Watching the New York Jets beat the New England Patriots yesterday triggered a few thoughts. I watched 2007 first round pick, Darrelle Revis, intercept a pass from Tom Brady intended for Randy Moss. Revis, a former Pitt Panther, has been all that the Jets expected and more. Among his draft mates, he’s Top 3 in tackles and interceptions for cornerbacks. He has earned a reputation for being a fierce competitor, solid tackler, and a fine ball hawk.
I wanted to see Revis in Pittsburgh paired with Ike Taylor. I hoped that Revis’ hands and ball skills would rub off on Taylor (No CB has dropped more sure interceptions over the past few years than Taylor. If he could catch, he’d be a household name.) Revis was selected 14th by the Jets, who traded up to get their man. With the 15th pick, the Steelers selected their newly-minted starting middle linebacker Lawrence Timmons (Florida State). Timmons has yet to produce as billed, but he was stuck in traffic behind Larry Foote. With his apprenticeship over, Timmons is poised to produce like many of his other Seminole alums. And, that got me to thinking about the 2006 draft class.
The 2006 NFL draft class, on the defensive side of the ball, was punctuated with players from Florida State. The list, however, was headed by another ACC star whose selection was lampooned on draft day. North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams was selected number 1 overall by the Houston Texans. The consensus, at the time, was that the struggling Texans should have selected USC’s Reggie Bush. Williams has turned into a star and the wisdom of Charley Casserly and others has been rewarded. Bush, as explosive as ever, has had trouble staying healthy.
For all of Williams’ success, he wasn’t the first man out of the gate. The defensive rookie of the year for the 2006 season was Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans, his teammate on the Texans. Ryans was selected with the first pick of the second round. Before this draft, these were two of the players I highlighted as being worthy of special consideration. Ryans was noteworthy because of his football IQ and feel for the game. He made sound reads, played disciplined football, and finished plays.
This has been one of the better defensive groups drafted. Here are my selections for the best in class:
- DT. Haloti Ngata. Baltimore Ravens. 12th Overall, Round 1.
- DT. Brodrick Bunkley. Philadelphia Eagles. 14th Overall, Round 1.
- DE. Mario Williams. Houston Texans. 1st Overall, Round 1.
- DE. Elvis Dumervil. Denver Broncos. 126th Overall, Round 4.
- LB. DeMeco Ryans. Houston Texans. 33rd Overall, Round 2.
- LB. Ernie Sims. Detroit Lions. 9th Overall, Round 1.
- LB. Thomas Howard. Oakland Raiders. 38th Overall, Round 2.
- DB. Antonio Cromartie. San Diego Chargers. 19th Overall, Round 1.
- DB. Courtland Finnegan. Tennessee Titans. 215th Overall, Round 7.
- S. Donte Whitner. Buffalo Bills. 8th Overall, Round 1.
- S. Jarrad Page. Kansas City Chiefs. 228th Overall, Round 7.
- DE. Kamerion Wimbley. Cleveland Browns. 13th Overall, Round 1.
- DE. Tamba Hali. Kansas City Chiefs. 20th Overall, Round 1.
- DB. Richard Marshall. Carolina Panthers. 58th Overall, Round 1.
Florida State alums: Cromartie, Sims, Bunkley, Sims, Wimbley.