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2002 NFL Draft First Round Review

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; 2002 NFL Draft First Round Review By: Raymond Smalley Nothing is so brutal as the looking glass that is time. Through its plate of pain, it can arbitrarily catapult one into happiness or bury one in despair. Of course, the ...

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Old 08-07-2003, 02:23 PM   #1
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2002 NFL Draft First Round Review

2002 NFL Draft First Round Review

By: Raymond Smalley

Nothing is so brutal as the looking glass that is time. Through its plate of pain, it can arbitrarily catapult one into happiness or bury one in despair. Of course, the choice between these two domains is not made by time it is made by those being judged. For time does not receive its opinions from thought… only from observance.

The National Football League Draft class of 2003 has now had one full calendar to be observed by time. During these twelve months, they have dropped jaws, popped eyes, and shown illuminating flashes of brilliance. The question is which of them have been impressive and which of them have just depressed?

With that thought in mind, I began to review the class of 2003 to the music of Ashanti and the taste of a gallon of Coke. Listed below are my final evaluations of every first round selection with their letter grade. Shall we begin?

1. Houston Texans - David Carr (QB - Fresno State)

Despite playing behind a sub par offensive line, Carr still recorded 233 completions for 2,592 yards and 9 touchdowns as the Texans posted a 4-12 record. Those accomplishments and his opening day performance against the Dallas Cowboys earn Carr a sparkling freshman grade.

Overall Grade: B

2. Carolina Panthers - Julius Peppers (DE - North Carolina)

Despite a controversial ephedrine suspension, Peppers still garnered NFC defensive rookie of the year honors by recording 36 tackles and 12 sacks. However, when one grades his performance, one must take into account that he missed four games.

Overall Grade: B-

3. Detroit Lions - Joey Harrington (QB - Oregon)

The most surprising choice of the 2003 NFL Draft recorded 215 completions for 2,294 yards and 12 touchdowns in his rookie campaign. While his play was spectacular at times, overall it was not the substance that was expected of him. Thus, his grade, like his team, is not a shining one.

Overall Grade: C-

4. Buffalo Bills - Mike Williams (OT - Texas)

Prior to the 2003 NFL Draft, Williams was billed as the premiere offensive tackle. Following his placement with the Bills, he did not disappoint as he helped the Bills to a much improved 8-8 record.

Overall Grade: B-

5. San Diego Chargers - Quentin Jammer (CB - Texas)

He missed training camp and did not show up until the middle of the regular season. Once in uniform, he recorded 64 tackles, however he did not garner an interception. Had he played an entire season, he might have scored one. The Chargers may have also scored more victories.

Overall Grade: C-

6. Kansas City Chiefs - Ryan Sims (DT - North Carolina)

In only three games, Sims recorded a mere six tackles before suffering an injury. That injury is the lone fact that keeps Sims from failing.

Overall Grade: D-

7. Minnesota Vikings - Bryant McKinnie (OT - Miami-Florida)

He was nowhere near the road grader tackle that he was hyped to be. After a holdout forced him to miss training camp, McKinnie struggled between the lines as the Vikings posted a 6-10 record. Given his performance amidst his expectations, McKinnie fails.

Overall Grade: F

8. Dallas Cowboys - Roy Williams (S - Oklahoma)

The top defensive rookie in this class posted 92 tackles and 5 sacks during his spectacular freshman campaign. During a season in which the Cowboys posted a 5-11 record, Williams was a diamond that sparkled snap after snap.

Overall Grade: B+

9. Jacksonville Jaguars - John Henderson (DT - Tennessee)

After sliding down the draft board in April, Henderson recorded 54 tackles and 7 sacks once he stepped between the white lines. Despite the Jaguars poor performance in 2002, Henderson showed flashes of brilliance that should be present for multiple seasons.

Overall Grade: C-

10. Cincinnati Bengals - Levi Jones (OT - Arizona State)

When a team that needs a cornerback drafts an offensive tackle and that team proceeds to go 2-14, that tackle will be receiving a very poor grade. In a less than stellar rookie season, Jones was all that he was billed to be. For that matter, so were the Bengals.

Overall Grade: F

11. Indianapolis Colts - Dwight Freeney (DE - Syracuse)

Amid the noise that accompanied his entrance into the NFL, Freeney recorded 46 tackles and 13 sacks as he helped the Colts post a 10-6 record. While he did look overmatched on occasion, Freeney proved that his size was no deterrent to brilliant play.

Overall Grade: B

12. Arizona Cardinals - Wendell Bryant (DT - Wisconsin)

After a holdout cost him valuable practice time, Bryant recorded only 20 tackles, as the Cardinals limped to a 5-11 ledger. That poor record and his dismal sack total make Bryant one of the biggest disappointments in the entire selection meeting.

Overall Grade: D-

13. New Orleans Saints - Donte’ Stallworth (WR - Tennessee)

In a sparkling rookie season, Stallworth scored 42 receptions for 594 yards and 8 touchdowns. While the Saints posted only a 9-7 record, they discovered a valuable weapon in Stallworth, who will haunt defenses for the next several seasons.

Overall Grade: B+

14. New York Giants - Jeremy Shockey (TE - Miami-Florida)

The most spectacular rookie in the 2003 NFL Draft recorded 74 receptions for 894 yards and 2 touchdowns to help lead the Giants back into the postseason. With his combination of flare and arrogance, Shockey made himself into one of the two best selections in this draft. He also made himself into a player that New York fans adore.

Overall Grade: A+

15. Tennessee Titans - Albert Haynesworth (DT - Tennessee)

Despite the fact that he was used sparingly, Haynesworth showed flashes of brilliance en route to recording 30 total tackles. His spot brilliance and the Titans 11-5 ledger earn the Tennessee rookie a solid score.

Overall Grade: B-

16. Cleveland Browns - William Green (RB - Boston College)

In ten years, experts may look at Green as the best player in the 2002 NFL Draft. In 243 carries, Green posted 887 yards and 6 touchdowns as he led the Browns to a 9-7 record and their first playoff appearance. With Green resurrecting their running game, the Browns could be a playoff threat for the next decade.

Overall Grade: A+

17. Oakland Raiders - Phillip Buchanon (CB - Miami-Florida)

In only five games of action, Buchanon recorded 21 tackles and 2 interceptions, prior to suffering an injury.

Overall Grade: C-

18. Atlanta Falcons - T.J. Duckett (RB - Michigan State)

During a sparkling rookie campaign, Duckett toted the rock 130 times for 507 yards and 4 touchdowns as he led the Falcons to a 9-6-1 record and a playoff appearance. While the Falcons raised eyebrows with his selection, Duckett proved their chance was well taken.

Overall Grade: B+

19. Denver Broncos - Ashley Lelie (WR - Hawaii)

During a sparkling first season, Lelie garnered 35 receptions for 525 yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Broncos posted a 9-7 record. While he was not the most spectacular find in the 2002 NFL Draft, Lelie was definitely a diamond worthy of showcasing.

Overall Grade: B-

20. Green Bay Packers - Javon Walker (WR - Florida State)

While his flashes of brilliance were few and far between, Walker did manage to record 23 receptions for 319 yards and one touchdown in 2002. Despite being hyped as a solid pass catcher, Walker’s play showcased the fact that he may have been the most over hyped player in the selection meeting.

Overall Grade: D+

21. New England Patriots - Daniel Graham (TE - Colorado)

In their search for a solid tight end, the Patriots connected with Daniel Graham, who proved to be a disappointment. With only 15 catches for 150 yards and one touchdown, Graham earned himself a grade worthy of the two hundred and tenth selection.

Overall Grade: D

22. New York Jets - Bryan Thomas (DE - Alabama-Birmingham)

In only seven games, Thomas proved himself worthy of every boo and snide remark that he received on draft day. After recording only 9 tackles during his freshman campaign, one would think that Thomas is no longer safe in New York.

Overall Grade: D-

23. Oakland Raiders - Napoleon Harris (LB - Northwestern)

With their second first round selection, the Raiders tabbed Harris, who went onto record 81 tackles during his rookie campaign. Through a combination of tackling brilliance and quiet leadership, Harris showcased himself to twenty-one other teams who were full of regret.

Overall Grade: B+

24. Baltimore Ravens - Ed Reed (S - Miami-Florida)

In his inaugural season on NFL turf, Reed recorded 80 tackles and 5 interceptions to prove himself worthy of being a Baltimore defender. With a hard-hitting presence and hits just as hard, Reed showcased himself as the NFL’s next great defensive back.

Overall Grade: B+

25. New Orleans Saints - Charles Grant (DE - Georgia)

During a solid rookie season, Grant quietly recorded 37 tackles and 7 sacks. While he did not make an immediate impact like his rookie teammate did, Grant showed that his selection was a solid investment.

Overall Grade: C+

26. Philadelphia Eagles - Lito Sheppard (CB - Florida)

In only eight games of action, the athletic Sheppard recorded only 7 tackles, prior to suffering an injury. While he was hyped as the most athletic of all of the defensive backs, Sheppard showed that he was more flash than headline fodder.

Overall Grade: D-

27. San Francisco 49ers - Mike Rumph (CB - Miami-Florida)

During a playoff season in San Francisco, Rumph recorded 41 tackles, but had more than his share of trouble in coverage. The 49ers are looking for him to work on his technique or a move to safety could be considered.

Overall Grade: D

28. Seattle Seahawks - Jerramy Stevens (TE - Washington)

Despite nagging character concerns, Stevens quietly recorded 26 receptions for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns in limited action. While he was not spectacular, he was certainly an upgrade at tight end for Seattle.

Overall Grade: C+

29. Chicago Bears - Marc Colombo (OT - Boston College)

After a spectacular 2001 season, the Bears made a mistake with their first round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. In limited action, Colombo was less than sparkling as he helped the Bears worsen their already terrible offense.

Overall Grade: D-

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kendall Simmons (OT - Auburn)

The most unheard from man in the 2002 NFL Draft saw limited action as the Steelers recorded a 10-5-1 record. Despite limited playtime, Simmons endeared himself to the Steelers management and he looks like he could be a good one.

Overall Grade: C

31. St. Louis Rams - Robert Thomas (LB - UCLA)

When the Rams selected Thomas with the thirty-first overall selection, they raised more eyebrows. However, Thomas proved himself worthy of the honor, as he recorded 37 tackles in only 10 games of action. While these numbers are not impressive, they are enough to earn Thomas an average grade.

Overall Grade: C

32. Washington Redskins - Patrick Ramsey (QB - Tulane)

After the Redskins shocked the football world by selecting Ramsey, the quarterback shocked the Redskins with his holdout and dismal play. In nine games, Ramsey completed only 117 passes for 1,539 yards and 9 touchdowns. Those numbers aren't great, but they will improve with more experience.

Overall Grade: C

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