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saintswhodi 04-29-2005 04:23 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back

Analyzing the first-round class of 2002
Pro Football Weekly

It takes at least three years to accurately assess a draft class. The 2002 class produced at least six blue-chip players in the first round, including Julius Peppers, Roy Williams, Dwight Freeney, Javon Walker, Ed Reed and Charles Grant – with just as many coming in the latter half of the first round as the first half.

Some teams regard John Henderson, Albert Haynesworth and Jeremy Shockey as blue-chip talents. Wendell Bryant, Mike Rumph and Marc Colombo were regarded as the biggest busts. Phillip Buchanon and Napoleon Harris, thanks to the Raiders, will get a chance to prove themselves again with new teams.

What follows is a breakdown of the 2002 first-round class now that it can be evaluated after three years.

Editor's note: Blue chip indicates an elite talent – a difference maker who consistently makes big plays. Red chip indicates an impact player with starter-type production who can improve in at least one area. Purple indicates a solid starter you can win with and who usually gets the job done. Orange indicates backup production. Green indicates a player with upside but who can be a liability to put on the field. A plus or minus indicates that a player is on the verge of fitting into another category.

1. Houston Texans
QB David Carr | Fresno State
Improves as the talent around him improves, but expectations cannot be high with the number of times he has been on his back in his brief pro career. Very tough, smart and mature with fine poise. Will force passes and can still improve decision making, but he has proven to be very capable when he has protection.
Evaluation: Red chip.

2. Carolina Panthers
DE Julius Peppers | North Carolina
Rare athlete for his size with the explosiveness and edge speed to dominate as a pass rusher. Has the athletic ability and body control to drop into coverage. Still growing as a pass rusher, and instincts are not where they could be, but has emerged as one of the top five defensive ends in football.
Evaluation: Blue chip.

With an improved supporting cast, Joey Harrington's fourth year should be his best. 3. Detroit Lions
QB Joey Harrington | Oregon
Harrington has yet to prove he can be a consistent starter in three years at the helm of the West Coast offense. Has made strides every year, but is too streaky and doesn't drive the team downfield, panicking in the face of pressure and dumping the ball off too early. Mental toughness and accuracy must improve.
Evaluation: Purple-minus.

4. Buffalo Bills
OT Mike Williams | Texas
Not a great athlete, but has made big strides under tutelage of Jim McNally. Can continue to improve in pass protection, but flashes ability to knock defenders off the ball as a run blocker.
Evaluation: Red chip.

5. San Diego Chargers
CB Quentin Jammer | Texas
Imposes his will on receivers, but lacks great quickness and gets beat by double moves too often. Struggles matching up with speed and appears to lose confidence at times. Would like to see more hits on the ball. A starter with limitations. Conversion to safety could come sooner than later.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

6. Kansas City Chiefs
DT Ryan Sims | North Carolina
Production doesn't match ability, but got into training camp late as a rookie, has been hurt for the better part of two years and had to endure a defensive coaching change. Flashes ability, but growth has been stunted by outside factors and has yet to prove worthy of high choice. Jury is still out. Has upside.
Evaluation: Orange-plus.

7. Minnesota Vikings
OT Bryant McKinnie | Miami (Fla.)
Too lazy and gets beat much more than a player with his athletic ability should, but he did finish last season strong. Has the size, natural athleticism and foot quickness to be dominant, but strength, conditioning and football demeanor are average. A very capable starter with upside.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

8. Dallas Cowboys
S Roy Williams | Oklahoma
Fearless tackler and terrorizing blitzer with outstanding instincts and football intelligence. Does not have great range and may never be great as a zone defender, but is a force for whom teams must scheme.
Evaluation: Blue chip.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars
DT John Henderson | Tennessee
Does not have great initial quickness and will lose leverage, but he uses his long arms well to keep defenders off his body and shows more pass-rush moves than most defensive tackles.
Evaluation: Red chip-plus.

10. Cincinnati Bengals
OT Levi Jones | Arizona State
Naturally athletic with the quickness and athletic ability to handle edge speed. Would like to see more passion and nastiness.
Evaluation: Red chip-minus.

11. Indianapolis Colts
DE Dwight Freeney | Syracuse
Arguably the best pass rusher in football. Without question the most explosive off the corner. Speed-strength combination overcompensates for lack of size.
Evaluation: Blue chip.

12. Arizona Cardinals
DT Wendell Bryant | Wisconsin
Was asked to take on blocks and two-gap early in his career after reporting to camp late, and it did not fit his strengths. Best at penetrating and playing in gaps and is better suited in Clancy Pendergast's defense. But after being suspended for the first four games last season, he never was able to get into rhythm. Could really emerge in fourth year, but he looks like a busted pick through three years.
Evaluation: Orange.

13. New Orleans Saints
WR Donte' Stallworth | Tennessee
Very raw coming out of Tennessee, where he was simply able to run past defenders. Shows explosive speed to get separation, but has been slowed by hamstring injuries, lack of toughness and case of drops. Having to learn precise routes and get to the right spot seems to have affected concentration. Has largely underachieved after showing much promise as a rookie.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

The Giants' Jeremy Shockey needs to be more sure-handed in clutch situations.14. New York Giants
TE Jeremy Shockey | Miami (Fla.)
Great athlete who makes a lot of plays, but has dropped a lot of clutch passes. Has limitations as a blocker.
Evaluation: Red chip-plus.

15. Tennessee Titans
DT Albert Haynesworth | Tennessee
Dominant when he wants to be but has always relied too much on natural talent. Has never developed into a leader or consistent technician and loafs too much. Feast-or-famine type of player.
Evaluation: Red chip.

16. Cleveland Browns
RB William Green | Boston College
Well built to break tackles and drive the pile but does not have great vision and bounces too many runs outside. Butch Davis' decision to pass on Clinton Portis proved costly.
Evaluation: Orange.

17. Oakland Raiders
CB Phillip Buchanon | Miami (Fla.)
Buchanon is undersized and plays small, shying away from run support and getting beat too often. He has the cover skills and athletic ability to be used more than in a nickel role, but his game is best suited for it. Buchanon, now with the Texans, does have exceptional run instincts when he touches the ball.
Evaluation: Purple.

18. Atlanta Falcons
RB T.J. Duckett | Michigan State
Would give defenses a headache if he were given 20-25 carries per game. Has served as an excellent complement to Warrick Dunn and combines surprising quickness with power to run inside. Would expect him to be more of a stone-cold blocker for his stature, but has shown enough to develop into a solid starter.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

19. Denver Broncos
WR Ashley Lelie | Hawaii
Took time to learn routes coming from a run-and-shoot offense and still struggles to beat defenders off the line, but he made more big plays in third year and began to realize potential.
Evaluation: Red chip.

20. Green Bay Packers
WR Javon Walker | Florida
Has made steady progress every year, going from a shoddy route runner as a rookie to a polished go-to guy. Not very explosive but has the size, strength and ease of movement to create mismatches.
Evaluation: Blue chip.

21. New England Patriots
TE Daniel Graham | Colorado
Natural athlete who can stretch the field and catch in traffic. Fine blocker and red-zone target. A solid starter who just started to show what he could do in his third year.
Evaluation: Red chip.

22. New York Jets
DE Bryan Thomas | UAB
Ascending player who was around the quarterback a lot a year ago after seeing more action when John Abraham went down with injury.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

23. Oakland Raiders
LB Napoleon Harris | Northwestern
Started career like a ball of fire, unseating Greg Biekert for a starting job, but after undergoing a coaching change, being converted to an inside 3-4 linebacker and losing some knowledgeable veterans around him, the learning curve was too steep for him to overcome. Did not show the instincts to play inside last year. Traded to the Vikings and could break out after being moved back over the tight end.
Evaluation: Red chip.

24. Baltimore Ravens
S Ed Reed | Miami (Fla.)
Has excellent ball skills, instincts and anticipation, Reed intuitively knows where the ball is, having become an excellent student of the game under the tutelage of Ray Lewis and Corey Fuller. Emerging as the No. 1 defensive playmaker in the league.
Evaluation: Blue chip.

25. New Orleans Saints
DE Charles Grant | Georgia
Took his game to another level in third year, beating linemen with speed and power and playing the run very well. Some teams regard him among the top ends in football, although he can be a slow starter and disappear at times.
Evaluation: Blue chip.

26. Philadelphia Eagles
CB Lito Sheppard | Florida
Very quick and athletic corner who does not play the deep ball very well and has benefited from the talent around him. Not great in run support and gets knocked around by bigger receivers.
Evaluation: Red chip.

27. San Francisco 49ers
CB Mike Rumph | Miami (Fla.)
Has battled injuries, defensive coaching changes and position switches – all of which have caused him to struggle. His mental lapses and limited coverage skills are what make teams label him as a bust.
Evaluation: Green.

28. Seattle Seahawks
TE Jerramy Stevens | Washington
Has taken time to get his life together and adjust to mental part of game, having yet to unseat former sixth-round selection Itula Mili for the starting job.
Evaluation: Orange-plus.

29. Chicago Bears
OT Marc Colombo | Boston College
Knee problems date back to Boston College career and he's been inactive most of pro career. Until he proves otherwise, teams consider him a bust based on injury history entering fourth season.
Evaluation: Green.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers
OG Kendall Simmons | Auburn
Powerful guard has battled through diabetes diagnosis, but started all 30 games in which he played before suffering ACL injury prior to last season and proved capable of being a solid starter.
Evaluation: Purple.

31. St. Louis Rams
LB Robert Thomas | UCLA
Undersized, inconsistent and has never been able to stay healthy. Makes a lot of plays, but gives up as many, especially when he is run at. Still learning the game.
Evaluation: Purple-minus.

32. Washington Redskins
QB Patrick Ramsey | Tulane
Opportunistic leader whose learning curve has been hindered by coaching turnover, offensive philosophy changes, revolving receivers, O-line injuries and sporadic playing time. Not very athletic, but has the tools to be a solid starter.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

Danno 04-29-2005 04:34 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
Actually looking back, 2002 wasn\'t a bad draft at all.

1a Donte Stallworth - Not great, but good and improving
1b Charles Grant - 2005 Pro-bowler, I can feel it.
2 LeCharles Bentley - 2005 Pro-bowler, I can sort of feel it.
3 James Allen - I don\'t really feel anything. ;) But the jury is still out.
4 Keyuo Craver - Disappointing. Was finally weeded out. :D
5 Mel Mitchell - I still think he can play, but time\'s running out.
6a J.T. O\'Sullivan - Helped us get McKenzie
6b John Gilmore - Who?
7 Derrius Monroe - Who?

saintswhodi 04-29-2005 04:37 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
First three players alone, 2002 was one of our better drafts. I like Donte\'s chances of breaking out this year.

GumboBC 04-29-2005 04:40 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
Good find, saintswhodi. I\'ve been going back and looking at the drafts from the last few years.


13. New Orleans Saints
WR Donte\' Stallworth | Tennessee
Very raw coming out of Tennessee, where he was simply able to run past defenders. Shows explosive speed to get separation, but has been slowed by hamstring injuries, lack of toughness and case of drops. Having to learn precise routes and get to the right spot seems to have affected concentration. Has largely underachieved after showing much promise as a rookie.
Evaluation: Purple-plus.

Many Saints\' fans rate Stallworth as a high quality receiver. He\'s fast and can get to the endzone once he catches the ball. But, you just can\'t trust him.


25. New Orleans Saints
DE Charles Grant | Georgia
Took his game to another level in third year, beating linemen with speed and power and playing the run very well. Some teams regard him among the top ends in football, although he can be a slow starter and disappear at times.
Evaluation: Blue chip.
It\'s hard for anyone to emerge as a leader on the Saints\' defense when it performs so badly. But, I look for Grant to be the leader very soon.

saintswhodi 04-29-2005 04:51 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
they say it takes three years, and I count this as Stallworth\'s third year. He had half a year as a rookie, missed a lot of time as a second year player, and played a full year last year. Altogether that\'s like two years, so this should be his year, or at least I hope. I was so high on him when we drafted him I ordered his jersey from sportsavenue and paid for it before his number was even official. And I still wear it, so I am definitely rooting for him.

Grant to me is our best defensive player. I can only hope he steps up and takes a leadership role. I thought he would after he and Brooks got into it after the Arizona game, but I guess we will see.

[Edited on 29/4/2005 by saintswhodi]

frankeefrank 04-29-2005 04:54 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
Great post...
Interesting to look back...
Although keep the writers standards in mind.
If Donte is a purple chip, Ashley Lelie is not a red chip...
Folks in Denver love his speed and size, but he disappears far more often than Donte... And Ashley doesn\'t have the excuse of being hurt.

FireVenturi 04-29-2005 06:18 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
good job we coulda had javon walker, SCARY!!!

saintswhodi 04-29-2005 09:23 PM

2002 1st round draft: A look back
I tried not to look at the guys we missed Venturi(Walker, Reed) and concentrated on the fact that Grand is a stud, and Stall is heading that way hopefully. Screw Walker, he is holding out from camp right now. ;)

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