Due to popular request, I'm expanding my look at the Colts' drafts to include some other teams. Each day, we'll look how the Colts, Steelers, Patriots, Eagles and Ravens drafted this decade. We'll start with the year 2000. I'm ranking the teams based on this criteria: would you trade one entire draft for another? The team whose draft you would definitely trade the others for gets top billing.
2003 belonged to the Colts and Patriots. They were neck and neck for the best draft of the year, and I'm giving the nod to Indy by the slimmest of margins. The Colts had more Pro Bowl players, and I think Clark, June, and Mathis are more valuable than Warren, Samuel and Koppen, though it's certainly open to debate. The Colts are still getting good seasons from Clark and Mathis, while the Pats best players from this draft are gone or declining.
Total picks: 8
Made team: 8
Total Games Played for Colts: 378
Total Pro Bowls: 4 (Clark 1, Mathis 2, June 1)
Best pick: Robert Mathis
Starters drafted: Dallas Clark (7 seasons), Mike Doss (3 seasons), Donald Strickland (1 season), Steve Sciullo (1 season), Mathis (6 seasons), Cato June (3 seasons)
Summary and Grade: A. This draft should be an A+ simply because of Mathis in the 5th round and 6 starters taken, not to mention 378 total games played for the Colts. However, as much as I love Dallas Clark, you have to think the Colts would have been a better team had they taken Asomuga in the first round and Whitten in the second. Whitten is every bit the threat Clark is, and Asomuga is the best corner in football, and has been for several seasons now. Still, this kind of draft is the motherload. Three Pro Bowl caliber players (two selected late) and a slew of starters is a total haul for any team.
Total picks: 10
Made team: 8
Total Games: 469
Total Pro Bowls: 4 (Samuel-3, 2 with Eagles, Koppen-1)
Best pick: Asante Samuel
Starters drafted: Ty Warren (6 seasons), Eugene Wilson (3 seasons), Asante Samuel (4 seasons), Dan Koppen (6 seasons)
Summary and Grade: A. This was a great draft for the Pats, but they clearly made a mistake in not resigning Asante Samuel. They nabbed two Pro Bowl players, four solid starters and a motherload of games. Drafts like this are what championships are built on.
Total picks: 5
Made team: 4
Total Games Played: 211
Total Pro Bowls: 5 (Polamalu-5)
Best pick: Troy Polamalu
Starters drafted: Polmalu (5 seasons), Ike Taylor (5 seasons)
Summary and Grade: B+. Polamalu is one of the best players of the decade, and Ike Taylor is a solid starter, but that is ALL this draft produced for the Steelers. This was a boom bust draft, but it did help them to two Super Bowl Titles. If you are going to have a draft where you only get two starters, make sure one is one of the true difference makers in the NFL.
Total picks: 11
Made team: 8
Total Games Played: 457
Total Pro Bowls: 3 (Terrell Suggs-3)
Best pick: Terrell Suggs
Starters drafted: Suggs (6 seasons), Kyle Boller (4 seasons), Jarret Johnson (4 seasons), Ovie Mughelli (1 season), Tony Pashos (1 season)
Summary and Grade: B-. This draft gets downgraded because of how bad Kyle Boller was. This is an example of why just measuring starters and games can be misleading. Boller was always awful and every game he played was one more game further away for a title by the Ravens. He was a massive bust, and despite good production from Suggs and Johnson, this draft can't be considered a big success.
Total picks: 6
Made team: 4
Total Games Played: 86
Total Pro Bowls: 0
Best pick: L.J. Smith
Starters drafted: Smith (4 seasons)
Summary and Grade: D-. This draft was an abject disaster by any standard. When you only get one starter, and he's a fairly ordinary tight end, it's not a good year. First round pick Jerome McDougle was a massive bust. This was by far the worst of the drafts I've examined to date.