In many front offices, a draft can only be graded 5 years after the selections take place. Let’s take a look at how the Patriots did in 2003.
Ty Warren – 1st Rd – #13
Ty has been an increasingly important part of the defensive line, highlighted by his Pro Bowl calibre play these last two years. He isn’t asked to get lots of numbers, but he makes it easier for Vrabel and company to get to the QB and RB. As he locked into a multi-year deal in 2007, Ty will be a vital cog in the Patriots machine for years to come.
Eugene Wilson – 2nd Rd – #36
The CB from Illinois played a huge role in the ’03 and ’04 Championship runs as a Free Safety opposite Rodney Harrison. His big hits punctuated games against Indy and Philadelphia. His play softened thereafter, perhaps due to multiple ankle and arm injuries. Wilson will suit up as a Buc this year after playing a diminished role this year.
Bethel Johnson – 2nd Rd – #45
Best remembered for his kickoff return TD against Indy, Johnson never lived up to expectations as a wideout. He showed off his speed on fly routes, but never became more than an occasional deep threat. He later played for the Vikings and had brief stints for the Eagles and Texans where he never saw the field.
Dan Klecko – 4th Rd – #117
After showing lots of promise, the jack-of-all-trades Klecko never found a home for the Patriots. He was tried at NT, LB, FB and TE. He caught a TD pass against the Patriots while playing for the Colts, and was recently signed by the Eagles to play fullback.
Asante Samuel – 4th Rd – #120
The Central Florida prospect had two great Superbowl seasons as a nickelback before assuming a starting role in 2005. He responded with Pro Bowl years in 2006 and 2007, leading the league in INT’s over that span. Asante has moved on to greener pastures in Philadelphia.
Dan Koppen – 5th Rd – #164
This BC graduate has manned the o-line increasingly well for the last 5 years, culminating in last year’s virtuoso performance that led to Koppen’s first visit to Hawaii. His solid line-calls and sneaky good technique have helped keep Tom Brady healthy. He (and the rest of the line) are going to be around for a while.
Kliff Kingsbury – 6th Rd – #201
The strong-armed Texas Tech graduate never developed into a dependable backup at the NFL level. After 2 years with the Patriots, he played with Saints, Jets, and Bills before heading up north. He was last traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from the Montreal Alouettes for fellow college standout, Iowa QB Brad Banks.
Spencer Nead – 7th Rd – #234
A TE Prospect from BYU, Nead ended up playing for the Rams in 2003. That was his last year in the NFL.
Tully Banta-Cain – 7th Rd – #239
For such a low pick, TBC developed into a dependable backup OLB and situational pass-rusher. He signed a FA contract with the 49ers after the 2006 season.
Ethan Kelley – 7th Rd – #243
This Baylor defensive lineman recorded 1 tackle for the Patriots in 2004, but has proven to be an adequate backup for the Browns, where he has accumulated 62 tackles and 2 sacks over the last 3 years.