Friday, December 27, 2013

Flashback Friday - the 2004 NFL Draft

As we get ready to enter 2014, for kicks let's look back at the first ten picks of the 2004 NFL Draft and see how they turned out:

1. Eli Manning - QB - Mississippi - San Diego Chargers
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Manning threw for over 10,000 yards at the University of Mississippi. He finished 3rd in the running for the 2003 Heisman Trophy, and won the 2003 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, 2003 Maxwell Award (best college football player in the U.S.), and 2003 SEC Offensive Player of the Year Honors. Manning's career in the pros started dubiously when he publicly stated that he'd refuse to play for the Chargers if they drafted him. San Diego, as a result, drafted but subsequently traded Manning to the Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers (the 4th pick), a first round pick in 2005 (Shawn Merriman), and a third round pick in 2004 (Nate Kaeding). As a pro, Manning has gone 84-66 as a regular season starter, thrown for over 35,000 yards, won two Super Bowls taking home the MVP both times, and made three Pro Bowls.

2. Robert Gallery - OT - Iowa - Oakland Raiders
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Gallery was a unanimous All-American in 2003 and won the Outland Trophy - the award for the best college football interior lineman. Unfortunately, while he played in the NFL for 8 seasons compiling 89 starts, he never truly lived up to the potential everyone saw in him in college. Gallery failed to make a Pro Bowl and announced his retirement from football in August of 2012.

3. Larry Fitzgerald - WR - Pittsburgh - Arizona Cardinals
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In just two seasons with the Pitt Panthers, Larry Fitzgerald logged 161 receptions for 2677 yards and 34 touchdowns. He finished second in the 2003 Heisman voting to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White and won the 2003 Big East Offensive Player of the Year Award, was a 2003 All-American, and took home both the Fred Biletnikoff Award (nation's top receiver) and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards. His pro career has been highly successful as he's wrapping up his 10th year with the Cardinals. He currently has 840 receptions and over 11,000 receiving yards and 87 touchdowns. He's made 7 Pro Bowl teams and helped take Arizona to Super Bow XLIII where he caught 7 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

4. Philip Rivers - QB - NC State - New York Giants
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Rivers was a 4-year starter for North Carolina State tallying 13,484 passing yards and 95 touchdowns for the Wolfpack on his way to being named the 2003 ACC Offensive Player and Player of the Year. The starting quarterback for the Chargers since 2006, Rivers has amassed 32,140 passing yards and 218 touchdowns in 127 starts. He's played in 4 Pro Bowls, and took the Chargers to the AFC Championship game in 2007.

5. Sean Taylor - S - Miami (FL) - Washington Redskins
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Sean Taylor was the 2003 Big East Defensive Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American for the Hurricanes. Taylor overcame some legal troubles earlier in his pro career with the Redskins to grow into one of the league's top safeties, and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl in 2006. Sadly, Taylor was murdered during the 2007 season, cutting short his promising career. Taylor had 5 interceptions in 9 games in 2007 and was posthumously named to his second Pro bowl.

6. Kellen Winslow II - TE - Miami (FL) - Cleveland Browns
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The son of the Hall of Fame tight end of the same name, the younger Winslow was a Consensus All-American in 2003. After backing up Jeremy Shockey as a freshman, Winslow came into his own as a sophomore and junior and finished his career at Miami with 119 receptions for 1,365 yards and 9 touchdowns and brought home the 2003 John Mackey Award (college football's most outstanding tight end). Injuries derailed his first two pro seasons in Cleveland, but in 2006 he bounced back to catch 89 passes and followed that up with 1,106 receiving yards in 2007. Now with the Jets, Winslow has amassed 468 receptions in his NFL career and made the Pro Bowl in 2007.

7. Roy Williams - WR - Texas - Detroit Lions
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Williams recorded back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons at the University of Texas and was the first Lions receiver to make a Pro Bowl since Herman Moore in 1997 when he made the 2006 squad. Williams was traded from Detroit to Dallas in 2008 where he never again matched his 2006 production catching 36, 38, 37 and 37 passes over his final four seasons. After 15 games with the Bears in 2011, he announced his retirement in September of 2012.

8. DeAngelo Hall - CB - Virginia Tech - Atlanta Falcons
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Hall was so talented in college that he saw action on offense, defense and special teams as a junior. Now in his 10th NFL season in a career spent between Atlanta, Oakland and Washington, Hall has started every game for the Redskins for the past four seasons. Hall has tallied 43 interceptions in his career, made 3 Pro Bowl squads, and is tied for league lead in non-offensive touchdowns this year with three.

9. Reggie Williams - WR - Washington - Jacksonville Jaguars
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Williams averaged just under 1,200 receiving yards a season in three years with the Huskies finishing with 238 receptions and 22 touchdowns. A 2002 Consensus All-American when he hauled in 94 passes, Williams' Pro success didn't match what he was able to do in college. Williams started just 46 games in 5 seasons with the Jaguars peaking in 2007 when 10 of his 38 receptions went for touchdowns. Williams has bounced around football leagues since leaving Jacksonville failing to catch on in either the United Football League of the Canadian Football League, last getting released by the Toronto Argonauts in June.

10. Dunta Robinson - CB - South Carolina - Houston Texans
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Robinson intercepted five passes in two seasons with the Gamecocks, but that didn't stop him from developing into the Pro Football Writers Association's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2004 when he recorded 6 interceptions and forced three fumbles. Now with Kansas City, Robinson has recorded 17 picks in his 10 year career.

Notable picks outside the top ten:

11. Ben Roethlisberger - QB - Miami (OH) - Pittsburgh Steelers
12. Jonathan Vilma - LB - Miami (FL) - New York Jets
21. Vince Wilfork - DT - Miami (FL) - New England Patriots
24. Steven Jackson - RB - Oregon State - St. Louis Rams
34. Chris Snee - OT - Boston College - New York Giants
44. Bob Sanders - SS - Iowa - Indianapolis Colts
64. Darnell Dockett - DT - Florida State - Arizona Cardinals
81. Chris Cooley - TE - Utah State - Washington Redskins
90. Matt Schaub - QB - Virginia - Atlanta Falcons
98. Shaun Phillips - DE - Purdue - San Diego Chargers
126. Jared Allen - DE - Idaho State - Kansas City Chiefs
154. Michael Turner - RB - Northern Illinois - San Diego Chargers

Notable players not drafted:

Vonta Leach - FB - East Carolina - 3 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pro Teams
Jason Peters - OT - Arkansas - 5 Pro Bowls, 1 All-Pro Team
Willie Parker - RB - North Carolina - 3 1,000+ yard rushing seasons, 29 touchdowns, 2 Pro Bowls
Wes Welker - WR - Texas Tech - 841 receptions for 9,358 yards, 5 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pro Teams

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