This is a new segment that the PerSources team will work on every year for different drafts. They will be primarily focused on the NFL and NBA. Ten years, I feel, is a pretty solid span of time to look at a player’s career and compare with others. As the 2016 NFL draft approaches, we take a look back and re-draft the first round of the 2006 draft.
1. HOU – Original Pick: DE Mario Williams New Pick: DE Mario Williams (1)
Williams came into the league and made a major impact in his few years in Houston. With the Texans only being founded in 2002, their defense was a huge issue. The team was filled with young players, but the talent was lacking. Williams came in and started a new culture with Houston that focused on defense. This decision lead to the drafting of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
2. NO – Original Pick: RB Reggie Bush New Pick: CB Johnathon Joseph (24)
Reggie Bush, being a pass-catching back, has never found a starting role in the NFL. He was given the opportunity in 2007 when RB Deuce McAllister suffered an injury, but he split time with RB Pierre Thomas, who would eventually take over the job. Joseph has been pretty consistent in his time in the NFL, and would have significantly improved the Saints’ secondary. They needed a change from the older players manning the CB positions, but they were starstruck by the aura of the legendary collegiate RB.
3. TEN – Original Pick: QB Vince Young New Pick: WR Brandon Marshall (119)
The Titans, like the Saints, fell in love with a Rose Bowl wonder player in QB Vince Young. He had a similar style to what they were used to with Steve McNair, a big arm and some mobility. As we all remember, Vince Young never did anything after his rookie season. He was out of the league by 2011. Tennessee didn’t necessarily need a QB that year. They were trying to get an early jump on the position. They could have decided not to trade McNair, or they could have rode it out with journeyman QB Kerry Collins. Either way, the WR position didn’t help. Their top receivers were nobodies like Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade. Brandon Marshall could have provided some talent for whatever QB they decided to go with. He has never been a stable locker room presence, but there is certainly a lot of talent from the perennial thousand yard receiver.
4. NYJ – Original Pick: T D’Brickashaw Ferguson New Pick: D’Brickashaw Ferguson (4)
The Jets got consistency when they drafted D’Brickashaw Ferguson with the fourth pick. He has played all 160 games in his ten year career and has received three Pro-Bowl selections. Having the left tackle position secured is one of the most important aspects to a solid offense, as they protect the blind side of the quarterback. This was one of the better selections they have made as a franchise.
5. GB – Original Pick: LB AJ Hawk New Pick: AJ Hawk (5)
Green Bay did not have any glaring needs for this draft. They had their QB solidified in Favre and Rodgers. Ahman Green was rushing for a thousand yards. Greg Jennings was scooped up in the second round. The defense was outstanding on the line, and the secondary was solid. Linebacker was the only place to go. Hawk spent nine years in Green Bay, and in his career, he has only missed two games. When Clay Matthews came into the league, Hawk was able to take a backseat and fill the number two LB role. There was nothing wrong with this pick. He may not have been the best LB in this draft, but his ability to change roles so seamlessly was important.
6. SF – Original Pick: TE Vernon Davis New Pick: TE Vernon Davis (6)
Vernon Davis was a solid player for the 49ers for a long time. His freakish athletic ability made him nearly impossible to cover. They could have gotten away with a different position, because they ended up grabbing TE Delanie Walker later on in the draft. Davis was, however, the one who changed this organization on offense. His ability brought fans to watch the 49ers at a time when they weren’t so easy to watch. If they gave Walker more of an opportunity, this could have been one of the better tight end combinations in league history.
7. OAK – Original Pick: S Michael Huff New Pick: QB Jay Cutler (11)
Michael Huff was part of the string of average to below-average draft picks for the Raiders. He was an NFL-caliber player, but never played near the position where he was drafted. This team had so many weaknesses at the time, that it was hard to determine what position to attack. Oakland chose the wrong one. The Raiders should have taken Jay Cutler. He hasn’t been an elite quarterback in the NFL, but he has been able to perform in the league. This would have saved them the embarrassment of taking JaMarcus Russell the following year. It is hard to tell what he would have been able to do without the weapons he had in Chicago and Denver. Cutler may have been able to bridge them until the best pick they had made in some time, Derek Carr.
8. BUF – Original Pick: S Donte Whitner New Pick: S Donte Whitner (8)
At the time, this Bills team was rather young. There were not many players that were being replaced, because of their age. The offense was nothing special, but they had a serviceable QB in JP Losman and decent skill players around him such as Lee Evans and Willis McGahee. Their defense was filled with talent. A front seven that had Aaron Schobel, Takeo Spikes, and London Fletcher was able to get after the QB and shut down the run. The only position they really NEEDED to improve was the safety position. Whitner made an impact on this team. He wasn’t the best at reading the quarterback to grab interceptions, but his hard-hitting ability left many receivers scared to come over the middle. The safety position was completely changed when “Hitner” came into the locker room. They were also able to grab S Ko Simpson in the fourth-round.
9. DET – Original Pick: LB Ernie Sims New Pick: DE Tamba Hali (20)
The Lions were another franchise who had no idea how to build a team during the 2000’s. That would all change in 2007, but in 2006 they decided to take LB Ernie Sims. Sims was a middle of the road LB. After his first three seasons of having over 70 solo tackles, Sims’ performance fell off significantly. He never again recorded more than 50 solo tackles and was out of the league after just eight seasons. Tamba Hali could have been a game changer for this organization. He has been consistently available, having only missed four games in ten seasons. His ability to get after the quarterback is something the Lions had not seen in some time. If they agreed to a deal passed his rookie contract, they would have experience Hali in his prime, as he has been named to the Pro Bowl each of the last five years.
10. ARI – Original Pick: QB Matt Leinart New Pick: S Antoine Bethea (207)
The Cardinals decided to take the 2004 Heisman winner with the tenth pick of the 2006 draft. Leinart started 18 games in his NFL career and proved to be ineffective at the highest level. Arizona had the offensive weapons to be a contender, and Leinart could do nothing with them. Kurt Warner led them on a Super Bowl run, just two years after Leinart was drafted. The pick could have been used on S Antoine Bethea. Their starting free safety at the time was Robert Griffith, who was 36 years old. So he could have learned from a veteran and then taken over. Bethea has been consistent in his time in the NFL missing only 12 games in ten seasons. His ability could have been put to good use alongside Adrian Wilson. Who knows, maybe they would have beat Pittsburgh in that Super Bowl.
11. DEN – Original Pick: QB Jay Cutler New Pick: S Roman Harper (43)
In this draft the Broncos selected Jay Cutler. His term was short-lived in Denver, as he was traded to the Bears in exchange for Kyle Orton. Cutler was the best quarterback available in this draft, and with Jake Plummer on his way out the door, this pick made sense. Cutler has already been selected in our re-draft, and there is no other quarterback who would have lasted in Denver. The best fit would have been safety Roman Harper. Harper has been a contributing piece in two Super Bowl winning organizations. He has been consistent and healthy in his ten seasons, and that has lead to his multiple Pro-Bowl selections. Harper would have made a smooth transition between aging safeties John Lynch and Nick Ferguson.
12. BAL – Original Pick: DT Haloti Ngata New Pick: DT Haloti Ngata (12)
Ngata continued the defensive tradition in Baltimore. As a rookie, he was introduced into the physical nature of football the Ravens practiced, and he took to it right away. He played in Baltimore for nine seasons, where he was a five-time Pro-Bowl selection and a two-time First-Team All-Pro. His ability to stuff the run and push the pocket made him extremely valuable. His ability to collapse on the quarterback allowed for teammates to get easier sacks, and that is one thing that isn’t appreciated enough.
13. CLE – Original Pick: DE Kamerion Wimbley New Pick: DE Elvis Dumervil (126)
The Browns have made one terrible decision after another for years now, but this was not one of them. Wimbley was a solid NFL player. In his rookie year, he recorded 11 sacks and three fumble recoveries. He never quite made it back to that level. That speaks more to Cleveland’s abilities to coach up a player than his own natural talent. Instead, they may have drafted Elvis Dumervil. They essentially played the same position, but Dumervil has been way more consistent over his career. Again, that may be because of coaching. Like Ngata, Dumervil is also a five-time Pro-Bowl selection and a two-time First-Team All-Pro. He could have completely changed the path of the Cleveland Browns, although they still didn’t have a franchise quarterback.
14. PHI – Original Pick: DT Brodrick Bunkley New Pick: DT Kyle Williams (134)
Bunkley was a solid DT in his nine seasons in the league. He never took over games or completely dominated his match-up, but he was a serviceable player. The Eagles could have stuck with the same position and drafted a way better player in Kyle Williams. Williams has been a stud in Buffalo. He has been able dominate nearly every center he has played against, with ease. If the Eagles were able to sign him after his rookie contract expired, they would have seen Williams in his prime. Since 2010, Williams has made four of six possible Pro-Bowls. The only two Pro-Bowls he missed were because he missed ten or more games due to injuries.
15. STL – Original Pick: CB Tye Hill New Pick: CB Antonio Cromartie (19)
Honestly, Tye Hill was one of the worst CBs in this draft. He lasted only five seasons in the NFL. After his first rookie year, his play time decreased significantly. He was traded three years into his rookie contract. There were plenty of other corners that could have been selected, such as Antonio Cromartie. Despite his off field situation, Cromartie has been a solid CB for multiple organizations. He really hit his stride later on in his career, but he did have an impact at a young age. He also could have helped playing special teams.
16. MIA – Original Pick: S Jason Allen New Pick: LB Chad Greenway (17)
With the 16th pick, the Dolphins selected Jason Allen out of Tennessee. Allen never lived up to his draft status. He wasn’t able to win a starting job in his rookie year, which sent a clear message to the rest of the league. His lackluster play led him to retirement in 2012. Now, safety was a need of this team, but with LB Zach Thomas nearly out the door, there needed to be a new LB to hand off to. Chad Greenway would have been a solid pick here. In his ten years in the league, Greenway has been a staple in the Minnesota scheme. He has missed only four games in his career and has quietly been one of the most talented LBs in the league.
17. MIN – Original Pick: LB Chad Greenway New Pick: WR Marques Colston (252)
Greenway was snatched from Minnesota by just one pick. He has been a solid part of Minnesota’s underrated defense during the past decade. The next best LB was not as good as Greenway, so it makes sense to go after another position. Their WRs were nothing special. Travis Taylor and Troy Williamson were the leading receivers the following season. Marques Colston would have been a tremendous acquisition for the Vikings. He has consistently been a thousand yard receiver, and he is a huge threat in the red zone. Also, it was surprising that Colston has never been named to the Pro-Bowl.
18. DAL – Original Pick: LB Bobby Carpenter New Pick: D’Qwell Jackson (34)
Believe it or not, the Cowboys actually had a solid team during this time period. Romo was a Pro-Bowler in 2006 with a receiving core that included Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, and Jason Witten. Their defense had some pieces like DeMarcus Ware and Terrence Newman, but they needed an inside LB. Carpenter was a terrible pick. In his seven years, he recorded just over 120 total tackles. He was traded four years into his rookie contract, and then got cut before the 2010 season started. A smarter pick would have been D’Qwell Jackson. Jackson has remained pretty consistent in his career and has only gotten better with age. Dallas could have had a solid LB duo in Jackson and Ware.
19. SD – Original Pick: CB Antonio Cromartie New Pick: LB DeMeco Ryans (33)
In our mock draft, Cromartie was taken four spots before his original selection. The Chargers did have two solid CBs when they added Cromartie, so they would have been able to survive without drafting one in the first round here. San Diego did have two aging inside LBs in Randall Godfrey and Donnie Edwards. If they were able to add another LB to learn from these two before they retired, it would have made for a better transition at the position. DeMeco Ryans could have been a perfect fit for the transition. He has been a two-time Pro-Bowl selection in his ten years on his way to recording nearly 1,000 total tackles. They would have used two first round picks on LBs, but it could have significantly improved their defense through the decade.
20. KC – Original Pick: LB Tamba Hali New Pick: T Andrew Whitworth (55)
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Hali has been a lot better than his 20th overall draft spot. The defensive end pool was pretty low at this point for the 2006 draft, so they would have needed to look at other positions. Their three biggest needs at the time were RT, CB, and WR. Andrew Whitworth would have been the best guy to go with. The right tackle spot was tough for Kansas City during this time period. Whoever was put there, rarely finished the season. Whitworth has been extremely dependable, having missed only eight games in ten seasons. He has also played at such a high level that he has earned two Pro-Bowl selections and was named to the 2015 All-Pro First-Team. Whitworth would have done a much better job protecting whatever mediocre QB the Chiefs decided to go with.
21. NE – Original Pick: RB Lawrence Maroney New Pick: RB Maurice Jones-Drew (60)
Maroney was a solid Running Back at Minnesota, but when he came into the NFL, he never lived up to his first round status. He ran for just 2,500 yards in his five seasons in the league. After the 2010 season, Maroney was arrested for gun possession. A combination of his poor play and poor decision making forced his early departure from football. One of New England’s only low-points on the offense was the RB position. The best available in the draft was MJD. The three time Pro-Bowl selection and 2011 First-Team All-Pro had a solid career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Near the end of his career, he was not as effective, but he would have been useful to the Patriots. His ability would have been helpful to take some of the pressure off of Brady during these years.
22. SF – Original Pick: LB Manny Lawson New Pick: WR Greg Jennings (52)
Having grabbed Vernon Davis earlier in this round and Delanie Walker in the 6th, the 49ers were in a good position to go higher powered on the offense. They used this pick to take Manny Lawson, who has been a solid number two LB in his ten seasons. The defense was already started on their path to becoming one of the best defenses in the league without Lawson, so the pick could have been used elsewhere. San Francisco could have selected WR Greg Jennings. Jennings was really solid in his time in Green Bay. He earned two Pro-Bowl nominations, and when he was healthy, he was effective. He could have taken over the number one spot and moved Arnaz Battle to number two.
23. TB – Original Pick: G Davin Joseph New Pick: G Jahri Evans (108)
The offensive line was a clear need for TB in this draft. They used their first pick to grab G Davin Joseph and their second pick to grab T Jeremy Trueblood. Joseph was a productive player in his nine years in the NFL. He earned two Pro-Bowl selections, but never really returned back to form after missing the entire 2012 regular season with a knee injury. The improvement on the offensive line could have been even greater, if they selected Jahri Evans. He has been a tremendous talent in this league, and was extremely important to the revitalization of the New Orleans Saints franchise. In his ten years, Evans has six Pro-Bowl nominations and has been named a First-Team All-Pro four times. Being able to grab one of the best guards of all-time would have been a good pick here.
24. CIN – Original Pick: CB Jonathan Joseph New Pick: T Donald Penn (UN-DRAFTED)
Unfortunately, the Bengals drafted really well in 2006 and two of their rookies were already selected in Jonathan Joseph and Andrew Whitworth. The CB position wasn’t one that necessarily needed attention right away. They still had a number one CB in Deltha O’Neal and an aging Tory James. The offensive line was what needed improvement. Whitworth would have been the perfect fit at LT, but with him gone, Cincinnati should have taken T Donald Penn. Penn went un-drafted in 2006, but has been a starting-caliber LT since he signed with Tampa Bay. He has not missed a single game and has gotten better with age.
25. PIT – Original Pick: WR Santonio Holmes New Pick: WR Santonio Holmes (25)
You almost have to stay the same here, right? Holmes might not have had the best career, but he was productive with the Steelers. He was up near 1,000 yards every year he was with them, and he could have remained productive had he stuck with a competent quarterback like Roethlisberger. The rest of their team was starting to come together on their way to Super Bowl victories in the near future. One of those victories was won due to a fantastic TD by Santonio Holmes.
26. BUF – Original Pick: DT John McCargo New Pick: DT Domata Peko (123)
Buffalo tried to go defensive in this first round as they selected S Donte Whitner and DT John McCargo. One of those moves panned out, and the other was McCargo. He started just one game in his six-year NFL career. A combination of inconsistency and injuries led to him falling out of favor with Buffalo’s coaching. He was out of the league by 2012. We also saw Kyle Williams, who the Bills picked in the fifth round, was drafted already, so it would make sense that they would go with another DT in Domata Peko. In his ten seasons, Peko has missed five games. His ability to disrupt the pocket in the pass game and close holes in the run game has made him a great player in Cincinnati.
27. CAR – Original Pick: RB DeAngelo Williams New Pick: RB Reggie Bush (2)
Just a few years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the Panthers should have been able to hang in and compete with some of the best in the NFL. They added RB DeAngelo Williams in the 2006 draft, and he split carries with DeShaun Foster. Williams was never allowed to reach his full potential, because he was always in a rotation whether it be with Foster or Jonathan Stewart. They could have used a different type of RB like Reggie Bush. Bush would have provided the pass-catching ability they could have really used with Jake Delhomme. This would have allowed the offense to open up and run different types of plays to confuse defenses. Bush would have been a huge acquisition to this team.
28. JAX – Original Pick: TE Mercedes Lewis New Pick: TE Owen Daniels (98)
The tight end is the right pick for them at this position. In our re-do draft, there are not many talented wide receivers left, and the play of TE Mercedes Lewis has been one of the only shining lights in this franchise over the last ten seasons. He has been a top 15 TE for nearly his entire career. This play could have been even more improved if they drafted Owen Daniels. Although Lewis has played more games than Daniels, Daniels has better numbers throughout his career. The extra 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns could have helped win a few extra games along the way.
29. NYJ – Original Pick: C Nick Mangold New Pick: C Nick Mangold (29)
The Jets will continue to bolster their line by sticking with both of their first round picks in T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold. In his ten seasons, Mangold has missed just four games, and has played at a high level in every game he has appeared in. His consistent performances have landed him seven Pro-Bowl nominations and two First-Team All-Pro selections. Without these two picks, there would have been even less success than they have had in the last decade.
30. IND – Original Pick: RB Joseph Addai New Pick: RB DeAngelo Williams (27)
The Colts won a Super Bowl the year following this draft, so whatever they did would have just helped in the long run. Maybe they could have gotten back and won another one. They selected Addai who made a big impact in his first two years, recording 1,000 yards in each season. He was named to the Pro-Bowl in his second season, as he was finally getting all of the carries after splitting time with Dominic Rhodes in his rookie season. DeAngelo Williams could have been a bigger help in the long hall. Williams spent most of his time in Carolina in a rotation with multiple backs. He has proven, in his few opportunities as the lead back, he can really run. Addai was out of football after six years, and DeAngelo is still rushing for nearly 1,000 yards. That could have helped Indianapolis.
31. SEA – Original Pick: CB Kelly Jennings New Pick: CB Tramon Williams (UN-DRAFTED)
Seattle had the right idea going after a CB in this draft, as it had some pretty solid ones. They took Kelly Jennings with the 31st pick, and it didn’t take long to realize this was the wrong one. He was pretty healthy, missing only five games in his career, but his play was not good enough to keep him around. He was retired by 2012. They could have selected CB Tramon Williams out of Louisiana Tech. Williams has missed just two games in his nine years. He has been extremely consistent, but has never had any eye-popping abilities. Having a solid CB in Williams could have led them into this era and an easy transition to Richard Sherman and the “Legion of Boom”!
32. NYG – Original Pick: DE Mathias Kiwanuka New Pick: DE Mathias Kiwanuka
Nothing to complain about here with this pick. The last pick in the first round produced a productive DE, who played his entire nine year career with the “G-Men”. Kiwanuka missed about a season and a half due to injuries throughout his career, and if he had stayed healthy, who knows what his numbers would have looked like? Kiwanuka played a pivotal role in the Giants 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl seasons.
So that is our first re-draft. It took me roughly two weeks to finish, so let me know what you guys think! Would you have drafted anybody differently? Did I overlook anyone? Please share your feedback.
– Mike Masala