Well, it’s finally
almost here. I’ve been thinking about April 24th, 2004 since Ryan Hoag from
Gustavus Adolphus was taken by the Raiders last year with the 262nd overall pick.
The NFL Draft is truly an event unlike any other and has gotten bigger with every
year. For me, I’ll be manning a keg of beer, hosting a bunch of friends
and checking off players as their name comes across the television. I hope each
of you has as much fun as I will.
Round-by-Round Targets (Rounds 1, 2 and 3)
A quick look at
prospects I’d like to see the ‘Hawks go after on Day 1.
1. Marcus Tubbs,
not completely sold on our DT squad, especially considering Rashad Moore is
coming off of surgery. As a unit, we need more talent and depth across the board.
Tubbs is bigger than any DT we have on the roster and would be a nice addition
to our defense. He has potential to get even better and would look great next
to a healthy Rashad Moore.
2. Randy Starks,
reason, Starks seems to be slipping down draft boards. However, I think he’s
a solid DT that has enough size, speed and quickness to be a factor for us.
3. Darnell Dockett, DT Florida State
the perfect penetrating DT that can apply pressure in the passing game, but
also blows up RBs vs. the run. He’s extremely quick and when focused,
he’s one of the best in the game.
4. Jonathan Vilma, ILB Miami
This is a
bit of a pipe dream, but if he’s available at #23, I’d love to take
him. Vilma has amazing instincts and very solid speed, making him one of the
most dangerous LB’s in the class. His smaller size doesn’t deter
me because if he fails in the middle, we could easily use him on the outside.
5. Antwan Odom,
With Grant Wistrom’s arrival, DE isn’t a glaring need, but remember that Chike Okeafor is a Free Agent next year and may not be back. Odom shows more potential
than any DE in this class, but is still raw and needs time to develop. He’d
probably only be a situational pass rusher as a rookie for us, but if he develops
like most scouts think he will, Odom could be a force in a short time.
1. Sean Jones, S
We may have
to move up to get him, but Jones is an ideal candidate for our vacant safety
spot. Like our own Ken Hamlin, Jones can play both spots and is a big hitter.
2. Daryl Smith,
ILB Georgia Tech
a ton of speed, good size and the potential to start as a rookie for the ‘Hawks.
He could be long gone by our 2nd Round pick, but, like Sean Jones, moving up
for him might be worth it.
3. Bob Sanders, S Iowa
only 5'8", but he’s an absolute beast on the field. Sanders is an
amazing athlete with 4.3 speed. He’s great in run support and can cover
well in zone coverage. Sander’s would make a solid SS for us.
4. Dontarrious Thomas,
had a big career at Auburn and could be the starting MLB we’ve been waiting
for. He’s big, fast and able to make plays from sideline to sideline.
5. Igor Olshansky,
is as raw as they come, but he has awesome potential, size and strength.
1. Keiwan Ratliff, CB Florida
is not a need for us, but Ratliff’s a very solid corner that also returns
punts. He’s a bit short, but he has good quickness and is capable of being
our nickel CB in the near future. Bobby Taylor isn’t going to last forever
and Ken Lucas isn’t a lock to be on the roster after next year.
2. Tatum Bell, RB Oklahoma State
RB for our offense. He’s fast, quick and can take any run the distance.
3. Chad Lavalais,
produced big numbers in a tough conference. Lavalais doesn’t have great
computer numbers, but he’s a football player.
4. Ernest Wilford, WR Virginia Tech
physically gifted, but still raw. Wilford may need a year or two to get acclimated
to the NFL, but he has the tools to be a solid NFL receiver.
5. Travell Wharton, G/T South Carolina
A G/T tweener,
Wharton would be a nice backup at either position and give our O-line some nice
2004 NFL Draft
1. New York Giants
(from San Diego)- Eli Manning, QB Ole Miss
trades their 1st and 2nd Round picks in ‘04 and their 2nd Round pick in
‘05 to San Diego for their 1st Round pick (1st overall) in ‘04.
This is the hot trade rumor
right now, but unlike most, it actually has substance to it. Now that the Mannings
have come out and said that they don’t want to be in San Diego, the Chargers
will almost certainly work a trade. The Giants are preparing for life after
QB Kerry Collins, one of the most streaky and inconsistent QB’s in the
NFL. While taking a OT like Robert Gallery makes much more sense for the immediate
future, the Giants are thinking long-term. Manning has a good arm, solid intangibles
and a premium NFL pedigree. He’ll be starting in ‘05.
2. Cleveland (from
Oakland)- Robert Gallery, OT Iowa
trade their 1st and 3rd Round picks in 2004 as well as an additional 2nd Round
pick in ‘05 for Oakland’s Round 1 pick in ‘04 (2nd overall).
That’s right, another
trade. Check out Cleveland’s recent Round 1 disasters. QB Tim Couch (1st
overall) , this guy would be our #3 QB. He’s the definition of a total
bust. DE Courtney Brown (1st overall), hasn’t been healthy for one full
season and has been a non-factor. DT Gerard Warren (3rd overall), has been labeled
an underachiever and had to take a pay cut to stay with the team this year.
RB William Green (16th overall), has shown flashes, but apparently likes to
smoke some herb on the weekends. He faces NFL suspension this year. Add all
that up and you’ve got one sketchy franchise. Because of this, the Brownies
are willing to give up a few picks in order to get the guy they want (and need).
Gallery’s a Pro Bowl LT capable of starting for the next decade. He’s
already better than any other O-lineman Cleveland has.
3. Arizona- Larry Fitzgerald, WR Pittsburgh
be looking very hard at QB Ben Roethlisberger, but Dennis Green has made no
secret of his wanting of Fitzgerald, who’s at the top of the most talented
and deep WR class in NFL history. Fitzgerald’s big, strong, has good speed
and possesses elite body control. He constantly wins jump-ball scenarios and
is a true deep threat. Paired with last year’s R.O.Y., Anquan Boldin,
the Cardinals would post one of the best WR corps in the NFL.
4. San Diego- Phillip
Rivers, QB N.C. State
be a bit early for Rivers, but the Chargers have fallen in love with him. He’s
put up huge numbers during his career, has a good arm, makes great decisions
and is a decent athlete. Above everything else, he’s a leader that wins
games. Look for the Chargers to try and trade down a few more spots, but I think
Rivers is their boy.
5. Washington- Sean Taylor, S Miami
have had a decent offseason and will likely select the best-player-available
if they’re not able to trade up and select LT Robert Gallery. Taylor didn’t
have the best personal workout at his Pro Day, but it’s clear he’s
one of the best defenders in this Draft. He’s big, fast, strong and capable
of making plays all over the field.
6. Detroit- Kellen Winslow, TE Miami
Personally, I think Winslow’s Miami teammate Sean Taylor should be the
guy, but Steve Mariucci can’t resist adding a TE like Winslow to his offense.
Winslow has WR speed and hands, but can also block. He could have a Heap/Gonzalez/Shockey-type
impact as a rookie.
7. Oakland (from
Cleveland)- Roy Williams, WR Texas
If the Raiders
pull off this trade, consider them the early favorites to be voted “best
team Draft”. Oakland has holes everywhere and needs every pick they can,
but if the Draft ends up going down like this, they’ll have added additional
picks as well as selecting their #1 target, Williams. He’s the fastest
of the elite WR’s, is great after the catch and has tremendous physical
8. Atlanta- DeAngelo Hall, CB Virginia Tech
coach Jim Mora Jr. will have to pick between Hall, or the top defensive lineman
available. Hall is the higher rated player and could edge out Udeze, Harris
and Wilfork. He’d be a nice addition to a secondary that’s finally
starting to come around after years of getting burnt. Hall’s good enough
to start as a rookie and has Pro Bowl potential.
Keneche Udeze, DE USC
let the recent injury rumors deter you, Udeze’s still an elite prospect.
A receiver is tempting here, but the Jags can grab a good one in Round 2. Udeze
is battling Will Smith for the first DE to come off the board, and either would
be a nice pick here. At 280 pounds, Udeze is more attractive to the Jags and
should have an immediate impact as a nickel pass rusher or pass rushing DT.
He racked up 16.5 sacks last year and still has a ton of potential
10. Houston- Vince Wilfork, DT Miami
would really love a CB here, but none are worthy of the pick. Wilfork has the
size and skill to be a difference-maker at NT for the Texans. After proving
he can keep his weight down, Wilfork’s shown that he’s the best
DT in the class and can get even better. Adding Wilfork and Robaire Smith in
the same offseason would be huge steps to improving their defense.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB Miami (OH)
will take the last of the three elite QB’s at this spot. While upgrading
their secondary is a must, the chance at a franchise QB doesn’t come around
too often. Roethlisberger has a cannon for an arm, is big, can read defenses
and is a good athlete for a guy his size. Coming from the MAC, he might need
a year on the bench, but the wait could be worth it.
12. New York Jets-
Dunta Robinson, CB South Carolina
Jets to try and trade down, but if they can’t, Robinson is the likely
target. Either of the two Miami LB’s are tempting, but Robinson fills
a bigger need. While he isn’t fantastic in any one area, Robinson is solid
in every area. He has decent size, great speed and nice athleticism. At worst,
Robinson will be New York’s nickel CB.
13. Buffalo- Will
Smith, DE Ohio State
been battling Keneche Udeze for the top DE spot all year and could still be
the first DE off the board. He ran 4.6 40 times at 270 pounds during his personal
workouts and has been a beast the past two years at OSU. The Bills haven’t
had a 10-sack DE since Marcellus Wiley left and would welcome Smith with this
14. Chicago- Steven Jackson, RB Oregon State
has bigger needs, but Jackson is simply too good to pass on. He’s the
best ‘back in the class, has awesome size, can run inside and outside
and can catch the ball well. Given that the Bears plan to start Rex Grossman
at QB, it’d be nice to have someone to take the pressure off of him. Jackson
is the early favorite for rookie of the year.
15. Tampa Bay- Tommie Harris, DT Oklahoma
player once said to be a lock as a top-5 pick, has seen his stock drop considerably.
He’s a great penetrating DT that has awesome quickness, but his lack of
weight has some teams backpedaling. Having said that, Harris is still an elite
player that would be an asset on any NFL team and definitely deserves this pick.
Harris, Anthony McFarland and Simeon Rice will be an imposing defensive line.
16. San Francisco-
Reggie Williams, WR Washington
see. The Niners lost WR’s Terrell Owens and Tai Streets. They lost QB
Jeff Garcia and also lost two starting O-lineman. Nice work, Bay-area front
office personnel. Williams is 6'4" 225, is extremely physical and can get
deep. In any other Draft, he’d be a lock to go in the top-10, but because
of the talent around him he’ll slip a bit. Williams is almost guaranteed
to start if he’s taken here.
17. Denver (from
Cincinnati)- D.J. Williams, OLB Miami
OLB Ian Gold
doesn’t seem like he’s coming back and the Broncos are forced to
find a replacement. Williams, one of the best athletes in this Draft, would
more than make up for Gold’s departure. Williams is still a bit raw, but
how can you not take a guy who’s 6'3" 250, runs legit 4.5 40 times
and can make plays all over the field.
18. New Orleans-
Chris Gamble, CB Ohio State
soured on Gamble because he’s very raw and didn’t run well at his
Pro Day. But make no mistake about it, Gamble may have more pure potential and
upside than any other player in this Draft. You can’t teach certain qualities
Gamble has. He’s got elite size, awesome athleticism and the ability to
play with any receiver in the game. All he needs is some time to finally concentrate
on playing CB and he could be a perennial Pro Bowler. But then again, he could
be the next Bryant Westbrook!
19. Minnesota- Lee Evans, WR Wisconsin
player would be a much better choice here, but the Vikes would be reaching.
Evans tore up his knee only a year ago, but he had an absolutely huge season
as a Senior and has shown that his health isn’t a concern. He’d
be a great compliment to Randy Moss and give Daunte Culpepper another weapon
in the passing game.
20. Miami- Shawn Andrews, OT Arkansas
of QB A.J. Feeley and WR David Boston give the ‘Phins flexibility to take
the highest rated player on their board. At this point, it’s Andrews,
a massive RT who’s specialty is drive-blocking. Given that Miami’s
offense is geared towards RB Ricky Williams, Andrews makes a ton of sense. He’s
capable of starting as a rookie and would give the Dolphins some stability along
an offensive line that’s been a revolving door for the past few years.
21. New England-
Karlos Dansby, OLB Auburn
may be the only team in the league that can honestly draft B.P.A. When they
acquired RB Corey Dillon, the Pats filled their biggest hole while keeping both
their Round 1 picks. Dansby is an ideal OLB for New England’s defensive
scheme because he’s a great pass rusher as well as a solid LB. He’s
still raw, but his size, speed and versatility warrant this pick.
22. Dallas- Chris Perry, RB Michigan
For the record, I think Perry will never be a special back, but I think Parcells,
should he take him at this spot, will give the ball to him enough that people
will think he’s good. Perry is a decent ‘back that can do a bit
of everything, but he also lacks flash and isn’t a big threat to break
the long run. However, he fits Bill Parcells’ RB mold and may be the pick
23. Seattle- Marcus Tubbs, DT Texas
adding DE Grant Wistrom, Seattle is looking to add some defensive line help,
especially at DT. Veterans Jon Randle and Chad Eaton are no longer with the
team and the ‘Hawks need some more talent to solidify a defense that is
on the verge of becoming a good one. Tubbs weighs 335 pounds and is a huge run-stopper.
If he stays focused, Tubbs is capable of making a few trips to Hawaii.
(from Denver)- Will Poole, CB USC
CB Dennis Weathersby was recently in a car accident and his future is in question. The
Bengals are forced to add some depth at CB and take Poole, who had a great season
at USC and has the potential to be a solid starter. Poole has good size and
speed, but slipped down boards because he had a bad Pro Day and only played
one full year at USC. After running better times a few weeks after his original
workout, Poole’s moving up boards again and will probably go in Round
25. Green Bay- J.P.
Lossman, QB Tulane
get QB Tim Couch via a trade, the Pack will be forced to get Brett Favre’s
heir apparent in the Draft. Lossman has a cannon for an arm, is athletic and
put up good numbers behind a terrible offensive line and without the help of
a star receiver. He can learn a lot from watching Favre for a year or two, but
after that, it’s his show.
26. St. Louis- Ben Troupe, TE Florida
definitely have bigger needs, but Troupe’s way too talented to pass up
here. Mike Martz’s vaunted offense hasn’t had a legitimate TE threat
in years. Adding Troupe would give their offense a Pro Bowl-talented target
in the middle of the field and take pressure off of which ever QB is starting
next year (Bulger or Warner).
27. Tennessee- Randy
Starks, DT Maryland
stock is slipping a bit, but he’s still a very solid player. After losing
DT Robaire Smith and DE Jevon Kearse, the Titans are in desperate need for D-lineman.
Starks, who’s played DE in a 3-4 defense and DT in a 4-3, is a versatile
lineman who can contribute as a rookie.
28. Philadelphia- Kevin Jones, RB Virginia Tech
This is a
case where a player is too good to bypass, despite needs elsewhere. Jones is
the perfect West Coast RB, fast, shifty and with the ability to break the long
run at any time. He isn’t awesome catching the football, but he’s
adequate and can get better. Despite Jones’ less than stellar personal
workout, he still goes in Round 1.
Ahmad Carroll, CB Arkansas
for CB help, the Colts take Carroll, who’s been coming on late and would
inject their secondary with some talent. He’s a bit small, but Carroll
has premier speed and isn’t afraid to get physical with anyone.
30. Kansas City-
Antwan Odom, DE Alabama
as a receiver may be here, the fact is that KC’s defense can’t stop
anyone, and until they can, they’ll remain a team that’s a bit short
of a championship. Odom has more potential than any DE in this class, but he’s
still a bit raw and needs time to develop. If KC’s coaches can get him
going, Odom could be a difference-maker in the NFL.
31. Carolina- Michael Clayton, WR LSU
200, Clayton’s the perfect compliment to WR Steve Smith. The Panthers
need a physical receiver who can catch passes over the middle and draw some
attention away from Smith. If Clayton’s on the board here, the Panthers
shouldn’t wait too long to make the pick.
32. New England- Justin Smiley, G Alabama
Damien Woody isn’t a huge blow, but grabbing Smiley is a nice move. He’s
moved into the #1 Guard spot on most teams’ boards and fits in with NE’s
offense. He’s strong, can move and is a smart player. It’s not a
glamorous pick, but it’s a good one.
33. Arizona- Derrick Strait, CB Oklahoma
34. San Diego (from New York Giants)- Jacob Rogers, OT USC
35. San Diego- Rashaun Woods, WR Oklahoma State
36. Detroit- Michael Jenkins, WR Ohio State
37. Cleveland- Sean Jones, S Georgia
38. Atlanta- Darnell Dockett, DT Florida State
39. Jacksonville- Devery Henderson, WR LSU
40. Houston- Vernon Carey, G/T Miami
41. Denver (from Washington)- Donnell Washington, DT Clemson
42. Tennessee (from New York Jets)- Jake Grove, C Virginia Tech
43. Buffalo- Ben Watson, TE Georgia
44. Pittsburgh- Matt Ware, CB UCLA
45. Oakland (from Tampa Bay)- Daryl Smith, ILB Georgia Tech
46. San Francisco- Igor Olshansky, DT Oregon
47. Chicago- Dwan Edwards, DT Oregon State
48. New Orleans- Michael Boulware, OLB Florida State
49. Cincinnati- Ricardo Colclough, CB Tusculum
50. Minnesota- Jason Babin, DE Western Michigan
51. Baltimore- Keary Colbert, WR USC
52. Dallas- Nat Dorsey, OT Georgia Tech
53. Seattle- Dontarrious Thomas, LB Auburn
54. Denver- Bob Sanders, S Iowa
55. Green Bay- Marquise Hill, DE LSU
56. Cincinnati (from Miami, through New England)- Isaac Sopoaga, DT Hawaii
57. Tennessee- Max Starks, OT Florida
58. Philadelphia- Shawntae Spencer, CB Pittsburgh
59. Indianapolis- Teddy Lehman, OLB Oklahoma
60. New Orleans (from St. Louis)- Keith Smith, CB McNeese State
61. Kansas City- Joey Thomas, CB Montana State
62. Carolina- DeMorrio Williams, OLB Nebraska
63. New England- Stuart Schweigert, S Purdue
Mathias Askew, DT Michigan State
65. New York Giants- Kelly Butler, OT Purdue
66. San Diego- Darrion Scott, DT Ohio State
67. Oakland- Greg Jones, RB Florida State
68. Oakland (from Cleveland)- Matt Schaub, QB Virginia
69. Atlanta- P.K. Sam, WR Florida State
70. Jacksonville- Keyaron Fox, OLB Georgia Tech
71. Houston- Jeremy LeSeuer, CB Michigan
72. Jacksonville (from Washington)- Will Allen, S Ohio State
73. Detroit- Julius Jones, RB Notre Dame
74. Buffalo- Johnnie Morant, WR Syracuse
75. Pittsburgh- Keiwan Ratliff, CB Florida
76. New York Jets- Courtney Watson, LB Notre Dame
77. San Francisco- Chris Snee, G Boston College
78. Chicago- Bobby McCray, DE Florida
79. Tampa Bay- Devard Darling, WR WSU
80. Cincinnati- Travelle Wharton, G/T South Carolina
81. New Orleans- Chad Lavalais, DT LSU
82. Minnesota- Nathan Vasher, CB Texas
83. Dallas- Travis LaBoy, DE Hawaii
84. Seattle- DeMarco McNeil, DT Auburn
85. Denver- Tatum Bell, RB Oklahoma State
86. Green Bay- Tommy Kelley, DT/DE Mississippi State
87. Miami- Junior Siavii, DT Oregon
88. Baltimore- Derrick Hamilton, WR Clemson
89. Philadelphia- Alex Stepanovich, C Ohio State
90. Indianapolis- Rodney Leslie, DT UCLA
91. St. Louis- Isaac Hilton, DE/OLB Hampton
92. Tennessee- Adrian Jones, OT Kansas
93. Kansas City- Ernest Wilford, WR Virginia Tech
94. Carolina- Jason Shivers, S Arizona State
95. New England- Greg Brooks, CB Southern Mississippi
96. Cincinnati- Shuan Phillips, DE Purdue
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