2004 NFL Draft: Five Years Later

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IMarch 12, 2009

Every year, you hear the day after the draft who were the winners and who were the losers.

It is widely believed that you can not fairly judge a draft class until they have had five years in the league.

Five years ago, the 2004 draft was much debated.

Who would the Chargers take with the first pick?  What would happen to Eli Manning?

Five years later, who won, and who lost?

1 - Eli Manning.  Everyone was somewhat shocked with the selection of Eli Manning by the Chargers.  There was no question, as the brother of superstar Peyton, was the top prospect entering the draft this year.

The big question was, Eli had told the Chargers brass that he would not play in San Diego.

2 - Robert Gallery. Most draft experts believed Gallery would be the cornerstone LT for the Raiders for years to come.  Since, he has been moved to Guard and did not live up to expectations.

Loss for the Raiders.

3 - Larry FitzgeraldArizona took what ended up being a wonderful pick.  Fitzgerald is on his way to becoming one of the best in the game.

Win for the Cardinals.

4 - Phillip Rivers.  Most people expected Ben Roethlisberger to be picked by the Giants.  Rivers was not even in New York for the draft.  They had to go to video from Rivers house, because everyone expected him to be selected by Pittsburgh at #11.

Shortly after the selection, Rivers was traded to San Diego for Eli Manning and another pick.

Win for the Giants.

Win for the Chargers.

5 - Sean Taylor.  This was an excellent pick until his un-timely death.  Taylor was an amazing Safety, and could have been a future Hall of Famer.

Loss for the NFL.

6 - Kellen Winslow, Jr. - Cleveland thought they had the steal of the draft selecting Winslow. Due to stupidity on his part, a motorcycle crash from showboating, Winslow never lived up to the hype.

Winslow was traded to Tampa Bay this year for a second round pick.

Loss for the Browns.

7 - Roy Williams.  Williams was one of three receivers selected in three years.  He is one of two that are no longer there.

He was traded to the Cowboys last year for a first round pick (20 overall, 2009 draft)

Loss for the Lions.

8 - DeAngelo Hall.  Selected by the Falcons, he was part of a purge last year, and is no longer with the team.

Signed a big money deal with the Raiders and cut after 8 games.  Has since signed with the Redskins.

Loss for the Falcons.

9 - Reggie Williams.  No longer with the Jaguars.  Never became the threat that Jack Del Rio had hoped.

Loss for the Jaguars.

10 - Dunta Robinson.  Playing very well right now.  Just received the Franchise tag.

Win for the Texans.

11 - Ben Roethlisberger.  The original intent for the Steelers was to draft Phillip Rivers.  With Rivers being drafted by the Giants, Ben falls to the Steelers.

Ben has won two Super Bowls in his first five seasons.

Win for the Steelers.

12 - Jonathan Vilma.  Never played well in the 3-4 defense the Jets employ.  Was traded for a second round pick to the Saints.

Loss for the Jets.

13 - Lee Evans.  Many people thought the Bills would trade up to get Ben Roethlisberger.  They didn't and instead drafted Lee Evans.

Evans has become a dependable WR for the Bills.  With the drafting of Trent Edwards in a few years, this is his key weapon.

Win for the Bills.

14 - Tommy Harris.  Still the anchor of a good defensive line.

Win for the Bears.

15 - Michael Clayton.  Tall athletic receiver who had a great rookie season.  Unfortunately for the Bucs, that was his best year.

Loss for the Buccaneers

16 - Shawn Andrews.  Philly bolstered the offensive line with the selection of Andrews.  With some minor mental health problems that hurt is 2007 season, he has rebounded and become a wall of a lineman.

Win for the Eagles.

17 - D.J. Williams.  Had some trouble adjusting to MLB.  Moved to OLB last off season and has flourished.

Win for the Broncos.

18 - Will Smith.  Played way above average at DE for the Saints. 

Win for the Saints

19 - Vernon Carey.  Miami has just re-signed Carey to a long contract extension.  Has shown he is very reliable blocking for whoever is under center.

Win for the Dolphins.

20 - Kenechi Udeze.  Started off playing very well, until he was diagnosed with leukemia.  A tragic end to possibly what would have been a great career.

Loss for the Vikings.

21 - Vince Wilfork.  A solid run stuffer for the Patriots. Will sign a massive, Albert Haynesworth type of deal next off season.

Win for the Patriots.

22 - JP Losman.  A classic first round bust.  Especially since Buffalo traded back into the first round with the Cowboys to get him.

Loss for the Bills

23 - Marcus Tubbs.  No longer on the team.  A waste of a first round pick.

Loss for the Seahawks.

24 - Steven Jackson.  Currently the highest paid player on the Rams after an offseason holdout last year.  Also the best player on the team.

Win for the Rams.

25 - Ahmad Carroll.  No longer on the team after a poor performance his first two year.  Classic first round bust.

Loss for the Packers

26 - Chris Perry.  Another of the low character picks by the Bengals. Perry was released last season after poor performance on the field and poor decisions off of it.

Loss for the Bengals

27 - Jason Babbin.  No longer on the team.  A waste of a pick trading back into the first round.

Loss for Texans.

28 - Chris Gamble.  Has turned into a great corner for the Panters. 

Win for the Panthers

29 - Michael Jenkins.  Though he never had a great career, much of that could be put on the play of Michael Vick. Still has potential now that the Falcons have a real quarterback.

Push for the Falcons

30 - Kevin Jones.  Never played to potential is Detroit.  Or anywhere else for that matter.

Loss for the Lions

31 - Rashaun WoodsSan Francisco had hoped that Woods would help them forget about TO. Turns out they forgot about Woods.

Loss for the 49ers

32 - Ben Watson.  Drafted by the Patriots.  Some thought it was a reach for the Pats, but Watson has been a reliable weapon for Tom Brady.  Picking at the end of the first round has very little risk of a bust.

Win for the Patriots.


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