NFL Draft Review: The NFC West

As the post-Combine focus on the 2006 NFL Draft intensifies, takes a look back at the 2005 drafts of all 32 NFL teams. In a division-by-division review, we discuss all the 2005 selections and pick the best and worst of the last three years for each team. We begin our review with the NFC West.


DRAFT BREAKDOWN -- Three-year breakdown:

How the Seahawks have done in the draft since 2003:
Total picks: 25
2005 Starters: 7
2005 Backups: 9
Other teams: 2
Out of NFL: 5
Injured Reserve/PUP: 2


The Seahawks have added some impact players in the last three drafts, including starters Marcus Trufant, Marcus Tubbs, Michael Boulware, Ken Hamlin, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill and Sean Locklear. There have been no obvious busts near the top of the draft. However, the team might have squandered relatively high picks on backup quarterbacks David Greene (third round, 2005) and Seneca Wallace (fourth round, 2003) given that Matt Hasselbeck is the clear-cut starter - although Wallace has great athletic potential at more than one position. And Wayne Hunter hasn't panned out after coming to Seattle as a third-round pick in 2003.

MLB Lofa Tatupu, 2005 (second round, 45th overall): Draft critics said Tatupu would have been there in the third or fourth round, but nobody was complaining after Tatupu put together a Pro Bowl season as a rookie. He became the heart and soul of an emerging young defense that shut down opponents late in the season as Seattle made its run to the Super Bowl. Seahawks president Tim Ruskell was absolutely correct in projecting that Tatupu's uncommon instincts would help him become an impact player right away. One could make the case in retrospect that Tatupu should have been a top-15 pick. He was that good as a rookie.

WORST PICK: OL Wayne Hunter, 2003 (third round, 110th overall): Hunter had converted from the defensive line at the University of Hawaii. The Seahawks thought he would develop faster, but Hunter has had trouble staying healthy. Hunter has also had some off-field problems surface. He has played in two regular-season games in three NFL seasons, and not very well.


1 (26) Chris Spencer, C:
The Seahawks hope he can win the job this year, but 36-year-old veteran C Robbie Tobeck is coming off a Pro Bowl season. Spencer played only in garbage time as a rookie.

2 (45) Lofa Tatupu, MLB: There might not have been a more consistent rookie in the game. Tatupu earned Pro Bowl honors while quarterbacking the defense with instincts a veteran would envy.

3 (85) David Greene, QB: This was a puzzling pick at the time, and it remains one now. Greene showed some improvement during the season but he remains a long way from being a factor.

3 (98) Leroy Hill, OLB: Hill became a starter partway through the season and finished with 7 1/2 sacks. He and Tatupu give Seattle two young playmakers to build around on defense.

4 (105) Ray Willis, RT:
Willis is a big, physical prospect who won't be needed as long as 2004 third-round choice Sean Locklear continues to man the right side of the line. Willis could be a factor if a judge rules against Locklear in an assault case.

5 (159) Jeb Huckeba, DE:
He was flashing some pass-rush ability in camp before succumbing to stress-fracture injuries in both feet. Huckeba had the entire season to rehab those injuries. His health remains a question mark until proven otherwise.

6 (196) Tony Jackson, FB:
This converted tight end showed no instincts as a lead blocker. As a result, he didn't make it out of camp. A wasted pick.

7 (235) Cornelius Wortham, LB: Wortham stuck around on the practice squad early in the season. The team signed him to the active roster for the last half of the season and Wortham played some on special teams.

7 (254) Doug Nienhuis, G:
The Jets signed Nienhuis off Seattle's practice squad early in the year. He played in seven games for them.


DRAFT BREAKDOWN -- Three-year breakdown:

How the Cardinals have done in the draft since 2003:
Total picks: 21
2005 Starters: 8
2005 Backups: 7
Other teams: 1
Out of NFL: 0
Injured Reserve/PUP: 5


The Cardinals overhauled their operations from top to bottom in 2004 and the results of the past two drafts reflect it. They've assembled the top-ranked passing game in the NFL by drafting receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin - each of whom has been to a Pro Bowl already - and Bryant Johnson. They've begun the rebuilding of a weak defense by drafting linebacker Karlos Dansby, cornerback Antrel Rolle and middle linebacker Gerald Hayes, who was injured and out most of 2005. The operations team that is now in place seems to have a keen eye for talent in the middle and lower rounds, having over the past three drafts stocked players who are contributing as backups and special teams members.

BEST PICK: WR Anquan Boldin, 2003 (second round, 54th overall): Boldin made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and although he has been dogged by knee injuries in the two seasons since, has continued to be one of the league's best go-to guys, even as the team has upgraded the receiving positions around him to make him a less-obvious target. This past season he caught 102 passes in 14 games, one more than he did in that stellar 16-game rookie season. In 40 pro appearances, he has 259 catches.

DE Calvin Pace, 2003 (first round, 18th overall): The team seriously overestimated Pace when it made him a first-round pick. In 2003, he had one sack in 16 starts as a rookie. In 2004 he was sent to the bench after his performance caused the team to sign Bertrand Berry, who nudged Pace out of the starting job and had a Pro Bowl season. In 2005, Pace rededicated himself to being a pro and was beginning to work back into the rotation as a backup before his season ended due to a cut arm suffered mysteriously at home during the bye week. His future with the team appears to be shaky. It is essential that he come back for 2006 ready to prove he wants to be a player.


1 (8) Antrel Rolle, CB:
His one interception and 28 tackles don't really tell the rookie story. A knee injury wiped all but five games of his season. He could have gone on IR but he convinced the team to carry him on the active roster, determined to come back at the end of a season in which a 5-11 team had nothing at stake just to show who he is. Still must answer over long haul whether he can run with NFL wideouts.

2 (44) J.J. Arrington, RB:
Facing a major crossroad going into 2006 after scary disappointing rookie year in which he averaged 3.3 yards a carry, rushed for only 370 yards and lost the starting job by midseason. Did the team whiff on him? Coach Dennis Green continues to sing his praises and expects him to come back and play commensurate with his draft position.

3 (75) Eric Green, CB: Saw duty as part-time starter and has lots of upside. Proving already to be high-value return for draft position. Strongest candidate at present to win job opposite Antrel Rolle.

3 (95) Darryl Blackstock, OLB: Saw limited duty as a backup but posted a sack. The starting spot opposite Karlos Dansby is going to be wide open in camp, an opportunity for Blackstock to step forward.

4 (111) Elton Brown, G:
Has all the physical tools and showed in part-time starting assignments as a rookie that he can play in the league. Was regarded as the best guard in the '05 draft but there were questions about his motor. He still hasn't answered that fully. How he handles the opportunity to take ownership of a position that is up for grabs will help answer that.

5 (168) Lance Mitchell, LB: Spent his rookie year as a low-level backup and it appears it is going to be a struggle for him to ever be anything more.

7 (226) Leron McCoy, WR: Took advantage of the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine to make his mark after attending tiny Indiana (Pa.) College. Has potential as No. 4 or 5 receiver and does have return skills that could keep him on the roster for another year while the coaches get a longer look.


DRAFT BREAKDOWN -- Three-year breakdown:

How the Rams have done in the draft since 2003:
Total picks: 29
2005 Starters: 10
2005 Backups: 8
Other teams: 2
Out of NFL: 8
Injured Reserve/PUP: 1


Because the Rams have lost numerous free agents after reaching the Super Bowl twice in three years, they have had 11 compensatory picks in the draft in the last three years, which gave them extra picks and the flexibility to add numbers. That was especially true in 2003 and 2005 when they had 11 selections in each draft.
However, some of those later picks that had potential, like cornerback Kevin Garrett, didn't pan out. Still, with solid contributors like linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, cornerback DeJuan Groce, wide receiver Shaun McDonald, defensive end Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Brandon Chillar, the draft hasn't been as poor as some suggest.

The legacy of Mike Martz could be last year's draft, which produced several starters and saw increased playing time because of injuries.

WR Kevin Curtis, 2003 (third round, 74th overall): Selected by Sports Weekly as the best third receiver in the NFL last season, Curtis has excellent speed and the ability to make plays. Teamed with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, he provides another pass-catcher that defenses must account for.

DT Jimmy Kennedy, 2003 (first round, 12th overall): He still has a chance to make a statement, now playing for his third defensive coordinator in four seasons. But the first three years have been average, at best. The Rams could have had safety Troy Polamalu in that 2003 draft.


1 (19) Alex Barron, OT:
Earned a starting job after missing time in training camp, and battled through a hand injury late in the season. He should solidify the right side of the line.

2 (50) Ron Bartell, CB:
Thanks to injuries, Bartell saw significant time as a starter and showed up well in coverage at times. The experience helped, as he needs to improve as a tackler.

3 (66) O.J. Atogwe, S:
Benched early because of special teams mistakes, Atogwe fought through a toe injury and showed some play-making skills late in the season. Should be in the mix for more playing time in 2006.

3 (81) Richie Incognito, OG: On injured reserve all season because of offseason knee injury. He has great ability, but immaturity showed when he blew off rehab sessions.

4 (117) Jerome Carter, S: Made mistakes at times and wasn't the big hitter team expected, but coaches hope year in system will lead to improved production.

4 (134) Claude Terrell, OG: Started 10 games at left guard, and showed tremendous promise. He needs an offseason in weight room to improve strength and stamina.

5 (144) Jerome Collins, TE: Excellent athlete, but has yet to show he can play at this level. Played in three games late in the season.

6 (192) Dante' Ridgeway, WR:
The coaches liked his skills, but he just wasn't talented enough to crack the team's deep receiving corps.

6 (210) Reggie Hodges, P:
Incredibly inconsistent, team made the mistake of giving him the job and awful performance cost the first Seattle game, after which he was cut.

7 (250) Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: Was amazing coming off the bench in one game, but was pretty bad in three starts. Still seen as quarterback with potential.

7 (251) Madison Hedgecock, FB: Won starting job in offense that doesn't use fullback that much, but has potential as a blocker.


DRAFT BREAKDOWN -- Three-year breakdown:

How the 49ers have done in the draft since 2003:
Total picks: 28
2005 Starters: 10
2005 Backups: 11
Other teams: 2
Out of NFL: 3
Injured Reserve/PUP: 2


The 49ers have struggled mightily with their top picks in recent years, and the future of the organization probably hinges on whether quarterback Alex Smith lives up to the No. 1 overall status. Tackle Kwame Harris, a first-round pick in 2003, has been wildly inconsistent in his first three seasons. He is a likely candidate to begin this season as a backup because Adam Snyder, a third-round pick from last year, appears ready to be a full-time starter.

The 49ers will likely again rely on 2003 picks Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle to be the starting wideouts. The club is short on playmakers from these drafts. However, the 49ers appear to have done a good job of building the foundation of an offensive line with Snyder, Justin Smiley and David Baas.

BEST PICK: CB Shawntae Spencer, 2004 (second round, 58th overall): Although he was not invited to the combine, Spencer has shown he can be a reliable NFL corner. He has started 26 games in his two seasons and the club probably won't need to worry about him on the right side.

WR Rashaun Woods, 2004 (first round, 31st overall): Although some teams had Woods as a third-round pick, the 49ers traded back to get him late in the first round. After catching seven passes as a rookie, he spent last season on Injured Reserve because of a thumb injury. He probably would not have made the team last year but his contract forced the team to keep him around.


1 (1) Alex Smith, QB:
Experienced many growing pains in seven starts with 10 interceptions, 21 sacks and one touchdown. Will have a new offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, in Year 2.

2 (33) David Baas, G: Probably would've started from the beginning but a hamstring injury forced him to miss most of training camp. Performed well at right guard while starting final five games.

3 (65) Frank Gore, RB: Played well as Kevan Barlow's backup, averaging 4.7 yards a carry. Barlow averaged 3.3. Gore's aggressive style might earn him a starting role this year, if he returns strong after surgeries on both shoulders.

3 (94) Adam Snyder, T: Started the last eight games of the season, the final seven of which at left tackle. Is expected to unseat Kwame Harris at right tackle this season.

5 (137) Ronald Fields, DT: Saw action in only four games. Has a chance to be a contributor this season.

5 (174) Rasheed Marshall, WR: It was a rough transition for him from being a college QB. He struggled as a receiver and return man.

6 (205) Derrick Johnson, CB: Broke up seven passes and generally played well in his five starts. Club would like him to be third CB this season.

7 (215) Daven Holly, CB:
Waived on final cut, claimed by Bears.

7 (223) Marcus Maxwell, WR:
Has intriguing combination of size and speed. Spent first nine weeks on practice squad, but club promoted him to active roster to ensure he'll stick around.

7 (248) Patrick Estes, T: Made transition from college TE. Has a chance to develop into a backup.

7 (249) Billy Bajema, TE: Started seven games at one of 49ers' weakest positions. Caught five passes for 54 yards. Top Stories