Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bleach: Draft evaluators must wait 3 years

In life, some numbers are absolute certainties.

American citizens aren’t responsible enough to drink until they turn 21. NBA players used to be good enough to start playing at 18 years of age — the same year they can vote or wield a firearm — that is until the almighty commissioner David Stern ruled 19 years would be the cutoff. And fans of professional football can’t fairly judge an NFL Draft for at least three years.

Well, at least one of those numbers makes sense.


After months of draft build up, the big event has finally come to an end. With the selection of Mr. Irrelevant Sunday (kicker Ryan Succop), columns started pouring in from Sports Illustrated to the farthest-reaching corner of the blogosphere detailing the winners, losers and everything in between from this year’s draft.

Although any credible NFL scribe will tell you to wait three years before a draft class can receive its final GPA, sports writers insist on judging the most recent draft before the precocious rookies have even fetched their first donuts.

To put a stop to all the madness (or at least mildly annoyingness), here are some thoughts and observations looking back on the 2006 NFL Draft.

Best Drafts:

After a three-year body of work to look at, the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans finished on top with three very productive drafts.

With seven selections and only two among the top 100, Mike Shanahan and Co. picked up Jay Cutler (does that still count as a good pick?), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (consecutive 100 reception seasons), tight end Tony Scheffler, defensive end Elvis Dumervil and wide out Domenik Hixon. All have been substantial contributors in the NFL (with Hixon playing for the New York Giants).

The Packers receive a top grade for the quantity of their draft, even if it only produced so-so quality. In typical GM Ted Thompson style, the Pack selected 12 players in 2006 including three-year starter A.J. Hawk and Pro-Bowl wide out Greg Jennings. Green Bay also secured three offensive linemen who have started the majority of their games and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly who will see significant snaps this season barring legal trouble (a disclaimer that could be used with the entire Cincinnati Bengals roster).

Finally, the Texans put together a surprisingly good draft considering they still haven’t made the playoffs. With the first overall pick they selected Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. They still should be smiling about that one. Houston also took defensive rookie of the year DeMeco Ryans in the second round, along with starting tackle Eric Winston in the third and touchdown snagging demon Owen Daniels in the fourth. Not a bad haul for a franchise that has yet to crack eight wins in a season.

Worst Drafts:

Although the Kansas City Chiefs put together a laughable draft, the Buffalo Bills missed on almost all of their picks and the Rams couldn’t find a quality starter in five picks among the top 100, the worst draft in 2006 belongs to the Oakland Raiders.

As if anyone else even had a chance to claim this award.

Al Davis’ genius top pick defensive back Michael Huff went No. 7 overall and has amassed one interception and one sack in 39 games started. He is almost the next coming of Ronnie Lott.

After a solid pick in the second round with linebacker Thomas Howard, the next five picks from the 2006 Raiders Draft class started a combined one game in the 2008 season. Matt Millen would be proud.

Top Ten Picks:

Although the top ten selections produce excitement and optimism every year, teams from 2006 would have fared better passing on their selection until the bottom of the first round. As the No. 1 overall pick, Williams has done a decent job living up to the hype, but the other nine from the top 10 have produced a grand total of… drum roll please… zero Pro Bowl appearances. While the Pro Bowl can be fairly meaningless, none of the top ten besides Williams have shown they can star consistently, and a few of them (I’m looking at you Vernon Davis) have been flat-out busts.

In truly bizarro fashion, the stars of the first round went in picks 22-32 with studs such as Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai and Mathias Kiwanuka highlighting the final picks of the money round.

The NFL Draft can be a fun time, and projecting how your home team will fare always makes for good bar talk. But the results can only be tallied after a three-year hiatus — something sports writers love say but rarely act on.

Remember that when the lowly Mel Kiper judges your team; no one knows how this draft will play out right now… unless it is insulting to the Raiders.

Michael is a junior majoring in journalism. Disagree with the three-year rule? Take offense to his constant shots at a senile old man? He can be reached at [email protected].

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