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.
If only the Broncos could have found a way to make all of these picks happy and signed, they could have had arguably the best offensive draft, not just of 2006, but of the decade. QB Jay Cutler (1st), WR Brandon Marshall (4th), and TE Tony Scheffler (2nd) composed one of the most dangerous passing offenses, right up until Josh McDaniels came to town. It’s not entirely McDaniels fault, both Cutler and Marshall had selfish, me-first attitudes. The Broncos may still have a good team without them, but it will take some time. The Broncos had a fantastic 4th round, adding OLB Elvis Dumervil and WR Domeik Hixon with Marshall. Too bad for the Broncos, only Dumervil is still with the team and he is looking for an extension. He deserves one as no one has benefited more than Elvis with the Broncos switch to the 3-4 defense. Hixon only played four games in Denver before going to the Giants where he excels as a returner on special teams. Sadly, Hixon tore his ACL and will not be playing the upcoming season. OG Chris Kuper (5th) has started all but 6 games at right guard since 2007 which would have been the icing on the cake had the class stayed together. As it is, Kuper and Dumervil are the only two picks still in Denver, but have been big performers in their own right.
Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs’ fans are a passionate bunch, but I can’t imagine them being too excited about how this draft as a whole. OLB/DE Tamba Hali (1st) has worked out quite well. Even 7th round S Jarrad Page was an steal, but Page is currently looking for a trade away from Kansas City, who already released S Bernard Pollard (2nd) to the Texans where Pollard played better than he ever did for the Chiefs. Back-up QB Brodie Croyle (3rd) hasn’t won any of his nine starts, but the Chiefs organization seems to think with time behind Matt Cassel under new offensive coordinator Charlie Wies he should improve. The Chiefs have managed to hang on to three of their seven picks and we shall see if they find a trade partner for Page. There has been lots of trade speculation this off season, but very few actual transactions and with S O.J. Atogwe still on the market, Page wouldn’t be the best safety available for teams in need.
The Raiders have been a joke when it comes to the draft for several years and 2006 helped add to the punchline. Three picks remain with the team and all have started at one time or another, but none are expected to be starters when camp opens in July. A lot of that may have to do with the constant storm of craziness that comes from their front office and turmoil within the coaching staff, but none have made a big impact and likely wouldn’t be starting on any other team either. Those players lucky enough to still be a part of Raider Nation are S Michael Huff (1st), LB Thomas Howard (2nd), and C Chris Morris (7th). OT Paul McQuistan (3rd), LB Darnell Bing (4th), and OG Kevin Boothe (6th) have moved on to other rosters, but only Boothe has managed to play as a backup guard and special team player. The three players remaining in Oakland will all have a chance to compete for a starting spots this fall, but have an uphill battle to get them.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have been a very talented team for most of the past decade, but their fans won’t look back on 2006 as a year where they kept a lot of that talent. CB Antonio Cromartie (1st), QB Charlie Whitehurst (3rd), and LB Tim Dobbins (5th) were all traded this off season and starting left tackle Marcus McNeill (2nd) is holding a stand off with the organization by refusing to sign his restricted free agency (RFA) tender. The Chargers have made it look like they are moving on without him by signing OT Tra Thomas and I can’t imagine McNeill holding out for an entire season. Starting right tackle Jeromey Clary (6th) signed his RFA tender and will play at least one more year in San Diego, but if he leaves in 2011, then this entire class could be outside of San Diego after four years with as many as five of the eight picks starting or primary backups on their new teams.
Top Bust Candidates: 1st Round Pick Michael Huff
Top Sleeper Candidates: 7th Round Pick Jarrad Page, 5th Round Pick Chris Kuper
Tags: ACL AFC West Antonio Cromartie Bernard Pollard Brandon Marshall Brodie Croyle Broncos Chargers Charlie Whitehurst Charlie Wies Chiefs Chris Kuper Chris Morris Darnell Bing Denver Denver Broncos Domeik Hixon Elvis Dumervil Giants Jarrad Page Jay Cutler Jeromey Clary Josh McDaniels Kansas City Kansas City Chiefs Kevin Boothe Marcus McNeill Matt Cassel Michael Huff O.J. Atogwe Oakland Oakland Raiders Paul McQuistan Raider Nation Raiders Restricted Free Agency RFA San Diego San Diego Chargers Tamba Hali Thomas Howard Tim Dobbins Tony Scheffler Tra Thomas