I hate ‘day after draft’ grades, but I’m a sucker for draft retrospectives that let time pass first. Needless to say, I’m totally in the tank for FO’s look at the 2004 draft. The 2004 draft was a crazy one and the most amazing part is that we STILL don’t have an answer to who the best quarterback was. Normally, I’d go with Roethlisberger, but with his notable off the field issues, there’s really no guarantee what will happen to him. Personally, I like Eli a lot more than Rivers. I consider Rivers one of the most overrated players in football, but that’s just because he doesn’t pass my eyeball test. He’s had two good seasons (2008 and 2009), but I’m just not sold…though I admit a case of extreme bias. At any rate, given all the factors, you can’t blame the Giants for trading for Eli. They won a title. Maybe they’d have won another with Roethlisberger, but I doubt it.
What’s really interesting about 2004 was the Colts’ selection of Bob Sanders. Indy wanted Bob from the go, and he was easily the highest rated player on their board. They knew that teams were scared of the injury factor with him, however. They traded down and took him at 44. This was a great decision and a calculated risk. As a Colts fan, it’s unfair to get bent out of shape about Bob’s injuries.
1. They knew he was likely to get hurt when they drafted him. He was hurt WHEN they drafted him! Indy only got him at 44 because they were willing to take the risk.
2. They knew his injury history before they resigned him.
Sanders has always been a gamble. When the Colts drafted Trev Alberts, they didn’t know he was already hurt and would suck. That’s a bad pick. When they drafted Emtman, he had zero history of injuries, but blew out both knees in his first two years. That’s bad luck. But with the Zombie, they knew what he was. They took a calculated risk. High risk, HUGE reward.
That’s who Bob Sanders is. That’s who he’ll always be. All told, it’s worked out pretty dang well.
Given the chance to do it all over again, I’d bet Polian makes the same decisions again. Bob’ll be back this year and everyone will remember just why we love him so. Even if he doesn’t hold up again, we still have that nice banner hanging from the rafters thanks to him.