2006 NFL Draft: Exciting for a Change
by Kevin Monroe


Now that the NFL draft has come and gone, there will be speculation for years to come over the Houston Texan’s decision to pick Mario Williams instead of Reggie Bush, or even the hometown favorite Vince Young.  The Texans said they needed help defeating the Colts, and drafting Mario Williams will upgrade their pass rush.  That may be true, but by not drafting the #1 rated player in the draft with the first choice, you leave yourself open to a ton of criticism.  Had the Texans chosen Bush with the first pick, and he ended up being a bust, nobody would blame them for making that draft pick.  Mario has already been criticized for not performing up to his full potential in every game last year.  Williams came out of his preseason slump and dominated when the Wolfpack got into ACC play, but played very average the first half of the 2005 season. 

The other controversial pick, was over the third pick in the draft.  The Tennessee Titans elected to go with Texas Quarterback Vince Young instead of USC QB Matt Leinart. (That makes me think of an article I wrote last year around this time, when Leinart decided to go back to school rather than leave early for the NFL.  I thought it was a dumb move then and now it has cost him a few million dollars.  Don‘t get me wrong, I think education is important, but he only had a few classes left and he could have finished them in the off-season.  Last year’s number one pick was Alex Smith and Leinart would have certainly been picked ahead of him.  “I told you so” wouldn’t really apply in this scenario because Leinart probably didn’t read my article.) Anyway, the Titans were initially very high on Leinart and their Offensive coordinator Norm Chow coached him at USC; however the front office of the Titans felt that Young would be a better quarterback in the long run. 

Several teams helped their cause on draft day, but a few teams really had great weekends. Arizona Cardinals – The Cards managed to get 4 guys that were all potential 1st rounders at one point.  Their 1st round selection Matt Leinart was rated the number 1 quarterback on most team’s draft board.  Their second and third round picks Deuce Lutui and Leonard pope were also among the tops at offensive line and tight end respectively.  Arizona also got defensive tackle Gabe Watson in the 4th round, each of these guys were perceived to be among the best at their positions.  New Orleans Saints – thanks to the poor judgment of the Texans, Reggie Bush fell right into the laps of the Saints.  Reggie alone could make all the difference for them in 2006, but they managed to pick up two very good players in their next couple of picks.  Safety Roman Harper from Alabama and wideout Mike Hass from Oregon State, both should see significant playing time next year.  NY Jets – The Jets drafted the most talented tackle and center in the draft when they drafted Fergueson and Mangold in the first and second rounds.  Together they will sure up a very suspect line from a year ago.  The Jets also managed to draft two talented quarterbacks in Kellen Clemons (Oregon) and Brad Smith (Missouri) in the latter rounds.  Smith, who runs a 4.4 forty yard dash, could likely be moved to wide receiver.

The worst draft has to go to the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills drafted Donte Whitner, who is a great player, but had no business getting drafted 8th overall, then they commenced to trade their second and third round picks in order to move up to the 26th pick in the first round to get John McCargo.  McCargo is also a good player, but the chances of getting him in the second round or a player of his caliber in the second round were pretty good. 

Overall, the draft was very exciting.  The Texans deciding to overlook bush for Mario Williams was just the tip of the iceberg.  With all the trades and interesting picks, this draft made for some of the best television of any draft I have ever witnessed.   I can’t wait for the 2006 season to start.

Kevin Monroe