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Best Drafting Team of Past 5 Years

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With the draft right around the corner, I'm trying to overload on information, and read as much analysis as possible.  I really haven't read too many things, other than here, so I was interested in hearing some different perspectives.  I came across this article by Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, ranking teams on how they've done over the past 5 seasons.

I'll get to his analysis in a second, but I wanted to run down what the Colts have done the past 5 seasons , so we all know what we are comparing against (I really wanted to try out this new table feature, so here goes...):

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

1

Dallas Clark

2

Bob Sanders

1

Marlin Jackson

1

Joseph Addai

1

Anthony Gonzalez

2

Mike Doss

3

Ben Hartsock

2

Kelvin Hayden

2

Tim Jennings

2

Tony Ugoh

3

Donald Strickland

3

Gilbert Gardner

3

Vincent Burns

3

Freddie Keiaho

3

Dante Hughes

4

Steve Sciullo

4

Kendyll Pope

4

Dylan Gandy

5

Michael Toudouze

3

Quinn Pitcock

5

Robert Mathis

4

Jason David

4

Matt Giordano

6

Charlie Johnson

4

Brannon Condren

5

Keyon Whiteside

5

Jake Scott

5

Jonathan Welsh

6

Antoine Bethea

4

Clint Session

6

Cato June

6

Von Hutchins

5

Robert Hunt

7

T.J. Rushing

5

Roy Hall

6

Makoa Freitas

6

Jim Sorgi

5

Tyjuan Hagler

 

 

5

Michael Coe

 

 

7

David Kimball

6

Dave Rayner

 

 

7

Keyunta Dawson

 

 

 

 

7

Anthony Davis

 

 

 

 

My analysis first:  The top line of this table as absolutely fantastic, and is not matched by any other team in the NFL.  And just remember, the two previous years first picks were Reggie Wayne and Dwight Freeney.  It is unbelievable to think how good the top of the draft has been for the Colts, and it is all thanks to the Brain Trust of Bill Polian and Tony Dungy (like we all didn't know that already).  Once you get past the first line, however, it is very hit and miss:  Either the guy became a pretty good player, or he was out of the league within 2 years (the exception being Gilbert Gardner, as he is not a good player , and is still in the league).  There are some great late round picks (Mathis, June, Scott, Hagler, Bethea), but a lot of "who the hell is that guy?".  This list also does not include Gary Brackett or Ed Johnson, both undrafted but signed during this time period, and both huge parts of the Colt's defense.

On to the analysis of Marvez.  I'm not quite the homer that BBS is, but I'm still a homer at heart.  Marvez picks the Chargers as having the best drafts over the past 5 years.  I took a quick glance at their draft history, and they have done quite well.  I was all ready to start bashing away, but I don't think I can.  Marvez's opinion on their best pick:

Best pick: Eli Manning. Trading Manning to the New York Giants in 2004 netted fellow quarterback Philip Rivers and draft choices used for Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding. Rivers reached the AFC Championship game in just his second season as a starter.

They've done this before with Michael Vick.  They traded the pick to the Falcons, and ended up with Tomlinson and Brees, which is obviously a huge upgrade over the locked-up Falcon.  I tend to think he gave the nod to the Chargers based solely on this pick, as they have just as many "who?" players as the Colts do.  They only have one "steal" pick, which was Michael Turner.  Also, their 2005 draft was pretty awesome, with Merriman, Luis Castillo, Vincent Jackson, and Darren Sproles. 

Overall, however, I just don't see how you can rank them higher than the Colts, who Marvez had at #2.  Many of the players drafted over the past 5 years were instrumental to winning the Super Bowl, especially everyone on that top line (excluding Gonzalez, obviously).  Marvez's opinion on the Colt's best pick is a no-brainer:

Best pick: Safety Bob Sanders (2004/second round) was voted the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year.

A couple other comments from the article:

Front office: Polian earned the contract extension he recently received from team owner Jim Irsay. Polian has done an exceptionally good job surrounding quarterback Peyton Manning with talent and identifying players who can shine in Tony Dungy's cover-two defensive system.

Comment: A+. Polian excels at recognizing which picks may ultimately leave in free agency. He then drafts replacements that can be groomed for several seasons beforehand.

I also learned that A.J. Smith, Chargers GM, worked under Polian at a previous job, which explains why they are equally as good at the draft as Polian has been.  Overall, Marvez does a good job ranking all the teams, and has good explanations for each of them.  I'd agree with the Patriots being #3, and the Dolphins being #32.  They let their head coach take a friend's son over the face of a franchise, which is extraordinarily stupid, and cost said head coach his job after 1 win.