Now we’re onto part four of TheBaker’s Draft Anthology, our seven-part series breaking down each and ever round of the NFL Draft since 1995. We’re taking the good and the bad. Some you’ve heard of, others you’ll wish you had.
Then at the end of each round, we tell you the five best picks in that respective round since ’95.
In Round Seven, we confused an offensive lineman with a Presidential fellatious pal.
In Round Six, Larry Ned taught us to always keep an eye on our stuff through airport security.
In Round Five, you learned of Cecil Collins’ sleepwalking mishaps and desires to cuddle.
What does the fourth round hold in store? Take a look:
1. QB Rob Johnson – Jacksonville, No. 99 (USC)
2. CB Ken Irvin – Buffalo, No. 109 (Memphis)
3. S Sam Shade – Cincinnati, No. 102 (Alabama)
Summary: After showing glimpses as Mark Brunell’s backup in Jacksonville, Johnson was traded to Buffalo for a first and fourth round pick. (Bills fans can vomit now.) He would start 26 games in four seasons with the Bills, but was overshadowed by the phenomenon that was Doug Flutie. Johnson threw for 5,795 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career. Now, he is an assistant coach underneath his father, Bob, at Mission Viejo High School and has been mentoring one of the school’s alums Mark Sanchez. Shade split his eight-year career between Cincinnati and Washington. He enjoyed his greatest stretch as the Redskins’ starting strong safety from 1999-2001. He finished his career with 563 total tackles, 8.5 sacks and 10 interceptions. A teammate of Johnson’s in Buffalo, Irvin started 54 games at cornerback during his seven seasons with the Bills. He started for nine games for both the Saints and Vikings before retiring after the 2005 season. He never had more than two interceptions in one season. Sweet round.
Honorable Mention: OL Dave Wohlabaugh – New England, No. 112 (Syracuse); TE Pete Mitchell – Miami, No. 122 (Boston College); TE Eric Bjornson – Dallas, No. 110 (Washington);
Cue The Best ‘80s Action Film Theme Song: RB Aaron Hayden – Tennessee, No. (San Diego). The former Volunteers back would’ve made the list on the basis of his middle name alone (Chautezz), but Hayden also hails from Mumford High School in Detroit. The same school that provided us Det. Axel Foley. “Billy, you know, you don’t have to be embarrassed if your dick gets hard. Your dick is supposed to get hard. See? That’s the whole object of this. Taggart’s dick is hard, but he won’t let you know ‘cause he’s the boss. Boss’ dick got to stay limp, right? See, I ain’t on duty so my dick can be hard.”
Prime Time Visits Ashley Schaeffer BMW: DB Alundis Brice – Mississippi, No. 129 (Dallas). Last round, we brought you the story about Jason Simmons and his charity-friendly idea on how to give Ahman Green the No. 30. Well, Brice had the distinction of owning No. 21 before the Cowboys acquired Deion Sanders. Brice, a rookie who said he said he wasn’t married to the number, was given a BMW by Prime Time to grease the wheels anyways. Brice played 25 games with the Cowboys and made two starts. He was out of the league by 1996.
You Wouldn’t Know It, But I Would Soon Hate You: QB Steve Stenstrom – Stanford, No. 134 (Kansas City). I hate Stenstrom for the same reason I hate Moses Moreno, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Henry Burris, Jonathan Quinn, Rick Mirer, Cade McNown, Rex Grossman and the other eight stiffs the Chicago Bears have trotted out as a starting quarterback since 1996. Luckily, that position finally seems to be shored up (see Cutler, Jay). Stenstrom started seven games for the Bears (going 1-6) and finished his career with San Francisco and a stat line of four touchdowns to 12 interceptions. That’s about right.
1. RB Stephen Davis – Washington, No. 102 (Auburn)
2. T Jon Runyan – Houston Oilers, No. 109 (Michigan)
3. LB Donnie Edwards – Kansas City, No. 98 (UCLA)
Summary: Primarily a backup and fullback during his first three seasons with the Redskins, Davis earned the starter’s gig in 1999 and wound up leading the NFC in rushing with 1,405 yards. He made three Pro Bowls, helped guide the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII and finished his career with 8,052 rushing yards and 65 touchdowns. That’ll do. Runyan made 192 straight starts at right tackle for Tennessee and Philadelphia, including all 16 last season for the Eagles. A Pro Bowler in 2002, Runyan has the second longest active streak for consecutive starts in the league. Plus, it was his idea for Brian Westbrook to take a knee late in that 2007 contest against Dallas, in which Westbrook could have walked into the end zone, but took a knee to kill the clock, affecting thousands of fantasy football matchups and creating just as many ulcers. With 1,133 solo tackles in his 197-game career, Edwards certainly merits distinction. He needs four more interceptions to tie for the NFL record for most picks by a linebacker, and in 2006 he became just the ninth player in league history to reach 20 sacks and 20 interceptions for a career.
Honorable Mention: DE Phillip Daniels – Seattle, No. 99 (Georgia); DT Paul Grasmanis – Chicago, No. 116 (Notre Dame); FB Stanley Pritchett – Miami, No. 118 (South Carolina)
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In The Pros: QB Danny Kanell – Florida State, No. 130 (New York Giants). Florida State’s school record holder for touchdowns (57), Kanell started 20 games for the Giants and helped guide them to the 1997 playoffs. A year later however, he was benched for some guy named Kent Graham. He spent time with Atlanta and Denver as a backup and finished his career with 31 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.
Ray Needs To See You With Your Playbook: LB Ray Farmer – Philadelphia, No. 121 (Philadelphia). Chronic knee injuries caused an early end to Farmer’s playing career, but the two-time All-ACC performer went back to school in 2001 to become Duke’s academic coordinator and assist with recruiting. He then spent four years as a scout for Atlanta before landing a job as Kansas City’s director of pro personnel. And on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in 2007, he had the duty of telling guys they didn’t make the 53.
1. WR Derrick Mason – Tennessee, No. 98 (Michigan State)
2. T Ryan Tucker – St. Louis, No. 112 (TCU)
3. WR Marcus Robinson – Chicago, No. 108 (South Carolina)
Summary: One of the most under-appreciated players in the league the last decade, Mason is one of the most consistent wide receivers in NFL history. Over the last five seasons only two receivers have caught more passes than Mason (Torry Holt and Chad Johnson). He ranks ninth among active players in receiving yards (10,061) and receptions (790). Last year, he had another typical Mason year with 80 catches for 1,037 yards, his seventh 1,000-yard season. There’s nothing terribly exciting about Tucker, but he did last 12 years in the league and managed to make 102 starts between the Rams and the Browns. He started in two Super Bowls for St. Louis, winning one, for “The Greatest Show On Turf.” He took Cleveland’s money, struggled with injuries and tested positive for steroids. Out of nowhere, Robinson exploded for 84 catches and 1,400 yards for the aerially challenged Bears, catching passes from Shane Matthews, Jim Miller and Cade McNown during the 1999 season. He would never replicate those numbers, coming closest with Minnesota in 2004 (47 catches for 657 yards and eight touchdowns). But he did finish his career with 4,699 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: LB Henri Crockett – Atlanta, No. 100 (Florida State); T Jamie Nails – Buffalo, No. 120 (Florida A&M); LB Al Singleton – Tampa Bay, No. 128 (Temple); RB Leon Johnson – New York Jets, No. 104 (North Carolina)
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In The Pros: QB Danny Wuerffel – Florida, No. 99 (New Orleans). Everyone knew the 1996 Heisman Trophy winner would blow in the pros. A super nice guy, Wuerffel, a two-time first team All-American and owner of almost every SEC passing record, just didn’t have the arm strength to succeed at the next level. He spent seven years as a backup (12 touchdowns and 22 interceptions). After retiring, he established Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans, which was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Again, nice guy. Awful pro QB.
I’d Rather Fail At Acting Than Fail At Football: RB Darnell Autry – Northwestern, No. 105 (Chicago). Riding Northwestern’s Rose Bowl season, Autry finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 1996. A year later, he sued the NCAA to allow him to act in a movie because he was a theater major and he did not want to lose NCAA eligibility. They relented. He ran for 653 yards in his career, seeing action in 24 games between the Bears and Eagles. Autry quit the Eagles after 2000 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career like every pretty 19-year old diner waitress from Iowa. It didn’t really work out. He returned to his alma mater in 2006 to complete his degree with hopes of getting his real estate license. He’s also working on a book about his life experiences. Can’t wait.
1. T Jason Fabini – New York Jets, No. 111 (Cincinnati)
2. S Lance Schulters – San Francisco, No. 119 (Hofstra)
3. G Steve McKinney – Indianapolis, No. 93 (Texas A&M)
Summary: Despite having four less starts than McKinney in his career (133 to 129), Fabini played at a premium position (left tackle). Plus, he was Doorman #3 in “Made.” “OK Bob, you knocked the Jew’s tooth out, right? That’s gonna cost Max eight grand, maybe more than eight grand. You probably lost him his whole line of clientele too. Plus, you’ve been fucking up Jess’ dancing. Now I think he knows I sold the fucking carpet cleaning van. He’s been giving me looks and shit which leads to that, OK? Now he can’t kill us in Los Angeles cause there’s a lot of questions there right? But all of a sudden he flies us out to New York City to do a drop? We know what the fuck a drop is, OK? But, if we disappeared out here, there’s no fucking questions involved in that. There’s no question if we disappear. LA, questions, drop out here, not a lot of questions.” Schulters made the Pro Bowl in just his second season after snagging six interceptions from his free safety position. After two more seasons with the 49ers, he left for Tennessee and matched his six-interception season with another in 2002. In all, he started 97 games between the 49ers, Titans, Falcons and Dolphins and finished his career with 19 interceptions and 537 total tackles.
Honorable Mention: LB Shawn Barber – Washington, No. 113 (Richmond); WR/KR Tim Dwight – Atlanta, No. 114 (Iowa); CB Deshea Townsend – Pittsburgh, No. 117 (Alabama), RB Michael Pittman – Arizona, No. 95 (Fresno State); WR Az-Zahir Hakin – St. Louis, No. 96 (San Diego State); DT Brandon Whiting – Philadelphia, No. 112 (California); LB Greg Favors – Kansas City, No. 120 (Mississippi State); WR Donald Hayes – Carolina, No. 106 (Wisconsin).
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In The Pros: RB Tavian Banks – Iowa, No. 101 (Jacksonville). In his senior season, Banks set an Iowa school record with 1,691 yards and 17 touchdowns. (The records were broken this season by draft prospect Shonn Greene.) Iowa’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns tore the ACL, PCL and LCL in his left knee in 1999 and missed the next two years. He tried to comeback with New Orleans in 2002, but never saw the field. He’s now a glorified athletic trainer at this place.
Paging Dr. Loomis: DT Michael Myers – Alabama, No. 100 (Dallas). It’s unknown whether he’s pure evil and prefers to kill with a kitchen knife, but Myers finished his career with 259 tackles and 15.5 sacks during his decade in the NFL. After five seasons with the Cowboys, he started for Denver in 2005 and 2006. Dr. Loomis put six slugs into him (Halloween), then blew him up (Halloween II), cops shot him several times before he fell down a mine shaft (Halloween IV) and he got lit up in an electrical fire (Halloween: H20), but it wasn’t until 2007 that he saw the end of Myers. And of course, he was spotted where all defensive players go to die – Cincinnati.
1. DE Aaron Smith – Pittsburgh, No. 109 (Northern Colorado)
2. C Edwin Mulitalo – Baltimore, No. 129 (Arizona)
3. LB Rosevelt Colvin – Chicago, No. 111 (Purdue)
Summary: Currently ninth all-time on the Steelers’ sacks list (behind names like Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood and Kevin Greene), Smith has been the ideal 3-4 end for Pittsburgh and has started all but seven games for the Steelers since 2000. A Pro Bowler in 2004, Smith has 376 career total tackles, 42 sacks and two Super Bowl rings to his credit. Earning 127 starts in his 132 career games, Mulitalo started at center for Baltimore when the Ravens crushed the Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV (one of the worst Super Bowls ever). After eight seasons as the Ravens’ starting center, he signed with Detroit in 2007 and has started 23 games for the lowly Lions. Now, no I didn’t pick Colvin because he was a Chicago Bear for four seasons or because he went to high school less than 600 feet from where I live. Colvin never amassed 100 tackles in a single season, but the outside linebacker’s forte was rushing the passer – something he did with aplomb when he recorded 10.5 sacks in both 2001 and 2002 with the Bears. Colvin gets the nod over Brandon Stokley (who’s got 3,992 career receiving yards) because he’s amassed 360 career total tackles and 52.5 sacks and started 45 more games than Stokley.
Honorable Mention: WR Brandon Stokley – Baltimore, No. 105 (Louisiana-Lafayette); OL John Welbourn – Philadelphia, No. 97 (California); QB Aaron Brooks – Green Bay, No. 131 (Virginia); LB Warrick Holdman – Chicago, No. 106 (Texas A&M); S Pierson Prioleau – San Francisco, No. 110 (Virginia Tech); S Dexter Jackson – Tampa Bay, No. 113 (Tampa Bay); LB Keith Newman – Buffalo, No. 119 (North Carolina); P Josh Bidwell – Green Bay, No. 133 (Oregon).
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In The Pros: QB Joe Germaine – Ohio State, No. 101 (St. Louis). As a senior, Germaine set 11 school records as he threw for 3,330 yards and 25 touchdowns for the Buckeyes and was selected to the Ohio Sate Football All-Century Team in 2000. He threw just 16 passes in the NFL, two of which were intercepted, but won a Super Bowl as Kurt Warner’s backup with the Rams. Then it was off to the AFL with him.
Everyone Thought I Was The Next Terrell Davis, Oops: RB Olandis Gary – Georgia, No. 127 (Denver). When Terrell Davis went down in the 1999 season, Gary, another late round pick from Georgia (ala Davis) ran for 1,159 yards and seven touchdowns, proving that anyone could run productively in the Broncos system. He lasted four more years in the league, but never rushed for more than 385 yards in a season after his rookie year.
Not A Lady’s Best Friend: WR Craig Yeast – Kentucky, No. 98 (Cincinnati). All the ladies tried their best to avoid Yeast, who spent parts of three seasons with Cincinnati and the Jets. We all know that one way to avoid yeast infections are to wear white cotton panties. None of that fancy Nylon or Lycra thong ladies. Those can trap air and create a breeding ground for yeast. I know, wow.
1. LB Brandon Short – New York Giants, No. 105 (Penn State)
2. OL Cooper Carlisle – Denver, No. 112 (Tennessee)
3. LB Na’il Diggs – Green Bay, No. 98 (Ohio State).
Summary: This round was going to be a tough one. Not a great deal of talent in here, but Short gets the nod. And most of it has nothing to do with his 69 starts or 386 total tackles. I’m giving Short the vote for throwing blows at Jeremy Shockey in 2002 when Shockey, then a rookie, refused to sing his college fight song. After five seasons primarily as a backup, Carlisle got his chance to start at right guard for Denver and went on to start 32 consecutive games for the Broncos. He signed with the Raiders prior to the 2007 season and has been Oakland’s starting right guard since. A star at Ohio State, Diggs served as the Packers’ starting outside linebacker for six seasons before joining Carolina in 2006, where he’s been the starter ever since. Like Colvin, Diggs hasn’t reached 100 tackles in a season once, but he has 557 career total tackles in his career along with 11.5 sacks and five interceptions.
Honorable Mention: S Tyrone Carter – Minnesota, No. 118 (Minnesota); LB Peter Sirmon – Tennessee, No. 128 (Oregon); CB Lewis Sanders – Cleveland, No. 95 (Maryland); FB Terrelle Smith – New Orleans, No. 94 (Arizona State).
So Maybe I’m Not A Boy Scout: DT Leonardo Carson – Auburn, No. 113 (San Diego). Carson started 19 games for the Chargers between 2001-02. San Diego released him for reasons that will soon become obvious and Bill Parcells and the Cowboys took a chance on him. In June 2004, he served a 30-day jail sentence on two misdemeanor counts of kidnapping and burglary for breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house and forcing her sister to come with him. Later that evening, Carson’s car broke down and the woman escaped. The Cowboys re-signed him, and he started 15 games, though he was released before the 2005 season. Next, he would become a “significant drug dealer.”
No, I Am Not The Unabomber: LB Isaiah Kacyvenski – Harvard, No. 119 (Seattle). It’s easy to get confused though. Like Kacyvenski, one Theodore Kaczynski received an undergrad degree from Harvard (before getting his PhD at Michigan). He then moved to a remote cabin in Montana without electricity or running water. From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets, killing three people and injuring 23. His brother tipped off the feds and we all watched them storm that little Montana cabin. Kacyvenski started every game at Harvard during his four years there and graduated cum laude with a pre-med degree. He played six-plus seasons with Seattle and recorded 267 tackles. He played a season with the Rams, was signed by the Raiders before retiring in 2008. No word on whether he lives in a cabin.
1. RB Rudi Johnson – Cincinnati, No. 100 (Auburn)
2. OL Ryan Diem – Indianapolis, No. 118 (Northern Illinois)
3. G Roberto Garza – Atlanta, No. 99 (Texas A&M-Kingsville)
Summary: Before Tatum Bell was stealing his luggage in Detroit, Johnson was outright studly with the Bengals from 2003-2006. During that four-year span, Johnson rushed for 5,178 yards and 45 touchdowns. The closest thing to fantasy football sure thing, Johnson broke hearts (most notably mine) in 2007 when injuries and inefficiency signaled an end to his Bengals career as he rushed for just 497 yards. Detroit signed him last season and gave him four starts in a forgettable year. What did Johnson teach us? Running back shelf life. Diem started his first 24 games with the Colts at right guard before moving outside to right tackle in 2003. Injuries have cost him a game here and there, but when Diem’s healthy, he starts and keeps Peyton Manning clean. He has 108 career starts to his credit, including all 16 last season. After starting 15 games for Atlanta in 2004, the Bears snapped up Garza with the intentions of having him provide depth. He wound up appearing in all 16 games, including seven starts. He hasn’t missed a game since holding down the Bears’ right guard spot the three seasons.
Honorable Mention: C Ben Hamilton – Denver, No. 113 (Minnesota); RB Correll Buckhalter – Philadelphia, No. 121 (Nebraska); CB Anthony Henry – Cleveland, No. 97 (Cleveland); QB Sage Rosenfels – Washington, No. 109 (Iowa State); WR Justin McCareins – Tennessee, No. 124 (Northern Illinois); LB Edgerton Hartwell – Baltimore, No. 126 (Western Illinois); LB Matt Stewart – Atlanta, No. 102 (Vanderbilt); TE Brandon Manumaleuna – St. Louis, No. 129 (Arizona).
Best Sports Injury Ever: K Bill Gramatica – South Florida, No. 98 (Arizona). This guy never really had a chance. Everyone already hated his older brother, Martin. So on Dec. 15, 2001 when Gramatica tore his ACL while celebrating a first-half 42-yard field goal, the only tears shed were those of laughter. He missed the rest of the season and was out of the league after he missed an extra point with the Dolphins in a one-point loss in 2004. All this is proof that there really is a God.
Along With That NFLPA Card, Here’s An AARP One: QB Chris Weinke – Florida State, No. 106 (Carolina). After beginning his minor league baseball career in 1991, Weinke lasted six seasons in the Blue Jays organization before giving up baseball after not being able to get past Triple-A. He was a 26-year old sophomore when he led the Seminoles to a 9-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking before he was injured. He led Florida State to the championship a year later and as a senior (literally) he won the 2000 Heisman Trophy after leading the nation with 4,167 yards. Talk about a man among boys. He spent all but one of his seven seasons in the NFL with Carolina. Weinke started 20 games, compiling a wildly impressive 2-18 record in those games. He finished his distinguished NFL career with 15 touchdowns to 26 interceptions.
Proof That Nothing Good Comes From Canada: QB Jesse Palmer – Florida, No. 125 (New York Giants). This Toronto native flew all the way south to Steve Spurrier and the University of Florida. He managed to split time with the ultra accomplished pro QBs known as Doug Johnson and Rex Grossman while in Gainesville. He served as the Giants backup for four seasons and was cut in 2005. Palmer was just the second Canadian (Mark Rypien being the other) to start a game at quarterback in NFL history. Next up for Jessie, was “The Bachelor.” After he couldn’t remember a chick’s name during the first rose ceremony (I have lady friends who watch the show, I swear), he settled on Jessica as his final choice. That lasted a few months. Shocking. Now, this guy is on ESPN as a college football expert. How does that happen? Wait a minute. “The Bachelor” airs on ABC. ESPN and ABC are both owned by Disney. A higher up woman at Disney has a crush on Palmer. They decide to bring him back. And we all suffer.
1. DE Alex Brown – Chicago, No. 104 (Florida)
2. LB Larry Foote – Pittsburgh, No. 128 (Michigan)
3. QB David Garrard – Jacksonville, No. 108 (East Carolina)
Summary: Despite being a two-time All-American and holding Florida’s school record for sacks (33), Brown slipped to the fourth round – luckily for Chicago. Brown has been a consistent force at defensive end since his rookie season, starting 91 games. Never a double-digit sack man, Brown is always among the league leaders among defensive linemen in tackles. For his career he has 326 total tackles and 37.5 sacks and has been a Pro Bowl alternate a number of times. Fourth on Michigan’s all-time tackles list, Foote landed in a perfect spot for a linebacker: Pittsburgh. He broke out in his fourth season, his second as a starter, when he notched 102 tackles. Foote has started 80 games in a row on one of the league’s best defenses. That’ll work for me. Garrard toiled for four seasons behind Byron Leftwich, but got his chance in 2005, winning four of his five starts. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio tabbed him the starter and sent Leftwich packing. Garrard rewarded his coach’s faith in 2007 with a 9-3 record in 12 starts while throwing 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Last season, he threw for a career-high 3,620 yards, but his 15:13 touchdown-to-interception ratio left much to be desired.
Honorable Mention: LB David Thornton – Indianapolis, No. 106 (North Carolina); P Dave Zastudil – Baltimore, No. 112 (Ohio); CB Brian Williams – Minnesota, No. 105 (N.C. State); TE Randy McMichael – Miami, No. 114 (Georgia); FB Najeh Davenport – Green Bay, No. 135 – Miami; DE Jarvis Green – New England, No. 126 (LSU).
Excuse Me While I Take A Dump In Your Laundry Basket: FB Najeh Davenport – Miami, No. 135 (Green Bay). I don’t want to talk about Davenport’s 1,793 career rushing yards or 13 touchdowns. That’s all nice and good, but I want to talk about this. In 2002, Davenport – or Dookie/Dump Truck as he would later be known as – broke into a college co-ed’s dorm room and took a shit in her laundry basket. Ugh, you ass. Now I’m going to have to wash that again. So last round, it was Cecil Collins breaking in a girl’s room to “watch her sleep and cuddle,” and now we have Dookie plea bargaining to second-degree burglary for dropping a deuce in a laundry basket. Awesome stuff.
Ladies And Gentlemen, Mr. February…: DB Dante Wesley – Arkansas-Pine Bluff, No. 100 (Carolina). Mostly a special teams player, Wesley … according to this article, Wesley’s leading passion is modeling. Wesley, who has grey eyes, has been in a number of fashion shows already and was JET Magazine’s Brothers Swimsuit Calendar 2008 Mr. February (Sorry fellas, no pics). He plans to continue his modeling career once his “playing” days are over.
1. CB Asante Samuel – New England, No. 120 (Central Florida)
2. LB Bradie James – Dallas, No. 103 (LSU)
3. WR Shaun McDonald – St. Louis, No. 106 (Arizona State)
Summary: A two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, Samuel led the NFL with 10 interceptions in 2006, his second season as a Patriots’ starter. He snagged six more picks in 2007 before leaving for greener pastures in Philadelphia to the tune of $56 million for six years. In his first season with the Eagles, Samuel had a so-so year intercepting four passes and recording his lowest tackle total (35) since his rookie season (34). But the dude shows up in the postseason. He set an NFL record with his fourth playoff career interception returned for a score when he went 44 yards against the Vikings in the NFC Wild Card game this year. James has started the last 64 games for the Cowboys and has led the team in tackles each of the last four seasons. He enjoyed a career year last season with 116 tackles and eight sacks. Despite being the Dallas’ leading defender, he still yet to make a Pro Bowl, including the 2008 Pro Bowl where 13 of his teammates made the trip to Hawaii (six made it this year, and again, no James). There’s a big drop off from our top two of this round to our next choice, but McDonald gets the nod. He’s nothing more than a product of the Mike Martz system, but he still has 2,490 career receiving yards. He spent his first four years in St. Louis and served as the team’s punt returner and No. 3 receiver. He joined the Lions in 2007 and had a breakout season, catching 79 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: CB Terrence McGee – Buffalo, No. 111 (Northwestern State); QB Seneca Wallace – Seattle, No. 110 (Iowa State); DE Jarret Johnson – Baltimore, No. 109 (Alabama); FB Justin Griffith – Atlanta, No. 121 (Mississippi State); WR Brandon Lloyd – San Francisco, No. 124 (Illinois); CB Ike Taylor – Pittsburgh, No. 125 (Louisiana-Lafayette).
Airport Security Made Me Fail That Last Drug Test: RB Onterrio Smith – Oregon, No. 105 (Minnesota). Smith landed at Oregon after Phillip Fulmer ran him out of Tennessee. He finished seventh on the Ducks’ all-time rushing list and was first-team All-Pac 10. Smith lasted to the fourth round and as a response, he shaved “S.O.D.” into his head. S.O.D. standing for Steal of the Draft. He rushed for 1,123 yards in his first two seasons, but things went south when he was detained at the airport with dried urine and a Whizzinator. He was suspended for the entire 2005 season after a third strike on the league’s substance abuse policy and took his game northward to the CFL.
1. DE Jared Allen – Kansas City, No. 126 (Idaho State)
2. WR Jerricho Cotchery – New York Jets, No. 108 (N.C. State)
3. LB Shaun Phillips – San Diego, No. 98 (Purdue)
Summary: With 71 sacks in 77 career games, it’s safe to say Allen is adept at rushing the passer. After he led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2007, Allen was traded to Minnesota for a first rounder and two third rounders. The Vikings gave him the richest contract in league history for a defensive player, and Allen responded. When he wasn’t forcing quarterbacks three yards out of the end zone, he managed to snag 14.5 sacks (third best in the NFC) and earned a trip to his second Pro Bowl. A stud in college (he broke Torry Holt’s N.C. State records), Cotchery fell to the fourth round because of his perceived lack of height. He entered his second season with the Jets as the team’s No. 4 receiver, but after Wayne Chrebet went down he found playing time available and caught 19 passes. A year later, another wideout’s misfortune (Justin McCareins failing a physical) allowed Cotchery to move into a starter’s position opposite Laveranues Coles. Cotchery never looked back. In the last three seasons, he’s caught 235 passes for 2,949 yards. The Chargers’ other Shaun/Shawne linebacker, Phillips left Purdue as the school’s all-time sack leader. After recording 11 sacks in his first two seasons as a reserve, he earned a starter’s role in 2006 and responded with a career-high 11.5 sacks. In all, Phillips has 38.5 career sacks and 267 total tackles.
Honorable Mention: T Stacy Andrews – Cincinnati, No. 123 (Mississippi); CB Nathan Vasher – Chicago, No. 110 (Texas); RB Mewelde Moore – Minnesota, No. 119 (Tulane); WR Ernest Wilford – Jacksonville, No. 120 (Virginia Tech); DB Will Allen – Tampa Bay, No. 111 (Ohio State); DE Reggie Torbor – New York Giants, No. 97 (Auburn); LB Demorrio Williams – Atlanta, No. 101 (Nebraska); CB Jason David – Indianapolis, No. 125 (Washington State)
Would Someone Stop Ringing That Bell, I Can’t Concentrate: DB Dexter Reid – North Carolina, No. 113 (New England). Normally, I’d focus on Reid’s trouble with drug charges, but we have enough of that already. I’d like to pay homage to Reid for one of the best hits I’ve ever seen in college football. Greg Jones’ heading is still ringing.
Speaking Of Heavy Hits: DE Robert Geathers – Georgia, No. 117 (Cincinnati). The Bengals’ starting defensive end almost took off Trent Green’s head on Sept. 10, 2006. Geathers rocked a scrambling Green, giving the then-Chiefs quarterback his 106th concussion. This just in: Green suffers concussion when old lady pushes her grocery cart into him.
Sorry About That Mike: LB Demorrio Williams – Nebraska, No. 101 (Atlanta). Then a teammate of Michael Vick’s in Atlanta, Williams recommended that Vick use Omaha-based business manager Mary Wong. While Wong did help sell off some of Vick’s assets to provide the federal court’s restitution funds in his dog fighting case, ESPN reported that she used a power of attorney to “wrongfully remove” at least another $900,000 from Vick’s accounts. Thanks, Demorrio.
1. RB Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants, No. 110 (Southern Illinois)
2. RB Marion Barber III – Dallas, No. 109 (Minnesota)
3. RB Darren Sproles – San Diego, No. 130 (Kansas State)
Summary: We’ll just call this the round of the running back. A predominantly goal line player in his first two seasons (16 touchdowns in 134 carries), Jacobs got an extended role in 2007, starting nine games, and ran for 1,009 yards. Last season, the defensive lineman-sized back ran for 1,089 yards and 15 scores while sharing carries with Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward. Jacobs is by the far the running back defensive players least want to tackle. Still without a 1,000-yard season, Barber is the undisputed battering ram to the Cowboys’ finesse offense. He’s only started 16 games in his 60-game career, splitting time with Julius Jones until last season, but Barber has amassed 3,052 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns in his career and made the Pro Bowl in 2007. Now, I could have gone Jason Brown or Chris Canty here, but we’re sticking with the running back motif and Sproles gets the nod. And the pint-sized back can do things very few others in the league can. On Nov. 11, 2007, Sproles became the first player to return both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same game since Dante Hall did the feat in 2003. In Week Two last season, Sproles became the first player since Gale Sayers to have 50 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and 100 return yards in one game. That performance set the tone for a season in which he ranked second in the league in all-purpose yards with 2,297.
Honorable Mention: C Jason Brown – Baltimore, No. 124 (North Carolina); DE Chris Canty – Dallas, No. 132 (Virginia); S Sean Considine – Philadelphia, No. 102 (Iowa); QB Kyle Orton – Chicago, No. 106 (Purdue); LB Brady Poppinga – Green Bay, No. 125 (BYU); S Kerry Rhodes – New York Jets, No. 124 (Louisville); WR/KR Jerome Mathis – Houston, No. 114 (Hampton); OL Duke Preston – Buffalo, No. 122 (Illinois);
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In The Pros: QB Stefan LeFors – Louisville, No. 121 (Carolina). LeFors led Louisville to an 11-1 record in 2004 and was the Conference USA Player of the Year. In that season, he almost bested Daunte Culpepper’s NCAA single season-record for completion percentage with 73.5 percent to Culpepper’s 73.6. He lasted one season as a backup with Carolina. Considered undersized at 6-foot, he worked out with Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Seattle, Buffalo, Detroit, Oakland and Denver but was not offered a contract by any team. After that, he went northward to the CFL, where he’s been ever since.
I Lived The Dream…For Five Days: RB Ciatrick Fason – Florida, No. 112 (Minnesota). After his first two seasons with Minnesota, Fason, a Jacksonville native, wrote a letter to Jaguars GM James Harris asking for a try out. At his press conference (he had a press conference?), Fason said, “No matter what I did in my NFL career, I just wanted to wear a Jaguars’ uniform, even if it was just for a tryout.” On Aug. 25, 2008, the Jags signed him. On Aug. 30, 2008, they released him.
1. WR Brandon Marshall – Denver, No. 119 (Central Florida)
2. TE Owen Daniels, Houston, No. 98 (Wisconsin)
3. RB Leon Washington, New York Jets, No. 117 (Florida State)
Summary: Sure he’s crying right now with Kyle Orton throwing him passes instead of Jay Cutler, but Marshall is a flat out stud – that is when he’s not slipping on empty McDonald’s bags and falls into a TV. In his second season, Marshall caught 102 passes for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns. He missed the first game of this year because of an NFL suspension stemming from repeated off-the-field mishaps, but he still finished the year with 104 catches for 1,265 yards and six touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl. Another Pro Bowler last season, Daniels followed up an impressive 2007 (63 catches for 768 yards) with another standout season for the Texans. The former Wisconsin quarterback/tight end caught 70 passes for 862 yards in 2008 and has proven one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league. A perfect change of pace to Thomas Jones, Washington gives the Jets a home run threat every time he touches the ball. He burst onto the scene in 2007 with three kickoff returns for scores. Yet another 2008 Pro Bowler, he led the NFL in all-purpose yards last season with 2,337 yards.
Honorable Mention: K Stephen Gostkowski – New England, No. 118 (Memphis); WR Jason Avant – Philadelphia, No. 109 (Michigan); G Max Jean-Gilles – Philadelphia, No. 99 (Georgia); WR Demetrius Williams – Baltimore, No. 111 (Oregon); DE Victor Adeyanju – St. Louis, No. 113 (Indiana); S Ko Simpson – Buffalo, No. 105 (South Carolina); DT Barry Cofield – New York Giants, No. 124 (Northwestern); DE Elvis Dumervil – Denver, No. 126 (Louisville); OL Willie Colon – Pittsburgh, No. 131 (Hofstra).
I Remember You Kicked Ass In College But Blew In The Pros: DB Darnell Bing – USC, No. 101 (Oakland). You must be good if you can get the athletic director (Mike Garrett, the 1965 Heisman Winner) to unretire his No. 20 for you to use. And Bing was. He earned All-American honors in 2005 and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. He decided to leave school early, though we’re not sure if Pete Carroll walked out his press conference in protest. Oakland tried to make him a linebacker. That didn’t work. He spent time with San Francisco, the Jets and Detroit, seeing action in just one game with the Lions last season.
We’re Facebook Friends: OL Isaac Sowells – Indiana, No. 112 (Cleveland). The former IU standout lineman and I really don’t know each other. But I covered the football team a little bit during my days in Bloomington. I can tell you per his status, he and his girlfriend just went to go see “Observe and Report.” Got to love Facestalk. I can’t confirm the rumor that during a 2006 rookie training session, Sowells began to cry because the workouts were too hard. But hey, he’s played in 10 games and is still with the Browns, so that has to be worth something.
1. RB Le’Ron McClain – Baltimore, No. 137 (Alabama)
2. LB Clint Session – Indianapolis, No. 136 (Pittsburgh)
3. DT Marcus Thomas – Denver, No. 121 (Florida)
Summary: While Willis McGahee struggled with his bout of vagicitis, McClain was able to get 232 carries in 2008 for the Raves. He finished the year with 902 yards and 10 touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl as a fullback, taking the Mike Alstott route to Hawaii. On Dec. 20, 2008, he became the last player to score a touchdown in Texas Stadium when he ran for a career-long 82-yard score. The Colts love undersized linebackers and at 5-foot-10, Session fits the bill. A hard-hitter, Session started 15 games for the Colts this season and finished fourth on the team with 94 total tackles. Thomas slipped in the draft because he was kicked off Florida’s team for violating terms of his reinstatement form a drug suspension after missing curfew, going on an unapproved trip out of town and skipped a mandatory drug counseling session. The Broncos took a chance on him, and he worked his way into the mix at defensive tackle and started the last four games of the 2007 season. He started all 16 games for the Broncos this season. He was arrested in early 2008 and charged with cocaine possession, but the charges were dropped two months later.
Honorable Mention: CB Fred Bennett – Houston, No. 123 (South Carolina); RB Michael Bush – Oakland, No. 100 (Louisville).
That’s Funny, He Doesn’t Look Druish: DE Joe Cohen – Florida, No. 135 (San Francisco). As any good Jewish sports fan, when I saw Cohen was being heavily recruited during a random perusal of rivals.com, I thought, “Maybe this kid is a member of The Tribe.” I clicked on his profile. Nope, not a Jew. Unless he’s from Ethiopia or related to Rod Carew. It would be like if Morgan Freeman was Morgan Friedman. Oh well. Cohen started 33 games in Gainesville and won a national title in 2006. Good for him. And Joe, hope you had a nice Passover.
1. CB Dwight Lowery – New York Jets, No. 113 (San Jose State)
2. OT Anthony Collins – Cincinnati, No. 112 (Kansas)
3. RB Tashard Choice – Dallas, No. 122 (Georgia Tech)
Summary: While most of the attention went to the Jets’ other rookie cornerback (Darrelle Revis), Lowery put together an impressive first campaign himself. Lowery started 10 games, collected 64 total tackles and tied for the team lead in passes defended with Revis (10). Some projected Collins to be a late first round draft pick, a second rounder at worst. The first-team All-American inexplicably fell to the fourth round where the Bengals were pleased to snap him up. Collins played in nine games this season, starting six, and will be relied on to help offset the loss of Stacy Andrews, who signed with Philadelphia this offseason. Despite opening the season behind Marion Barber III and Felix Jones on the depth chart, Choice started three games in 2008 because of injuries to the aforementioned duo. He impressed in his first start Dec. 7 against Pittsburgh and the then-No. 1 rushing defense. Choice put up 88 yards that day. On the season, Choice racked up 657 yards from scrimmage and scored twice. His role figures to be diminished though with the return of Jones from injury. We shall see.
Honorable Mention: DB Quintin Demps – Philadelphia, No. 117 (UTEP); LB Xavier Adibi – Houston, No. 118 (Virginia Tech); WR Keenan Burton – St. Louis, No. 128; S Craig Steltz – Chicago, No. 120 (LSU).
Now, the best five fourth round picks since 1995:
1. DE Jared Allen – Kansas City, No. 126 (Idaho State) 2004
2. WR Derrick Mason – Tennessee, No. 98 (Michigan State) 1997
3. RB Stephen Davis – Washington, No. 102 (Auburn) 1996
4. RB Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants, No. 110 (Southern Illinois) 2005
5. WR Brandon Marshall – Denver, No. 119 (Central Florida) 2006