2004 Draft Redo - What Should've Happened
Ole Miss QB Eli Manning
Ole Miss QB Eli Manning
Posted Apr 23, 2009

What should each team have done in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft?

Draft Redo ... 2004

How should the drafts have gone?

By Pete Fiutak 

2006 Draft Redo | 2005 Draft Redo | 2004 Draft Redo | 2003 Draft Redo
2002 Draft Redo | 2001 Draft Redo | 2000 Draft Redo | 1999 Draft Redo
1998 Draft Redo | 1997 Draft Redo | 1996 Draft Redo | 1995 Draft Redo  
1994 Draft Redo | 1993 Draft Redo | 1992 Draft Redo | 1991 Draft Redo
1990 Draft Redo | 1989 Draft Redo

Here's a look at past NFL drafts looking to see what each team needed, who they all took in the first round, and in hindsight, who should've gone based on how their pro careers turned out (forgetting about proper coaching and other circumstances).

If each team could draft knowing what we all know now and not taking future drafts into account, this is how the first round should've gone. There were 32 picks in the first round of the 2004 draft. In parentheses is the round the player was actually taken. 

Who Went How the Draft Should've Gone
1. San Diego Chargers
Eli Manning, QB Ole Miss
WR Larry Fitzgerald (1st), Pitt
Arizona Cardinals
If the Chargers had kept Drew Brees and taken Fitzgerald with the first pick, they would've had an offense with Brees, LT, Fitzgerald, and Antonio Gates. Yeesh.
2. Oakland Raiders
Robert Gallery, OT Iowa
QB Ben Roethlisberger (1st), Miami Univ.
Pittsburgh Steelers  
Gallery has been a strange bust considering he was supposed to be the next big thing at tackle, but at least he starts at guard. Roethlisberger became a legend at Pittsburgh, but with his motorcycle and his toughness, he'd have been a perfect Raider.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald, WR Pitt
QB Eli Manning (1st), Ole Miss
San Diego Chargers (trade to New York Giants)
Would Manning do for Arizona what Kurt Warner was able to? A proven winner, he'd be just fine for the flaky franchise (at least before 2008)..
4. New York Giants
Phil Rivers, QB NC State
QB Phil Rivers (1st), NC State
New York Giants (trade to San Diego Chargers)    
Would Rivers have been unflappable enough to take the Giants to the Super Bowl? No, but he still might have taken the team far.
5. Washington Redskins
Sean Taylor, S Miami
S Bob Sanders (2nd), Iowa
Indianapolis Colts
Taylor would still be the pick if not for the horrific tragedy. The Redskins would have to wait a while through some injuries, but Sanders would grow into an MVP defensive playmaker.
6. Cleveland Browns
Kellen Winslow Jr., TE Miami
RB Steven Jackson (1st), Oregon State
St. Louis Rams 
Jackson would've been the centerpiece of the Cleveland offense for a decade.
7. Detroit Lions
Roy Williams, WR Texas
DE Jared Allen (4th), Idaho State
Kansas City Chiefs   
The Lions could've used a receiver, and might have taken Michael Turner, but Allen is too good a pass rusher to pass up.
8. Atlanta Falcons
DeAngelo Hall, CB Virginia Tech
RB Michael Turner (5th), Northern Illinois
San Diego Chargers  
Hall turned into one of the NFL's premier cover-corners and the type of defender to build a secondary around, but the Falcons didn't win much with him and would eventually have to deal with him leaving the sinking ship. Atlanta could save time, and a few years, and take Turner here.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Reggie Williams, WR Washington
WR Lee Evans (1st), Wisconsin
Buffalo Bills     
Williams was a mega-bust for the No. 9 pick. Evans would've finally been a receiver pick that worked.
10. Houston Texans
Dunta Robinson, CB South Carolina
OT Shawn Andrews (1st), Arkansas
Philadelphia Eagles
The eternal problems on the Houston line would've been temporarily solved with a tough tackle like Andrews.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger, QB Miami Univ.
RB Willie Parker (undrafted), North Carolina
Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh would still have to address the quarterback situation, but it can't go wrong taking the speedy back who'd eventually be the team's running game.
12. New York Jets
Jonathan Vilma, LB Miami
DE Shaun Phillips (4th), Purdue
San Diego Chargers  
Yeah, it didn't really work out, but for a brief time Vilma was a major force for the Jet defense. Phillips would've done more as a pass rushing machine.
13. Buffalo Bills
Lee Evans, WR Wisconsin
WR Roy Williams (1st), Texas
Detroit Lions  
Williams might have been a disappointment, but he would've been a decent fill-in who would have a few good years for the Bill attack as a No. 1 target..
14. Chicago Bears
Tommie Harris, DT Oklahoma
DT Tommie Harris (1st), Oklahoma
Chicago Bears
There's a major long-term question mark about Harris's health, but when he's right, he'd be one of the top tackles in the game.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Michael Clayton, WR LSU
DT Vince Wilfork (1st), Miami
New England Patriots    
Taking Wilfolk would solve a few long term answers in a middle of the line that would desperately miss Warren Sapp.
16. Philadelphia Eagles
Shawn Andrews, OT Arkansas
OT Stacy Andrews (4th), Ole Miss
Cincinnati Bengals
It might take a little while, but Andrews would be fine in place of his brother.
17. Denver Broncos
D.J. Williams, LB Miami
LB Jonathan Vilma (1st), Miami
New York Jets
Vilma hit a wall, but he put up a ton of tackles in his first few years and could grow into a role. Linebacker was a need.
18. New Orleans Saints
Will Smith, DE Ohio State
DE Will Smith (1st), Ohio State
New Orleans Saints
Smith was a home run pick at the time and would be a steady pass rusher who would've been a star on the Saint line.
19. Miami Dolphins
Vernon Carey, G Miami
OG Vernon Carey (1st), Miami
Miami Dolphins
This is hardly a thrilling pick, and it's not like the Dolphins have been winning Super Bowls because of it, but Carey became a regular starter.
20. Minnesota Vikings
Kenechi Udeze, DE USC
LB Karlos Dansby (2nd), Auburn
Arizona Cardinals       
A major health scare and stunningly lousy production kept Udeze from being the star he was projected to be. Dansby would've added a ton of help for a Viking D in constant lookout for help in the back seven.
21. New England Patriots
Vince Wilfork, DT Miami
RB Julius Jones (2nd), Notre Dame
Dallas Cowboys
The Patriots would pick up Corey Dillon before the year, and while Jones wouldn't be a need pick, he'd provide a good option for the ground game.
22. Buffalo Bills
J.P. Losman, QB Tulane
QB Matt Schaub (3rd), Virginia
Atlanta Falcons
Losman would never win over the team or the starting job. Schaub would've done both.
23. Seattle Seahawks
Marcus Tubbs, DT Texas
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. (1st), Miami
Cleveland Browns
Winslow can't slide any further. Seattle didn't need a tight end, but you can never have too many weapons. On talent, Winslow belongs in the top five, but there are other issues after his injuries.
24. St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson, RB Oregon State
 WR Bernard Berrian (3rd), Fresno State
Chicago Bears
With the Ram receiving corps getting really old really quickly, Berrian would've been a key addition..
25. Green Bay Packers
Ahmad Carroll, CB Arkansas
CB Nathan Vasher (4th), Texas
Chicago Bears
Vasher would've been the playmaking corner the Packers hoped they were getting in Carroll.
26. Cincinnati Bengals
Chris Perry, RB Michigan
LB D.J. Williams (1st), Miami
Denver Broncos
A good all-around outside linebacker and a solid pass rusher, Williams would be a necessary fit for the Bengal D.
27. Houston Texans
Jason Babin, DE Western Michigan
C Nick Hardwick (3rd), Purdue
San Diego Chargers
Houston could use all the help it could get on the line. A Pro Bowl caliber center like Hardwick would've been a major plus, even though the position was relatively set.
28. Carolina Panthers
Chris Gamble, CB Ohio State
CB Chris Gamble (1st), Ohio State
Carolina Panthers
While hardly special, Gamble was a good enough starter to make the pick again.
29. Atlanta Falcons
Michael Jenkins, WR Ohio State
CB Dunta Robinson (1st), South Carolina
Houston Texans
A solid producer over his first three seasons before getting hurt, Robinson would've been fantastic paired with DeAngelo Hall.
30. Detroit Lions
Kevin Jones, RB Virginia Tech
OG Chris Snee (2nd), Boston College
New York Giants
Beefing up the line with a Pro Bowl guard wouldn't be a bad thing.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Rashaun Woods, WR Oklahoma State
CB DeAngelo Hall (1st), Virginia Tech
Atlanta Falcons
Woods was an all-timer bust pick. Hall might have been a flake and a pain in the butt, but he could play. He'd go lower but he'd be off the team and somewhere else after a few short years.
32. New England Patriots
Ben Watson, TE Georgia
TE Chris Cooley (3rd), Utah State
Washington Redskins
Watson is a vital offensive cog in the New England machine. Cooley, a Pro Bowl performer, would've been better.