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MOORE: Grading the 2002 draft

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.

 
   
 
By the end of this month, you will be inundated with grades to assign a value to what your favorite team did or did not do in the NFL draft. These exercises are valid. Given our primal urge to form an instant opinion on any subject, you can argue it's required. But you must admit those grades are based on potential and subjective analysis. A more accurate conclusion can be drawn after that first season when performance can be factored into the equation. With that in mind, here are our grades for the draft class of 2002. We take an old-school approach — no plusses, minuses or incompletes on this card. This gives you an idea of how your team's brain trust faired last year and what you can look forward to later this month.

Grade: A

Report Card
A's:
Houston Texans
Dallas Cowboys
N.O. Saints
Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills

B's:
Detroit Lions
S.D. Chargers
Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals

C's:
Carolina Panthers
N.Y. Giants
Minnesota Vikings
Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears
G.B. Packers
Miami Dolphins
N.E. Patriots
S.F. 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Rams
D's:
Arizona Cardinals
K.C. Chiefs
Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons F's:
Seattle Seahawks
N.Y. Jets
T.B. Buccaneers

Games started: 80
Games played: 124 With the first pick of the draft, a total of 12 picks overall and a team in its first season of existence, Houston should get more out of its draft class than any other team. It did. The most impressive thing about quarterback David Carr were not his statistics (2,592 yards passing with nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions) but that he survived and started 16 games in a season in which he was sacked 76 times. Receiver Jabar Gaffney (second round) was a disappointment, but offensive linemen Chester Pitts (second round) and Fred Weary (third round) proved to be two, solid pieces in the club's building plan. One negative is that the team's final four picks didn't give them anything, and two of them are no longer with the Texans.

Games started: 64
Games played: 81 After several years of getting it wrong, the Cowboys got it right. In a big way. Roy Williams emerged as one of the league's top safeties in his rookie season and appears destined to be a Pro Bowl fixture. Andre Gurode (second round) is a physical presence who can play center or guard and has cemented a starting spot on the interior of the team's offensive line. Receiver Antonio Bryant (second round) has attitude and game while cornerback Derek Ross (third round) started the team's final nine games and established himself as the Cowboys best corner. Cornerback Pete Hunter (fifth round) and center Tyson Walter (sixth round) proved to be solid contributors.

Games started: 33
Games played: 83 No team with a winning record got more out of its rookie class than New Orleans. Receiver Donte' Stallworth started seven games and came up with 42 receptions for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. It would have been interesting to see what kind of numbers he would have posted if he didn't struggle with a hamstring injury. Defensive end Charles Grant (first round pick compliments of Miami) had seven sacks and should settle into a starting role this season. Guard LeCharles Bentley (third round) is competitive and smart and a key to the Saints future in the offensive line.

Games started: 47
Games played: 133 The first two picks for the Ravens — safety Ed Reed and defensive tackle Anthony Weaver — each started 16 games for the club last season. Receiver Ron Johnson (fourth round) has a nice upside, tight end Terry Jones (fifth round) should provide a solid backup to starter Todd Heap and Dave Zastudil (fourth round) is the team's punter.

Games started: 32
Games played: 80 Right tackle Mike Williams is the real deal and has quickly become the cornerstone of the Bills offensive line. Safety Coy Wire (third round) started 15 games and was one of the few bright spots of an otherwise dull defense. Josh Reed (second round) was as productive of a third receiver as you could find and will move into the starting lineup this season now that Peerless Price has been traded.

Grade: B

Games started: 42
Games played: 78 Quarterback Joey Harrington is an exciting player who showed he can make things happen even with very little talent around him. Defensive end Kalimba Edwards (second round) came on as a nice speed rusher late in the season and is an ideal compliment to Robert Porcher on the other end. Cornerbacks Andre Goodman (third round) and Chris Cash (sixth round) combined to start 18 games for the Lions, which shows you how thin this team is in the secondary.

Games started: 36
Games played: 76 Cornerback Quentin Jammer didn't work his way into the starting lineup until the final four weeks of the season. The Chargers expected more from him. But San Diego got more than it expected from right guard Toniu Fonoti (second round), who started 14 games, and outside linebacker Ben Leber (third round), who also picked up 14 starts. Receiver Reche Caldwell (second round) caught only 22 passes for 208 yards, but he scored three touchdowns and came up with some key third-down receptions.

Games started: 33
Games played: 104 Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth didn't have an impact right away, but the Titans didn't expect him to. This is a work in progress. Safety Tank Williams (second round) did. He started all 16 games and has a knack for making the big play. So does defensive end Carlos Hall (seventh round) who stepped in after Jevon Kearse was injured and started 13 games. He had eight sacks. Linebacker Rocky Calmus (third round) proved to be a solid backup.

Games started: 25
Games played: 88 Few teams are able to come up with two defensive line starters in the same draft. The Colts did. Defensive end Dwight Freeney started just eight games, but finished with 13 sacks and should put up some big numbers in the Colts Cover 2 defensive scheme for years to come. Defensive tackle Larry Tripplett (second round) started 10 games and proved to be a nice compliment inside. Linebacker David Thronton (fourth round) was a backup who will now start on the weak side now that Mike Peterson has moved on in free agency.

Games started: 17
Games played: 69 Receiver Ashley Lelie flashed promise as a deep threat and should become a bigger part of the Broncos offense this season. But the steal of the draft was running back Clinton Portis (second round). The 51st player selected rushed for 1,508 yards and 15 touchdowns to win Rookie of the Year honors. The Broncos do have a knack for uncovering rookie running back who can rush for more than 1,000 yards. The problem has been keeping them healthy. After Portis, safety Sam Brandon (fourth round) is the only rookie who made any kind of contribution.

Games started: 17
Games played: 51 Cornerback Phillip Buchanon played in only six games before an injury ended his season, but he made more big plays in that span — on defense and special teams — than the majority of rookies who hung around all season. Linebacker Napoleon Harris (first round) started 13 games in the middle for a team that went to the Super Bowl and tight end Doug Jolley (second round) came on strong as the season progressed. Offensive tackle Langston Walker (second round) is a backup, but only because the Raiders starters are so good.

Games started: 32
Games played: 63 Left tackle Levi Jones was a reach at No. 10 last year, but he's a reach that helps solidify the line for years to come. He started the final 14 games after nudging former Pro Bowl tackle Richmond Webb out of the lineup. Tight end Matt Schobel (third round) also asserted himself as a solid starter. The reviews aren't as good for safety Lamont Thompson (second round), who gave the Bengals nothing and couldn't even crack the two-deep on the depth chart.

Grade: C

Games started: 22
Games played: 48 Defensive end Julius Peppers burst on the scene as a dominant pass rusher (12 sacks) and likely would have led the NFC in that category if he hadn't been suspended for the final four games. He should become a Pro Bowl fixture. The only other rookie who made a contribution was linebacker Will Witherspoon (third round), who started eight games. Running back DeShaun Foster (second round) had his season ended by a knee injury before it ever started, putting his future is in doubt.

Games started: 20
Games played: 65 Tight end Jeremy Shockey is the real deal with 74 catches for 894 yards and two touchdowns. He was the only rookie in the league to earn a Pro Bowl invitation. After that it's slim pickings. Linebacker Nick Greisen (fifth round) was probably the best of the lot and he only managed to play in eight games behind starter Mike Barrow.

Games started: 31
Games played: 61 Left tackle Bryant McKinnie will quickly become the cornerstone of Minnesota's offensive line. But the Vikings front office should be stoned for forcing him to miss half the season in a pointless contract dispute. This alone drops the club's grade one full letter. Safety Willie Offord (third round), cornerback Brian Williams (fourth round) and linebacker Nick Rogers (sixth round) combined for 24 starts on a bad defense.

Games started: 28
Games played: 74 Adding defensive tackle John Henderson one year after selecting Marcus Stroud gives the Jaguars a rock solid interior. Left tackle Mike Pearson (second round) did a nice job in his 11 starts. The good vibes stop there. The other seven players drafted by the team last season scraped together just four starts between them.

Games started: 18
Games played: 95 Right guard Kendall Simmons started 14 games for a team that won its division. That's not bad. Antwaan Randle-El (second round) caught 47 passes for 489 yards, rushed for 134 yards, returned punts and kickoffs for 990 yards, threw for 45 yards and scored three touchdowns. Safety Chris Hope (third round) and linebacker Larry Foote (fourth round) gave the Steelers some nice depth.

Games started: 18
Games played: 87 It took until the second half of the season, but running back William Green finished strong enough to erase concerns that his selection was a mistake. He rushed for 887 yards and six touchdowns. Andre Davis (second round) emerged as a dangerous option on one of the league's deepest receiving corps with 37 catches and six touchdowns.

Games started: 20
Games played: 82 Left tackle Marc Colombo improved over the course of the season and eventually won the starting job, ending the season with five starts. Defensive end Alex Brown (fourth round) showed promise in the Bears disappointing season and cornerback Roosevelt Williams (third round) could push for a starting job this season.

Games started: 19
Games played: 49 Reciever Javon Walker didn't have the impact Green Bay envisioned, but he did show enough with 23 catches for 319 yards and one touchdown that the club was comfortable enough to trade Terry Glenn and establish Walker as a starter entering the off-season. Safety Marques Anderson (second round) exceeded expectations and displayed a knack for making the big play in his 11 starts. Running back Najeh Davenport (fourth round) appears to be a serviceable backup for Ahman Green while defensive lineman Aaron Kampman (fifth round) is a fighter who started six games and can help inside or out in a pinch.

Games started: 18
Games played: 33 When you consider the Dolphins didn't have a pick in the first two rounds of the draft — the team's late first round pick was sent to New Orleans to acquire Ricky Williams — the team really did a pretty good job. Center Seth McKinney (third round) was moved to guard because of injuries and started two games, but should challenge for the starting center job this season. Randy McMichael (fourth round) wasn't the most heralded of a strong tight end class, but his 39 catches for 485 yards and four touchdowns put him near the top.

Games started: 17
Games played: 54 Tight end Daniel Graham started six games and has potential. But when you consider he caught just 15 passes for 150 yards on a team that threw for 3,577 yards, he didn't make much of a contribution. Receiver Deion Branch (second round), meanwhile, caught 43 passes for 489 yards and worked well as the team's third receiver. He should start soon. Defensive end Jarvis Green (fourth round) made an unexpected contribution and can also help out at tackle.

Games started: 14
Games played: 62 Cornerback Mike Rumph played in every game. That wasn't necessarily good news since he seemed to go through the second half of the season with a "kick me" sign on his back. Kicker Jeff Chandler (fourth round) assumed the job in the final six games of the season by default and guard Eric Heitmann (seventh round) started 12 games only due to injuries to players in front of him.

Games started: 7
Games played: 59 What do you get the defense that has almost everything? Apparently, depth in the secondary. Philadelphia selected two cornerbacks and one safety in the first three picks of last year's draft. Cornerback Lito Sheppard didn't play much, but the Eagles are confident he will become a starter in the near future. Safety Michael Lewis (second round) is good against the run and running back Brian Westbrook (third round) can run when starter Duce Staley needs a rest.

Games started: 28
Games played: 70 Linebacker Robert Thomas started 10 games. But part of the reason the Rams went to a 4-1-6 scheme — removing the two outside linebackers — was because Thomas was too often a liability. Cornerback Travis Fisher (second round) did a decent job after Aeneas Williams was hurt but that doesn't mean he should be a starter. Running back Lamar Gordon (third round) didn't give St. Louis much after Marshall Faulk went down with an injury.

Grade: D

Games started: 12
Games played: 57 A team that needed a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball in last year's draft didn't get it. Defensive tackle Wendell Bryant is a solid addition, but his progress was impeded because the club refused to pay market value and get him signed for training camp — something of a Cardinals tradition. He started just four games. Linebacker Levar Fisher (second round) played just seven games because of a knee injury. Wide receiver Jason McAddley (fifth round) played by default because of injuries at the position.

Games started: 11
Games played: 44 It took forever — not Minnesota forever, but still a long time — for the Chiefs to agree to terms with defensive tackle Ryan Sims. Once he did arrive, an elbow injury reduced his season to six games and two starts. Defensive lineman Eddie Freeman (second round) was moved from tackle to end and is still trying to find his niche. Linebacker Scott Fujita (fifth round) was easily the team's most productive rookie with nine starts and his speed is impressive.

Games started: 5
Games played: 91 Coach Steve Spurrier did all he could to avoid it, but quarterback Patrick Ramsey wound up starting five games. The verdict: who knows? He only completed 51.5 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and eight interceptions — a level that won't keep Spurrier happy for long. No other rookie managed to start a game for the Redskins. It's doubtful any of them will change that this season.

Games started: 4
Games played: 41 T.J. Duckett is a strong runner between the tackles. But he started just three games and is used as a change of pace for lead back Warrick Dunn. Linebacker Will Overstreet (second round) won the starting job in training camp then lost it due to a shoulder injury. He started only two games but should have an impact this season.

Grade: F

Games started: 4
Games played: 101 The Seahawks didn't have much to show for their 10 picks. Tight end Jerramy Stevens should be a starter this season, but he had only one of those as a rookie and caught just 26 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Seattle didn't pick up anyone else who can be considered a starter.

Games started: 2
Games played: 55 Defensive end Bryan Thomas was a non-factor. His disappearance hurts even more when you consider linebacker Napoleon Harris, Safety Ed Reed and defensive end Charles Grant went in the three picks directly behind him. Safety Jon McGraw (second round) had his moments but he should have had enough of them to replace starter Damien Robinson late in the season.

Games started: 0
Games played: 18 Did the Bucs even have a draft? Tampa Bay didn't own a pick in the first two rounds, and the first player it selected — receiver Marquise Walker in the third — never made his way to the field for a game. The only draft pick to play in more than one game last season was safety Jermaine Phillips (fifth round), who found himself behind Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson. Of course, if you win the Super Bowl, who cares if your rookie class stinks? can be reached at his e-mail address, dmoore@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Ahman Green, Jevon Kearse, Marshall Faulk, Ricky Williams, Duce Staley, Marcus Stroud, Todd Heap, Nick Rogers, Ron Johnson, Levi Jones, Mike Williams, Scott Fujita, Langston Walker, Eric Heitmann, Tank Williams, Coy Wire, Jabar Gaffney, Lito Sheppard, Alex Brown, Jeff Chandler, Jermaine Phillips, Randy McMichael, Charles Grant, Chester Pitts, Deion Branch, John Henderson, Jeremy Shockey, Josh Reed, Roy Williams, Javon Walker, Phillip Buchanon, Bryant McKinnie, Clinton Portis, Antonio Bryant, Toniu Fonoti, Albert Haynesworth, William Green, Julius Peppers, Ryan Sims, Rocky Calmus, Jerramy Stevens, Dwight Freeney, Levar Fisher, Brian Williams, Donte' Stallworth, Aaron Kampman, Wendell Bryant, Michael Lewis, Chris Hope, Ashley Lelie, Doug Jolley, Jon McGraw, Travis Fisher, Jarvis Green, Daniel Graham, Andre Gurode, Seth McKinney, Matt Schobel, Kendall Simmons, Quentin Jammer, Eddie Freeman, Willie Offord, Patrick Ramsey, Marques Anderson, David Carr, Dave Zastudil, Napoleon Harris, Terry Jones, Roosevelt Williams, Lamar Gordon

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