Bet the Farm: 5 Locks for the 2005 Draft
Bet the Farm: 5 Locks for the 2005 NFL Draft
an original article by Cedric Meyer
1. The New Orleans Saints drafting a player from either Ohio State or Georgia.
By design or coincidence, you can’t avoid noticing that since 2002 the Saints have selected six players from OSU and UGA within the first three rounds of the draft. In fact their last three first round draft choices have come from the aforementioned universities. Jim Haslett & Co. have also selected a Buckeye or Bulldog in every year except 2001 dating back to their inaugural 2000 campaign. Don’t expect this year to be any different as the Saints will have to take a long hard look at Bulldogs SS Thomas Davis and LB Odell Thurman in rounds one and two as well as Ohio State DB Dustin Fox and K Mike Nugent in the third round.
2. The Shock Pick
Face it. The shock pick has happened every year and will continue to happen until the draft ceases to exist. In ’04 the Eagles traded up for who everyone thought to be DJ Williams, but they selected Arkansas OT Shawn Andrews instead. In ’03 the Bills took a flyer in the first round on a guy who suffered one of the worst knee injuries in football history and it was unclear if he would ever regain his full abilities ever again—Willis McGahee. The Bengals shocked us all (what else is new?) in ’02 when they selected OT Levi Jones at #10. 2001 was a rather tame year; however, with Ricky Williams fresh off a 1,000 yard season the Saints took Deuce McAllister. And in 2000 how can anyone forget Al Davis selecting kicker Sebastian Janikowski with #17? The list goes on and on and the 2005 draft will only add to the mystique of the “shock pick.”
3. Michigan Offensive Linemen will Boom and Receivers will Bust
There isn’t a university in the country that puts out more bi-polar products than Michigan. On one hand you have the big, tough, physical Wolverine lineman who they seem to produce by the dozen. On the contrary, every couple of years Michigan bills a receiver that is essentially “the great blue hope.” This poor soul has the weight of the Maze & Blue Nation on his back pressuring him to perform. It doesn’t happen. The poster child Desmond Howard and his disciples of doom Derrick Alexander, David Terrell, and Marquise Walker represent the failed attempts of Michigan receivers to live up to their hype coming out of college. Sorry, Braylon Edwards.
Nevertheless, not to dwell on the negatives, you cannot disregard the knack Michigan has for churning out top offensive linemen. Though no one likes to talk about the big nasties; credit is given where credit is due: Steve Hutchinson, Jeff Backus, Maurice Williams, Jon Runyan, Jon Jansen, and a host of other solid linemen. Don’t hesitate to grab center David Baas somewhere in the second round as he can anchor an offensive line for the next ten years.
4. Al Davis Making Waves
Whether it’s wheeling and dealing, selecting a kicker in round 1, or simply waiting until almost every second has ticked off his draft clock to make a selection, you can count on hearing from Al Davis on draft day. In 2003 he chose Nnamdi Asomugha a DB from California and DE Tyler Brayton of Colorado in the first round, two players many experts had as a mid-first day selection and no where near the top of round one. Did he care? Nope and that’s what so great about him. Expect fireworks once again from Uncle Al in 2005.
5. The Defining Moment
Something happens in every draft that will make people remember it as “that draft.” 1998 will be remembered forever as the draft where seemingly every team decided to pass on Randy Moss. Teams were salivating trying to secure players like Ryan Leaf, Andre Wadsworth, and Curtis Enis while Moss kept sliding further down the draft board. In 1999 the Saints traded their entire draft for Ricky Williams, enough said; and that was after Donovan McNabb got booed by the Philly faithful. 2001 can be summed up in two words—Mike Vick. Who can forget in 2003 the mad dash to the podium as the Vikings fell asleep on the clock and forgot to make their pick? Priceless moments like these are why we love the draft and why we watch year after year.