It’s been 4 years since the 2006 NFL Draft and those selected have had time to make an impact on their respective teams. In this new series of articles the writers at NFLMocks will be breaking down each team division by division and grading their drafts. We will identify the top busts and the biggest sleepers and would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comment section of each post.
I can still remember all the flak that Charlie Casserly and the Texans organization received when they passed on the “sure fire” pick of Reggie Bush for DE Mario Williams. The Texan’s needed a running back, and probably still do, but their defense was horrible and the pass rush was worse. Now that the draft class has had the time to play and develop, all those who doubted should be eating crow. Williams has turned into an All Pro and a force on the Texan’s defensive line. Houston scored with their next few picks as well. Grabbing future Defensive Rookie of the Year and All Pro LB DeMeco Ryans (2nd), OT Eric Winston (3rd), and TE Owen Daniels (4th). Winston is the starting right tackle and Daniels has been an integral part of the Texan passing attack. WR David Anderson (7th) is deep on the depth chart, with OG Charles Spencer (3rd) and RB Wali Lundy (6th) no longer on NFL rosters. A realistically ideal draft: 7 picks, 4 solid starters (2 All Pros), 5 still on roster. Of course you want every pick to work out, but some attrition occurs with just about every draft and can be of little cost when low round selections are used on those that don’t make it.
The Colts lofty drafting reputation took a hit in 2006. Three picks in RB Joseph Addai (1st), OT Charlie Johnson (6th) , and S Antoine Bethea (6th) are good starters, but each has been shuffled in and out of the starting lineup either due to injury or lack of play. Each contributed to a Super Bowl win, but none are All Pros. OT Michael Toudouze (5th) and CB T.J. Rushing (7th) are still holding onto roster spots, but could be losing them this year to more recent draft picks. CB Tim Jennings (2nd) is now on the Chicago Bears roster and LB Freddie Keiaho (3rd) is with the Jacksonville Jaguars according to his Wikipedia page. Indy found late sleepers in Johnson and Bethea, but none have made impacts on the national level.
Jacksonville got a major impact player, but the overall draft is a huge disappointment. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (2nd) has most of the Jaguar offense run through him and any fantasy football player will confirm he is quite valuable. As good as Jones-Drew has been, the rest of the draft class is worse times a lot. MJD’s UCLA teammate TE Marcedes Lewis (1st) hasn’t lived up to his 28th overall pick status, never scoring more than 2 touchdowns in a year. These two players are the only 2006 picks still with the team. LB Clint Ingram (3rd) and DE James Wyche (7th) are on the New Orleans Saints and St.Louis Rams rosters respectively and the Jaguars other two picks are no longer playing in the NFL.
The Titans were able to get some very good talent, but with 10 picks, should have grabbed more. QB Vince Young (1st) continues to be roller coaster, dealing with maturity issues on and off the field. At one point the Titans organization contacted the police because they were worried about the metal health of the young quarterback. He has continued to show he can be a player when called upon, but his many issues keep holding him back. This past season, he helped turn the Titans season around, but then in the off season, got into a fight at a strip club. Makes him hard to judge since he is hard to count on. LB Stephen Tulloch (4th) will be starting in the middle with the offseason departure of LB Keith Bullock and CB Cortland Finnegan (7th) is by far the steal of the AFC South draft, earning All Pro honors in 2008. However, of their remaining 7 picks, only RB Quinton Ganther (7th) is on a NFL roster and RB LenDale White (2nd) was the biggest bust of the 2006 AFC South draft.
Top Bust Candidates: 2nd Round Pick RB LenDale White, 1st Round Pick TE Marcedes Lewis
Top Sleeper Candidates: 7th Round Pick CB Cortland Finnegan, 6th Round Pick Antoine Bethea
Topics: AFC South, Antoine Bethea, Bears, Charles Spencer, Charlie Casserly, Charlie Johnson, Chicago, Chicago Bears, Chris Johnson, Clint Ingram, Colts, Cortland Finnegan, David Anderson, Defensive Rookie Of The Year, DeMeco Ryans, Eric Winston, Freddie Keiaho, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jaguars, James Wyche, Joseph Addai, Keith Bullock, LenDale White, Marcedes Lewis, Mario Williams, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Toudouze, New Orleans, New Orleans Saints, NFL, NFL Draft, Offensive Rookie Of The Year, Owen Daniels, Quinton Ganther, Rams, Reggie Bush, Saints, St. Louis, St. Louis Rams, Stephen Tulloch, Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLI, T.J. Rushing, Tennessee Titans, Texans, Tim Jennings, Titans, UCLA, Vince Young, Wali Lundy