Welcome to our third of a seven-part series breaking down each and every round of the NFL Draft since 1995, looking at the top picks of each round each year and then uncovering some little nuggets about other draftees, mostly drug sales reps and convicts.
We call it TheBaker’s Draft Anthology.
1. DT Gary Walker – Houston Oilers, No. 159 (Auburn)
2. LB Stephen Boyd – Detroit, No. 141 (Boston College)
3. DT Norman Hand – Miami, No. 158 (Mississippi)
Summary: A two-time Pro Bowler, Walker started 148 of his 155 games over an 11-season career. He finished that career with 320 solo tackles and 46.5 sacks. He registered at least five sacks in six of seven seasons from 1996-2002, including a career-high 10 sacks in 1999. For an interior lineman, that’s not a bad haul at all. Another two-time Pro Bowler, Boyd (pictured) was a fixture at middle linebacker for the Lions starting 67 games. He led Detroit in tackles four consecutive seasons, but chronic back pain caused him to retire after he appeared in just four games in 2001. Hand wasn’t the pass rushing threat Walker was, but this 300-plus pounder certainly made his presence felt. He started 87 of his 115-game career and spent the majority of that time with San Diego and New Orleans. He finished his career with 215 solo stops and 22.5 sacks.
Honorable Mention: LB John Holecek, Buffalo, No. 144 (Illinois); RB Travis Jervey – Green Bay, No. 170 (Citadel); TE Jamie Asher – Washington, No. 137 (Louisville); DL Rich Owens – Washington, No. 152 (Lehigh);
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In the Pros: LB Dana Howard – Illinois, No. 168 (Dallas). A two-time consensus All-American, Howard was a beast in college and won the 1994 Butkus Award. At Illinois, he was part of a linebacking corps that included Holecek, Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice. Hardy and Rice would go No. 2 and No. 3 overall in 1996. However, Illinois’ all-time leading tackler lasted a little longer. He held on for two seasons seeing action with St. Louis and Chicago. Howard, who had 595 tackles in college, had one career NFL tackle.
I Won A National Championship, And My Wife Is Still More Famous Than I Am: QB Jay Barker – Alabama, No. 160 (Green Bay). Barker led the Crimson Tide to the national title after knocking off No. 1 Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl and finished his career with the school’s best winning percentage for any signal caller (.934 or 35-2-1). He bounced around with Green Bay, New England and Carolina, but never threw a pass in the NFL. His wife, country singer Sara Evans had a better go of it. Now, I’ve never personally heard of Sara Evans, but apparently she’s a big deal and was even on “Dancing With The Stars” in 2006. She left the show because of personal reasons (a messy divorce). Her husband claimed she had affairs with her “Dancing With The Stars” partner Tony Dovolani, Kenny Chesney, various members of her band, four of the five members of 3 Doors Down and the topper – Richard Marx. The divorce was finalized in 2007 and the man who finished fifth in the 1994 Heisman Trophy voting swooped in and married the gal. They have seven children – all from previous relationships. Ah, a beautiful tale of Southern love.
Just Because My Career Flamed Out, Doesn’t Mean Yours Has To Either: WR Kez McCorvey – Florida State, No. 156 (Detroit). The former Seminoles standout about his time as a Lion: “I played for Detroit for four years and got a dose of playing for some bad football teams and realized how good a situation I was in at FSU. I played for one team, Detroit. They were different than FSU. They had a tradition of losing.” After his brief, depressing playing career, McCorvey opened the Titus Sports Academy to help young athletes reach their potential. Among the athletes to benefit from McCorvey’s training is former FSU linebacker Ernie Sims…who in 2006 was drafted No. 9 overall by – yup you guessed it – the Detroit Lions.
1. LB Zach Thomas – Miami, No. 154 (Texas Tech)
2. DT La’Roi Glover – Oakland, No. 166 (San Diego State)
3. WR Joe Horn – Kansas City, No. 135 (Itawamba J.C.)
Summary: Far from the prototypical specimen, Thomas slid to the fifth round because of concerns over his size. Now, he is only one of three players to record 100 or more tackles in each of his first 10 seasons in the NFL. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Thomas has more tackles than any linebacker in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1,076). He’ll be there soon. Few defensive tackles in recent history rushed the passer with as much success as Glover. After recording 25 sacks in his first three seasons, Glover put up an astounding 17 sacks in 2000, the first of his six straight Pro Bowl seasons. He started 167 games in his career, including nine last year with St. Louis and has 83.5 career sacks. Plucked from working at a Fayetteville, N.C. Bojangles’ restaurant, Horn spent four years as a backup in Kansas City. He signed with New Orleans in 2000 and went on to make the Pro Bowl in four of his seven years with the Saints. “Hollywood” had four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and led the league in awful outfits.
Honorable Mention: T Fred Miller – St. Louis, No. 141 (Baylor); G Chris Villarrial – Chicago, No. 152 (Indiana, PA); WR Jermaine Lewis – Baltimore, No. 153 (Maryland); DT Shane Burton – Miami, No. 150 (Tennessee); CB Marcus Coleman – New York Jets, No. 133 (Texas Tech);
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In the Pros: WR Mercury Hayes – Michigan, No. 136 (New Orleans). The Wolverines stud wideout got the best of Ronde Barber in the memorable 1995 Michigan-Virginia game, in which Hayes caught a game-winning 15-yard touchdown on fourth down as time expired to cap a 18-17 comeback win. Hayes had four professional catches. Barber has been to five Pro Bowls. Advantage: Barber.
We Drafted A Guy, But Then My Wife Told Me It Was Him Or Me: DT Christian Peter – Nebraska, No. 149 (New England). While at Nebraska, this model citizen was arrested eight times. His offenses ranged from threatening to kill a parking lot attendant to raping the same girl – two times in two days (the second with two teammates watching). He groped Miss Nebraska and told her she loved it. A month before the draft, Peter grabbed a woman by the throat in a bar. After the selection, women’s groups in Boston protested. Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s wife told her hubby that Peter had to go. I’m sure Kraft has a very nice, expensive plush couch, but I’m positive he prefers the bed. The Pats relinquished Peter’s rights a week after the draft. The Giants gave Peter a second chance and he wound up their starter for parts of three seasons. After brief stints with Indianapolis and Chicago, he called it quits following the 2002 season.
I Had One Good Year Out Of Nowhere And Then Was Never Heard From Again: WR Patrick Jeffers – Virginia, No. 159 (Denver). With 19 career catches in three seasons, not much was expected of Jeffers heading into the 1999 season. Well, he started 10 games for Carolina and caught 63 passes for 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns. He missed the entire 2000 season because of injury and returned to play nine games in 2001, catching 14 passes for 127 yards. And that was that.
1. C Jeff Mitchell – Baltimore, No. 134 – Florida
2. DT Tony Williams – Minnesota, No. 151 – Memphis
3. DE N.D. Kalu – Philadelphia, No. 152 – Rice
Summary: When you start 118 of your 119 career games in the NFL, I’m willing to give you credit, even if you are a center. Mitchell began his career as Baltimore’s starting center for three seasons before joining Carolina in 2001. From 2001-2005, he missed just two starts. While never eclipsing 30 solo tackles in a single season, Williams was an immovable object at times for offensive lines. He garnered attention as the Vikings starting defensive tackle for three seasons before cashing in with Cincinnati (where defensive players go to die). Williams started 51 games for the Bengals and called it a career after the 2004 season. Kalu only has 30 starts in his 11-year career, but he’s carved himself a niche as a pass rush specialist. He collected a career-high eight sacks in 2002 with the Eagles and parlayed that into a starting job in 2003, but he failed to make the position his own and left for Houston in 2006. Hey, it’s just one of those rounds. Sorry.
Honorable Mention: DB Sam Garnes – New York Giants, No. 136 (Cincinnati); DT Barron Tanner – Miami, No. 149 – Oklahoma; LB Twan Russell – Washington, No. 148 (Miami); CB Taje Allen – St. Louis, No. 158 (Texas);
Will Inmate No. 527701 Please Step Out Of His Cell: RB June Henley – Kansas, No. 163 (Kansas City). Henley left Kansas, the school’s all-time leading rusher. However, he slipped to the fifth round because he was busted for stealing leather coats and a pair of Reeboks. In St. Louis, Kurt Warner tried to save Henley. Warner would ask him to bible study. “God can wait,” Henley would tell Warner. “He’ll take it away from you if you don’t give back,” the former Piggly Wiggly stocker would reply. And God did. Injury forced early retirement and crack and cocaine addiction took hold. He stole to feed it. Now, he’s in jail serving a four-year sentence at Ross Correctional Institution in Ohio.
Boom Goes The Dynamite…And My Career: TE Damon Jones – Southern Illinois, No. 147 (Jacksonville). A physical specimen at tight end, Jones began his college career at Michigan but left for Division I-AA Southern Illinois after he set off a homemade explosive in his dorm and was accused of stealing from a convenience store. Scouts drooled over “Big Sofa’s” 6-foot-5, 287-pound frame that could run 4.6. He started 22 games for the Jaguars over five seasons, but surpassed double-digit catches in just one campaign.
1. G Benji Olson – Tennessee, No. 139 (Washington)
2. C John Wade – Jacksonville, No. 148 (Marshall)
3. LB Ike Reese – Philadelphia, No. 142 (Michigan State)
Summary: After leaving college a year early because he was concerned how long his back would hold up in the NFL, Olson started at right guard for Tennessee for all but five games from 1999-2007. Pretty damn impressive. In fact, no Tennessee Titan has started more games since 1999 than Olson. In addition, only Casey Wiegmann, Alan Faneca and Chris Gray played in more games between 1998-2007 than Olson on the interior of the offensive line (center or guard). Wade was a starter off and on for the Jaguars during his first five years in the league. He joined Tampa Bay and held down the Bucs starting center position for five years. He wound up in Oakland last year and started four games. In a weak round overall, Reese gets the nod as the third best pick. Though he started just five of the 144 games he played in, he still played in 144 games. He spent most of his career with the Eagles and finished his career with 242 total tackles.
Honorable Mention: WR Corey Bradford – Green Bay, No. 150 (Jackson State).
Talk About The One That Got Away: RB Chris Howard (Michigan), No. 153 – Denver. Michigan’s leading rusher on the 1997 national championship team, Howard was cut by the Broncos because he couldn’t hang onto the ball. Jacksonville did the same. Turns out a football isn’t the only thing Howard can’t hold onto. In 2001, he married the gorgeous Gabrielle Union. In 2005, they separated and were divorced a year later. Now, Dwyane Wade is hitting it. Something tells me, Chris has some sleepless nights.
Finally Some Good News: S Jason Simmons, – Pittsburgh, No. 137 (Arizona State). After four seasons with Pittsburgh, Simmons landed in Houston and in 2007 when the Texans singed Ahman Green, Green wanted to continue to wear his No. 30. Problem was, Simmons had it. The former Sun Devil devised a plan where Green would get the number in exchange for his help in buying a home for a single mother whose 7-year old son had autism. Green gave $25,000, Simmons put in $5,000 of his own and Texans owner Bob McNair chipped in another $25,000.
1. DT Rod Coleman – Oakland, No. 153 (East Carolina)
2. LB Eric Barton – Oakland, No. 146 (Maryland)
3. CB Jerry Azumah – Chicago, No. 147 (New Hampshire)
Summary: After flirting with a starting job in Oakland for his first five seasons in the league, Coleman joined Atlanta in 2004 and put together back-to-back double-digit sack seasons from the interior of the defensive line. Coleman finished his career with 58.5 sacks and 222 solo tackles. Another former Raider, Barton started in his final two years in Oakland and was a tackling machine for the Silver and Black recording 127 and 133 tackles in 2002 and 2003, respectively. He joined the Jets in 2004 and has been a starter for them ever since. He hadn’t reproduced the form he showed in his final two years with Oakland in New York until last season when he led the team with 119 total tackles. Azumah was a Pro Bowl kick returner and starting cornerback for Chicago before he was forced to prematurely retire because of injury. He was a record-breaking running back and the best player in Division I-AA when the Bears drafted him. They turned him into a cornerback and he stuck, making 49 starts and finishing his career with 342 total tackles. I love Jerry Azumah. Don’t hate.
Honorable Mention: DE David Bowens – Denver, No 158 (Western Illinois); T Mike Rosenthal – New York Giants, No. 149 (Notre Dame); LB Jay Foreman – Buffalo, No. 156 (Nebraska); TE Jerame Tuman – Pittsburgh, No. 136 (Michigan); DL Adrian Dingle – San Diego, No. 139 (Clemson).
Tell Me You Didn’t See This Coming: RB Cecil Collins – McNeese State, No. 134 (Miami). A potential star at LSU, “The Diesel” played just four games for the Tigers before being kicked off the team for “sleepwalking into girls rooms.” He transferred to McNeese State, where failed drug tests followed. Jimmy Johnson took a chance on the cat, believing the sleepwalking explanation. Collins played one season in Miami rushing for 414 yards. Now, he’s serving a 15-year prison sentence for sleep-driving over to and sleep-breaking into the home of a married woman he knew from the gym. He said he only wanted to watch her sleep and maybe cuddle. Um, slightly creepy. Watch the jailhouse interview.
Somebody For That Airplane! Brochure: T Mike Rosenthal – Notre Dame, No. 149 (New York Giants). After starting all 16 games of the 2002 season and the NFC Wild Card game, Rosenthal was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Right along there with Jack Garfinkel, Ralph Kaplowitz and Jon Scheyer. He signed with Minnesota in 2003 and became the Vikings starting right tackle before he was forced out of the lineup because of injury in 2004. He returned to start 12 games in 2005, but was out of the league after the 2006 campaign.
1. DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila – Green Bay, No. 149 (San Diego State)
2. P Shane Lechler – Oakland, No. 142 (Texas A&M)
3. LB Clark Haggans – Pittsburgh, No. 137 (Colorado State)
Summary: A pass rusher extraordinaire, Gbaja-Biamila nabbed 13.5 sacks in his second season, the first of four straight double-digit sack seasons. KGB made the Pro Bowl in 2003 and his 74.5 sacks broke Reggie White’s Packers franchise record of 68.5. For a franchise that spends a first rounder on a kicker, a fifth round pick is nothing. Well, the Raiders certainly got their money’s worth with Lechler. A four-time Pro Bowler, Lechler has led the league in punting average four of the last six seasons, not including last year, which he posted a 48.8-yard average. Haggans spent eight seasons in Pittsburgh and started 61 games in that span making 314 total tackles for the Steelers. He joined the Cardinals last season but was forced on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Honorable Mention: WR/KR Dante Hall – Kansas City, No. 153 (Texas A&M); RB Sammy Morris – Buffalo, No. 156 (Texas Tech); DT Brian Young – St. Louis, No. 139 (UTEP); DB Ralph Brown – New York Giants, No. 140 (Nebraska); DB Arturo Freeman – Miami, No. 152 (South Carolina); WR/KR Troy Walters – Minnesota, No. 165 (Stanford).
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In the Pros: QB Tee Martin – Tennessee, No. 163 (Pittsburgh). Martin did what Peyton Manning couldn’t at Tennessee – he won a national championship. Tamaurice Nigel Martin, or Tee, led the Vols to a 13-0 record and Fiesta Bowl win over Florida State to win the 1998 national title. Now, he owns a company specializing in sports event planning and does college football analysis on Comcast Sports Southeast.
Come Have A Drink With The Buckeyes’ 10th All-Time Leading Rusher: RB Michael Wiley – Ohio State, No. 144 (Dallas). After rushing for nearly 3,000 yards in his Ohio State career, Wiley was picked to be fourth string behind Emmitt Smith. Wiley lasted three seasons and finished his career with 503 yards. He now owns the After 5 Lounge back in Columbus. He tempts you to visit with pictures of Mike Epps and Eddie George. I’m in.
1. OL Matt Lehr – Dallas, No. 137 (Virginia Tech)
2. CB Jerametrius Butler – St. Louis, No. 145 (Kansas State)
3. QB A.J. Feeley – Philadelphia, No. 155 (Oregon)
Summary: When Matt Lehr is the best pick in the round, you know it’s going to be a rough one. Lehr has started 51 games, but he’s been a backup each of the last two seasons, bouncing around from Tampa Bay to New Orleans. He’s played for every NFC South team except Carolina. So expect a signing announcement soon. Butler enjoyed a decent two-year run (2003-04) with St. Louis starting all but one game. He picked up all of his nine career interceptions during that span and was last seen in Buffalo in 2007. What does a guy with 15-career starts in nine years get? Try this. Congratulations to Feeley on his engagement to soccer cutie Heather Mitts, but dude, you still blow.
Honorable Mention: WR Alex Bannister – Seattle, No. 140 (Eastern Kentucky); DB Jarrod Cooper – Carolina, No. 143 (Kansas State); OL Russ Hochstein – Tampa Bay, No. 151 (Nebraska);
Wow, I Wish This Guy Hadn’t Existed: QB Mike McMahon – Rutgers, No. 149 – Detroit. This guy just oozed douche. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because he looks eerily similar to failed Bears quarterback Chad Hutchinson. Maybe it’s because he “played” for the Lions. Who knows? But I’m glad he’s gone.
1. DE Aaron Kampman – Green Bay, No. 156 (Iowa)
2. DT Rocky Bernard – Seattle, No. 146 (Texas A&M)
3. LB Scott Fujita – Kansas City, No. 143 (California)
Summary: With Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila flying around one end, Kampman went unnoticed on Green Bay’s defensive line for a number of years. But after three solid years as a starter, the former Iowa product blew up with 15.5 sacks in 2006. He followed that up with 12 sacks and a second consecutive trip to Hawaii. Last season, he notched 9.5 sacks and he’s proven durable, starting all but one game since 2004. Not a model citizen (he allegedly punched his ex-girlfriend in the forehead), Bernard has been a more than dependable defensive tackle the last three seasons for Seattle. A month ago, Bernard signed with the Giants and will be bringing his 29 career sacks and 282 tackles to town. With 93 career starts and 597 total tackles, Fujita gets the nod ahead of fellow linebacker Andra Davis. Plus, his last name lends itself to humorous pronunciations.
Honorable Mention: DB Jermaine Phillips – Tampa Bay, No. 157 (Georgia); LB Andra Davis – Cleveland, No. 141 (Florida); LB Nick Greisen – New York Giants, No. 152 (Wisconsin); TE Robert Royal – Washington, No. 160 (LSU)
My Old AOL Password Was This Dude’s Last Name: QB Kurt Kittner – Illinois, No. 158 (Atlanta). Let me explain. I grew up a University of Illinois fan. I mean I sent former Illini coach Ron Turner a question during an old school CNNSI chat.
Me: Coach, with the injury to Brandon Lloyd, Walter Young has been switched to WR for the season. If Kurt Kittner should go down, your backups are a couple of redshirt freshmen in Dustin Ward and Christian Morton, does that sit well with you?
Ron Turner: Dustin Ward had a good spring, we’re confident he could be a good, solid backup, and Walter Young is still working at quarterback, and if needed, he could still play quarterback.
1. DE Robert Mathis – Indianapolis, No. 138 (Alabama State)
2. P Mike Scifres – San Diego, No. 149 (Western Illinois)
3. OL Dan Koppen – New England, No. 164
Summary: An absolute terror on the edge, Mathis has been a pass rush extraordinaire since Day One in Indianapolis. With Dwight Freeney rushing around the other end, Mathis (pictured emasculating Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl) has cleaned up with 53.5 sacks while starting just 31 games. He earned a Pro Bowl nod this season after posting 11.5 sacks. Scifres singlehandedly beat the Colts in the playoffs this season, pinning all six of his punts inside the 20, while still managing a 52.7-yard average, including a 67-yarder. The dude’s for real. New England’s starting center since his rookie season, Koppen has had the luxury of having his jewels tickled by Tom Brady on occasion. That alone is listworthy. But 87 starts in 88 games and a Pro Bowl appearance will do to.
Honorable Mention: OL David Diehl – New York GIants, No. 160 (Illinois); LB Hunter Hillenmeyer – Green Bay, No. 166 (Vanderbilt); WR Justin Gage – Chicago, No. 143 (Missouri); T Tony Pashos – Baltimore, No. 173 (Illinois); DB Terrence Holt – Detroit, No. 137 (N.C. State); TE Donald Lee – Miami, No. 156 (Mississippi State); WR Bobby Wade – Chicago, No. 139 (Arizona); DB Donnie Nickey – Tennessee, No. 154 (Ohio State);
This Tron Was Clu-less: DT Tron LaFavor – Florida, No. 171 (Chicago). It wasn’t the Master Control Program that did in LaFavor. It was his lack of talent. Love and escape do not compute. Says The Dude, “Because man, somewhere in these memories is the evidence!” After four games and one tackle in 2003, MCP declared: End of line.
Pat Yourself On The Back. You’re The Highest Drafted Long Snapper Ever: LS Ryan Pontbriand – Rice, No. 142 (Cleveland). Only 12 long snappers had been drafted in the history of the draft and none ever as high as the fifth round. Pontbriand has missed just five games since 2003 and he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2008. I guess if you’re going to take a long snapper this high, he better be a badass. Even if long-snapping hadn’t worked out, something tells me his mechanical engineering degree from Rice would have come in handy.
1. RB Michael Turner – San Diego, No. 154 (Northern Illinois)
2. OL Jacob Bell – Tennessee, No. 138 (Miami, OH)
3. S Gibril Wilson – New York Giants, No. 136 (Tennessee)
Summary: As LaDanian Tomlinson’s backup in San Diego, Turner showed glimpses when given the chance. Atlanta gave him $15 million guaranteed. He almost earned it all in his first Falcons appearance, setting a franchise single-game record of 220 rushing yards (of course it was against the Lions). He finished the year with 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns and nearly carried my fantasy team to a championship, singlehandedly. A starter for three seasons in Tennessee, Bell signed a six-year deal with St. Louis before last season and started in 13 games for the Rams. He’ll be expected to open holes for my fantasy bust last year Steven Jackson. Luckily, the aforementioned Turner blew up for me. A starter in 51 of his 52 games with the Giants, Wilson racked up 360 tackles, six sacks and 11 interceptions in New York. He took Al Davis’ money and signed a six-year, $39 million deal prior to last season and recorded 129 tackles. And on cue, the Raiders cut him. Don’t feel sorry for him, though. He got a five-year, $27.5 million contract from Miami with $8 million guaranteed.
Honorable Mention: DE Antonio Smith – Arizona, No. 135 (Oklahoma State); T Jake Scott – Indianapolis, No. 141 (Idaho); K Josh Scobee – Jacksonville, No. 137 (Louisiana Tech); FB Mike Karney – New Orleans, No. 156 (Arizona State); WR Drew Carter – Carolina, No. 163 (Ohio State).
Donovan McNabb Sends Me Nasty Christmas Cards Every Year: DT Chad Lavalais – Atlanta, No. 142 (LSU). The Sporting News’ National Defensive Player of the Year, Lavalais lasted until the fifth round because of character concerns. In 2005, he speared Donovan McNabb in the first game of the season, basically greasing the wheels for what would later be called a sports hernia. The NFL fined Lavalais $7,500 for the hit. And the term “sports hernia” became as popular as the Baha Men in 2000. Medically speaking, it’s called athletic pubalgia, Gilmore’s groin or groin disruption. Sounds pleasant.
Instead Of Drafting Local Kid Michael Turner, Chicago Drafted These Two Bums: DE Claude Harriot – Pittsburgh, No. 147 and QB Craig Krenzel – Ohio State, No. 148 (Chicago). With back-to-back picks in the fifth round, the Bears took an undersized defensive end and a quarterback with a cap-gun like arm. Staring Chicago in the face was a local kid with gaudy numbers at a position the Bears franchise prides itself on. If Turner lands in Chicago, maybe the Bears escape the Cedric Benson fiasco a year later. Oh well, Harriot never saw the field and Krenzel was one of the 17 quarterbacks to start for Chicago since 1996.
1. DE Trent Cole – Philadelphia, No. 146 (Cincinnati)
2. LB Michael Boley – Atlanta, No. 160 (Southern Miss)
3. CB Gerald Sensabaugh – Jacksonville, No. 157 (East Tennessee State)
Summary: The Eagles starting right defensive end, Cole got his chance when Jevon Kearse broke his leg in 2006. Cole put up a career-high 12.5 sacks in a year later and went to the Pro Bowl. He’s got 34.5 career sacks, including nine last season and just got $12 million guaranteed from Philadelphia that could keep him with the Eagles until 2013. After finishing his college career with 423 tackles and 28.5 sacks, Boley entrenched himself as the Falcons starter for four seasons. He amassed 330 total tackles, before spreading his free agent wings this offseason. He landed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Giants. After starting 11 games in his first three seasons with the Jaguars, Sensabaugh had a breakout season last year, starting 13 games. He finished the season with 70 tackles and tied for the team lead with four interceptions. This offseason he signed with the Cowboys as a possible replacement for Roy Williams.
Honorable Mention: OL Frank Omiyale – Atlanta, No. 163 (Tennessee Tech); LB Tyjuan Hagler – Indianapolis, No. 173 (Cincinnati).
Lews And Clark, I Am Not: QB Dan Orlovsky – Connecticut, No. 145 (Detroit). Most likely to get lost in a maze? This guy. This one play epitomized the entire 2008 Detroit Lions season. When TV stories about the winless season air, this will be the lasting image. Now, it is evidence of one of two things: either Orlovsky didn’t know the end zones were 10-yards deep or he was so scared of Jared Allen he ran away like a little girl. Either way, he’s etched himself in blooper reel infamy.
This No Name Was More Exciting Than Anything The Cowboys Did on “Hard Knocks”: LB Boomer Grigsby – Illinois State, No. 138 (Kansas City). HBO followed Grigsby’s attempted position change from linebacker to ullback in 2007’s “Hard Knocks.” Honestly, the dude was great. Between him and Tank Tyler (the cat who escaped to a cornfield just to revel in its glory), the Chiefs season far surpassed the Cowboys attempts last year. Grigsby caught two passes for 14 yards in 2007 and was a key special teams contributor. He signed with Miami and apparently won the starting fullback job, but was released two days after starting the season opener.
What Could Have Been: QB Adrian McPherson – Florida State, No. 152 (New Orleans). As Florida State’s sophomore starter at quarterback, McPherson won three of his first four starts and looked like a better Charlie Ward. He looked every bit the prodigy that became the only Florida high school athlete to win Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball. Well, he was soon kicked off the team for forging a $3,500 check (a felony) and later was accused of betting on his own games. He pleaded no contest and received 25 hours of community service. McPherson popped up in the AFL in something of audition for NFL coaches. He threw 61 touchdowns to just five picks and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. The Saints took a flier on him, though McPherson’s NFL headlines were limited to frivolous lawsuits against opposing mascots and disputes with teammates.
1. LB Omar Gaither – Philadelphia, No. 168 (Tennessee)
2. DE Mark Anderson – Chicago, No. 159 (Alabama)
3. DB Dawan Landry – Baltimore, No. 146 (Georgia Tech)
Summary: After starting five games as a rookie, Gaither started all 16 games in 2007 and led the Eagles with 102 tackles. He opened this season as the starter, but lasted just 10 games and was replaced by Akeem Jordan. Coming out of nowhere to finish his rookie season with 12 sacks, Anderson dislodged veteran Alex Brown from the lineup and started 14 games for the Bears in 2007. He couldn’t replicate his rookie sack success and was relegated to reserve duty this past season, failing to start a game and recording just one sack. As a rookie Landry recorded 69 tackles. three sacks and had five interceptions. In 2007, he was third on the team with 82 tackles. In the third game this season against Cleveland, Landry suffered a spinal cord concussion and was placed on injured reserve.
Honorable Mention: OL Chris Kuper – Denver, No. 161 (North Dakota); RB Jerome Harrison – Cleveland, No. 145 (Washington State); TE Jeff King – Carolina, No. 155 (Virginia Tech);
I Should Have Stuck To Modeling And Skiing: WR Jeremy Bloom – Colorado, No. 147 (Philadelphia). His decision to ski in the 2006 Winter Olympics cost him his NCAA eligibility and his two-year sample of work showed a fast, nifty runner. But at 5-foot-9, it wasn’t going to happen. After an unsuccessful football career, Bloom earned a Real Estate and Finance Entrepreneurship degree Penn’s Wharton Business School. In 2008, he launched the Jeremy Bloom Wish of a Lifetime Foundation, which aims to help low income seniors experience their lifelong wishes. I’m hoping for Jeremy’s sake, we don’t have any “Kingpin”-like requests.
It’s A Good Thing Cincinnati Drafted Me Because I Plan On Wearing Stripes: LB A.J. Nicholson – Florida State, No. 157 (Cincinnati). A month after being drafted, Nicholson broke into an ex-teammates apartment and stole $1,700 worth of electronics. While at Florida State, he was charged with sexual assault, DUI and was tasered by a police officer. Of course with a background like that, he was only going to end up a Bengal. He was cut after pleading not guilty to an assault charge even after his girlfriend insisted she accidentally hit herself with a cell phone. Right…
1. WR Steve Breaston – Arizona, No. 142 (Michigan)
2. TE Kevin Boss – New York Giants, No. 153 (Western Oregon)
3. S Kevin Payne – Chicago, No. 167 (Lousiana-Monroe)
Summary: After just catching eight passes his rookie season, Breaston was the third option in Arizona’s pass happy attack. What does the third option haul in? Try 77 catches and 1,006 yards. The former Michigan man will be a big part of what the Cardinals do this season, especially if Anquan Boldin gets his trade request. When Jeremy Shockey got hurt in 2007, the Giants plugged in this little known rookie from Western Oregon and realized maybe Shockey wasn’t worth the headache after all. Boss caught just nine passes his rookie season, but showed the Giants enough that they were happy to send Shockey to New Orleans. Boss finished the season with 33 catches for 384 yards and six touchdowns. A ferocious hitter, Payne is gaining a reputation as one of the more feared hitters in the league. He started all 16 games for the Bears last season and finished the year with 83 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.
Honorable Mention: TE Brent Celek – Philadelphia, No. 162 (Cincinnati); CB Corey Graham – Chicago, No. 168 (New Hampshire); G Uche Nwaneri – Jacksonville, No. 149 (Purdue); RB Kolby Smith – Kansas City, No. 148 (Missouri); TE Dante Rosario – Carolina, No. 155 (Oregon); QB Troy Smith – Baltimore, No. 174 (Ohio State).
1. RB Tim Hightower – Arizona, No. 149 (Richmond)
2. CB Orlando Scandrick – Dallas, No. 143 (Boise State)
3. FB Owen Schmitt – Seattle, No. 163 (West Virginia)
Summary: A record-breaking performer at Richmond, Hightower scored 10 touchdowns his rookie despite averaging just 2.8 yards a carry. He displaced Edgerrin James during the regular season and started seven games, but was sidelined in favor of the veteran during the postseason run. A two-game starter in his rookie campaign, Scandrick finished the year with 27 tackles and one sack for the Cowboys. That’s all I got. I have even less on Schmitt. He started one game ran the ball five times and caught six passes. For this round, that’s good enough.
Honorable Mention: RB Ryan Torain – Denver, No. 139 (Arizona State).
Now for the best fifth round picks since 1995:
1. LB Zach Thomas – Miami, No. 154 (Texas Tech) 1996
2. DT La’Roi Glover – Oakland, No. 166 (San Diego State) 1996
3. DE Aaron Kampman – Green Bay, No. 156 (Iowa) 2002
4. WR Joe Horn – Kansas City, No. 135 (Itawamba J.C.) 1996
5. RB Michael Turner – San Diego, No. 154 (Northern Illinois) 2004
Apologies to Robert Mathis, KGB, Shane Lechler, Benji Olson and Rod Coleman.