2004 NFL Draft - 1st Round Recap
It was a strange draft day to say the least. One that was difficult to predict with a record 28 trades, and at times, difficult to understand. One thing it definitely was, was interesting.
1. San Diego Chargers- QB Eli Manning- Ole Miss
Despite his stating that he would sit out if they drafted him, the Chargers call his bluff and take the young gunslinger. His time as a Charger would only last until the Giants pick at the number four pick. Considering the details of that trade, the Chargers show themselves to be quite shrewd in their dealings as they get the quarterback they want (and wants them) in Rivers along with 3 picks (3rd rounder in '04 and a 1st and 5th in '05). Rivers could end up being the better of the two quarterbacks involved in this pick.
2. Oakland Raiders- OT Robert Gallery- Iowa
The Raiders got themselves perhaps the best player overall in the draft. Gallery will walk into the Raider Nation and make an immediate impact on the offensive line. While the coaching carousel may continue for years to come, two things will be certain in Oakland, the first is that Al Davis will continue to wear some of the nastiest threads and Robert Gallery will be spending at least a week in Honolulu during the off-season.
3. Arizona Cardinals- WR Larry Fitzgerald- Pittsburgh
While many thought that this pick should have been used on a quarterback considering both Rivers and Roesthlisberger were still on the board, the Cardinals instead add another weapon to their offensive arsenal. This could prove to be a risky pick if the Cardinals lack a quarterback to spark this offensive juggernaut.
4. New York Giants- QB Philip Rivers- NC State
The Giants took Rivers to only turn around and trade him and three picks to the Bolts for the disgruntled number one overall pick, Eli Manning. The Giants gave up a lot to secure the rights to a player that has yet to throw a pass in the NFL. With the addition of Manning, Kerry Collins will need to dust off the resume as he may not be a part of the Coughlin era.
5. Washington Redskins- S Sean Taylor- Miami
The Redskins go defensive here instead of with Winslow. Taylor should make an immediate impact on the beleaguered Redskins defense. In the tight end friendly NFC East; the Redskins have equipped themselves nicely with an impact player that may, along with Roy Williams, revolutionize the safety position.
6. Cleveland Browns (from Detroit) - TE Kellen Winslow II- Miami
With Winslow the Lions immediately upgraded their offense tenfold. The second generation NFL tight end used his first interview as a Brown to voice his displeasure with the Redskins for not taking him at number five. The Browns did well as they get what could be the best offensive player in the draft. Only Winslow's questionable attitude seems to be his only weakness.
7. Detroit Lions (from Cleveland) - WR Roy Williams- Texas
The Lions traded with the Browns to drop one spot. By making this move, the Lions forfeit their chance at Winslow and instead take Williams. For their troubles, they also get the Browns second round pick and with Williams they now have an outstanding receiver to team with Charles Rogers. This gives the Lions one of the best young receiving duos in the NFL.
8. Atlanta Falcons- CB DeAngelo Hall- Virginia Tech
With this pick the Falcons stirred the echoes of Deion Sanders' days as a Falcon. Hall could be one of the best cornerbacks in the league sooner rather that later. He should also provide some spark to the Falcon special teams. With the addition of Hall, the Falcons strengthen an already strong secondary.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Reggie Williams- Washington
The Jaguars were in need of a speedy receiver with hands to serve as the number one man for Leftwich. Williams should fill that need.
10. Houston Texans- CB Dunta Robinson- South Carolina
The real team in Texas showed that good things come to those who wait as they watch perhaps the best cornerback in the draft fall into their lap. By adding Robinson, the Texans can move Marcus Coleman to his natural spot at free safety.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers- QB Ben Rothlisberger- Miami of Ohio
Big Ben, as he has been dubbed, will bring something to Pittsburgh that hasn't been there since a guy named Marino played his college ball there... a big, strong, rifle-armed quarterback that refuses to lose. The Steelers should have had a mask and a gun when they stole this pick. He will serve his time with a hat and clipboard but if Maddox' erratic play
continues this season, the fans will be clamoring for the most talented quarterback to ever don the Black and Gold.
12. New York Jets- LB Jonathan Vilma- Miami
The Jets didn't need to worry about hearing the customary boos following this pick as they grabbed a quality linebacker in Vilma. He will be looked at to contribute immediately to a defense that is in need of a force in the middle.
13. Buffalo Bills- WR Lee Evans- Wisconsin
Evans fills a need for the Bills in that he has excellent speed and should be able to develop into a quality receiver. He will help stretch the defense and will take pressure off of Josh Reed as well. The big question for Evans and the Bills will be the knee injury that ended the 2002 season for Evans at Wisconsin.
14. Chicago Bears- DT Tommie Harris- Oklahoma
The Bears took Harris with Vince Wilfolk still on the board, a decision that had many scratching their heads. Harris has great explosiveness and exceptional quickness but he was listed behind Wilfolk on many teams' boards. Harris fits the Bears system well and should have a productive rookie season.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Michael Clayton- LSU
When the Bucs called Clayton's name on Saturday, you could already hear the whispers..."Keyshawn who?" Clayton will be something special and should help to form one of the more talented receiving corps with newly added Joey Galloway.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from San Francisco) - OT Shawn Andrews-Arkansas
The Eagles also left people scratching their heads with this pick. After trading up, they pick a player that has had problems with his weight when they have more pressing areas of concern.
17. Denver Broncos- LB D.J. Williams- Miami
It was expected that the Broncos had traded up to grab Steven Jackson. As it turns out there were after a replacement for Ian Gold (UFA), who thus far has spurned the Broncos offers to resign with the club. Williams is fast, athletic and has a nose for the football.
18. New Orleans Saints- DE Will Smith- OSU
This pick also was a slight head scratcher as the Saints already have Darren Howard and Charles Grant at the same position. However, Smith does have great value and being able to grab him here is a solid pick but it looks more like a pick best based on their boards rather than one out of need.
19. Miami Dolphins (from Minnesota Vikings) - OG Vernon Carey- Miami
The Dolphins were very pleased to see Carey still on the board but they may have been played a bit by the Vikings who originally held this pick. The Dolphins wanted Carey so bad that they traded a fourth round pick to move up one spot. In Carey, they got the best offensive lineman available and he should be able to make an immediate impact for his hometown team.
20. Minnesota Vikings (from Miami Dolphins) - DE Kenechi Udeze- USC
They bluffed the Dolphins when they teased that they might take Vernon Carey at 19. That bluff netted them not only the man they were after in Udeze but also a fourth round pick. There are question marks surrounding Udeze and his shoulder, but if he is healthy, the Vikings have a speed rusher that was in the top 10 of most team's draft boards.
21. New England Patriots (from Baltimore) - DT Vince Wilfork- Miami
The Patriots simply continue to dominate on the field and in the draft. They lose wide-body Ted Washington to the monies of the Raider Nation and replace him with a younger, quicker version in Wilfork. He will step onto the field and play well, not just for a rookie either. This kid is a stud and should be a force inside.
22. Buffalo Bills (from Dallas) - QB J.P. Losman-Tulane
For the second year, the Bills use a high pick on a player that isn't expected to make an immediately impact. Losman is a solid quarterback that had several teams eyeing him and will now serve as the heir apparent to Bledsoe. Losman is fortunate in that he will have no pressure to perform and that will allow him to learn the new system being brought in by head coach Mike Mularky.
23. Seattle Seahawks-DT Marcus Tubbs- Texas
The Seahawks needed help on their defensive line which makes this selection of Tubbs makes sense. But with his inconsistency and weight problems, this pick may have been better used on the likes of D-tackles Olshansky, Siavii or D-end Babin, all of which were still on the board. Tubbs may end up being a solid player but the Seahawks will need to keep him focused.
24. St. Louis Rams- RB Steven Jackson- Oregon State
To have a back with the talent of Jackson still available this late was surprising considering that he was expected to go in the top ten. When the Texans ugly sister, the Cowboys, traded away their chance to take the potential franchise back, the Rams traded up with Cincinnati and ended Jackson's surprising slide. Jackson won't be expected to contribute as a rookie as he joins a talented running back stable.
25. Green Bay Packers- CB Ahmed Carroll- Arkansas
Considering the possibility that Mike McKenzie could be dealt, this was a great pick for the Cheeseheads. Carroll has great speed and will fit nicely into the nickel back spot. Even if the Packers keep McKenzie, having Carroll will allow them to use a variety of defensive backfield schemes.
26 Cincinnati Bengals- RB Chris Perry- Michigan
The Bengals traded down multiple times to get extra picks, this one from the Rams, and with it they waste it on Perry. With Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones still on the board and with their needs at both cornerback and defensive tackle, the Bengals apparently saw a need to use a first round pick on a part-time back.
27. Houston Texans- DE Jason Babin- Western Michigan
The Texans pick of Babin will provide them the pass rush they were looking for last season. Babin will also provide a formidable run stopper as well. He led Division I-A in tackles for a loss. Babin will need to perform very well to make the Texans decision to trade away their picks to get him worth it.
28. Carolina Panthers (from S.F. through Philadelphia) - CB Chris Gamble- OSU
The Panthers may have taken a real gamble here (pun intended) with this pick as they get a raw talent in Gamble. His draft stock suffered due to concerns over his poor workouts and questions about his character. Gamble has a ton of upside and should turn into a quality defensive back.
29. Atlanta Falcons (from Colts) - WR Michael Jenkins- OSU
The Colts did the Falcons a favor by trading back to the Falcons, thus allowing them to draft the quality receiver they desperately needed. While they gave up a lot in the picks to get this pick, they addressed a major concern and now have a starter that can play opposite of Peerless Price. Jenkins will open up the secondary, take pressure off of Price and give the already dangerous Michael Vick another option.
30. Detroit Lions (from K.C.)- RB Kevin Jones- Virginia Tech
The Lions net their second pick on the first round and with that pick the second rated back behind Steven Jackson. The Lions acquired a starting wideout and possibly a starting running back. Jones will quickly erase the doubts that he can serve as the every down back.
31. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) - WR Rashaun Woods- Oklahoma State
The 49ers used great draft strategy in trading down twice and still being able to grab a quality receiver like Woods. While the loss of Terrell Owens is substantial, the addition of Woods will ease that pain. He has nice hands, speed and unlike Owens, he has shown the ability to go across the middle.
32. New England Patriots- TE Ben Watson- Georgia
This pick also had some scratching their heads but considering the success that this team has in the draft, you are willing to concede the pick. Watson's pick looks like the Patriots remained true to their draft board and took him as the best available considering the talent they currently have at tight end.
This article was released on 2004-04-27.
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