Reviewing Past Drafts: 2003

As I have done for the past couple years, it’s time to take a look at a past Titans draft.  Mike Reiss had a nice look back at the 06 draft, but I prefer going farther back-6 years seems like a nice time frame, as every player will be on their second pick.  2003 could also be a particularly instructive draft to look at for this year, as the Titans were coming off an excellent season and had a very good team overall, but one that could be looking at some holes in the next couple years.  So, how’d the Titans make out? #1-28 Andre Woolfolk, CB, Oklahoma
Previous Pick-Kansas City-Larry Johnson, RB, Penn State
Next Pick-Green Bay-Nick Barnett, MLB, Oregon State
Previous CB-1-11-Marcus Trufant, Washington State (Seattle)
Next CB-1-30-Sammy Davis, Texas A&M (San Diego)

The Titans had a couple of pretty good starting corners in Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson, but you can never have too many good CBs.  Taking Woolfolk was a very Floyd Reese move-Andre was tall and had good speed, but was not necessarily the guy you’d plug in as a starter immediately.  If he panned out, though, he could be a very good starting CB in a couple years.  Well, he wasn’t.  As I’ve mentioned before, Andre provided one very memorable moment as a Titan-in the game at Indy in 2006, when Pacman was shaken up and Andre had to come in and cover Harrison.  Peyton of course spotted the coverage immediately, audibled, threw the slant, and the Colts got 6 points.  Then again, the next CB taken was Sammy Davis, and he played as many games in 2008 as Woolfolk did.  I won’t make you mad by mentioning Nnamdi Asomugha was the 31st pick.

#2-60 WR Tyrone Calico, MTSU
Previous Pick-Pittsburgh-Alonzo Jackson, LB, Florida State
Next Pick-Philadelphia-L.J. Smith, TE, Rutgers
Previous WR-2-54-Anquan Boldin, Florida State (Arizona)
Next WR-3-65-Kelly Washington, Tennessee (Cincinnati)
Ah, Tyrone Calico.  Continuing the theme, Calico was a man with size (6’4″ 220#) and speed (4.34 40, IIRC), who wouldn’t necessarily have an immediate impact but could turn into a gamebreaker in a couple years.  He belied those expectations to some extent with a TD grab in his first NFL game, but only had 3 more the rest of his career, and none after his rookie season.  Oh well.  Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, and Kevin Curtis went in the 10 picks after Washington.

#3-93 Chris Brown, RB, Colorado
Previous Pick-Kansas City-Julian Battle, CB, Tennessee
Next Pick-Buffalo-Angelo Crowell, LB, Virginia
Previous RB-3-77-Musa Smith, Georgia (Baltimore)
Next RB-3-96-Justin Fargas, USC (Oakland)
I must admit I have somewhat of a soft spot for Brown-at one point, he’d been at the last complete high school, college, and pro football game I’d attended (no, I’ve never met him).  He added some much-needed speed and fresh legs to a backfield with a heavily-used Eddie George, but unfortunately his body is made of glass.  Well, somewhat of an exaggeration, but he was never quite as durable or as good in short yardage as a primary RB in a Jeff Fisher offense needed to be.  The burst he showed was back most memorably for the rushing romp against the Jaguars to open the 2007 season, but that was one of the few times Brown showed it after 2004.  He spent 2008 on injured reserve with the Texans and probably doesn’t have much of an NFL future.  A disappointment based on what he could have been, but he still did more than the two guys the Titans took before him.

#4-126 Rien Long, DT, Washington State
Previous Pick-Pittsburgh-Ike Taylor, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette
Next Pick-Buffalo-Sam Aiken, WR, North Carolina
Previous DT-4-117-Dan Klecko, Temple (New England)
Next DT-5-141-Kenny King, Alabama (Arizona)
Getting the Outland Trophy winner in the 4th round was a little bit of a nice surprise, but when said Outland Trophy winner was criticized for forgoing his senior year of eligibility, there’s probably a reason.  Long provided some useful depth for a couple seasons, setting highs with 3 starts and 5 sacks in 2004 and playing all 16 games in 2005, but tore his Achilles before 2006 began and that was the end of his NFL career.  There wasn’t a whole lot in the next 10 picks except for FB Ovie Mughelli.

#5-154 Donnie Nickey, DB, Ohio State
Previous Pick-Kansas City-Jordan Black, G, Notre Dame
Next Pick-New Orleans-Melvin Williams, DE, Kansas State
Previous DB-5-152-Michael Lehan, Minnesota (Cleveland)
Next DB-5-170-CB Shane Walton, Notre Dame (St. Louis)
The Titans next pick was a trade up-ceding their 5th, 6th, and 7th round picks to the Patriots for 5th and 7th round selections to take the Buckeye safety.  Nickey’s only starts have come as part of the M*A*S*H unit that was the secondary in 2004, but he’s been a very useful special teams player.  In the 5th round, anybody who’s on your team after 6 years, even as a special teamer, is a successful pick.  Donald Lee and David Diehl both went in the next 10 picks.

#7-225 Todd Williams, “G”, Florida State
Previous Pick-Seattle-Taco Wallace, WR, Kansas State
Next Pick-Carolina-Walter Young, WR, Illinois
Previous OL-7-216-T Ben Johnson, Wisconsin (Detroit)
Next OL-7-237-T Dave Yovanovits, Temple (NY Jets)
Williams was a guy with an inspiring personal story-living on the streets and in a car as a teenager, then going to college and double-majoring in 4 years.  Unfortunately, he never turned into much of an NFL player, never starting a game and only being active for 7, the last the opening game of the 2005 season thanks to Brad Hopkins’ suspension.  After Hopkins returned, Williams was gone.  Yup, that’s a 7th round pick.

I know I wasn’t real complimentary toward the 2002 draft when I did last year’s look, but the 2003 draft was even worse.  These are the players who should have been stepping in as starters in 2005, but didn’t.  Woolfolk and Calico were classic Floyd Reese potential picks, too, in case you’re not sure why Mike Reinfeldt is now the general manager.

For more on the 2003 draft, check out see the full draft order and this Football Outsiders retrospective, where Woolfolk earns the title “Biggest DB Bust.”

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