Draft Day, 2005. Perhaps the most unsatisfactory draft of all time, yes? The class itself lacked superstar talent. The wheeling and dealing most often expected was a no-show. The Seahawks had perhaps the ultimate knuckle-dragging draft they’ve ever produced. And ESPN? Well, it’s obvious to me now they just don’t understand what the draft is all about… (ahem).
Draft coverage on ESPN has now regressed to the point where it's no more informative than any other day of the week on NFL Network. The reason I'm willing to sit my butt in the seat for hour upon hour is simple: I want to hear someone with insight talk about who my team might select. Who's still available. Witness the pick itself. Watch the tape on that pick. And hear Mel Kiper tell us what he thinks as a result. THAT'S why we watch. I don't care about steroids, 10-year veterans, or any other elongated conversation which camouflages the picks as they pass. For the first time in 15 years, I turned the draft off before it was finished. By the end of the 2nd Rd I couldn't take the ignorance anymore and found my time better served to find something more productive, and hit the internet for a review when it’s over.
With that preference in mind, here’s a review of the 2005 Draft as I see it:
Contrary to many opinions, I fully support the selection of C CHRIS SPENCER in the 1st Round. I had him tabbed as a Yellow Marker player (a mark I allow for a dozen or so players each year). He’s the best Center to hit the draft in years, and more importantly – he fills a position of need for us.
I know Robbie Tobeck is a character player who’s popular with teammates and fans alike - but the truth is we’ve been desperate for a dominant center since we blew our chance to keep Kevin Mawae for $2.5 mil/yr. The pivot position has been consistently sideways on short yardage plays, and a turnstile for QB pressures since Tobeck took office. It’s a position of weakness that needed to be addressed. I have complete confidence that the addition of Spencer will eliminate that concern and allow Matt Hasselbeck to run the offense looking down the field, rather than a safe spot to throw from. I support the pick in that slot.
Would you prefer to draft that position in the 2nd round? Absolutely. Would Spencer have been there at slot #54 for us? Absolutely not. We made a respectable move to drop 3 spots with the Raiders for the price of a 4-chip and drafted ourselves a solid starter that fits very nice right next to Hutch. (And the character of this particular player will make Tobeck appear a Grinch by comparison. This is a superior quality individual!).
Furthermore, when the marker got to our chair – any defensive player of certain significance was no longer there to select. Rather than get greedy and trade out for another question mark, we drafted a guy that we like very much. As Tim Ruskell smartly described it “That’s just the way it fell”. Precisely. And I was in your corner all the way there, Timmy… until we met that 2nd Round.
Two 4th Rounders and our later 2nd to move up 9 spots for… LB LOFA TATUPU? I’m sorry, could you clarify that again for me please? Cuz I was just patting you on the back for recognizing the value of adding a 4th, and then you threw it down the hallway like your hand was on fire. Can we have all those picks back and draft this guy at slot #54 please (that is if you really, really feel that strongly about him, maybe I won’t have a seizure if you run down the hall there and get our 4’s back!!).
It’s taxing enough to have to hear some murmur in the background about “ Seattle ” and “trade” go completely unrecognized by the “full coverage” telecast… but to have the pick announced as a guy that sounds like a washcloth? That’s a bit much to bear. You can’t possibly convince me that was the intended pick of the trade. More accurately, you stepped up there far too early and watched pegged players OLB Kevin Burnett (Tenn), CB Corey Webster (LSU), and RB JJ Arrington (Cal) – any of whom I would have been enormously satisfied by – horrifically drop off the board. Had kid-Tatupu been the guy you were after, why did you run the clock down to zero before picking the guy you had “at the top of the want list” when you moved up to that spot? Admit it, HQ – you made a mistake. (Of note, as I think we were looking at Arrington: Carolina was able to nab a quite qualified back in Eric Shelton ( Louisville ), at our previous slot. Plus, um, they got to keep those two 4’s we threw away).
Unless Loofah-spongue soaks it up and starts for a half-dozen years plus, for the price that it cost us to get him – that’s a blown pick of major proportions.
Following that we proved Seneca Wallace a wasted 4-chip two years ago by drafting a guy who’s not ready to back-up Matt Hasselbeck, in QB David Greene. Then added a list of also-rans in spots with qualified players ignored.
Overall? This draft is a bust. There, I said it.
But rather than dwell on the negative, let’s have a look at the Choices I DO Like (oddly enough, they’re all now playing for the competition):
Staying within our division, this year’s finest draft went to the Arizona CARDINALS. Mirroring the success of Detroit last year, I had every single player the Cardinals drafted on my want list (with the exception of the 7-chip). Astoundingly – each player also matched a major position of need for them. CB ANTREL ROLLE ( Miami ) was properly the second CB off the board (‘Pac Man’ Jones is a Yellow Marker guy for me. And not by default *chuckle*) and value at that spot. RB JJ ARRINGTON is the guy that I think we wanted in Rd 2. CB ERIC GREEN (V-Tech) may be the Secondary steal of the draft. OLB DARRYL BLACKSTOCK (Virginia) [our own Editor Doug’s VOY – Vilma of the Year] has the pass rush we’d love to have, and fantastic value at slot #95. G ELTON BROWN (Virginia) dropped like a rock to them in the 4th Rd (I love the guys who drop on draft day. Almost always produce). And ILB LANCE MITCHELL ( Oklahoma ) was one of the last guys on my list I held my breath for. He’s an injury concern that only needs to regain his confidence. May end up the best pick on their board when it’s all said and done. Spectacular draft. Won’t it be fun to watch all that talent play against us twice a year?
The VIKINGS - on paper – can’t possibly be kept from the Super Bowl. With this Draft they cemented one of the finest off-seasons I’ve EVER witnessed in the history of Football. You’re now looking at a D-line of Udeze, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, and the stud I had hoped for - DE ERASMUS JAMES (can you say Purple People Eaters?); a linebacker corps of Napoleon Harris, EJ Henderson, Sam Cowart, Rod Davis and others; and a more than capable secondary line-up of CB’s Smoot and Winfield, along with Safeties Sharper and Chavous. Last year they improved their defense to pretty good. This year it should be a strength!Additionally, WR TROY WILLIAMSON ( South Carolina ) was the right choice to make at that spot and does plenty to ease the departure of fro-bro Randy Moss. He’ll fit in nicely flanked by Nate Burleson, Kelly Campbell, Marcus Robinson, and a former Schlep selection – disappointing Travis Taylor . Basically, um -mine tastes like purple…
I also appreciate the drafts of DALLAS and my hometown SAN DIEGO .
Dallas did well fitting players for the new 3-4 with the perfect 3-4 DE in MARCUS SPEARS (LSU), and a nice compliment at the OLB spot in DEMARCUS WARE ( Troy ). 2-chip OLB KEVIN BURNETT ain’t nothin’ to dismiss either. And if bar-brawling DE CHRIS CANTY is able to see through his brand new beer goggles (literally) this class can be counted as the one to make up for the last 5 years of failed pass rush draftees in Dallas.
While the Chargers enhanced their roster with DL studs MERRIMAN ( Maryland ) and roid-burger LUIS CASTILLO. (Castillo has the skills to beat the ‘performance enhancement’ situation. But we’re not going to get into that as ESPN beat that horse dead while the ticker got ignored). WR VINCENT JACKSON was a personal note at the combine (thank you NFL Network!). And RB DARREN SPROLES may give Dave Meggett a run for his money. Well done, mates!
On an individual basis:
-RB “Cadillac” WILLIAMS is the perfect pick for Tampa Bay .
-DE DAVID POLLACK makes perfect sense for coach Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati (WKRP). I’m a bit more concerned about this year’s “tweener” prospects so abundant in the draft. Historically, they fail far more than they succeed. Pollack could be the exception. I think he went a little early here (and would have been quite proper at our slot 23, dagnabbit). However, he went to the right guy. Lewis will find a way to maximize his talents and he will be one to watch.
-WR MARK CLAYTON is my favorite player in this draft. No question. He’s my least favorite, um, favorite here – because he went to Baltimore . Two years ago we drafted behind the Ravens who proceeded to pluck player after player on my list away – one spot before us. Here – they take my favorite player in the entire draft as an unquestionable steal, once again right before us. This guy plays like Walter Payton after the catch and has hands and body control like he was born at the arcade playing “Dance, Dance Revolution”. Sure, we’d be overloaded at that position had we had a chance at Clayton – but there’s always room to trim the fat. Clayton is Filet Mignon. And he’ll be that for Baltimore … instead of us.
-QB AARON RODGERS is right. Sometimes things happen for a reason. He’s going to love the fact he slid to Green Bay every bit as much as they’re going to love the fact they chose him. The Pack has been an annual discussion for the last 3 years regarding “Brett Favre’s successor”. Never have I felt that a true concern until this year. As luck would have it – the perfect person/player/student hit them at slot #24. This IS where Rodgers should be drafted. He’s not good enough to be the 1st player overall, and didn’t belong in the top 10 either. But he certainly is a worthy pick at this spot and sometimes… ya gotta love the way it comes together. (G’luck, mate. You earned a ton of fans on Draft Day. Steady as she goes). This is a pick I’ll enjoy watching develop.
-TE HEATH MILLER (Virginia). Are you kidding me? I mean, if it worked that way for all of us I wouldn’t have to write an article telling you what I think I think.
-OG LOGAN MANKINS ( Fresno St ) is a very nice utility at New England .
-OT Michael ROOS at #41 to Tennessee . Perhaps a smidgen early. But he’s a player.
-QB KYLE ORTON (Purdue) makes a fit for Chicago .
-QB DAN ORLOVSKY ( Conn ) quietly went to Detroit in the 5 th – and may make lots of noise in years to come. Watch yer back, Harrington…
-WR CRAIG BRAGG (UCLA) got nabbed one spot before us in the 6 th - and now plays for Green Bay .
-DE BRADY POPPINGA (BYU) RD4, BILL SWANCUTT (Oregon St) RD6, and RYAN RIDDLE RD6 all play for someone other than Seattle.
Biggest bumble in the 1st Round: The Texans had a chance at WR Clayton at pick 16 – the perfect compliment to Andre Johnson. A move that would have put their offense ahead the step it needs to be. And chose instead to go for a guy that thinks he’s Don Corleone for starting 1yr at Florida State , in DT TRAVIS JOHNSON. Ooops!! That’s a head-scratcher.
And there you have it. That’s my unqualified review of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
See ya next year, folks.
G. Scott Jones is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to Seahawks.NET. Reaction of any sort is always encouraged at firstname.lastname@example.org.