It doesn’t matter when you were drafted. If you’re in the NFL, you’ve got a chance to change the game forever. In 2000, a man by the name of Tom Brady got selected in the sixth round and rumor has it he’s had kind of a pretty big impact on the game.
The best wide receiver in the NFL also went in the sixth round in another year (Antonio Brown), so when it comes to telling which rookie is going to make it from this past year's draft class, your guess is as good as mine. But the benefit of hindsight allows us to look back at past draft classes and evaluate the moves. People teased the Cowboys for taking Travis Frederick, but it looks like that’s working out pretty well for them as he’s quickly become a top-tier center.
The 2000 NFL Draft definitely contained some studs, such as the aforementioned Brady, but there were also some horrific moves. Below are the 8 biggest studs that came from the 2000 NFL Draft. As you’ll learn, Brady isn’t the only one from that class that holds a strong chance of getting to the Hall of Fame.
But with the good, must also come the bad. You’ll also learn some names that fans of the team would much rather forget. Whether it was injuries, the wrong fit, or suspensions, these are 8 duds that significantly hindered the future of their franchise as well.
16 Dud: Chris McIntosh
As you are about to read, Seattle ended up having a pretty solid move when they drafted Shaun Alexander with the 19th overall pick in the first round. Where they faltered was selecting Chris McIntosh with the 22nd pick in the draft. McIntosh was an offensive tackle and the hope was that he would be able to develop a chemistry with Alexander and the two could help spearhead a new style of attack in Seattle. In College, McIntosh was a consensus All-American and a First-Team All-Big Ten. At 6’8", you can at least see where Seattle was coming from.
Though as you’re going to learn, it’s not like you can really blame the guy for his lack of success. McIntosh had a strong rookie season, starting in 10 games, but in 2001, McIntosh suffered from a reoccurring neck injury that prevented him from staying in the lineup. He retired after the 2002 season.
In an ideal world of hindsight, Seattle probably wishes they would have looked harder at Chad Clifton who was also on the board and went 44th overall to the Packers. Clifton put together a respectable 11 year career with the Packers.
15 Stud: Shaun Alexander
There were a few fantastic running backs that came from the 2000 draft, but my personal favorite was Shaun Alexander. Granted, I was a Seahawks fan, but still! Alexander owed much of his success to the tremendous blocking of his left tackle, and Hall of Famer, Walter Jones. His career could have been even better had the Seahawks been able to retain the services of Steve Hutchinson.
Alexander was selected 19th overall and his best season came in 2005 in which he ran for 1,880 yards and 27 TDs on way to winning the league MVP. Sadly the season ended in disappointment as Seattle lost to the Steelers in what is arguably the worst officiated Super Bowl of all time (…not that I’m still bitter).
Unfortunately, Alexander’s career took a nosedive after the 2005 season and the following year (after signing an eight year contract mind you), Alexander broke his left foot in Week 3 and had an ineffective season of 896 yards and seven TDs. His 2007 was also hampered by an injury, as Alexander fractured his wrist in Week 1 and while he played through it, he only suited up for 10 games.
A disappointing end, but Alexander still went to three Pro-Bowls, was a two-time All-Pro, and had 112 TDs in his career.
14 Dud: Sylvester Morris
There isn’t a ton that can be written about Sylvester Morris’ career that isn’t going to be centered around injury issues. Morris was selected 21st overall by the Kansas City Chiefs and had a rookie campaign that saw him play in 15 games and catch 48 passes. That was the only time he was able to see the field though. According to ArrowheadPride.com:
“Morris' knee issues occurred during mini-camp's final offensive series in 2001. It was the first in a long line of leg injures for the wide receiver.
Morris was lost for 2001 and missed all of 2002 after suffering a setback. In 2003, Morris landed on IR with a hip injury before he was eventually waived. He staged a comeback with the Bucs in 2004, but tore his ACL while running untouched across the field during a practice that summer.”
It is definitely a sad moment when your NFL career has to come to an end because you were just running across the field trying to get back into game shape.
13 Stud: Brian Urlacher
When it comes to defining what makes a great draft pick, especially a first round pick, you need to hope that you’ve selected a player that can become an icon for your franchise. The Bears hit a homerun in 2000 when they selected Brian Urlacher with the ninth overall pick in the draft. The previous year, the Bears had the 29th ranked defense, but Urlacher started to turn things around and won Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Urlacher spent his entire 12 year career with the Bears, going to eight Pro Bowls and while he did not win the Super Bowl, he still had an outstanding 2006 campaign in which the Bears were beaten by the Colts in the big game.
Not to mention the Defensive MVP award he took home for his 2005 season. Urlacher retired in 2013 and started all but two of his games over the length of his career.
12 Dud: Courtney Brown
You need to always understand that when you are going to be the first overall pick in the NFL draft, expectations are always going to be high for you. For Courtney Brown, it definitely didn’t help that he was going to Cleveland, a team that was desperate for a turn around.
To be fair, it’s not like Brown was a huge stretch of a pick. He had an outstanding college career in which he was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, but he failed to stay healthy in the NFL. It was only his rookie season that Brown was able to suit up for all 16 games. Brown ended up playing 47 games in Cleveland and over the final six years, missed more games than he played.
The decision (in hindsight) hurts all the more when you see the other defensive ends that were on the board, such as the next man on our list.
11 Stud: John Abraham
John Abraham was off to a fantastic start after being drafed 13th overall, but unfortunately he was injured only six games into his rookie season. Thankfully, he was able to come back strong and stayed healthy the next two years, when he started to dominate. Abraham was selected to five Pro Bowls and is one of only 31 men who have sacked the QB at least 100 times (currently 12th all time with 133.5).
The Jets traded Abraham away to the Falcons, where he recorded 68.5 of his career sacks. Abraham’s career unfortunately came to an end in 2014 after he suffered a concussion during a game against the Chargers. Given the increased focus on head injuries, you can imagine this was a serious concern for Abraham, who after talking to Bruce Arians, elected to retire.
While a sad end, he was still able to amass 192 games and is definitely in the talking debate for a potential Hall of Fame induction one day.
10 Dud: Trung Canidate
Going into the 2000 NFL Draft, the Rams were feeling pretty good. After all, they had just won the Super Bowl! But as fans of the NFL know, the Rams didn’t stay on top for very long and a big reason for that was failing to have hits in the first round. Such as the puzzling decision to go with Trung Canidate, a solid running back, but far from a necessity when you consider the Rams had Marshall Faulk who was coming off an MVP season and was a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
In Canidate’s three seasons with the Rams, he started only three games and was eventually traded to the Washington Redskins. He started 10 games for the Redskins, but then was replaced when the Redskins traded for Clinton Portis before he was subsequently released.
9 Stud: Thomas Jones
Coming into the draft, the debate was definitely going between who would be better: Thomas Jones or Jamal Lewis. While they had much different career experiences, Jones finished with 10,591 yards which was only 16 yards behind Lewis’ 10,607. Granted Thomas had an extra 100+ carries, but still!
Jones was selected seventh overall in the draft, but he was unable to make an impact with the Cardinals and after three years in which he ran for 373, 380, and 511 yards. Jones was cut and signed with the Bucs. In Tampa, Jones was successful enough to scrap out 627 yards, but it wasn’t enough to land a long-term job.
Thankfully Chicago gave him a shot for three years and then the Jets also tried out Jones for three years. For the two teams, Jones rushed for 7,326 yards.
His best year was arguably in 2009 in which he rushed for 14 TDs. Over the course of his entire career, Jones found the end zone 74 times.
8 Dud: Ron Dayne
There’s no doubting that there were reasons to get behind selecting Ron Dayne. He won the Heisman in 1999 and the New York Giants thought that he would be a great compliment to Tiki Barber.
Dayne was apparently not committed to staying in shape though and despite shedding 40 pounds, was unable to make a lasting impression in New York and was cut following an ineffective 2004 season in which Dayne ran for only 179 yards in 14 games. Proving that it wasn’t just the Giants, Dayne struggled in Denver the following year amassing only 270 yards in 10 games.
While there were definitely a lot of talented players in the draft, it’s definitely going to hurt a lot more that three 'stud' running backs make our list. Dayne ended his career with a rushing average of 3.8 yards.
7 Stud: Jamal Lewis
Jamal Lewis was an absolute bruiser of a running back and when he came onto the scene in 2000, it was clear that he had a nice career ahead of him. Lewis was able to recover from a torn lateral collateral ligament that he suffered in college and his rookie campaign saw him run the ball for 1,364 yards, including one game in which he rushed for over 200 yards. He followed it up by another 1,300+ yard before turning it onto another level in 2003.
Lewis rushed for 2,066 yards, 14 TDs, and was only 39 yards away from passing Eric Dickerson for the most yards in a single season. Unfortunately, Lewis’ end in Baltimore came after the Ravens released him with hopes that they’d re-sign him, but the Cleveland Browns swooped in and Lewis ended his career with three years for the Dawg Pound.
Selected fifth overall, Lewis was the first running back off the board, but did you think he was better than Thomas Jones?
6 Dud: Travis Taylor
Now we need to be able to clarify: while Travis Taylor did not have exactly the worst career in the world, it definitely wasn’t the value that you would hope to receive from the 10th overall pick in the draft. Given that the Ravens had already gone offensive with Jamal Lewis earlier, you can imagine they probably wish they had looked a little more at the defensive side or at least bolstering a different area of their offense.
During his rookie season, Taylor only recorded 276 yards and 28 catches while suiting up in nine games. His peak came in 2002 in which he had 61 catches for 869 yards, but he then started dropping off and was cut prior to the 2005 season.
Taylor was able to play for the Vikings for two seasons, putting together two, 600+ yard seasons. To Taylor’s credit, at least he was part of the 2000 Ravens team that saw them dominate the league defensively and beat the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
5 Stud: Shaun Ellis
In the 2000 draft, the New York Jets clearly wanted to bolster their defensive line. With the 13th overall pick they took John Abraham, who you’ve already read about and with the 12th overall pick, they selected Shaun Ellis. While Ellis’ career was not quite as successful as Abraham, he did spend a longer time in New York, spending 11 years with the franchise and suited up for the Gang Green 170 times….though he did end his career as a Patriot, so I mean, you have to hold that against him at least a little. Ellis retired after spending one year with the Patriots after they lost 21-17 against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
Ellis ended his career with 73.5 sacks and was voted to two Pro Bowls. His best seasons came in 2003 in which he recorded 12.5 sacks, and then followed it up the following year with an impressive 11 sack season.
4 Dud: Peter Warrick
Peter Warrick was the first wide receiver off the board and the fourth player drafted overall. Four picks later, Plaxico Burress went to the Steelers, oops! Warrick was completely ineffective in Cincinnati and had three seasons in which he hovered around 650 yards.
It definitely doesn’t help his credibility when you consider that in the 2004 season, Warrick went down with an injury and his job was taken from him by T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was selected by the Bengals in the seventh round of the 2001 draft.
Warrick was then released and spent one year with Seattle in which he finished the season with 11 catches. By the time 2007 had rolled around, Warrick was spending some time in the AFL, at least he was supposed to. Warrick was signed by the Las Vegas Gladiators, but he then no-showed for Week 1 and was subsequently placed on the ‘refused to report’ list by the team.
3 Stud: Chris Samuels
Now just because offensive lineman don’t necessarily get the same attention as some of the flashier positions out there, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still arguably one of the most important parts of the game. Chris Samuels was selected third overall by the Redskins and went onto have a 10 year career, in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl six times.
The Redskins clearly believed in Samuels, trading two first round picks as well as a fourth and a fifth pick for the chance to move up and take Samuels. Thankfully, he was able to repay their efforts by spending his entire career with the franchise and is considered to be one of the greatest Redskins of all time.
Samuels' career, unfortunately, came to a tragic end after he suffered upper-body paralysis after a helmet to helmet collision while playing the Panthers on October 11, 2009. It was determined that Samuels’ spinal stenosis, a condition that he had since he was a child, played a factor in the injury, but ended his football career.
2 Dud: Rashard Anderson
When you get picked 23rd overall, you need to hope that at the very least you are going to get someone that is going to step in and be a dependable player. Yet nothing is less dependable than having a player that gets suspended by the NFL. Rashard Anderson was suspended in 2002 for a year after failing the substance abuse policy. If that wasn’t bad enough, he then failed to meet the requirements for reinstatement and the suspension was extended for another year.
He was then finally able to meet the requirements and was reinstated by the NFL, and the Carolina Panthers promptly released him. Anderson then went onto try his luck in the CFL but was cut only a month after signing a contract with the Calgary Stampeders.
Anderson had two seasons in the NFL in which he played 12 and 15 games but did not do anything of note.
1 Stud: Tom Brady
There is no doubting the legendary status of Tom Brady, but why not take some time just to hear more about the legend. Drafted 199th overall, Brady is the ultimate underdog success story and on top of winning multiple rings, he looks just as good now than perhaps ever before. When talking about him, center Eric Wood (who plays for the Bills) said “It seems like he hasn't aged a bit since I got in the league, Tom gets better each and every year. That's remarkable."
When the NFL puts together the list of the top 100 players of the year, as voted on by the players, Brady has landed in the top five spots since 2011. This includes being ranked #1 in 2011, and most recently #3 after another strong campaign.
For those unaware where he stands in terms of all-time greatness, Brady is fifth all-time in passing yards, third in touchdowns, and has won two MVP awards.