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2004 NFL Draft Revisited

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It's been 4 years since the 2004 draft and it's about time we take a look at how that draft class turned out.  We'll also take a brief look at how the rest of the NFL faired.

I believe the 2004 Draft is what started all of the hype that has made the it what it is today.  This is due mostly to the controversy surrounding Eli Manning and the San Diego Chargers.  It was expected San Diego would select Manning with the number 1 pick.  The only problem... Eli didn't want to play for San Diego.  Eli and Archie made this very clear.  San Diego, smartly, drafted him first and promptly traded him to the Giants for Phillip Rivers and extra draft picks, which allowed them to select Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding, both of which have been Pro Bowl players for the Chargers.  Overall the trade worked for both teams.  The Giants got their franchise QB, and the Chargers were able to add the depth needed to become a good team.  The irony?  Manning's decision to snub San Diego helped to build them into one of the more dominant AFC teams.

As for the Colts, I can remember watching on TV.  We had just lost the AFC Championship game,  and I couldn't wait to see who we got in the 1st round.  Although we weren't picking until 29th, I just knew we were going to get a stud.  Someone who could help us get over the hump and make it to the Super Bowl.  Who did we draft in the 1st round?  No one!!  Bill Polian traded down. Then he traded down again.  By the time we had our first pick, we got some no-named safety from Iowa.  Bob Sanders.  Bob?  I thought, "Yea... teams are going to be real scared going over the middle against someone named Bob."  Boy, was I wrong.  Sanders turned into the best Safety in the game since then.  We were able to locate a couple of keepers in that class.  When you don't even start drafting until the middle of the 2nd round, that's pretty good.

My initial thoughts of Bob were incorrect.
  • Round 2 - Pick 44 - Bob Sanders (S, Iowa) - Without question, the stud of the 2004 class.  He's a Pro Bowl safety.  NFL Defensive Player of the year.  Most importantly, he is the leader of the defense.  You can't measure his impact on the field in any stat.  The legend.  The eraser.  Mr. Bob Sanders, everyone.  If you can find one special player like this in the draft, then it's successful.  If you don't over pay to get him, you're a genius.

  • Round 3 - Pick 68 - Ben Hartsock (TE, Ohio State) - He played 7 games for us in 2005.  Caught 2 passes for 8 yards.  He was then released and signed with the Titans.  He's played there two years, and hasn't caught a TD pass in his career. I don't know if you can be a bust without any expectations, but Hartsock never panned out.

  • Round 3 - Pick 69 - Gilbert Gardner - (OLB, Purdue) - Polian would have been better off if we had declined to select anyone rather than picking Gardner.  I don't think it's a big secret how we feel about him around here.  The Titans picked him up for the 2007 season, and he sucked there too.

  • Round 4 - Pick 107 - Kendyll Pope (LB, Florida State) - I'd love to evaluate him, but he spent more games suspended for violating the Substance Abuse Policy than actually playing.  Good riddance.

  • Round 4 - Pick 125 - Jason David (CB, Washington State) - Jason David is a testament to the defensive coaching staff and scheming of Ron Meeks.  Jason has always been terrible, but it was covered up well by our defensive schemes.  I think once everyone saw Jason play a few games for the Saints, we realized how lucky we were that he was ever able to cover a NFL Wide Receiver.

  • Round 5 - Pick 141 - Jake Scott (OT, Idaho) - Started 9 games in 2004.  Started all 16 games in 2005, 2006, and 2007.  He is a good guard for the Colts.  Has the ability to play tackle.  While he'll probably never make the Pro Bowl, Jake has the ability to have a solid NFL career.

  • Round 6 - Pick 173 - Von Hutchins - (DB, Ole Miss) - Played 19 games for the Colts in 2005 and 2006 without much impact.  Has played the last two seasons with the Texans.  

  • Round 6 - Pick 193 - Jim Sorgi - (QB, Wisconsin) - Has been Manning's backup for the past 4 years.  He is 77/126, 751 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT.  He hasn't been on the field in enough situations to determine whether he has a future as an NFL QB, but he's almost as good as any backup QB out there and he knows our offense.  Polian has to see something in this kid.

  • Round 7 - Pick 229 - David Kimball - (Kicker, Penn St.) - This one makes you scratch your head.  
    BIO: Kickoff specialist who hit on two of five field goals as a senior. Did not attempt a field goal as a junior campaign though 83 percent of his kickoffs were resulted in touchbacks.

    I know that Vanderjagt sucked on kickoffs, but looking back I think we were just weak on special teams.  We could have done a lot more with this pick.  Oh yea, that Kimball guy?  He hasn't attempted a kick in the NFL.

Overall the Colts drafted 9 players.  Only Sanders, Jake Scott and Jim Sorgi remain with the Colts.  Sanders, at his current pace, could make the Hall of Fame.  Scott could have a nice NFL Career, and Jim Sorgi is still an unknown.  Of the players who have moved on to other teams, I don't see any of them making an impact on the NFL.

It's unreasonable to expect that all of your picks to pan out, but ideally you'd like to have a few contributors out of a class.  We definitely achieved this with the 2004 class.  Bill Polian traded down to get one of the best safeties in the NFL, and a key member of the offensive line.

Interesting 2004 Draft Notes

  • Of the 32 picks from the first round, 13 have been named to the Pro Bowl.  Two quarterbacks taken in the 1st round have Super Bowl rings.
  • Bob Sanders is the only person from the 2nd round to be named to the Pro Bowl.
  • Tight End Chris Cooley was drafted 13 picks after Ben Hartsock, and 12 picks after Gilbert Gardner.

  • Players who went undrafted include: Jordan Babineaux, Randall Gay, Willie Parker, B.J. Sams, and Wes Welker