Now that the 2005 draft is five years behind us, I did a Casserly-style review of all 256 picks from that draft class. But there's no way to cover the details and keep it from getting way too long. So right up front, here's the executive summary:
The 2005 draft class was a very weak one.
The Falcons had eight picks, including an extra fifth rounder from trading Ellis Johnson to the Broncos in 2004. They came away with a strong group of prospects in spite of picking late (they made it to the NFC Championship game with a record of 11-5 the year before).
Bottom line: the Falcons picked late in a lousy draft and came out of it very well. While the "instant" grades were typically in the B / B- range, the Falcons get an outstanding final grade for that draft.
I'll have to hit the details in bits and pieces. But before I get into the boring statistics, here's a quick look at the top ten overall picks just to refresh everyone's memory on the 2005 draft:
#1 = 49ers, QB Alex Smith
#2 = Dolphins, RB Ronnie Brown
#3 = Browns, WR Braylon Edwards
#4 = Bears, RB Cedric Benson
#5 = Buccaneers, RB Cadillac Williams
#6 = Titans, DB PacMan Jones
#7 = Vikings, WR Troy Williamson
#8 = Cardinals, DB Antrel Rolle
#9 = Redskins, DB Carlos Rogers
#10 = Lions, WR Mike Williams
In retrospect... ouch. If you were building a mock NFL roster from scratch, none of these guys would be among your top 50 choices.
Smith is finally breaking through for San Francisco, but they've had to wait out his entire rookie contract for that to happen.
Brown has over 4000 rushing yards, so he has obviously "made it" in the league. Cadillac has over 3200 yards for the Bucs, and Benson has rebounded with the Bengals to surpass the 3500 career yard mark.
But keep in mind that these were top five overall selections. Meanwhile, Frank Gore (3rd round) has over 5500 yards, and fourth rounders Marion Barber and Brandon Jacobs have 3984 and 3455 career yards. So it's tough to say these first three RBs off the board have justified their ultra-high selections, especially considering that Benson was released outright by Chicago after three seasons.
He wasn't the only one to get the axe... Adam "PacMan" Jones is trying to work his way back into the league. Never mind his the legal issues - the reason why the Cowboys aren't keeping him is that he's only a mediocre defensive back.
The Vikings gave up on Williamson, trading him to the Jaguars for a mere sixth round pick. Tenth pick Mike Williams washed out with three different teams and has been out of the league since 2007.
And these guys were the top ten overall selections, the alleged cream of the crop. You get the idea...
The next three picks were DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, and Jammal Brown, so it wasn't all a horror show. But it certainly wasn't the hit parade you'd expect from the first round of ANY draft.
More details to come...