Cleaning part of my room, I was reminded that I used to have a Sports Illustrated subscription when I found an issue from 2005, an “NFL DRAFT SPECIAL” that had to have come out only a week after the draft. I’ll take you through my journey, and we’ll learn that predictions on sports are so crazy sometimes.
Look at those smiling faces on the cover: Antrel Rolle, Cedric Benson, Alex Smith and Ronnie Brown. Pinnacles of success. I’m not writing out the whole first round by hand, so let’s use the Internet to see how it all went down:
1. San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith, QB Utah
2. Miami Dolphins – Ronnie Brown, RB Auburn
3. Cleveland Browns – Braylon Edwards, WR Michigan
4. Chicago Bears – Cedric Benson, RB Texas
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carnell Williams, RB Auburn
6. Tennessee Titans – Adam Jones, CB West Virginia
7. Minnesota Vikings (from Oakland) – Troy Williamson, WR South Carolina
8. Arizona Cardinals – Antrel Rolle, CB Miami (Fla)
9. Washington Redskins – Carlos Rogers, CB Auburn
10. Detroit Lions – Mike Williams, WR USC
11. Dallas Cowboys – Demarcus Ware, DE/OLB Troy State
12. San Diego Chargers (from NY Giants) – Shawne Merriman, DE/OLB Maryland
13. New Orleans Saints (from Houston)- Jamaal Brown, OT Oklahoma
14. Carolina Panthers – Thomas Davis, S/OLB Georgia
15. Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Johnson, LB Texas
16. Houston Texans (from New Orleans) – Travis Johnson, DT Florida State
17. Cincinnati Bengals – David Pollack, DE Georgia
18. Minnesota – Erasmus James, DE Wisconsin
19. St. Louis Rams – Alex Barron, OT Florida State
20. Dallas Cowboys (from Buffalo) – Marcus Spears, DE LSU
21. Jacksonville Jaguars – Matt Jones, QB Arkansas
22. Baltimore Ravens – Mark Clayton, WR Oklahoma
23. Oakland Raiders (from Seattle) – Fabian Washington, CB Nebraska
24. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rogers, QB California
25. Washington Redskins (from Denver) – Jason Campbell, QB Auburn
26. Seattle Seahawks (from Oakland through NY Jets) – Chris Spencer, C Ole Miss
27. Atlanta Falcons – Roddy White, WR UAB
28. San Diego Chargers – Luis Castillo, DT Northwestern
29. Indianapolis Colts – Marlin Jackson, CB Michigan
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Heath Miller, TE Virginia
31. Philadelphia Eagles – Mike Patterson, DT USC
32. New England Patriots – Logan Mankins, OG Fresno State
Pacman Jones, Matt Jones, Cedric Benson and Shawne Merriman, all in the same draft class. It brings a tear to my eye. Being serious, though, there’s some legitimate talent in that draft: Aaron Rodgers, Jammal Brown, Roddy White, Demarcus Ware, and others. The next picture is not an example of one of them.
Argue all you want, but Braylon Edwards was not worth a first round pick in retrospect, and definitely not a top five pick. Hey, at least he was more productive than Cedric Benson. Think of how crazy it would have been, though, if the Browns drafted Aaron Rodgers.
(tries to imagine without regards for rosters that year or need)
Let’s keep going. But before we do, my favorite part of that Braylon Edwards sidebar:
“Oakland Raiders cornerback and fellow Michigan alum Charles Woodson says Edwards ‘is exactly the type of big receiver that NFL teams love, because he can make the big catch or draw a pass interference call when the ball goes up. He’ll create a lot of mismatches.'”
Now, I’m not going to call Charles Woodson a liar, but Braylon probably didn’t read this issue because he kept dropping it.
My favorite part of this issue were definitely the winners and losers. Some of them were actually pretty accurate (it was written by Paul Zimmerman/Dr. Z, who was a well-informed guy), such as the Cowboys being winners with Demarcus Ware and Marcus Spears. The Vikings, however, being a winner from getting Troy Williamson and Erasmus James? Sorry, I won’t give you that one at all. It feels like every time the Vikings drafted a well-known college receiver post-Randy Moss, everyone in Minnesota would say, “Alright, we’ve got THE replacement for Randy Moss with none of the attitude.” And it was very rarely true.
The Browns were considered winners from getting Braylon Edwards (at the time, alright), Brodney Pool (sure) and…. Charlie Frye. Here’s what they wrote:
“But here’s the player who could put their draft over the top: Akron quarterback Charlie Frye, a third-rounder who is remarkably accurate.”
I really hope Peter Pattakos doesn’t read this. He might cry.
Some other fun stuff: Ryan Moats, drafted by the Eagles, was called “a Brian Westbrook clone.”
My favorite part of this whole winners and losers thing HAD to be the Broncos, being in the losers section. Here’s their blurb by Dr. Z: “Three corners who run in the 4.3s and Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett were the first four selections in their six-man draft. If they’re setting up a sprint relay, I hope they don’t make Clarett run the anchor leg. Why do they need him, anyway? I thought they addressed their running back situation when they signed free agent Ron Dayne, late of the Giants.”
My head is exploding at this. It’s like when you see a fat person fall over, and then fart. Or Ron Dayne. Maybe the Broncos want to organize a bank robbery, and they brought in Maurice Clarett to be the muscle.
As we leave this page, let’s look at the Lions and why they were puzzlers. I will give you the quote with no commentary:
“Everyone thought they’d go defense with their top pick, but they took a wideout, Mike Williams of USC, in the first round for the third straight year. Then again, I did jot down a comment from club president Matt Millen in which he said he’d love to line up Wiliams with Charloes Rogers and Roy Williams in three-wideout sets.”
Alright, that’s all I have for NFL stuff to make fun of in this issue. There are some other interesting things I saw while flipping through that I took pictures of, like this first-person interview with Miguel Tejada:
For his answer on performance-enhancingn drugs in the Dominican: “A couple of kids died there. I don’t know anybody who’s taking it, but the best thing they can do is eliminate whatever it is.”
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not! Matt Cassel’s Hot. (Don’t take that out of context)
Finally, it wouldn’t be complete without looking at the Rick Reilly column. It’s about underground women fighting, called Extreme ChickFights! It’s called “200-Dollar Babies” and although it’s about something interesting, it’s full of Reilly expressions and I couldn’t read it without wanting to tear up the page. Try and read the blurry picture I took; I did it on purpose so you couldn’t subject yourself to that.