A Closer Look at the 2003 NFL Draft
It seems almost every team was blasted by the media and fans alike following the most recent NFL draft. It seems that some were too quick to judge some teams as failures. Seven teams are worthy of the highest marks.
Baltimore: Four Stars
The Ravens had an outstanding draft. DE Terrell Suggs, QB Kyle Boller and RB Musa Smith were all top-flight picks. But the Ravens didn't stop working. They also added FB Ovie Mugheli, he's as tough as they come, even if announcers will dread learning how to pronounce his name. One more gem, taken 173rd overall, T, Tony Pashos was rated high on our board, he'll surpirse people at the next level.
Chicago: Four Stars
The Bears added a talented DE in Michael Haynes, and an excellent QB prospect in Rex Grossman. Fans in Chicago won't be overly patient with Kordell Stewart, and Grossman's name could be in the starting lineup before the end of the season. The rest of the players selected by the Bears show that they did their homework - Lance Briggs, Todd Johnson, Ian Scott, Bobby Wade, Joe Odom... this is a good group top to bottom.
Denver: Four Stars
The Broncos had a minor change in philosophy this draft. In years past, they had asked their offensive line coach, Alex Gibbs to transform mediocre talent into bonafide All-Pros. OT, George Foster marks the first offensive lineman taken by the Broncos in the first round - and he's worth it! Defensively, LB Terry Pierce is a very talented, high-motor driven, performer. Quentin Griffin and Ahmad Galloway provide needed depth at the RB position. Nick Eason, Aaron Hunt and Clint Mitchell all provide depth on the defensive line - if not potential starting roles at some point in the near future.
Detroit: Four Stars
The Lions picked up some valuable long-term assets, as one might expect considering their usual, high-round, draft position. Charles Rogers was clearly the best young WR in the draft - a "no-brainer" for the Lions. But the Lions War Room dug in after the first pick to gain; Boss (Champ's younger brother) Bailey, DE Correy Redding, RB Artose Pinner and a host of lesser-known/ highly talented picks. Getting Rogers was easy, but picking up talented kids for two-days is not easy. Kudos to the Lions staff, now they can work on not finishing as a contender for the #1 overall pick next season.
Houston: Four Stars
Charley Casserly had perhaps his best draft ever. WR, Andre Johnson didn't get the hype that Charles Rogers received - but there is truly not much doubt he will succeed at the next level. TE, Bennie Joppru was overlooked by most people, but we think he's a terrific prospect. He selected DE Antwan Peek and will play him as a pass-rush specialist or LB. QB, Dave Raggone was an interesting pick - he carried his college team on his back throughout his career; tough, strong and a natural leader. But Casserly also paid attention to the New York Yankee organization, and a particular third-baseman hitting about .125 in the minor leagues at present... Drew Henson. Henson was considered THE top QB prospect in the nation at one point in his football career. He chose to accept a huge contract from the New York Yankees to play baseball instead. Henson can't hit the curve-ball, but he can play the most difficult position on the field - QB. Casserly's gamble could give the Texans an extra wild-card in next seasons draft.
Seattle: Four Stars
The Seahawks picked up a ton of talent in this draft. CB, Marcus Trufant has all the tools to be a shut-down corner in the NFL. He's a truly gifted athlete - on par with Terrance Newman - the cornerback selected six spots ahead of Trufant. S, Ken Hamlin is a ball-hawking, snot-bubble knocking, centerfielder - and the Seahawks need him right now. OT, Wayne Hunter provides a talented backup, with the potential to challenge for playing time very early in his career. Overall, the Seahawks did the most with what they had to work with.
Washington: Four Stars
We know, the Redskins only had three picks in this draft. However, the players the Redskins picked up in exchange for picks must be considered in the evaluation of this draft class. WR Lavernuas Coles was essentially the Redskins top pick, and he's proven his ability to play in the league for several years. A proven veteran, in the prime of his career, a solid teammate and overall good-guy. WR Taylor Jacobs will have an immediate mentor in Washington after slipping into the second round, a great value pick for the Skins. Derrick Dockery is a stud offensive lineman. We ranked Dockery behind Eric Steinbach as the next best guard available. RB, Trung Candidate and RB/KR/PR Chad Morton were attained via the transition system as well as DT Jermaine Haley. The Redskins front office will be imitated in the years following the 2003 Draft. Some teams are complaining that the Redskins manipulated the system and "over-paid" to get these veteran players. But most NFL teams received a tutorial: How To Get Veteran Players, In Exchange For Untested Rookies 101.
This article was released on 2003-05-04.
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