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.
New England Patriots
Every year when you watch the NFL Draft you always hear about how well the Patriots draft and that Coach Bill Belichick is a genius. I guess those analysts weren’t looking at the results of the 2006 Draft. The Patriots used their 1st round selection to pick running back Laurence Maroney. Maroney had a decent rookie year and had everyone expecting big things out of him but he has yet to really breakout. Maroney has spent most of this NFL career sharing carries and fighting injuries. He will again spend this upcoming season fighting for carries. 12 receptions! 12 receptions are all the Patriots got out of 2nd round pick Chad Jackson. I can still remember when the Patriots selected Jackson and everyone thought it was a great pick and potentially a steal. However, Jackson never pulled it together and is now fighting for a roster spot on the Buffalo Bills. The Pats did better with their later picks but only one of those players remain on the team. The remaining player is kicker Stephen Gostkowski who is arguably one of the better kickers in the league. The other selections were Dave Thomas and Ryan O’Callaghan. Thomas was traded to the Saints for a 6th round pick and had some decent success in a backup role. New England released O’Callaghan and he was picked up by the Chiefs and he is expected to start at right tackle. So this draft produced a time share running back and a kicker, not a very impactful draft.
New York Jets
The Jets 2006 Draft is full of hits and misses but the hits outweigh the misses. They used their two 1st round picks to solidify their offensive line. They selected D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold both of whom started every game since entering the NFL. Ferguson was named to the 2009 Pro Bowl and Mangold was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2009 and added a 2009 All Pro selection. These two players are major contributors to the power running game that lead the Jets deep in the playoffs last season. The Jets add Top Sleeper Candidate Leon Washington and all purpose player Brad Smith in the 4th round. Washington was selected to the 2008 All Pro team but suffered a major leg injury and was then traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a 5th round pick. While Washington has moved on you can’t overlook his contributions in 2008. Brad Smith contributes on special teams and has several specific offensive packages devoted to him. The biggest miss for the Jets was 2nd round pick Kellen Clemens, the quarterback out of Oregon. A lot was expected out of Clemens but he never developed into a NFL quarterback despite being give several opportunities. The Jets 3rd round pick Anthony Schelgel is now on the UFL’s Florida Tuskers, while fellow 3rd round pick Eric Smith remains with the team in a reserve role. This was a good draft for the Jets because they were able to get two pieces to their offensive line puzzle. The contributions from reserve players Brad and Eric Smith are very valuable. And if not for the injury to Leon Washington we would be looking at possibly the best draft in the league.
I think if the Dolphins had a mulligan they would use it on their 2006 Draft. Of the seven picks only one player is expected to see playing time for the Dolphins this season. That player is 1st round pick Jason Allen and while he is expected to get playing time, he isn’t expected to make much of an impact. Allen is arguably one of the bigger busts of the 2006 Draft. He has spent time bouncing back and forth from Safety and Corner but mainly in reserve roles. The only other name you might recognize is 7th round pick Devon Aromashodu who is fighting for a starting spot with the Chicago Bears.
To properly evaluate the Bills draft you have to look at it backwards. 5th round pick Kyle Williams has been the most consistent and productive player from this draft class. Fellow 5th round pick Brad Butler was expected to start somewhere along the offensive line but suddenly retired this offseason. Let’s go back to the top of the draft. The Bills used the 8th overall pick to select Safety Donte Whitner who only has 4 career interceptions and has battled injuries and lofty draft expectations. Whitner will find himself fighting for playing time this season. The Bills used their other 1st round pick on defensive tackle John McCargo who is buried deep on the depth chart and will likely not make the final roster. At the time of the draft the Bills were hammered for selecting both players and it seems like the analysts were correct. The late round selections of Ko Simpson, Kyle Williams, Brad Butler, and Keith Ellison keep this draft from being a total wash.
Top Bust Candidates: Donte Whitner, John McCargo, Jason Allen, Chad Jackson, Kellen Clemens
Top Sleeper Candidates: Leon Washington, Kyle Williams, Ryan O’Callahan
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