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The 2005 NFL Draft: More proof of Bill Polian's genius

Kelvin Hayden, drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft, seen winning the Super Bowl.

Much has been written recently about the abortion that was the 2005 NFL Draft. The Vikings releasing DE Erasmus James highlighted yet another first round disappointment from the 2005 draft. James was the 17th overall player selected that year. As AOL Fanhouse's Sportz Assassin points out, the 2005 draft for the Vikings was a "horror show."

Remember that Minnesota traded Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders for the #7 pick in the draft and linebacker Napoleon Harris. Harris played two years in Minnesota before moving on to Kansas City. That #7 pick turned into WR Troy Williamson, who sucked was less than stellar. Williamson was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars before last month's draft.

Third round pick Dustin Fox never played a down for the Vikings. Fourth round pick Ciatrick Fason became a goal line back before being release prior to last season. Sixth round pick DT C.J. Mosley played decent in his rookie season ... and was sent to the Jets for QB Brooks Bollinger. Seventh round pick Adrian Ward didn't make the roster.


Now, to not totally dump on the Vikings, they have done an excellent job recently with the 2006 and 2007 drafts. Also, the Vikes were not the only team to bomb the 2005 Draft. Most teams did. The 2005 Draft is widely considered one of the worst drafts in recent memory. Take one look at the first round and it induces projectile vomiting if you are a fan of the 49ers, Bengals, Bucs, Bears, Titans, and Vikings. Of the top 10 picks that season, only one (Braylon Edwards) can be seen as a potential gamer.

In fact, if you glance through the entire first round, it is littered with busts, disappointments, and players (like Erasmus James and Cadillac Williams) whose young careers are threatened because of injury. Of the 32 players taken in the first round, I count only 5 who I'd consider worthy of their first round selection. Braylon Edwards (pick #3) is one. Here are the rest:

Dallas DE DeMarcus Ware (pick #11)

Chargers DT Luis Castillo (pick #28)

Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller (pick # 30)

Indianapolis CB Marlin Jackson (pick #29)

I don't include Chargers LBer Shawne Merriman (pick #12) worthy of first round selection. Merriman is a cheater who unapologetically got caught using steroids. This taints everything in his career whether he or Chargers fans like it or not.

A player who is (and should be) listed there is Colts CB Marlin Jackson. Jackson won the nickel corner spot his rookie year. By his second year he had a Super Bowl ring, won in part by his amazing INT at the end of the AFC Championship Game. By year three, he was the starter, playing all 17 games and helping the Colts to one of the best pass defenses in football.

Marlin's partner on the other side of the defense is CB Kelvin Hayden, who (like Marlin) was drafted in 2005. Hayden iced Super Bowl 41 his second year with an INT for a TD, and last year started all 17 games at RCB for Indy. The Colts also drafted back-up safety Matt Giordano in round 4 of the 2005 draft. Giordano is one of the fastest safeties in  football, and he could start on many NFL clubs, including the defending champion NY Giants, who are starved for depth at safety. Indy also drafted starting SAM linebacker Tyjuan Hagler in round 4.

So, while most teams, like the Vikings, Bengals, and Chiefs, had disastrous drafts in 2005, the Colts built much of their starting defensive unit with that 2005 college crop. Three starters and one key reserve player all hail from that draft. That's pretty damn good if the draft crop is good, but when you look at the unmitigated disaster that was the 2005 NFL Draft, getting four high quality players is amazing!