Home > Draft, NFL > Remnants of a Draft: The Case Study of the 2006 NFL Draft

Remnants of a Draft: The Case Study of the 2006 NFL Draft

In just six NFL seasons, fewer than half the players drafted by the NFL in 2006 are still employed by NFL teams or are actively searching for work.  And overall, that means that the 2006 class has been a fairly successful class.  If we just look at years 4-6 of the respective careers of these players (players who fall mostly in the 28-30 age range in 2012), we can get a fairly accurate picture on the top twelve players in this class.

1. Jahri Evans, RG New Orleans Saints, from Bloomsburg (PA)

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 48

The best player in this class from 2009-2011 is a super bowl champion and fourth round pick from a small school.

2. Haloti Ngata, DT Baltimore Ravens, from Oregon

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 47

I had Ngata as my top rated player back in 2006, but he fell out of the top ten.  It was one of only two times that a defensive lineman has topped my board in the last seven drafts.

3. Jay Cutler, QB Chicago Bears, from Vanderbilt

Cumulative AV rating since 2008: 45

Cutler was drafted by the Broncos 11th overall.  Mike Shanahan traded up to get him.  You would be surprised how often those trade ups (particularly ones for quarterbacks) result in the team that traded down receiving a better player than the team who had targeted a guy to trade up for.  This is one of the times where the Broncos ended up better off for their aggression.

4. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB Jacksonville Jaguars, from UCLA

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 40

Jones-Drew didn’t win rookie of the year in 2006, in probably the most irresponsible use of voting power in the history of pro sports.  The award instead went to Vince Young.

5. Greg Jennings, WR Green Bay Packers, from Western Michigan

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 34

Greg Jennings is one year away from completing his second NFL contract, meaning that there is an outside chance he could hit the market at age 29 looking for a third contract.

6. Johnathon Joseph, CB Houston Texans, from South Carolina

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 31

In Joseph, the Texans signed the cornerback they hoped they were getting when they drafted Dunta Robinson out of South Carolina way back in 2004.  Better late than never.

7. Marques Colston, WR New Orleans Saints, from Hofstra

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 31

Colston, of course, is actually done with his second contract, and is hitting the market at age 29.  Just a prediction: he will play elsewhere in 2012.

8. Nick Mangold, C New York Jets, from Ohio State

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 30

Mangold is frequently an all-pro selection at center, and would probably be the consensus best center in the game if we polled enough people.  Still, seven players from his draft class accrued more Approximate Value between 2009-2011.  Is that just an example of how limited centers are to help win games? Possibly.

9. Vernon Davis, TE San Francisco 49ers, from Maryland

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 30

It is probably safe to conclude that Vernon Davis has provided adequate return on the 6th overall pick in the 2006 draft.  Davis — appearing in the playoffs for the first time in 2011 — set a playoff record for most receiving yards in his first two appearances.

10. Frank Gore, RB San Francisco 49ers, from Miami (FL)

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 30

If I remember correctly, Gore was widely considered a surprise pick at the top of round three, but he’s been a damn good one.  Of players ahead of him on this list, only Evans and Colston were still on the board when the 49ers picked Gore.  Who had the better draft between the Saints and the 49ers?  You could argue that they settled it on the field in the playoffs this year.

11. Elvis Dumerville, DE Denver Broncos, from Louisville

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 29

When Mike Shanahan gets it right in terms of drafting a defensive player, I’ll go out of my way to point out that there’s hope for us yet.

12. Tamba Hali, OLB Kansas City Chiefs, from Penn State

Cumulative AV rating since 2009: 28

Hali’s career started slow, but he has matured into the best pass rusher from this draft.  Why is this controversial?  I will explain below.

Honorable Mention

These are not the 13th-20th guys, rather some notable names that came from this draft class who have been among the best players in the NFL over the last three years.

  • Brandon Marshall (27)
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson (27)
  • Eric Winston (26)
  • Miles Austin (26)
  • Chad Greenway (25)
  • AJ Hawk (24)
  • Donald Penn (22)
  • Marcedes Lewis (22)
  • Brent Grimes (21)
  • Antonio Cromartie (21)
  • Tramon Williams (21)
  • Kamerion Wimbley (21)
  • Barry Cofield (20)
  • Demeco Ryans (20)
  • Andrew Whitworth (20)
  • Devin Hester (20)
  • Michael Huff (19)
  • Cortland Finnegan (19)
  • Kyle Williams (19)
  • Reggie Bush (19)
  • Mario Williams (19)
Charley Casserly gets a ton of credit for having the foresight to draft Mario Williams over Reggie Bush, and three years ago, it looked so obvious that he made the right selection.  With the way that most pass rushers mature versus the way that a lot of running backs age, it seemed like Williams was destined for a better career than Reggie Bush.

But from 2009-2011?  It’s not so clear.  Williams is the one who missed three quarters of this season with a torn pectoral muscle, a season in which the Houston Texans finally got over the hump.  The highest rated player on the Houston Texans from the 2006 draft is CB Johnathon Joseph.  But Williams isn’t even the highest (or second highest) rated player from that Texans draft class.  Eric Winston, the right tackle for the Texans, who has managed to start 16 games every season for the Texans since 2007, on a line that has improved into one of the NFL’s best units.  It was debateably the NFL’s worst when Winston was drafted onto it, and he is the longest tenured starter of that group.  Even 2nd round LB Demeco Ryans has been just as much a part of the Texans’ success as has Williams.

Since the start of the 2010 season, Williams simply hasn’t been worth what he has cost the Texans in terms of salary.  You probably would never have guessed that since 2009, AJ Hawk has a higher cumulative AV rating than Mario Williams does.

This is relevant because Williams is a free agent.   He is, in theory, the highest rated free agent available, though Peyton Manning certainly could become that upon his release.

2006 NFL Draft Superlatives

Draft Winners: 49ers, Saints, Texans, Broncos
Draft Losers: Rams, Redskins, Browns, Cardinals, Patriots, Falcons
Best Value: Marques Colston and Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints
First round busts: Bobby Carpenter (Dallas), Tye Hill (Rams), John McCargo (Bills), Laurence Maroney (Pats), Matt Leinart (Cardinals)
Percentage of each round that started in NFL (min. 8 games started in at least one season): 1st (90.6%), 2nd (90.6%), 4th (52.8%), 5th (50%), 3rd (41.2%), 6th (38.5%), 7th (17.0%)

Click through to see source file

Remains of 2006 NFL Draft
Pos. Last Name Age Current Team AV Rate School Draft Year
G Evans 29 New Orleans 48 Bloomsburg 2006
NT Ngata 29 Baltimore 47 Oregon 2006
QB Cutler 29 Chicago 45 Vanderbilt 2006
RB Jones-Drew 27 Jacksonville 40 UCLA 2006
WR Jennings 29 Green Bay 34 Western Michigan 2006
CB Joseph 28 Houston 31 South Carolina 2006
WR Colston 29 New Orleans 31 Hofstra 2006
C Mangold 28 NY Jets 30 Ohio State 2006
TE Davis 28 San Francisco 30 Maryland 2006
RB Gore 29 San Francisco 30 Miami (FL) 2006
DE Dumerville 29 Denver 29 Louisville 2006
OLB Hali 29 Kansas City 28 Penn State 2006
LB Gocong 29 Cleveland 27 Cal Poly 2006
T Clary 29 San Diego 27 Kansas State 2006
T Ferguson 29 NY Jets 27 Virginia 2006
WR Marshall 28 Miami 27 Central Florida 2006
T Winston 29 Houston 26 Miami (FL) 2006
WR Austin 28 Dallas 26 Monmouth 2006
LB Lawson 28 Cincinnati 25 North Carolina State 2006
LB Greenway 30 Minnesota 25 Iowa 2006
OLB Haralson 28 San Francisco 24 Tennessee 2006
LB Hawk 29 Green Bay 24 Ohio State 2006
DE Edwards 27 Atlanta 23 Purdue 2006
LB Tulloch 28 Detroit 23 North Carolina State 2006
G Colledge 30 Arizona 23 Boise State 2006
T Johnson 28 Minnesota 23 Oklahoma State 2006
S Harper 30 New Orleans 22 Alabama 2006
T McNeill 29 San Diego 22 Auburn 2006
T Penn 29 Tampa Bay 22 Utah State 2006
TE Lewis 28 Jacksonville 22 UCLA 2006
WR Holmes 25 NY Jets 22 Ohio State 2006
S Landry 30 Jacksonville 21 Georgia Tech 2006
CB Grimes 29 Atlanta 21 Shippensburg 2006
CB Cromartie 28 NY Jets 21 Florida State 2006
CB Williams 29 Green Bay 21 Louisiana Tech 2006
OLB Wimbley 29 Oakland 21 Florida State 2006
LB Jackson 29 Cleveland 21 Maryland 2006
TE Daniels 30 Houston 21 Wisconsin 2006
LB Ryans 28 Houston 20 Alabama 2006
NT Cofield 28 Washington 20 Northwestern 2006
DT Peko 28 Cincinnati 20 Michigan State 2006
T Whitworth 31 Cincinnati 20 LSU 2006
WR Hester 30 Chicago 20 Miami (FL) 2006
CB Huff 29 Oakland 19 Texas 2006
CB Finnegan 28 Tennessee 19 Samford 2006
DE Williams 27 Houston 19 North Carolina State 2006
LB Anderson 29 Carolina 19 Virginia Tech 2006
NT Williams 29 Buffalo 19 LSU 2006
LB McIntosh 30 Washington 19 Miami (FL) 2006
G Sims 29 Detroit 19 Ohio State 2006
RB Williams 29 Carolina 19 Memphis 2006
RB Bush 27 Miami 19 USC 2006
S Pollard 28 Baltimore 18 Purdue 2006
G Chester 30 Washington 18 Oklahoma 2006
RB Addai 29 Indianapolis 18 LSU 2006
QB Young 29 Philadelphia 18 Texas 2006
S Manning 30 Houston 17 Abilene Christian 2006
DT Bunkley 29 Denver 17 Florida State 2006
DT Ayodele 29 Minnesota 17 Oklahoma 2006
WR Avant 29 Philadelphia 17 Michigan 2006
S Whitner 27 San Francisco 16 Ohio State 2006
G Kuper 30 Denver 16 North Dakota 2006
G Joseph 29 Tampa Bay 16 Oklahoma 2006
T Justice 28 Philadelphia 16 USC 2006
TE Fasano 28 Miami 16 Notre Dame 2006
CB Marshall 28 Arizona 15 Fresno State 2006
S Bethea 28 Indianapolis 15 Howard 2006
CB Jennings 29 Chicago 15 Georgia 2006
OLB Ninkovich 28 New England 15 Purdue 2006
LB Howard 29 Cincinnati 15 UTEP 2006
G Livings 30 Cincinnati 15 LSU 2006
QB Jackson 29 Seattle 15 Alabama State 2006
S Doughty 30 Washington 14 Northern Colorado 2006
T Trueblood 29 Tampa Bay 14 Boston College 2006
G Kemoeatu 30 Pittsburgh 14 Utah 2006
TE Scheffler 29 Detroit 14 Western Michigan 2006
S Gregory 29 San Diego 13 Syracuse 2006
OLB Brooks 28 San Francisco 13 Virginia 2006
DT Bowen 28 Washington 13 Hofstra 2006
S Smith 29 NY Jets 12 Michigan State 2006
CB Griffin 30 Minnesota 12 Texas 2006
DE Hunter 29 Denver 12 Appalachian State 2006
LB Sims 28 Indianapolis 12 Florida State 2006
G Lutui 29 Arizona 12 USC 2006
G Brisiel 29 Houston 12 Colorado State 2006
T Scott 30 Pittsburgh 11 Texas 2006
CB Allen 29 Houston 10 Tennessee 2006
CB Jennings 30 Cincinnati 10 Miami (FL) 2006
S Peprah 29 Green Bay 10 Alabama 2006
DT Golston 29 Washington 10 Georgia 2006
LB Kiwanuka 29 NY Giants 10 Boston College 2006
T Strief 29 New Orleans 10 Northwestern 2006
C Montgomery 29 Washington 10 Virginia Tech 2006
FB Kuhn 30 Green Bay 10 Shippensburg 2006
RB Harrison 29 Detroit 10 Washington State 2006
DE Tapp 28 Philadelphia 9 Virginia Tech 2006
G Boothe 29 NY Giants 9 Cornell 2006
TE Walker 28 San Francisco 9 Central Missouri 2006
TE Thomas 29 New Orleans 9 Texas 2006
RB Washington 30 Seattle 9 Florida State 2006
CB Coleman 29 Jacksonville 8 TCU 2006
LB McRath 26 Tennessee 8 Southern Mississippi 2006
DE Anderson 29 New England 8 Alabama 2006
DT Hatcher 30 Dallas 8 Grambling State 2006
LB Carpenter 29 Detroit 8 Ohio State 2006
WR Aromashodu 28 Minnesota 8 Auburn 2006
LB Dobbins 30 Houston 7 Iowa State 2006
DE McBride 27 New Orleans 7 Tennessee 2006
LB Johnson 29 Cincinnati 7 Louisville 2006
DE Davis 29 Chicago 7 Florida State 2006
T Colon 29 Pittsburgh 7 Hofstra 2006
TE Pope 29 Kansas City 7 Georgia 2006
WR Obomanu 29 Seattle 7 Auburn 2006
S Culver 29 Miami 6 Fresno State 2006
DT McDaniel 27 Miami 6 Tennessee 2006
T O’Callaghan 29 Kansas City 6 California 2006
CB Youboty 28 Jacksonville 5 Ohio State 2006
S Page 28 Minnesota 5 UCLA 2006
CB Bush 28 Green Bay 5 Utah State 2006
LB Gaither 28 Carolina 5 Tennessee 2006
T Whimper 29 Jacksonville 5 East Carolina 2006
T Butler 29 Houston 5 Miami (FL) 2006
WR Hagan 28 Buffalo 5 Arizona State 2006
WR Anderson 29 Washington 5 Colorado State 2006
QB Gradkowski 29 Cincinnati 5 Toledo 2006
S Smith 29 Tennessee 4 Syracuse 2006
LB Iwuh 28 Denver 4 Colorado 2006
DE Charleston 29 New Orleans 4 Idaho State 2006
DE Tollefson 30 NY Giants 4 NW Missouri State 2006
DT McKinney 29 Baltimore 4 Michigan State 2006
G Moll 29 San Diego 4 Nevada-Reno 2006
T Ojinnaka 28 Indianapolis 4 Syracuse 2006
G McQuistan 29 New Orleans 4 Weber State 2006
G Cook 29 Miami 4 New Mexico 2006
WR Spurlock 29 Tampa Bay 4 Ole Miss 2006
RB Norwood 29 St. Louis 4 Mississippi 2006
FB Hall 33 Tennessee 4 Texas 2006
S Martin 27 NY Giants 3 Wyoming 2006
DE Mincey 29 Jacksonville 3 Florida 2006
OLB McIntyre 28 NY Jets 3 Fresno State 2006
DT Evans 29 Minnesota 3 Texas State 2006
G Spitz 30 Jacksonville 3 Louisville 2006
WR Hixon 28 NY Giants 3 Akron 2006
WR Stovall 27 Detroit 3 Notre Dame 2006
WR Hurd 27 Chicago 3 Northern Illinois 2006
FB Vickers 29 Houston 3 Colorado 2006
QB Whitehurst 30 Seattle 3 Clemson 2006
CB Madison 31 Pittsburgh 2 Alabama 2006
TE Spach 30 St. Louis 2 Fresno State 2006
FB Robinson 29 Seattle 2 Penn State 2006
QB Leinart 29 Houston 2 USC 2006
CB Trufant 30 NY Jets 1 Eastern Washington 2006
DT McCargo 29 Tampa Bay 1 North Carolina State 2006
DT Johnson 28 New Orleans 1 Southern Mississippi 2006
RB Cobbs 29 New Orleans 1 North Texas 2006
QB Clemens 29 St. Louis 1 Oregon 2006
RB Taylor 29 New Orleans 0 Indiana 2006
CB Gordon 29 Carolina 0 Jackson State 2006
CB Blackmon 28 NY Giants 0 Boston College 2006
DE Mitchell 28 Cleveland 0 Mississippi 2006
DT Paxson 29 Cleveland 0 Penn State 2006
T Batiste 30 Arizona 0 Louisiana-Lafayette 2006
TE Byrd 28 Washington 0 USC 2006
WR Hagans 30 Washington 0 Virginia 2006
TE Curtis 26 Washington 0 Portland State 2006
QB Gutierrez 28 St. Louis 0 Idaho State 2006
RB Owens 28 Jacksonville 0 Maine 2006
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