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.
This class still feels like it needs to be graded with an “incomplete” with QB Matt Leinart (1st) preparing for the first time without a future Hall of Fame quarterback on the roster. Leinart has been pretty up and down in his playing time in relief of Kurt Warner, but he has the team around him to be successful. OG Deuce Lutui (2nd) has been a stalwart on the Arizona line, starting all but six games since being drafted. DT Gabe Watson (4th) rotates heavily with the rest of the 3-4 front, but could see reduced time with 2010 1st round pick, DT Dan Williams. TE Leonard Pope (3rd) wasn’t a good fit with Arizona’s spread offense. Pope’s biggest asset is his size and red zone prowess, not running deep routes. After being waive by the Cardinals, he was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs and is their projected starter going into training camp. LB Brandon Johnson (5th) is the last of the class still in the NFL and he seems to have found a home with the Bengals, playing in every game with the team since joining them. The Cardinals found a lot of talent, but have only retained 3 picks and one of them is still a big question mark.
San Fransisco 49ers
The 49ers make a good example of teams taking advantage of having lots of picks. San Fransisco had nine picks in 2006 and have managed to retain five of them and three of those five are starters at important positions on their offense and defense. What can be said about TE Vernon Davis (1st) that probably hasn’t already been said. The guy is a physical freak, but has suffered through coaching changes and inconsistent quarterback play. He showed this last season how dangerous he can be with 13 touchdowns, tying Antonio Gates’s record for most touchdowns in a season for a tight end. The 49ers landed a pair of good linebackers in Manny Lawson (1st) and Parys Haralson (5th) who now man the outside shell of their 3-4 front seven. Haralson is a particularly special find as a 5th round draft pick he has out performed Lawson who was taken 118 picks before him. Not that Manny hasn’t been impressive in his own right. TE Delanie Walker (6th) and RB/Utility Man Michael Robinson (4th) have yet to make much of an impact, but have seen plenty of time as back-up and part time starters. DB Marcus Hudson (6th) will be camping with the Panthers this summer and San Fran’s third, second to last, and last picks are out of the league.
Not a lot of good can be said for the Seahawks 2006 draft. DE Darryl Tapp (2nd) and OG Rob Sims (4th) were traded this offseason to the Eagles and Lions under the new leadership of Pete Carroll. With only six picks, the remaining four consisted of two back ups and two players no longer playing. CB Kelly Jennings (1st) has been a disappointment and WR Ben Obomanu (7th) has a grand total of 16 catches in his career. With their first and last picks being the only players left on the roster, I am sure there is a classy sandwich joke to work in, but I can’t think of one. Perhaps if Tapp and Sims had been retained it would have been a slightly better class since both were starters, but not by too much.
St. Louis Rams
As if trying to out do Seattle, the Rams lay an even bigger egg. The Rams had the distinction of having the most picks in the division with 10 and received very little in return. DE Victor Adeyanju (4th) is their starting right defensive end, which is prone to be more of a run stopping position, but he has played in 53 games and garnered three sacks. OG Mark Setterstrom (7th) is a back up and the last of the 10 picks still with the roster. CB Tye Hill (1st), TE Joe Klopfenstein (3rd), LB Jon Alston (3rd), TE Dominique Byrd (3rd), and WR Marques Hagans (5th) have all found homes on other rosters, but none have left an impact and most of them are on their last chance to stick to a roster having jumped around the league.
Top Bust Candidates: 1st Round Pick CB Tye Hill, 1st Round Pick CB Kelly Jennings
Top Sleeper Candidates: Can Matt Leinart count as a possible sleeper? If not, then no true sleeper candidates from the NFC West as most picks from the 5th round and later are gone from the league.
Tags: 49ers Antonio Gates Arizona Cardinals Ben Obomanu Bengals Brandon Johnson Cardinals Chiefs Dan Williams Darryl Tapp Delanie Walker Deuce Lutui Dominique Byrd Eagles Gabe Watson Joe Klopfenstein Jon Alston Kansas City Chiefs Kelly Jennings Kurt Warner Leonard Pope Lions Manny Lawson Marcus Hudson Mark Setterstrom Marques Hagans Matt Leinart Michael Robinson NFC West NFL Panthers Parys Haralson Pete Carroll Rams Rob Sims San Fransisco San Fransisco 49ers Seahawks Seattle Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams Tye Hill Vernon Davis Victor Adeyanju