When the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks make their first pick in the NFL draft, it is most likely going to be the final pick of day one. There is the chance that they could trade up or down, but the good bet for all teams is typically that they will stay where they are.
Though there's always the chance that the Raiders will trade up in the first round for a player they could have gotten in the second.
There are typically three types of draft picks on day one: Risers, Fallers, and Just Righters.
A player's rise can start in a bowl game, the Senior Bowl, the combine, the pro day, all of the above, or it could just come out of nowhere. Either reports start surfacing from Chris Mortenson that "Player X" is being bandied about as a possibility for "Team Y" even though nobody else had been considering him that day. Certainly Bruce Irvin fell into this category until reports surfaced later that he would have never made it out of the top 20, let alone the entire first round.
A fall can happen at all of those times as well, but usually the most notable falls are the ones that happen on draft day. Perhaps the most famous fall of all time is documented below, but there are examples of this every year. Usually it's a quarterback because quarterbacks are the guys we pay the most attention to, but I'm also reminded perhaps of Steven Jackson going much later than expected, or Taco Wallace not being the first overall pick.
And then there's the guys we knew about all along. The ones that went exactly where we expected, which even are months of thousands of different mock drafts, still seems to surprise us. Perhaps because a great mock draft gets about 12 picks right in the first round. Twelve.
I got a higher score on my SATs! (Actually not even true, because I didn't take that test for suckers.)
The 2005 NFL Draft is perhaps one of the most fascinating drafts ever, and it contained a little bit of everything. Both the usual and the unusual, and maybe that's what makes it such a great study for those of us interested in the habits and tendencies (again, both usual and unusual) of a draft. This isn't the first time that I've done a piece on the '05 draft, once taking an alternate universe look at what could have happened, and it certainly won't be the last.
Many other writers with draft OCD like to look at a specific upcoming draft to determine who will be good, bad, or just right, but I prefer to crack the code of the NFL draft. I prefer to think of myself as the Robert Langdon of the NFL; I know that there's an answer out there for everything, including how to win a Super Bowl or how to pick the next Russell Wilson.
I just need to find it.
When the Seahawks pick at 32 in May (assuming that they do) they will either pick a guy that had slipped farther than anyone expected, they will "reach" for a guy, or they'll just go with someone that everyone is currently predicting, like Ra'shede Hageman or Cyril Richardson. Which is the best option, typically? The riser, the faller, or the just righter.
There isn't really a way that I can think of to do this quickly. It has to be on a case-by-case basis, we have to examine the players profile before the draft and then take another look at it after the draft is complete. The 2005 draft is very complete by now and I think it's fair to determine the busts, the steals, and the guys that did just about what we expected. The '05 draft is one of the worst I can think of. There were few steals, most players fell way short of expectations, and one of the best players of all-time slipped 23 spots right in front of everyone's eyes while one GM started going to work on how he could get him when there were still 12 picks to go before they drafted.
Today we are looking at 2005, but future research will need to be done. It just so happened that when I hit almost 5000 words on one draft, I knew that I needed to step back and re-evaluate for the next one.
"Risers" "Fallers" or "Just Righters"
Which is best?
1. Alex Smith, Utah, 49ers:
With the lack of a bona fide superstar quarterback in the 2005 NFL Draft, Alex Smith's stock has risen higher than it probably would have in most years.
It is especially true now that the 2005 draft was probably one of the worst of the modern era. Even in a changing landscape of NFL offenses, can you imagine a world where three running backs go in the top five? The debate between Smith or Aaron Rodgers really raged on until the first pick was announced, with few people knowing which name would be called. Though it was Smith, many assumed for good reason that Rodgers wouldn't be called much later. It's the same sort of "will they, won't they" of Manning/Leaf or Ross/Rachel.
It turned out there were a lot of "they won'ts."
But Smith was a lean 6'4 pocket passer with mobility coming off of an extraordinary season with Utah (32 TD, 4 INT, 10 rushing TD) and a win in the Fiesta Bowl. There were plenty of reasons to like Alex Smith, but would he go first overall in a lot of drafts? Where would this exact player go in the 2014 NFL Draft? Would he be more like the Derek Carr of this draft?
Carr is coming off of an extraordinary senior season, a surprisingly successful one for Fresno State, a great performance in the Senior Bowl, and is still considered the fourth-best QB in the class with a chance to slip to round two.
"Smith or Rodgers" was the question in 2005 and the right answer to that question slipped 23 spots. Had it been Rodgers going first overall, perhaps Smith would have been the one to go a couple dozen picks later. For that reason, Smith is an obvious:
Riser (Of all the classifications listed here, this one might be the most controversial. Yes, Smith was projected by many to be the first overall pick, but there was still the chance that he could have been the "Aaron Rodgers" of the draft and slipped a ton of spots before finally being taken -- though some reports said that if Rodgers had went 1st, other teams would have traded up to 2nd to take Smith. However, I classify him as a riser simply for the fact that he "beat" Rodgers for the number one spot. Though if you classified him as a "Just right" it would be fine too. There's a lot of "Risers" in the draft, as you'll see. Teams seem to get trigger happy on "that one guy that can do that one thing and we'll mold him into our franchise centerpiece.")
2. Ronnie Brown, Auburn, Dolphins:
However, if the trade falls through, the Dolphins will probably choose Ronnie Brown because they burnt a second-round pick on A.J. Feeley last year. Feeley deserves a shot with a legitimate running game.
Avoiding a player (in this case the QB not taken by San Francisco) because you "burnt" a "kind of high" pick on a player the previous year is a terrible way to draft. Of course, a lot of teams in NFL history have been terrible at drafting, and the Dolphins don't escape that tag in 2005 just because Brown was good for awhile.
However, it was near-unanimous that Brown was the best back in a loaded top-heavy draft for running backs. It turned out that the best RB that year was Frank Gore (65th overall to SFO), followed by Darren Sproles (130th overall to SD) but Brown has had an elusively-successful career. Just not worth the second overall pick and not just because you have AJ Feeley.
But people agreed that Brown was a top-5 pick.
3. Braylon Edwards, Michigan, Browns:
Physically, Edwards was the total package. On the college level, you can get away with simply being the best athlete on the field. On the NFL level, almost everyone is an amazing athlete. I guess the best thing you can say about Edwards is that he managed to play eight NFL seasons based mostly on physical gifts.
It's the mental attitude, commitment, and concentration or lack of focus that everyone is concerned about and likely why he didn't become the great player that a person of his physical traits could have become.
But he seemed to be a top-3 pick even going into his senior season at Michigan.
4. Cedric Benson, Texas, Bears:
Brown was the clear-cut number one RB on the board, Cadillac was the clear-cut number three. Nobody was surprised that Benson went to the Bears, though it would have been perfectly understandable and acceptable for them to finally draft a QB to build around.
5. Cadillac Williams, Auburn, Buccaneers:
2004 was the year that you had USC, Auburn and Oklahoma all go undefeated (not to mention Utah going 12-0 with Alex Smith) but nobody would let Auburn slide past either USC or Oklahoma to get a shot at the national title. Of course, USC beat Oklahoma 55-19 to win the BCS title... only to have it stripped of them years later for rules violations.
Not only did Auburn not get the chance to play for a championship, but the team that won the championship isn't even the champions anymore.
Brown was the sure-back that everyone loved and Williams was the "other guy" that everybody also loved but weren't sure would be as successful as Brown in a full-time role. The team was stacked, with those two, Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers all going in the first round, but Williams was the other guy to end up as a top-five pick.
Cadillac was all the rage as a rookie, but never played like that again. Most seemed to have the Bucs taking Rodgers, which would've been the smart thing to do, and it seemed like Williams jumped up at least a few spots to make it three RBs in the top five.
6. Adam Jones, West Virginia, Titans:
Perhaps two or three spots higher than many had assumed, but otherwise this is where people valued Jones at the time. I didn't see any mentions of "off field issues."
7. Troy Williamson, South Carolina, Vikings:
"Williamson's draft stock has sky-rocketed thanks to a 4.38 40 and a very positive attitude."
Perhaps the most obvious riser in the 2005 draft, a lot of people liked Williamson's potential but realized he was a project. A seedling that you grow and foster and wait for in a couple of years and maybe he'll turn into a superstar. None of those people that realized that worked for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005.
Williamson seems more to me like a guy you draft in round 2-3, where it doesn't matter all that much if he fails. The draft is often about gambling, but if you're picking this high, you're typically not in a position to take gambles this big. The Vikings passed on a myriad of players that would have made them better both immediately and in the long term. They may have not needed a player like Rodgers at the time, but DeMarcus Ware? Antrel Rolle? Derrick Johnson?
Minnesota felt they were in a position to gamble because the pick was acquired from the Oakland Raiders in the Randy Moss trade and they assumed that Williamson would be the next Moss, but seventh overall picks aren't "house money." Even though the Vikings felt like they had to replace Moss, let's not ignore that in 2004 they were 4th in total offense and 28th in total defense.
Sure, you had to replace Moss. You also had to replace.. almost everyone one the defense.
Williamson is obvious:
8. Antrel Rolle, Miami, Cardinals:
The one thing that seemed to throw off the mock drafts here is that they had assumed that Rolle was higher on most boards than Jones. Maybe he was, but he wasn't higher than Jones on the Titans list.
9. Carlos Rogers, Auburn, Redskins:
I have to point out the silliness of this mock draft from InsideTheEagles.com:
Great cover corner with excellent quickness. Impact player with lights out ability. One of the top CB's in the draft.
What's so silly about that? Here's what they said about Rolle:
Good speed, nice size and great coverage skills. Will be a solid performer for a long time. Lights out corner back who will improve a defense with his presence. One of the top CB's in this year's draft.
Here's what they said about Pac-Man:
Super quick cover guy. Great playmaker who likes to get physical. Light out kind of guy who also doubles as a punt return man.
I half-think that these evaluations were generated from player bios for fake draft prospects in Madden 05 that year. Man, do any of these guys ever turn the lights on?
Some had Rogers in the top 10, but others had him in the teens and early-20s. That's enough for me:
10. Mike Williams, USC, Lions:
Simply one of the best receiver in this year's group of receivers. Has the physical size at 6-5 to make teams covet him. An Elite receiver. Has the size and skill to be a top flight WR in the NFL. Great athletic skills with playmaker ability.
Nobody would have argued against Williams as one of the best players available in the '05 draft, except for the fact that he had missed the entire season after being ruled ineligible the year before. It wasn't just about the fact that he wasn't playing, but the fact that he put himself in this position would make me question his motivations for playing football and his commitment to his team.
It's easy to say in retrospect, but I think Williams should have gone much lower than this. Had he not tried to apply for the 2004 NFL draft with Maurice Clarett, had he continued to dominate at USC, I think Williams could have arguably been a top three pick. Had we taken a longer look at Williams "the person" (at least who he was at 20), I think he would have been more like a late 1st/early 2nd.
Riser or faller or just right?
The biggest surprise of all was that the Detroit Lions were committed to drafting a wide receiver in the top 10 for every single season until eternity.
But most mock drafts had him going in the top 10, so if anything, he slid slightly. Otherwise we will rule him:
11. Demarcus Ware, Troy, Cowboys:
Obviously in hindsight, Ware would probably go second overall, but at the time nearly everyone seemed to have him headed to Dallas. Which he did.
12. Shawne Merriman, Maryland, Chargers:
Just to make a side note about what I said earlier in regards to the Dolphins and not avoiding a player on draft day just because you recently drafted that same position: The Chargers already had Drew Brees when they drafted Philip Rivers and though they had become a bit fed up with Brees, they certainly could have continued the charge with him and continued to try and build around him with better players. It's pretty much what most teams do: The Lions are committed to Matthew Stafford, despite being unsure about him.
But by drafting Rivers, not only did San Diego set themselves up with a pretty good QB for a long time, they probably even motivated Brees a bit into becoming the player that he did. If not for other circumstances, it's possible that Drew Brees would still be the QB for the Chargers.
In making that deal the year prior with Eli Manning-Phil Rivers, they acquired the extra pick used here to take Merriman.
This is basically where people expected him to go.
13. Jammal Brown, Oklahoma, Saints:
I think most mock drafters don't have the slightest damn idea what to do with offensive line prospects. Why? I think a little secret about that is that most people don't pay attention to what lineman do on game day, so most people just go along with what some other guy said. They don't form their own opinions.
I can tell you this because I rarely pay attention to what lineman do on game day. I thought the Oakland Raiders did a great thing when they drafted Robert Gallery because I had heard he was an elite tackle prospect. And he probably was, but it's just so damn hard to know for sure.
It's even harder for a guy like me, who really had never even seen Gallery play before and even if you watched a highlight video of Gallery, that's all you're getting: The highlights.
A year ago, Jake Matthews was the hot shit that would've supposedly gone first overall if he had declared. Instead Luke Joeckel would be the first overall pick. Except that he wasn't because now Eric Fisher is the best tackle prospect in the draft. And Lane Johnson would be a good get in the teens, except that Johnson was the fourth overall pick.
This is a bit higher than people had assumed for Brown, who basically switched places with Alex Barron in terms of where people expected him to go and where they actually did go.
14. Thomas Davis, Georgia, Panthers:
Walter Football did a pretty good job with their 2005 mock draft, but they missed on Davis, whom they had going 28th overall to the Chargers:
San Diego will consider Jerome Mathis and Ray Willis, but Thomas Davis is the best player available at this juncture. The Chargers need an upgrade at free safety, and could use some depth at outside linebacker. Davis, a safety-linebacker hybrid, could step in and help San Diego immediately.
Most had Davis going 16th overall at the earliest, but I think his stock rose once Carolina decided that he'd make a great linebacker. Despite the fact that Davis has a reputation (I think) as injury prone, he's basically missed two seasons with injury and has been relatively healthy and effective otherwise.
15. Derrick Johnson, Texas, Chiefs:
I didn't see any mocks that had Johnson going to Kansas City, mostly because he was already gone by then. FootballsFuture.com actually wrote "The slide ends" when it had Johnson going to Detroit at 10th overall.
Look at how many "boom or bust" players went ahead of Johnson, with most of them busting. Those teams were holding out to the river, looking to bust a solid two-pair hand with a full house. I think Johnson was seen as "boring" due to the fact that you knew he was "just two pair."
Johnson was very good for five years, but in the last four, has started to develop into that "boom" player that few seemed to expect of him on draft day. On his current path with four more years, he could be a Hall of Fame "maybe."
Otherwise, we have our first:
16. Travis Johnson, Florida State, Texans:
The Saints moved up to take Brown at 13, which left the Texans here to select Johnson. Some had Johnson going 16th overall to the Saints, but others had him going late 1st/early 2nd. This was the absolute highest I saw him projected.
17. David Pollack, Georgia, Bengals:
When people use the word "football player" to describe a football player, it is often just an excuse to say "this guy doesn't measure up to what we expect a football player to be physically, but somehow he gets it done anyway." Pollack is the very definition of a "football player" and though many loved the person and the production, they didn't necessarily believe he'd be great at the next level.
We'll never really know. He played in 16 games before suffering a spine injury that luckily did not paralyze him and that was the end of his career. He was looking good otherwise. But on draft day he was a good enough "football player" to go 17th overall, which is where many expected him to go.
18. Erasmus James, Wisconsin, Vikings:
Some drafts had James going to the Vikings right here, but others had him in the second round.
19. Alex Barron, Florida State, Rams:
See above: Brown, Jammal.
Most had Barron going in the top 15, above Brown. At the end of their careers, Barron has played in one more game than Brown, but Brown mad two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro roster. In the way that many view the Smith/Rodgers debate ("Would their careers have gone in opposite directions if drafted in each others situation?") would Barron have had a better career if he was working on that offensive line, with those coaches, blocking for Brees?
Barron actually replaced Brown in New Orleans for a short time in 2011, after Brown went to the Redskins. You may also remember that he spent last season with the Seahawks, but he hasn't played in a game in a couple of years.
On draft day he was a bit of a:
20. Marcus Spears, LSU, Cowboys:
Is Bill Parcells really a genius? The story goes that Parcells wanted Spears more than he wanted Ware, but Jerry Jones had to overrule him and said he must take care of Ware first.
The thing I remember most about those meetings was how much Bill was in love with Spears. It was not that the scouts didn't like Spears, we just didn't understand why Bill was pushing for him so hard at 11 and not 20? Parcells knew he was losing the battle on Spears at 11, so he turned his attention to DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman for that spot. The scouts were totally on board with Ware at 11, but Bill made a nice push to take Merriman in that spot instead.
Ware has seven seasons with 10+ sacks, including one with 20 sacks. Spears has 10 sacks.
In his career.
Parcell may have had such a bad poker face that most mocks got it right and predicted Spears (as they had with Ware at 11) would go to Dallas.
21. Matt Jones, Arkansas, Jaguars:
It was evident during the NFL meetings last week in Hawaii that Jones is perhaps the fastest riser in the draft. Because of his position switch, he had been labeled as a second-day pick, probably a fourth-round selection. He's not going on the second day. He's a better bet to go in the top half of the second round, and he could slip into the bottom third of the first round. "How do you ignore him?" one AFC general manager said.
"He's the best athlete in the draft. It may not even be close. Honestly, he's the most mesmerizing player I've ever evaluated."
Jones was 6'6 and ran a sub-4.40 40. It's insanity that scouts probably only get to see a few times in their life. It's also a big reason why some people think the combine is stupid.
A player that hadn't played wide receiver before, was being taken 21st overall in the NFL draft, as a wide receiver.
22. Mark Clayton, Oklahoma, Ravens:
Whereas Jones, Williamson, and Williams were seen more as high-ceiling receivers that could be difference-makers, and Edwards was seen as the elite everything player, Clayton was just a nice receiver with a high floor. Seems like the perfect pairing with Derrick Mason at the time.
23. Fabian Washington, Nebraska, Raiders:
Washington and Stanford Routt tied for the third-best 40 times in Combine history (4.29) and Oakland took 'em both that year because of course they did.
24. Aaron Rodgers, Cal, Packers:
FootballsFuture, 5th overall to Bucs
DraftCountdown.com, 5th overall
Washington Post, 3rd overall to Browns
Inside the Eagles, 2nd overall to Dolphins
USAToday, 1st overall to 49ers
Walterfootball, 5th overall
Mel Kiper, 3rd overall
JoltCountry, 2nd overall
I've read that Ted Thompson and his staff re-opened the books on Rodgers days before the draft because they heard rumors he might be sliding. Now, I can't personally find anything that says Rodgers was getting by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but obviously he did.
I still just don't understand why.
Apparently Rodgers had done enough (or not enough) leading up to the draft to convince teams he wasn't worth taking in the first round. Once he had gotten by the supremely-needy QB teams like the 49ers (Mike Nolan apparently thought he had an attitude), Browns (Rodgers visited twice and thought Romeo Crennel would definitely take him, but didn't), and Buccaneers (Jon Gruden apparently also said he would take Rodgers) there were a lot of teams that felt set at QB.
Thompson, a first-year GM with a Hall of Fame QB that had at least a few more seasons left (though constantly threatened or faked-out retirement) still opted not to rest on his laurels. It's probably the reason he is still the GM and why a lot of those guys that passed on Rodgers aren't with their teams anymore.
Once the draft got to around the 12th pick with Rodgers still on the board, Thompson started working the room and assessing the feelings of everyone on actually taking a quarterback. By pick 15, he was already the main story on ESPN as they kept flipping to the "green" room. That's when Tory Holt called it and said "He's going to the Packers and he'll sit behind Brett Favre for a few years."
Thompson was impressed with the way Rodgers handled himself despite falling in the draft, not by a few picks, but by a couple dozen. Then the Oakland Raiders called Thompson and asked if he wanted to make a trade. He was open to it (they were high on Rodgers but not desperate) but ultimately the two sides couldn't come to an agreement. The Raiders instead traded with the Seattle Seahawks (who could have also taken Rodgers) at 23 so that they could take Washington, rather than get Rodgers to take over for Kerry Collins.
Even when they had the chance to take him, Thompson still noted that he would've been open to a trade if it was a really good offer, but none of the calls he received enticed him enough.
I guess that's how Rodgers slides from 1 to 24. I guess. I still don't quite get it and the only way I could ever truly understand is if it a conspiracy theory had come to light explaining the nonsense. Rodgers was seen as a great QB prospect, lots of teams had crappy QB situations, lots of teams took... running backs. Nonsense.
25. Jason Campbell, Auburn, Redskins:
Washington traded a 3rd, a 4th, and a 2006 1st round pick in order to get the 25th overall pick from Denver (out of those picks, the fourth turned into Brandon Marshall) so they could take Campbell. I guess it's just a little weird because I don't know that I see a team that would've taken Campbell in the first round otherwise.
The problem was that the Redskins had already traded away their second round pick the year before, so they had to make a deal to get Campbell, Just not sure they had to make a deal this high.
26. Chris Spencer, Mississippi, Seahawks:
It's just one site, but Walter Football had Chris Spencer going in the third round. Yeah, the 2005 Seahawks made the Super Bowl in large part due to Walter Jones and a weak NFC, I feel like. Of course, they did take Lofa Tatupu in the second round and generally had a good team (Matthew Hasselbeck is on my personal Seahawks Mt. Rushmore for the time being) but Tim Ruskell wasn't so good.
Spencer was alright, but the Seattle GM passed on a lot of good players for a guy he could've probably gotten later.
27. Roddy White, Alabama-Birmingham, Falcons:
Even Dave Choate at The Falcoholic told me that he was surprised by the selection of White. He was expecting a player like Reggie Brown or Mark Bradley, and was pulling for guard David Baas.
This is about as high as White was expected to go.
28. Luis Castillo, Northwestern, Chargers:
This is getting to the point where you'll see players that won't be on a lot of mocks because most mock drafts stop after the first round. Castillo was a fringe first round prospect at best, and most didn't have him going this high. I don't know that people even had him in the first two rounds, and possibly dropping even further.
29. Marlin Jackson, Michigan, Colts:
Probably very close to his ADP on mock drafts in 2005.
30. Heath Miller, Virginia, Steelers:
A lot of people had Miller, the top rated tight end, going at the end of the first round. Most often to Pittsburgh.
31. Mike Patterson, USC, Eagles:
Slightly higher than expected by most, though some had him right at the end of the first round.
32. Logan Mankins, Fresno State, Patriots:
Walter had Mankins going 102nd overall. Bill Belichick definitely does not care what Mock Drafts think. In retrospect, Mankins seems like the most-Patriots player ever, but maybe that's because he's just had a highly-successful Patriots career. Pro-Football-Reference gives him the highest career AV of any player in the 2005 draft, including Rodgers and Ware.
That'll likely change drastically once Rodgers gets another 10 years of playing under his belt, but Mankins is one of the best guards of the last decade and for the 32nd pick, likely as great as you can typically hope for.
(Something to think about for a certain Super Bowl champion with needs at the guard position.)
Some names thought to be possible first round picks that weren't:
Khalif Barnes - Seen by many as a first rounder, mocked as high as 12th overall, he started all 16 games for the Raiders at right tackle in 2013.
Shaun Cody - Played eight NFL seasons.
Justin Miller - Fell to 57th. Played parts of six seasons. Had five career kickoff return touchdowns, including a Pro Bowl appearance in 2006.
Dan Cody - Kiper had him going pretty high in the first round, but slipped to 53rd. Played in only three career games, registering no stats, mostly wiped out due to injuries.
Channing Crowder - Slipped to 70th. Played six seasons with the Dolphins. Isn't Channing Frye or Tatum.
Brodney Poole - Went 34th overall, played seven seasons. Tied for longest official INT return (100 yards) in NFL history.
Barrett Ruud - Went 36th, played eight seasons. Four of them were really good.
Matt Roth - Went 46th, played seven seasons.
Darryl Blackstock - Slipped to 95th, played very little of five seasons total.
Other value players and what wasn't liked about some of them
Frank Gore (65) Injury history
Vincent Jackson (61) Went to Northern Colorado
Trent Cole (146) "Despite grading out as a second-round talent as a senior, Cole fell to the fifth round in the 2005 NFL draft after showing up at the NFL Scouting Combine at 236 pounds while still recovering from pneumonia and having a right hamstring injury that excluded him from performing."
Justin Tuck (74) "Undersized"
Jay Ratliff (224) "Undersized"
Chris Myers (200)
Todd Herremans (126) Saginaw Valley State, not invited to Combine
Darren Sproles (130) "Undersized"
Lofa Tatupu (45) "Undersized and slow"
David Stewart (113)
Kerry Rhodes (123)
Jon Babineaux (59)
Nick Collins (51)
Khalif Barnes (52)
Chris Harris (181)
Matt Cassel (230) Didn't play at USC
Ryan Fitzpatrick (250) Went to Harvard
Let's state the obvious points to be made:
- There were a lot more Risers (15) than Fallers (3) and then a considerable number of players to go right in the area that was expected. Though I think that Mock Drafts as a practice are inherently flawed and naturally influence public perception in a negative direction, there are certainly moments that genuinely surprise the majority of general managers and team front offices. But a "riser" is probably not a surprise to most people in the league, and it's mostly the people at Walter Football or Mel Kiper that get misinformation. And when Kiper gets misinformation, it disseminates to everybody else.
Kiper is the town crier of Mockton, California, and he is the person most capable of soiling the river with toxic chemicals of "So and so is falling out of the first round."
Ted Thompson knew early on that Rodgers could become available to him and that's why he was well-prepared to select him when they were up. Not a single mock draft that I could find had Rodgers outside of the top 10.
- The Fallers, percentage-wise, did better than the Risers. With Rodgers and Johnson, two of the best players in the 2005 NFL draft had gone considerably lower than expected. The other, Alex Barron, was also in a "this guy or that guy" situation and no other offensive tackle went in the top 40 picks. So his "fall" was more predictable than the other two guys.
- The Riser with the most success was likely Logan Mankins, and frankly any time a guard goes in the first round, he's likely to have a high chance of success. Past NFL draft studies that I've done have shown that guards and centers taken in the first round go onto become Pro Bowl-caliber players, which is likely due to the fact that to go that high, you have to be special. Playing on the best team of the century probably doesn't hurt either.
While Smith has had some success in recent years, he was obviously a major bust for the San Francisco 49ers. Going through a different offensive coordinator every year doesn't help, but that won't change the fact that he failed to produce what was expected of him.
Rogers, Brown, Davis, Campbell, Spencer, Castillo, Patterson have all enjoyed varying levels of success, but none quite like Rodgers and Johnson.
- Ware was arguably still the best player of the draft, and Parcells had to be overruled just to take him. If he hadn't, I imagine that the Chargers would have pulled the trigger with the next pick. He's the best "Just Righter", along with White and Miller, but it's almost as if most of the just right guys were the most likely to live up to expectations.
- It seems like a prospect deemed as "too small" is the most likely to overcome his "faults" and become a greater value than expected going into the draft. I think the Seahawks may have an example of this somewhere on the team, but I just can't think of one?
Other guys that I can think of off the top of my head would be Elvis Dumervil or Geno Atkins, and it seems like this could be one of the bigger misconceptions about NFL draft prospects and that size perhaps is the easiest thing to overcome. Perhaps. That's what I'm trying to find out.
After one draft evaluation, the "Fallers" seem to have the upper hand, but what will future draft reviews tell us about the risers and fallers and just righters? And what stands out to you about the 2005 draft?