2004 Draft Anyalsis
A team-by-team recap of how the rookies performed
By PFW staff
April 2, 2005
The team needs to make more of an impact in the ’05 draft than it did with last year’s class. Though RB Julius Jones was a hit, he was healthy for only eight games. But most believe that the Cowboys made a strong deal by trading down to get the extra first-rounder (No. 20 overall) from Buffalo this year and still get great value in Jones with a second-round pick. Jacob Rogers (second round) barely saw the field but could be a factor at tackle — either right or left, where he’s more comfortable — in 2005. Stephen Peterman (third) missed his whole rookie season with a knee injury but should compete for time at right guard this year. CBs Bruce Thornton, Nathan Jones and Jacques Reeves all were given a crack at the starting RCB spot, but none showed much. Sean Ryan (fifth) appears to be an able blocking tight end, but he will have a low impact in most games. Seventh-rounder Patrick Crayton holds some intrigue as a receiver and returner after blossoming somewhat late in the season.
New York Giants
The team received decent play in various degrees from each of its first five picks. QB Eli Manning struggled, badly at times, but the ceiling on him is very high, and GM Ernie Accorsi & Co. believe Manning will be worth the high price the team paid to get him. ORG Chris Snee (second round) started 11 games and was rock-solid for the most part. The team believes he’s a future Pro Bowl player. Hybrid OLB-DE Reggie Torbor (fourth) still carries some intrigue as a strong, athletic piece in Tim Lewis’ defense. SS Gibril Wilson was one of the NFL’s best rookies last season before going down with a neck injury. He made an impact in both the run and pass defenses and was a major find in Round Five. And WR Jamaar Taylor, a sixth-rounder whom Accorsi had rated as a high second-round pick before the receiver’s knee injury at Texas A&M, showed great field-stretching ability in limited duty. The coaches are very high on Taylor’s upside.
First-round OT Shawn Andrews has a very high upside, and though he missed the majority of the season with injury, the club is expecting big things out of him for years to come. Matt Ware (third round) filled in at cornerback and safety and was part of the dime defense, but he didn’t crack the rotation until late in the season. He was exploited by the Patriots in the Super Bowl but should improve. S J.R. Reed (fourth) was the primary kickoff returner and showed good potential as a special-teams player. Expect him to get an opportunity to play more on defense next season. OL Trey Darilek (fourth) spent most of the season on the bench and remains a project. The team liked what it saw of FB Thomas Tapeh (fifth) before he injured his knee in the Week 16 loss at St. Louis. Sixth-round CB Dexter Wynn is too small to ever be a starter on defense, but he did a respectable job on punt returns after Reno Mahe went down. The coaches like QB Andy Hall (sixth), but he might have to show something in NFL Europe to remain with the team.
With only four picks, the team wasn’t expecting much in the way of mass contributions. But it received pretty good bang from its first two picks: FS Sean Taylor and TE Chris Cooley. As the season progressed, Taylor showed why he was the No. 5 pick in the draft. His versatility and excellent ball skills make him appear to be a Pro Bowl player in the near future. The team believes it made the right decision by picking Taylor over TE Kellen Winslow, who went to the Browns with the next pick. Filling the H-back role in Round Three with Cooley, the Redskins got good value for a player whose red-zone skills (six TDs) were evident despite the team’s offensive problems. Team observers believe that OTs Mark Wilson (fifth round) and Jim Molinaro (sixth) are destined to be career backups.
1. Redskins - Check
2. Dolphins - Check
3. Arizona -