Draft Flashback: Revisiting the class of 2003

As fun as it is to hand out grades the day after the draft, it takes three or four years to get a good read on how a team actually fared. Because of that, now is a good time to look back at the 2003 draft, A.J. Smith's first as general manager. Although many consider it to be Smith's worst draft, a careful review shows he was pretty successful from top to bottom.

Sammy Davis, CB (Rd 1, Pick 30) – Smith's first pick as GM was arguably his biggest disappointment. Davis spent three inconsistent years in San Diego, starting 30 games and intercepting three passes during that time. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers last offseason in exchange for wide receiver Rashaun Woods, who didn't survive training camp. Davis signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

Drayton Florence, CB (Rd 2, Pick 46) – After a quiet rookie season, Florence developed into an aggressive and physical corner who thrives in man-to-man coverage. His career totals include 176 tackles, eight interceptions and 28 pass break-ups. He has been a full-time starter since 2005, although he will be challenged by Antonio Cromartie in training camp. Florence is in the final year of his rookie contract.

Terrence Kiel, SS (Rd 2, Pick 62) – With the selection of Kiel, the Chargers became the third team in NFL history to lead off a draft by selecting three consecutive secondary players. Kiel moved into the starting line-up as a rookie and remained there through last season. He was steady against the run, averaging 69 tackles per season, but failed to author enough game-changing plays. He was released this offseason.

Courtney Van Buren, OT (Rd 3, Pick 80) – The problem with Van Buren was health, not talent. Blessed with a rare combination of size (6-foot-6, 353 lbs.) and agility, he tore the ACL in his right knee in 2004 and couldn't seem to get healthy afterwards. He signed with the Detroit Lions last offseason but was released before the season began.

Matt Wilhelm, ILB (Rd 4, Pick 112) – This is how the draft is supposed to work. Wilhelm spent his rookie season learning the ropes, earning his keep on special teams while working his way into the defensive rotation. He signed a five-year extension last year and is slated to replace the departed Donnie Edwards in the starting line-up.

Mike Scifres, P (Rd 5, Pick 149) – Thought to be a reach when he was first selected, Scifres has more than justified this pick. After serving as a kickoff specialist as a rookie, he took over as the team's punter and has been named a first- or second-alternate to the Pro Bowl every year since. He signed a four-year contract extension in 2005.

Hanik Milligan, FS (Rd 6, Pick 188) – Although he never made much of an impact on defense, Milligan was dominant on special teams. He went to the Pro Bowl following the 2005 season after totaling 21 tackles on coverage units. Milligan was released before the 2006 season and was claimed on waivers by the Arizona Cardinals. He signed a new three-year contract with the Cards this offseason.

Andrew Pinnock, FB (Rd 7, Pick 229) – The versatile Pinnock has saved the team a roster spot each of the last four seasons by functioning as a reserve fullback and halfback. He also has special teams value, having averaged 24.7 yards per kickoff return. He signed a five-year contact extension on Feb. 15, 2006.


SD Super Chargers Top Stories