The Spirit of Draft Day Past returns as we revisit the debacle that was the Detroit Lions' 2002 NFL Draft. Overall, this draft included a few future Hall of Fame candidates but also carried a plethora of disappointing prospects.
So, boys and girls, hold on to your hats once again as we travel back to April 20, 2002. With the third pick in the 2002 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select...
Actual Pick: Joey Harrington, QB
Re-Draft: Ed Reed, FS
Analysis: I liked Joey Harrington out of Oregon. He was a nice guy, and he could play the piano. One problem: THIS IS FOOTBALL! Harrington's game did not transition well to the NFL, and he had issues with then-coach Steve Mariucci. Following three dismal seasons in the Motor City, the Lions decided to cut their losses by releasing him.
No disrespect to Dwight Freeney, Jeremy Shockey or Lito Sheppard, but how can you not go with Ed Reed at No. 3? In fact, he could arguably go No. 1 overall.
Reed is likely headed to Canton the first chance he gets. The Baltimore Ravens got a steal by drafting the former Hurricane at No. 24 overall. Reed has accumulated eight Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections and one Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In the 2001 re-draft, I had the Lions taking Adrian Wilson. Could you imagine Wilson and Reed anchoring the Lions secondary? I know...I'm getting goosebumps too.
Actual Pick: Kalimba Edwards, DE
Re-Draft: Andre Gurode, C
Analysis: The former South Carolina star was supposed to be the answer at DE. While with the club, Edwards failed to record double digit sack numbers or forty tackles in any of his six seasons. He then played a year with the Raiders and was never heard from again.
Andre Gurode anchored the Dallas line for nine seasons while earning five Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections. On the downside of his career now, Gurode continues to contribute as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. At 6'4", 318 lbs, Gurode is built for the interior line.
Had he been picked up by the Lions, there would be less talk of interior line woes and inability to run the ball up the middle.
Actual Pick: Andre Goodman, CB
Re-Draft: Brian Westbrook, RB
Analysis: Goodman had a decent career with the Lions but decided to sign with the Dolphins after his rookie contract was up. Following a three-year stint in Miami, Goodman made his way to the Denver Broncos.
Brian Westbrook was an integral component of the Andy Reid playoff teams in the early 2000s. Westbrook was the ultimate do-it-all back. He could take a handoff but was most dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield. The Villanova alum has garnered many awards in his career.
However, injuries have since slowed down the once explosive RB.
Pairing Westbrook with a later pick in this draft would have provided the Lions with a unique 1-2 punch at the RB position.
Actual Pick: Jonathan Taylor, DE
Re-Draft: Aaron Kampman, DE
Analysis: Taylor simply did not last in the NFL. He played only one year with the Lions, then landed short stints with the Cowboys and Falcons before finally joining the AFL.
Taking Kampman here would serve two purposes. First, the Lions get the DE that Kalimba Edwards wasn't. Second, it would prevent him from going to the division rival Packers.
Kampman has traveled to the Pro Bowl twice and was a staple on the Green Bay line for eight seasons before being traded to the Jaguars. If it weren't for injury concerns, Kampman would've made it to the big game last year.
Actual Pick: John Owens, TE
Re-Draft: Chester Taylor, RB
Analysis: Owens has signed on with eight different clubs over his career and is currently out of the league. Not much to be said here.
Before Adrian Peterson came along, Chester Taylor was the man in Minnesota. He was already established with a couple of 1,000 yard seasons under his belt. With a decreased role, Taylor was the odd man out when contract talks commenced. He has since stopped off at Chicago and Arizona.
Taylor is simply a case of a person at the wrong place at the wrong time. Pairing him with Westbrook would have allowed the Lions to both run between the tackles and throw it out of the backfield.
Actual Pick: Chris Cash, CB
Re-Draft: Brett Keisel, DE
Analysis: After recording 100 tackles his rookie season, injuries prematurely ended Cash's career. After the Lions, Cash attempted a comeback with the Falcons, but he called it quits in 2006.
Brett Keisel does not fit the 4-3 scheme the Lions run. However, he is perfect for the 3-4. Keisel has made it to the Pro Bowl and is the proud owner of two Super Bowl rings. He's definitely not the first name that comes up when mentioning the current version of the Steel Curtain, but he has been a consistent contributor since overcoming injuries earlier on in his career.
The reason for taking Keisel here would only be to create future trade bait.
Actual Pick: Luke Staley, RB
Re-Draft: James Harrison, LB
Analysis: The first of three seventh-round picks for the Lions, Luke Staley was a failed gamble. With an injury prematurely ending his junior season, Luke Staley opted to forego his senior season at BYU and enter the draft.
You can't fault the Lions for taking a chance on the former All-American in the seventh round. Had it not been for injuries, he had the potential to become a Peyton Hillis-type back. Unfortunately, it never panned out.
Love him or hate him, James Harrison is one bad mutha. Sound familiar, Mr. Suh? Harrison was a late bloomer. He stayed relatively under the radar until the Steelers made their Super Bowl run during the 2008-2009 season. Since then, he's been recognized as one of the nastiest linebackers in the league.
Heavy criticism is heaped upon the Kent State alum for his style of play. However, he would probably be welcomed with open arms by other teams if he chose to leave Pittsburgh. The Lions' deficiency at LB could have been avoided with this pick.
Actual Pick: Matt Murphy, TE
Re-Draft: Bart Scott, LB
Analysis: Much like fellow Lions TE draftee John Owens, Matt Murphy has bounced around the league but never settled anywhere for long.
The outspoken Bart Scott went undrafted during the 2002 draft. Baltimore took a chance on him and never looked back.
He eventually worked his way to the starting lineup and played alongside Ray Lewis for seven seasons before following coach Rex Ryan to New York. He has since become a cornerstone to one of the better defenses in the league.
This Michigan native would have worked out nicely had the Lions picked him up in 2002.
Actual Pick: Victor Rogers, OT
Re-Draft: Ryan Clark, FS
Analysis: Ryan Clark may not be a household name, but how many of you remember Victor Rogers? Didn't think so.
Clark has played alongside Troy Polamalu for six seasons now. Like teammate Brett Keisel, he is not the first name that pops into your head when mentioning the Steelers. However, he has been a constant contributor since arriving in Pittsburgh in 2006.
In this re-draft, the Lions already have Ed Reed at FS, but they could have slid him over to SS or simply kept him for depth. Either way, the Lions would pick up a quality player.
Round 1: Ed Reed, FS
Round 2: Andre Gurode, C
Round 3: Brian Westbrook, RB
Round 4: Aaron Kampman, DE
Round 5: Chester Taylor, RB
Round 6: Brett Keisel, DE
Round 7: James Harrison, LB
Round 7: Bart Scott, LB
Round 7: Ryan Clark, FS
In this re-draft, the Lions pick up a future Hall of Famer, set up a running game and set the foundation at LB. Combined with the 2001 re-draft, this is a potential playoff team.