Revisionist history: The 2004 third round

It's not as if Mike Sherman overlooked some future Hall of Famers, but eight NFL starters — such as Randy Starks, Sean Locklear and Chris Cooley — as well as promising quarterback Matt Schaub, were selected after Joey Thomas was picked with the 70th pick in the 2004 NFL draft.

Put yourselves in the shoes of then-Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. You have wheeled and dealed your way to three third-round picks. While not as glamorous as first-round picks, these are the picks that separate bad general managers from good ones, and, in the end, bad football teams from good ones.

So let's use some revisionist history.

The Packers picked Joey Thomas with the 70th overall pick, Donnell Washington with the 72nd pick and B.J. Sander with the 87th pick. None of the three are on Packers' roster, which makes Sherman an easy target for fans' scorn. But it's not like Sherman passed over any Pro Bowlers. He could have landed, however, some quality players.

So, with hindsight being 20-20, who could the Packers have selected with those three third-round picks? Here's the list, from pick 71 — the pick after the Packers picked Joey Thomas — through pick 96, which is the end of the third round:

71. Randy Starks, DT, by Tennessee

73. Keith Smith, CB, by Detroit

74. Tim Anderson, DT, by Buffalo

75. Max Starks, OT, by Pittsburgh

76. Derrick Strait, CB, by the Jets

77. Derrick Hamilton, WR, by San Francisco

78. Bernard Berrian, WR, by Chicago

79. Marquis Cooper, LB, by Tampa Bay

80. Caleb Miller, LB, by Cincinnati

81. Chris Cooley, FB, by Washington

82. Devard Darling, WR, by Baltimore

83. Stephen Peterman, G, by Dallas

84. Sean Locklear, T, by Seattle

85. Jeremy LeSueur, DB, by Denver

86. Jorge Cordova, LB, by Jacksonville

88. Darrion Scott, DE, by Minnesota

89. Matt Ware, CB, by Philadelphia

90. Matt Schaub, QB, by Atlanta

91. Tony Hargrove, DE, by St. Louis

92. Rich Gardner, CB, by Tennessee

93. Keyaron Fox, LB, by Kansas City

94. Travelle Wharton, T, by Carolina

95. Guss Scott, S, by New England

96. Landon Johnson, LB, by Cincinnati

Of that group, eight are starters today: Randy Starks, Tim Anderson, Max Starks, Chris Cooley, Sean Locklear, Tony Hargrove, Travelle Wharton and Landon Johnson.

Could the Packers use Randy Starks' 7.5 sacks over the last two seasons? Could the Packers use another offensive lineman, such as Max Starks, Wharton or Locklear, who started all 16 games for the defending NFC champions? Certainly, the Packers could have used Cooley's 13 career touchdowns receptions from a tight end position hamstrung by David Martin's chronic inconsistency.

The most intriguing guy the Packers could have had is quarterback Schaub, who is mired behind Michael Vick in Atlanta. With Schaub, the Packers would have had the heir for Brett Favre, and used last year's first-round pick on someone other than Aaron Rodgers. Or, the Packers could have taken Rodgers and dealt Schaub during the off-season.

And perhaps most interesting of all, only five of 2004's third-rounders are no longer on their original team. Hamilton is out of the league and LeSueur has bounced around. The others are the unemployed Sander, Washington (third-team with Oakland) and Thomas (working behind former Packer Mike McKenzie at cornerback).

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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