In the fifthteenth article in “The Jacksonville Jaguars Draft History and Comments” series, we will continue to review a particular Jaguar draft class, until we have reviewed all 19 of their drafts. Today we will review the 2004 draft. We have previously examined:
- The 1995 Expansion Draft
- The 1995 NFL Draft pt 1
- The 1995 NFL Draft pt 2
- The 1996 NFL Draft
- The 1997 NFL Draft
- The 1998 NFL Draft
- The 1999 NFL Draft
- The 2000 NFL Draft
- The 2001 NFL Draft pt 1
- The 2001 NFL Draft pt 2
- The 2002 NFL Draft pt 1
- The 2002 NFL Draft pt 2
- The 2003 NFL Draft pt 1
- The 2003 NFL Draft pt 2
The Jaguars continued downward with a 5-11 record, their fourth losing record in a row. This earned the Jags the 9th pick in the 2004 Draft. The Jags had ten draft picks. I will go over each selection and say something concerning the player, if deserving. I will also bring up any missed opportunity where the Jags, with hindsight on my side, could have made a better selection. I will also bring up anything interesting related to the draft…Jaguar or not. As Jim Croce once famously sang…”If I could save time in a bottle…”
Round One/Pick #9 – Reggie Williams, WR, Washington – Oh what could have been. In the second failed attempt to draft a franchise WR in the first round, Reggie was particularly frustrating. First of all, he was a nice kid. Boyish smile. Always enthusiastic. He had great size (6-4, 212 lbs), with deceptively quick moves. But there was something off from the beginning. He would have games where he completely disappeared. He had a habit of celebrating after every catch, even a down and out completion for 2 yards. The worse thing was he shocked the entire NFL in 2007 when he caught 38 passes for 629 yards, but managed to score 10 TDs. It gave all Jag fans hope that he had finally figured it out. He came back to earth the next year amid reports of possible failed drug tests. We then found out he had been pulled over in 2006 and charged for possession of marijuana but had completed treatment. But it became clear that he cared more about drugs than football and was released after seasons end. He has since had a cup of coffee with the Seahawks, barely played for a couple of CFL teams, & has suffered two further arrests. One also involved cocaine. Another young man’s career and life derailed by drugs. Sad. Would I have picked different? – Yes. The list is vast because there was a lot of talent that year. QB Ben Roethlisberger (#11), LB Jonathan Vilma (#12), DT Tommy Harris (#14), & RB Steven Jackson (#24), just to name a few.
Further first round info – As I just stated, this was a talented first round allotment. 15 of the 32 players selected went on to Pro Bowl seasons. Six players (Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, Ben Roethlisberger, Jonathan Vilma, Shawn Andrews, & Vince Wilfork) could finish with potential Hall of Fame careers. Four QBs were selected and two (Manning & Big Ben) are Super Bowl Champions. Sean Taylor was selected #5 by the Redskins and was beginning to really excel his career when he was tragically killed in a home invasion. Buffalo, being Buffalo, had two selections in this amazingly talented draft class and managed to miss with both WR Lee Evans (#13) & QB J.P. Losman (#22). Finally, this draft will always be remembered for San Diego, refusing to have a player dictate to them where he will go, selected Eli Manning with the first overall pick. They then made him go through the process of meeting the commish, having his picture taken with a Charger jersey, all the while looking like he was going to break down crying before trading him to the Giants for Philip Rivers. Eli has since won 2 Super Bowls so I suppose he got the last laugh. But watching it unfold was funny as hell!
Round Two/Pick #39 – Daryl Smith, LB, Georgia Tech - Ok. Now this makes up for the failed first rounder. I hate to throw compliments to a damn Yellow Jacket, but this guy was the bomb! He hit hard. He wrapped guys up and rarely was out of position. I personally struggle to remember him ever missing a tackle. He was with the Jags for 9 years and is still playing today for the hated Ravens. Some will argue that Daryl Smith may be the greatest defensive player in Jags history. I would have a hard time arguing that sometimes. Would I have picked different? - Nope!
Round Two/Pick #55 – Greg Jones, RB, FSU - A great RB for the Seminoles, the Jags saw a potential FB. One thing for sure is that Jones was JACKED. A monster in the weight room, he kept adding weight but it was all muscle. When he was at the right size, he proceeded to become respected as one of the best FBs in football, even earning a Pro Bowl invite. The Jags were one of the consistently successful running teams in the NFL, and a lot of that is due to Greg Jones as our FB. Would I have picked different? - Probably not, but I would have been tempted by DT Darnell Dockett, who is a 3 time Pro Bowl player and still one of the best at DT to this day.
Round two further info – The teams didn’t need any gunslingers because not one QB was selected in the 2nd. Three players selected went on to Pro Bowl seasons. Another young player’s career derailed by off the field indiscretions is the Bears #47 pick DT Tank Johnson. Tank came in and started immediately, played great, and was liked by his teammates. Unfortunately, Tank liked football, but he obviously LOVED guns. Even though it was illegal to carry a gun in Chicago, Johnson chose to take one to “da club.” Now he did leave it in his car but that was still against the law. He later had an incident where he had a confrontation with a cop, which violated his probation for the earlier incident. Because of this, they performed a search warrant at his home and found six firearms, some loaded, including assault rifles. Oh…and his kids were there too. Then his main bodyguard, (and obviously close friend because he watched Johnson’s kids), was shot in a club and killed by one of Chicago’s most notorious gang leaders, obviously explaining Johnson’s desire to always be armed. From illegal possession of firearms, to child endangerment, and the Bears having to appear in court to seek permission for Tank to leave the state to play in the Super Bowl, his act grew old. In 2007, when Johnson was pulled over for speeding and “possible inebriation”, the Bears didn’t wait for the test to come back and parted way with their problem child. The funny part is the test came back showing he wasn’t drunk, but he had burned so many bridges it didn’t matter. Defense was king as 19 of the picks in the second round went to that side.
Round Third/Pick #86 – Jorge Cordova, LB, Nevada - It’s hard to know if this was just a injury-plagued player or a bust. Maybe he was both. He blew out his knee in his first training camp and missed the year. Came back the next year and was playing adequately during the preseason before knee issues sidelined him for the year again. He finally saw the field in an actual game in 2006, playing in 13 games and making eight tackles. The more I’m typing this my mind is being made…BUST! Would I have picked different? - Damn Skippy!! Four picks later at #90, the Falcons selected QB Matt Schaub. Done deal, We could have gotten out of the Byron Leftwich blanket even sooner.
Round three further info - Wow, it was a weak year for QBs. The Schaub pick was the only QB selected in the third. There were six Pro Bowl players selected in the third. The Chargers selected a PK in the 3rd round with #65 Nate Kaeding. Defense is still all the rage with 20 of the 33 players selected for the defense.
Please return later today as I continue reviewing the Jaguars 2004 NFL Draft from the fourth round on.
See ya again in 2004!
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