He's clearly the worst pick of this Houston four. Mario Williams actually played pretty well his rookie season, but did not live up to the massive expectations foisted on him. He's really too early to call.

William Green sucked throughout his short career and is now out of the league. Faine is a perfectly decent centre, but was in no way worth a first round selection. Winslow and Edwards have both looked good when healthy, but struggled with injury problems. Lawson had an excellent rookie season.

Overall, I think it's hard to escape the conclusion that the Texans have got substantially more total productivity out of their six first round picks than the Browns have out of their eight.

Now if you want to talk about appalling trades and free agent signings (a 2 and a 3 for Philip Buchanon), the Texans have quietly had a shot at rivalling the Redskins in that department . . .

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#59 by Kyle W (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 8:14am

St Louis' draft is also a strange one 4 picks in the first 42 (all on defensive players) and yet there isn't a single player form that draft still with the team.

No wonder the defence has sucked since Lovie Smith left.

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#58 by James, London (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 7:23am

Jason, thanks for the link. Jesus, the Dolphins draft was cover-your-eyes awful.

Rd1 Jamar Fletcher (Released after 3 seasons)
Rd2 Chris Chambers (Still there)
Rd3 Travis Minor (relased this year)
Rd3 Morlon Greenwood (4 years, now with Houston)

Rd4-7 Never heard of any of them.

2000, and 2002-2004 weren't much better.
Is it any wonder Miami suck?

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#57 by Bobman (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:45am

Greg (30) Nice point. Everyone is so 100% sure of it. I've never seen Calvin Johnson play, but I am sure of it too, thanks to the experts. Who are never wrong, BTW.

And I'll pile on Gallery, too. All those starts just mean the team made a huge, poor investment and has no decent depth behind him, but has to squeeze some "value" out of the pick and the paycheck (and that lost opportunity cost) to save face. Does not mean he's any good. (Now would 25 other teams have made that pick, given the chance? Probably....) Huge disappointment and poor player, yes.

One of the biggest busts ever--naah. He's played and presumably beaten out some scrubs, as opposed to some guys who never make it off the bench. Has he contributed value? Probably more than Ryan Leaf did, and probably more than Rashan Salaam or Ki-Jana Carter.... Has he been a divisive locker-room poison? Not that I've heard.

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#56 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:32am

When you consume as much cap space as Vick has, and delivered as much performance as Vick has, calling him a bust is not altogether unwarranted, even though he is not close to being in Ryan Leaf territory. This is commentary on the Falcons' management as much as it is on Vick.

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#55 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:27am

I've posted some extended thoughts on the Titans' draft in 2001, if anybody's interested. It's sort of my version of the Steeler draft grades a commenter last year linked to.

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#54 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:26am

Derek, the only thing I asserted was that forty plus starts for an awful offense, which is a stat you presented as meaningful, is not indicative of any quality play, just as Tony Mandarich's 60 plus starts was not indicative of anything, except that he may have been the best available lineman out of a miserable bunch.

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#53 by pharmboyrick (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 2:19am

While VIck has his problems, he gets an undeserved bad rap. His athleticism is unrivaled even when comparing to Young and Cunningham(pre knee inj.) who are the most comparable to his game. The Falcons have been over-all a good team since he arrived and mostly bc of him. I think he was best when Reeves was there, as he seemed to know how to use him better.

He will never be a true pocket passer and I wonder how long he will be able to rely on his freakish ability, but no way can he be considered a bust.

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#52 by SJM (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:47am

Re: 51

Yeah, Kevin, Vick can't be a bust because all the other QB's in his year sucked except one.

Oh and Tomlinson hasn't won a playoff game. He must suck too.

All players should be judged solely on the number of playoff games they win.

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#51 by kevin (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:15am

Michael Vick must be a bust considering he's won as many playoff games as the rest of the 2001 QB class and Tomlinson combined. I guess playoff wins don't count though.

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#50 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 1:08am

Re #48
Will has not said that Gallery is one of the biggest draft busts of all time; the fact that he's started 41 games removes him from that category, in my opinion.

But that he's started in 41 games does not make him a good player. My subjective observation of Gallery, gained watching with varying degrees of intensity perhaps 4-6 of the Raiders' games this past season thanks to Sunday Ticket, is that at the NFL level he's a generally poor pass blocker and a worse run blocker at the LT position than I expected from his performance at Iowa. This past year, he fluctuated between some absolutely miserable games, most notably in the season opener in the second MNF game, to games where he looked like the best Raider lineman (admittedly, not much of a feat). For a #2 overall pick, you expect above average performance for an extended period of time, and don't anticipate such valleys in performance the player's third year in the league. He has not been a bust on the level of Art Schlichter, Ryan Leaf, Charles Rogers, or Andre Wadsworth, to name some notable busts, but nor has he been a good player.

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#49 by centrifuge (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:55am

Man, I'd almost forgotten about Kendrell Bell. If he had managed to stay healthy and effective, he probably would have been able to hang around in Pittsburgh, and their current linebacker situation would be a lot more palatable.

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#48 by Derek (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:47am


I fail to see how your assertion, no matter how conclusively you phrase it, is proof of anything.

It seems to me that anyone who wants to argue that Gallery is one of the biggest draft busts ever has quite a bit to prove, especially considering how much Gallery has played. Feel free to try and do that but you haven't really done that yet.

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#47 by Erasmus (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:18am

though to be fair this is Millen's best draft so far: 3 starters in Backus, Raiola, and Shaun Rogers. While 2nd day picks McMahon and Scotty Anderson produced something for the Lions

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#46 by Erasmus (not verified) // Apr 25, 2007 - 12:14am


I am upset the Lions do not get to be mentioned in the horrible draft picks discussion.

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#45 by Sophandros (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 11:57pm

Just about everyone agreed that LaDainian Tomlinson was the best back in the draft, although Deuce McAllister of Ole Miss had a few supporters. Some folks thought McAllister was a better all-around player and more ready to step in and contribute immediately.

I think this is because people think merely playing in the SEC (or any BCS conference) automatically makes a player better than someone who played in a Coalition conference.

Clearly, that is not accurate.

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#44 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 11:51pm

I will say this, however. Gallery hasn't been as bad as offensive guard Mike Williams, who tends to get overlooked sometimes when listing hideously bad offensive line picks at the top of the first round.

Acttually, that isn't a bad trivia question; identify two first round busts with the same name.

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#43 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 11:44pm

Derek, Tony Mandarich had over 60 starts in his career. He stunk. Badly. So does Gallery; it is almost embarassing to watch his pass blocking performance.

Being a huge part of the most inept offensive performance in the league is not proof that one has avoided bust-dom. Now, he wouldn't be the first player to salvage a career after three lousy seasons, but it ain't lookin' good at this point.

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#42 by DrObviousSo (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 11:35pm

Man, I do miss seeing Bell play. My wife and I used to love waiting for the "Bell play" that seemed to happen every game. Some running back or wide receiver would turn down field, eyes lit up because he had an open field. Just then, Bell shoots on screen, three feet off the ground, completely horizontal, laying a massive hit on the ball carrier. One or both usually ended up off screen, and it would take about 10 seconds before the two players could pull their arms and legs away from each other.

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#41 by Sean (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 11:09pm

re: 27

In a similar vein, I read a while back that there was a strong sentiment in the Cleveland office to take Seymour at #3, but Davis was in love with Warren. Another story I read on Cleveland, this time about Warren and Brown, was that despite the ineffectiveness of both of them, Warren was flat out lazy. They'd both come off the field after practice, and Brown would be covered in sweat, and Warren would be fresh as a daisy.

Kind of makes you wonder if Seymour had been picked by Cleveland, would he have been as good. Also makes me wonder what the fuck Davis was smoking when he decided that Warren was worthy of the 3rd overall pick.

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#40 by Derek (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 11:02pm

It is interesting how a player can become representative of something larger than any one person (whether positive or negative). I'm curious about how many of you have carefully reviewed the film of Robert Gallery over the past few years. How many national games have the Raiders played since Gallery was picked?

The idea that he is one of the biggest busts ever is beyond ridiculous. He is a 4th year player who has started 41 games in 3 years!

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#39 by Beavis (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 10:50pm

Heh heh. You said "grab Johnson."

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#38 by Yaguar (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 10:37pm

Oakland can't trade down and take Calvin Johnson. If they got someone to trade up to #1, the team trading up to #1 would have done it specifically to grab Johnson.

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#37 by Omar (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 10:02pm

Re # 5 -

Considering the success that San Diego enjoyed by taking Tomlinson and then getting Brees in round 2, why is the idea of the Raiders trading down then taking CJ in Rd 1 and getting a QB in Rd 2 being universally panned?

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#36 by Mentos Fillapeedios (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:40pm

re: 27

Faine now starts for the Saints.

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#35 by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:29pm

Damn, Will Allen beat me to it. Me no type good beer well without.

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#34 by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:27pm

#26: I actually think the scenario you described does occur, to some extent. Teams feel the need to justify their investment of money and draft picks, so many times a highly drafted player starts over less heralded, but more effective, players. Maybe they're hoping that Joe First-rounder will start to live up to his potential, but a lot of times it seems like they're trying to justify crappy scouting or bad luck.

I'm not saying this is necessarily true in the case of Gallery. But I'm pretty sure it happens.

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#33 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:25pm

Re #31
Will Allen, I can't believe you would show such disrespect to our men in uniform. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Maybe I should save this question for next year, but I'll throw it out now... who's drafted worse: the Houston Texans, or the Cleveland Browns v.2.0?

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#32 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:18pm

In 2001, Seymour didn't start the season on fire, but by the time the Super Bowl was played, there weren't too many, if any, better defensive linemen in the league. Part of the reason why the Patriots were given far too little chance against the Rams (other than the likelihood of Martz outsmarting himself) was due to the fact that week by week, in the latter part of the season, Seymour was making huge strides, and this was not sufficiently recognized.

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#31 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:11pm

Well, I think we fool ourselves when we pretend as if most injury histories are forseeable. No, Brown and Couch didn't set the world on fire when healthy, but if they had been injury-free, or much more so, it likely is the case that they wouldn't be seen as such clear cut examples of bad picks. The same might be said about Winslow, although some of his injury issue were due to stupidity, which there was some indication of.

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#30 by Greg (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:10pm

Good read.

And to think that 6 years after, conventional wisdom still thinks Calvin Johnson is a sure thing.

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#29 by MC2 (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:04pm

Carter's career was certainly disappointing, but he still accomplished more in one year (2003) than Tui did in his entire stint with the Raiders.

Bell was probably better than Semour *as a rookie*, although Seymour has obviously ended up having the better career.

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#28 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 9:03pm

Well, depth chart decisions aren't always clear-cut, and a tie will usually go to a young player in whom a lot of money has been invested; teams need to find out whether such a player will improve or not. I wouldn't be shocked to learn that somebody actually outplayed Gallery in practice, but Gallery still started, but I wouldn't expect that to last into his fourth year. I suspect they are moving him back to right tackle and teling him it is sink or swim time, especially if they invest a lot of money in a qb. They aren't going to be too happy about letting their bad pick from 2004 kill the future of their highly paid pick of 2007.

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#27 by Richie (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:53pm

The talk of Gerard Warren as a bust led me to research the Browns 2.0 first round picks:

1999 - Tim Couch
2000 - Courtney Brown
2001 - Gerard Warren
2002 - William Green
2003 - Jeff Faine
2004 - Kellen Winslow Jr.
2005 - Braylon Edwards
2006 - Kamerion Wembley

I guess their first 4 picks were all just bad. I don't know much about Faine or Wembley to judge them, but Faine is no longer on the team. Winslow and Edwards have not lived up to their picks, but mainly due to injury.

For a team to have a high first round pick and blow it so often makes me wonder if the players were really that bad, or if the situation in Cleveland was just that bad, making it difficult for these guys to succeed.

It sure would be nice if there was some way to plug NFL players into an alternate universe to see what could have been.

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#26 by Pat (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:28pm

#23: Imagine if Gallery hadn't started those games. Imagine if he was so bad he couldn't beat out, say, a UDFA in training camp. Wouldn't that version of Gallery be worse?

I mean, I guess it's possible the Raiders are continuing to start him even though he's worse than other players on the roster. But I doubt it.

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#25 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:17pm

Re #17/22
And Dr.Z that year picked Seymour over Bell as his DRoY. I remember him taking a lot of guff for it at the time, but time provides the best validation. Still, I wonder what would have happened if Bell hadn't gotten hurt.

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#24 by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:10pm

6., 13., 18.

That shows why it pays off to advise people who are ignorant.

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#23 by CA (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:10pm

Re: Offensive line

But they’ve all started plenty of games for the teams that drafted them, so you can’t really call any of them busts.

First of all, I don't like to call any player a bust because I think it's an inappropriately judgmental term given the large amount of chance involved in whether a player works out for a given team. I prefer to call the pick of the player that didn't work out a bust. That said, I disagree with your logic here. Robert Gallery, for instance, has started 41 of 48 possible games for the Raiders. That probably counts as "plenty." Actually, I'm sure most Raiders fans would say that it's way more than plenty. Yet I would call the Raiders' pick of Robert Gallery one of the biggest draft busts of all time. I tend to agree that none of the 2001 picks was a bust, but that's not because of the mere fact that the players in question all started a lot of games for the teams that drafted them.

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#22 by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:06pm

I remember a player saying that in training camp, when Bell tackled Bettis, it was the first time he saw the Bus in reverse.

He was that good. Too bad he got injured.

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#21 by sicksock (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:01pm

I know I'm late with this, but great stuff. It's one of my favortive recurring articles.

Keep up the good work boys.

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#20 by Chris (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 8:00pm

John Butler was a good guy. The wisdom he had to NOT take the over hyped Ron Mexico and instead wait on Brees in round 2, and LdT instead.

Do you remember when they were talking about Freddy Mitchell, they were talking about his friendship with A.C. Slater from saved by the bell? They were talking about how has a livly personality and can deal with being a pro? The Eagles drafted Leon from the budweiser commericals.

No love for Derrick Burgess in round 3? Wilson is a good player no doubt, but Clements plays a tougher position.

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#19 by MJK (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:52pm

Not to be snippy, but to answer people that blindly talk about how the Patriots never offer extensions to any of their good players, condiser that both Patriots draftees mentioned positively in this article are still with the team, while many of the other positively mentioned players have been allowed to leave.

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#18 by MJK (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:49pm

Thanks, ABW

I'll never get tired of that quote.

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#17 by Adam Gretz (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:26pm

Kendrell Bell's rookie season was the stuff of legend in Pittsburgh. He not only won the Defensive Rookie Of The Year, but he friggin' destroyed people in the process.

I remember the game in Kansas City that season where he nearly cut Trent Green in half on two seperate sacks. Just insane hits.

He came into training camp and put on a clinic every single day, was amazing in the pre-season games and took over the starting job early in week two (He overthrew Mike Jones...yes, THE Mike Jones). Then he started cracking skulls.

I remember during that season the local media was saying he'd be a Ray Lewis type player racking up 200 tackles a year with huge sack totals. It was like people were expecting him to be a modern day Jack Lambert or something.

I believe it was his second season where he suffered that High Ankle Sprain and was hardly ever on the field after that.

Disappointing it ended that way, because that rookie season was incredible.

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#16 by Marko (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:13pm

James C: I knew the Bears had a trade worked out to move up and draft Tomlinson, but I read somewhere that the move was vetoed by the McCaskeys because they didn't want to cough up the extra dough it would take to sign a pick that high. Maybe your information about wanting to keep a complete set of picks for the 2002 draft so they could attract a GM is correct. Perhaps both of these things played a part in the decision.

I doubt that either of these concerns would have been deal breakers if they could somehow have known that (1) the Bears would win 13 games in 2001, meaning that their draft picks in 2002 would be near the bottom of each round, and the Bears would end up wasting their first two picks in 2002 on Marc Colombo and Roosevelt Williams; and (2) the Bears would end up drafting a RB #4 overall (Cedric Benson) a few years later, have to deal with a nasty holdout and then have to pay Benson a lot more money than they would have had to pay LdT in 2001.

But since all of this helped lead to the hiring of Jerry Angelo, I guess it all worked out OK for the Bears.

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#15 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:11pm

Re #4
I noticed that reviewing old drafts this past weekend with Domanick Williams, nee Davis.

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#14 by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:00pm

(thats about Kendrell Bell)

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#13 by throughthelook… (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:00pm

Steve Smith, Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Santana Moss. That's a great group of receivers, and that's in the same class when Freddie, Terrell, Robinson, and Gardner were chosen in the 1st round. No real insight here, just wow.

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#12 by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 7:00pm

His career got off to a very good start

That's an understatement. He was DROY and played that season like a star.
Only then after injuries he became what he is today, a role player on the KC defense.

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#11 by NewsToTom (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:56pm

Picks like the Keith Adams one leave me sort of conflicted. He didn't make the Titans out of training camp, so he provided to the team that drafted him precisely the amount of value you'd expect from a 7th round pick, i.e., none, even if he was later a decent player for the Eagles.

Odd thing about the 2001 draft: check out picks 60-64: Andre Dyson, Shaun Rogers, Gary Baxter, Derrick Burgess, and Adrian Wilson. For five straight defensive players coming off the board, at that spot in the draft, that's a pretty impressive grouping.

Shad Meier, taken at the end of the third round, was a really crappy TE, but I guess he did more than Brewer. I mean, not just anybody could catch 9 passes for 31 yards.

Tui has to be the biggest QB bust. Six years in the league, but why? He's shown no hints he's capable of being even a mediocre starter in the NFL.

Still, these are minor quibbles, just nits. I look forward to seeing this piece every year.

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#10 by Will Allen (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:45pm

Man, there were a lot of good defensive linemen that year, and looking at the list d-lineman reminds me of how draft outcomes depend on unknowable injury futures. The Vikings 2nd rounder, Willie Howard from Stanford, looked to have an extremely promising future, and then destroyed his knee in the third game of the regular season, and never played again.

Bennett looked like a good pick through 2002, and then started to get nicked up, was never quite the same, and now is a good backup to Larry Johnson.

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#9 by James C (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:35pm

In the interest of being fair to then Bears personel chief, the late Mark Hatley, he had a trade worked out (to either three or four) to take LT. Apparently he was blown aaway by him and wanted to trade up using a pick from the next year's draft. Team president Ted Philips vetoed the move as the decision had already been made to appoint a general manager the following year and it was felt that it might be more difficult to attract their first choice GM with an incomplete set of draft picks. Trade attempts kiboshed the Bears stayed put and prepared to select Andre Carter (who fitted their scheme well playing alongside giants like Washington and Traylor). Then the 49ers swoop in and take Carter and the Bears are left taking Terrell.

The choice was made the General Manager over Tomlinson.

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#8 by Skin Patrol (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:25pm

"Rod Gardner of Clemson, the Redskins’ first-round pick, seems like a Dan Snyder choice: More style than substance. But don’t blame Snyder for choosing Gardner. It was actually coach Marty Schottenheimer who was making the decisions in the Redskins’ war room on draft day 2001."

In a Draft Briefing today, when asked which move upset Dan Snyder as an owner the most, he noted Marty's pick of Rod Gardner. Dan (allegedly) wanted Santana Moss (who he got later anyways).

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#7 by RobM (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:25pm

These articles are too depressing to read. They just remind me exactly how many first round picks the Broncos have wasted on DB's and WR's through the Shanahan era.

Please God draft a pass rusher in the first on Saturday. That's all I ask.

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#6 by ABW (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:24pm

I can't resist. Let's hear what Ron Borges had to say about the Patriots 2001 draft:

"On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second-best tackle in the draft in Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon."

Yes, Ron Borges really is that stupid.

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#5 by Harris (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:18pm

I took great pride in predicting the Chargers would take trade the #1 overall pick, draft Tomlinson at #5 and snag Brees in the second round. I wasn't nearly so happy after the first day was over and the Eagles had drafted Mitchell. Woof.

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#4 by JasonK (not verified) // Apr 24, 2007 - 6:09pm

Interesting note: The NFL has apparently made Will James' name change retroactive. On the link I posted above to NFL.com, it lists "Will James" as the Giants' 3rd round pick, even though the name the Commissioner read was "Will Peterson."

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