The Buccaneers seemed to hit on their first-round pick in 2004, with LSU WR Michael Clayton putting together a fine rookie season. But injuries his second season and instability at the quarterback position have slowed his development. Tampa didn’t have a second-round pick, and struck out in the third with the selection of Washington inside linebacker Marquis Cooper, who was released following the 2005season.
Give the Bucs credit though for landing starting safety Will Allen in the fourth round, and left guard Jeb Terry in the fifth. Beyond that point, however, the club didn’t get anyone of significance.
22. St. Louis Rams
Running back Steven Jackson was a fantastic addition and has proven to be a great value at No. 24 overall. The Rams lacked a second-round pick, and third-round pick Tony Hargrove, a defensive end out of Georgia Tech, was a bit of a disappointment and was shipped to the Bills in 2006 for a fifth-round draft pick.
On the second day of the draft, the Rams started with good value in the fourth round in linebacker Brandon Chillar, who started in 2006. But the team struck out with the remainder of their late-round picks.
21. Denver Broncos
Grade: C -
Give the Broncos credit for a solid first day in 2004, but based on the number of picks they possessed, they should have come away with much more. First-round linebacker D.J. Williams was a good value at No. 17 overall, and Tatem Bell has been a decent runner for a second-round investment. The club also picked up Marshall wide receiver Darius Watts with a second-round pick, but his development has been somewhat disappointing.
From the second round on, however, Denver’s draft was a complete flop. Of their seven remaining picks, none were a factor for the team, and most were off the roster by the time the ‘06 season began.
20. Atlanta Falcons
Grade: C -
With a pair of first-round picks and no other first-day picks, the Falcons hoped to score big early in the 2004 draft, but the results have been mixed. No. 8 overall pick DeAngelo Hall has been a solid player and made a trip to the Pro Bowl following the 2006 season. But wide receiver Michael Jenkins, selected No. 29 overall, has been a disappointment even though he started for the team in ’06. Part of the problem could be that quarterback Michael Vick isn’t exactly the most capable passer in the league, but regardless, Jenkins has been a bit of a bust.
In the fourth round, the Falcons picked up a solid player in Nebraska linebacker Demorrio Williams, but they got very little return on their investment in rounds five, six, and seven.
19. Tennessee Titans
Grade: C -
The Titans are another team that, based on the large number of picks they possessed, should have come away from the draft with more to show for their efforts. Although they didn’t hold a pick in the first round, they did have 13 picks to work with, starting with three second-rounders. Tight end Ben Troupe out of Florida showed signs of breaking out during the 2005 season, but regressed in ‘06. Hawaii defensive end Travis LaBoy earned a starting job with the Titans, but isn’t much of an impact player. Alabama DE Antwan Odom is stuck in a backup role, and has recrded just 4.5 sacks in the 36 games he has played.
In the third round, Tennessee picked up Maryland defensive tackle Randy Starks, who has worked his way into the team’s rotation at the position. Fellow third-rounder CB Rich Gardner contributed as a backup for two seasons, but was waived before the 2006 season.
Of the Titans eight remaining picks, only one made much of an impact, but he was perhaps their best find in 2004, and certainly their greatest value. Offensive guard Jacob Bell (Miami, OH) was selected in the fifth round, but has settled nicely into a starting job on the left side.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
With Eli Manning and Philip Rivers garnering most of the hype prior to the 2004 NFL Draft, the Steelers ended up with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out of Miami of Ohio. Not a bad consolation prize. In round two, they picked up cornerback Ricardo Colclough, who has had more of an impact on the return game than at corner. In fact, he recorded just one interception through his first 33 games.
Starting offensive tackle Max Starks was a nice find in round three, but beyond that point, the Steelers had virtually no success with their picks.
17. New Orleans Saints
Despite defensive end not being one of the team’s biggest needs heading into this draft, the Saints grabbed Ohio State’s Will Smith with the 18th pick, and it has worked out very well for them. The Saints had a pair of selections in the second round, but have had less-than-stellar results from either. Wide receiver Devery Henderson (No. 50) has shown flashes of potential, but hasn’t produced consistently. And inside linebacker Courtney Watson (No. 60) was traded to the Bills for tight end Tim Euhus, who was released before the 2006 season
Give New Orleans credit for finding starting fullback Mike Karney in the fifth round, but he is the only day-two pick still on the club’s roster.
16. Oakland Raiders
Generally, after several years you get a good as to whether or not a particular guy is going to be a bust. But after several position changes and turnovers in the coaching staff, it’s tough to completely give up on offensive tackle Robert Gallery, the second-overall pick. I’m not giving the Raiders any credit for this pick, but by the same token, I’m not going to downgrade them too much either until the youngster has a chance to play under a competent coaching staff.
The Raiders kept the offensive line theme going in the second round, hitting on center Jake Grove at No. 45 overall. And they capped off the first day of the draft with a value pick in Purdue safety Stuart Schweigert, who, while not overly-impressive, has been adequate
Oakland had six picks on day two of the draft, and like most teams, most of them are no longer on the roster. But receiver Johnnie Morant has stuck around in a backup role, and tight end Courtney Anderson has developed into an adequate starter.