Three of the first top five picks were busts in 1998—Ryan Leaf (forgot the team), Andre Wadsworth (Cardinals) and Curtis Enis (Bears). Charles Woodson (who went fourth to the Raiders) could be considered a disappointment. The Cowboys selected Greg Ellis at No. 8 and he turned out to be a serviceable player. He wasn’t as good as the guy they had flirted with drafting—Randy Moss (Vikings).
Edgerrin James (Colts), Torry Holt (St. Louis), and Donovan McNabb (Eagles) turned out to be great picks in 1999, not so much for Tim Couch (Browns), Akili Smith (Bengals), Ricky Williams (Saints), and David Boston (Arizona).
The top ten of 2000 produced only one superstar, Brian Urlacher (Bears), against Courtney Brown (Browns), Peter Warrick (Bengals), Tomas Jones (Cardinals), Plaxico Burress (Steelers), and Travis Taylor (Ravens). Although Jones and Burress had good years for teams that did not draft them in 2005.
LaDainian Tomlinson (Chargers) and Richard Seymour (Patriots) were the only two marquee players in the 2001 NFL Draft. That year also had three serviceable starters Mike Vick (Falcons), Justin Smith (Bengals), and Leonard Davis (Cardinals). But it also had a number of busts in Gerard Warren (Browns), Andre Carter (49ers), David Terrell (Bears), Koren Robinson (Seahawks) and Jamal Reynolds (Packers).
The 2002 NFL Draft produced two very good defensive players—Julius Peppers (Panthers) and Roy Williams (Cowboys). But it had three big busts in the top ten headlined by Joey Harrington (Lions).
With that in mind, here is a mock draft of a top ten, with accurate comparisons to consider other than the platitudes given by the ESPN crew. Probably have a better chance of being right, given recent history.
- Texans: Reggie Bush, RB. Bush will probably make a splashing debut like Ki-Jana Carter.
- Saints: Mario Williams, DE. Some say that a defensive end should go first overall. That worked out well for Aundray Bruce and the Falcons years ago.
- Titans: Vince Young, QB. Who cares about Wonderlic scores? It didn’t slow down Jeff George. Young is that once-in-a-lifetime athlete, like a dumber version of Kordell Stewart.
- Jets: D’Brickasaw Ferguson, T. A tackle with the fourth pick. Ask Tom Donahoe about that as he was run out of Buffalo for selecting Mike Williams fourth overall in 2002.
- Packers: A.J. Hawk, LB. The best haircut on a linebacker since Brian Bosworth. Not sure the Boz would marry a tranny, though.
- 49ers: Vernon Davis, TE. This Maryland product was really impressive at the combine. Kind of like Derek Brown who the Giants drafted years ago. If you don’t remember him, don’t worry, the Giants are still trying to forget.
- Raiders: Matt Leinart, QB. Todd Marinovich joke too easy here. Besides, Cade McNown is a more apt comparison.
- Bills: Brodick Bunkley, DT. He will be a star one day—for the Broncos.
- Lions: Michael Huff, CB. Hey, at least it is not a receiver. Most likely it will be the second coming of Terrell Buckley.
- Birds: Jay Cutler, QB. Will remind long-time Arizona Cardinals fans of Kelly Stouffer.
If you are still watching the NFL Draft past this point, you might just be a loser.