A Decade of Drafting-2001

Due to popular request, I’m expanding my look at the Colts’ drafts to include some other teams.  Each day, we’ll look how the Colts, Steelers, Patriots, Eagles and Ravens drafted this decade.  We’ll start with the year 2000.  I’m ranking the teams based on this criteria:  would you trade one entire draft for another?  The team whose draft you would definitely trade the others for gets top billing.

2001 was a tough year to call, and how you rank the top three teams depends in part on what you are looking for out of a draft.  The Colts got more total games and more starters out of their draft, but the Steelers and Pats each got a pair of Pro Bowlers.  Ultimately, I think the Colts’ draft was more valuable, but it is certainly open to debate.

1.  Colts

Total picks: 7

Made team: 7

Total Games Played: 452

Total Pro Bowls:  4 (Wayne-4)

Best pick:  Reggie Wayne

Starters drafted: Wayne (9 seasons), Bashir (4 seasons), Diem (9 seasons), Demulling (3 seasons)

Summary and Grade: B+.  This might seem low for a draft that included Reggie Wayne, but the 2001 draft was super deep.  Houshmanzada, Chad Johnson, and Steve Smith were all taken after Wayne.  You could argue that as long as the Colts were taking a receiver late in the first round, they had a pretty good chance of landing a good one.  Of course, they knew that too, which is why they traded down before drafting Wayne.  Wayne and Johnson have interesting parallels, but it’s possible to argue that Smith was the best of the three.  The pick of Bashir is especially bad in hindsight simply because of the sheer number of very good players still available.  On the other hand, the Colts ended up keeping all seven players drafted, and the 2001 draft produced more games played for the Colts than any of the other drafts measured to date. Four starters is a good haul for any April.  All in all, it was a good draft in a good year to draft.

2.  Patriots

Total picks: 10

Made team: 6

Pro Bowls: 7 (Richard Seymour 5, Matt Light 2)

Games Played: 265

Starters: Seymour (8 seasons), Light (7 seasons), Kenyatta Jones (1 season)

Best Pick:  Seymour

Summary and grade: B+.  It wasn’t a deep draft for the Pats, but both Light and Seymour were multiple Pro Bowl players who made All Pro teams too.  They got very little value after the second round, but had enough at the top to carry the day.  Again, this draft was extremely deep, so coming up with good players in the first two rounds wasn’t necessarily a great feat.

3.  Steelers

Total picks: 7

Made team: 5

Total Games Played: 302

Total Pro Bowls:  6 (Hampton 5, Bell 1)

Best pick:  Casey Hampton

Starters drafted: Hampton (8 seasons), Kendrell Bell (3 seasons)

Summary and Grade: B This was a solid draft for the Steelers that produced two Pro Bowl players, including one dominant one in Casey Hampton.  Ultimately, Hampton and Bell were the only starters selected by the Steelers in a deep draft, so it’s hard to rate this higher than the Colts and the Patriots.

4.  Ravens

Total picks: 7

Made team: 5

Total Games Played: 342

Total Pro Bowls:  2 (Heap-2)

Best pick:  Todd Heap

Starters drafted: Heap (8 seasons), Gary Baxter (3 seasons), Casey Rabach (1 season), Ed Hartwell (3 seasons)

Summary and Grade: B 2001 was a solid, but unspectacular year for the Ravens.  It wasn’t an outstanding draft in terms of raw talent, but did produce four starters and a lot of games played.  Heap has been a quality tight end for years.  This draft was good, but would you trade it straight up for any of the others?

5.  Eagles

Total picks: 6

Made team: 6

Total Games Played: 197

Total Pro Bowls:  2 (Burgess-2)

Best pick:  Derrick Burgess

Starters drafted: Freddie Mitchell (1 season), Burgess (1 season)

Summary and Grade: C-. Considering this was a deep draft, the Eagles really had a miserable go of it.  The best player they picked, Derrick Burgess, never became a significant factor until leaving Philadelphia.  Immediately after joining the Raiders, he made two Pro Bowls.  Basically, the 2001 draft was a weak collection of backups.  Only two players taken ever became starters for the Eagles, and they each only started for a season a piece.  Again, the Eagles are the weak link among the five teams. I give them credit for drafting Burgess. If I was ranking this based on how much value they got for him, I’d give them a D.

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