The 2000s were a member able time in the National Football League, as we got to see one of the greatest rivalries come together (Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning), we had teams that won their first ever Super Bowl, and we had players that we could never forget. Watching the NFL in the 2000s makes me believe that I started watching football at its peak of success. Looking at the NFL now, there has been so much television time for the NFL, we have the game expanding into different countries, and we are helping making football known worldwide.
There are obviously the iconic players that help make the National Football League a lot of money in jersey sales, but then there are some players that are easily forgettable. In the 2000s for example there are several names that you can sit there and say to yourself “I have honestly no idea who this guy is”. Then there are other names that you sit there and say to yourself “Man how did I forget about him.” Now it is time to focus on the players that make you shake your head and remember when you use to watch them play, and let us focus on the decade known as the 2000s. With that being said there are dozens and dozens of names that I could mention that will make you remember them playing like it was just yesterday, but I want to focus on 15 guys that were good in the 2000s and that you will kick yourself because you forgot about them playing in the National Football League. Here are the 15 Forgotten Players in the 2000s.
15 David Garrard
David Garrard played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2002-2010, and he was drafted in the fourth round by the Jaguars in the 2002 NFL Draft. Garrard was drafted originally to be the successor of Mark Brunell, but then the Jaguars drafted Bryon Leftwich seventh overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. From 2003-2007 Garrard went back and forth with Leftwich on who the starting quarterback was. In 2005 Leftwich got hurt in week 12, and then Garrard finished with a 5-1 record to help lead the Jaguars to the playoffs. Then in 2006 Garrard replaced Leftwich as the starting quarterback, and finished the season with a 5-2 record. Garrard then outplayed Leftwich so much that the Jaguars released Leftwich to make Garrard to full time starter. In his 76 starts Garrard finished his career with a 39-37 record, while throwing for 16,003 yards to go along with 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions, and was a solid quarterback for the Jaguars in the 2000’s.
14 Zach Thomas
Zach Thomas started his career in 1996, but he was the Miami Dolphins in the 2000s. Thomas played in Miami from 1996-2007, and then for Dallas in 2008. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Miami Dolphins in the 1996 NFL Draft, and has put up some fantastic numbers throughout his career. In the 2000’s he made 1,155 tackles, to go along with 15.5 sacks and 9 interceptions. Those numbers are impressive and it is hard to say that you can actually remember him actually playing at all. Thomas was a six-time Pro Bowler in the 2000s to go along with being a 3 time first team all-pro, and a 2 time first team all-pro. He was also named to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team, which is a pretty big honor especially since not a lot of people remember him.
13 Lee Evans
Evans made his NFL debut in 2004, as he was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and was selected by the Buffalo Bills. Evans had some very good years in Buffalo, especially during the seasons of 2004-2009. He was a thousand plus yard receiver twice (2006, 2008), and he played in all 16 games in each season from 2004-2009. Lee was the all-around number one receiver for that Buffalo Bills team, and he did not have good quarterbacks throwing him the football either. His quarterbacks that he had in those years in Buffalo were Drew Bledsoe (2004), J.P. Losman (2005-2008), Kelly Holcomb (2005), Trent Edwards (2007-2009), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2009), and Brian Brohm (2009). Besides Bledsoe none of the quarterbacks that Evans had throwing him the ball were on any caliber of the talent that he had. Without Evans Buffalo would have had no good all-around receivers from the years 2004-2009.
12 Kerry Collins
Collins spent the prime of his career in the 2000’s and was the quarterback for the New York Giants (2000-2003), Oakland Raiders (2004-2005), and Tennessee Titans (2006-2009). Collins was the starter for the Giants going into the 2000 season and led them to the Super Bowl only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens, and then Collins spent another three years in New York and he finished his tenure in New York with a 35-33 record from 1999-2003. He then signed with Oakland and was originally the backup, but became the starter when Rich Gannon went down with an injury. Collins finished his two years in Oakland with a 7-21 record, and then he signed with the Titans in the 2005 offseason. He started off as the backup to Vince Young for the 2006 and 2007 season. T
hen he became the starter in 2008 and went to the Pro Bowl, and he finished the 2000s with a 55-66 record, and people wonder why he is forgettable.
11 Dallas Clark
Dallas Clark was taken in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, and has Peyton Manning to thank for helping him make his career a relevant one. Dallas Clark played in Indianapolis from 2003-2011, but his peak was from 2005-2009. Clark is a former Super Bowl Champion (2007), a one time Pro Bowler (2009), and a one time All-Pro (2009). He has one thousand yard plus receiving season (2009), and was one of Peyton’s most underrated targets that he ever had in his career. From 2003-2009 Clark had 356 receptions and added 4,188 receiving yards to that time span. Without Peyton Manning, Clark would have been a no name tight end that would of struggled in the National Football League without Peyton throwing him the football.
10 Fred Taylor
The former first round pick (1998) had a very successful career in the 2000s. Taylor’s 2000s career included him playing with Jacksonville (2000-2008) and New England (2009), and he had some great all-around years as an NFL running back. In Jacksonville, they were not too happy that he always had some sort of injury and was critical when he did not play a full season in his first four seasons in the National Football League. Then in 2002 and 2003, Taylor played in all 32 games and put up a career high 1,572 rushing yards in one season (2003). In the 2000s Taylor was a one-time Pro Bowler (2007) and rushed for 9,585 yards to go along with his 46 touchdowns. Fred Taylor was a six time 1,000 plus yard rusher in the 2000s and a seven time 1,000 plus yard rusher for his whole NFL career.
9 Jake Delhomme
Delhomme went undrafted in the 1997 NFL Draft, and did not get his first big break until the 2003 season where he took over at half time in week 1 and lead the Panthers to a comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then went on to lead the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance where they lost to the New England Patriots. Jake Delhomme finished that regular season with a 11-5 record, and beat the Cowboys, the Rams, and the Eagles in the playoffs to send the Panthers to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. After that Delhomme led Carolina to the playoffs two more times (2005, 2008), but other than that he was just a forgettable quarterback that Carolina had. In his career in Carolina, Delhomme had a record of 53-37 while throwing for 19,258 passing yards to go along with his 120 touchdowns and his 89 interceptions.
8 Jeff Garcia
Jeff Garcia was a talented quarterback that bounced around in his NFL career, he played with San Francisco (1999-2003), Cleveland (2004), Detroit (2005), Philadelphia (2006), Tampa Bay (2007-2008), and back to Philadelphia again (2009). Garcia was a four-time Pro Bowler (2000-2002, 2007) and had two playoff victories in his career. In the 2000s he started off as the franchise quarterback until his favorite target in Terrell Owens said that San Francisco should be playing Garcia’s backup over him. After that Garcia struggled to stay on one team until in 2007 when he made the Pro Bowl as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback. In his career in the 2000s Garcia had a record of 56-50 while throwing for 22,993 passing yards while adding 150 touchdowns and 72 interceptions.
7 Priest Holmes
Priest Holmes was another undrafted guy on this list and also won a Super Bowl in 2000 with the Baltimore Ravens. After that Super Bowl win, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and slowly became one of the best running backs in the National Football League from (2001-2003) until injuries cut his career short. Priest Holmes was a three-time Pro Bowler (2001-2003) and a three-time First Team All-Pro (2001-2003), and ran for over 1,000 yards in those three seasons as well. He was a big-time player as he ran for 20 plus touchdowns in both 2002 and 2003.
In his 2000s career Holmes tallied 6,658 rushing yards to go along with 78 rushing touchdowns including a career high 27 in 2003. If he didn’t have his career cut short due to injuries then we could potentially be talking about Holmes as one of the best running backs in NFL history.
6 Brian Westbrook
Brian Westbrook was drafted in the third round number 91 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2002 NFL Draft. Westbrook was a quality back who could rush twenty to thirty times a game, and he could also catch passes out of the back field. He played in Philadelphia from 2002-2009, and was one of McNabb’s favorite weapons that he had in his time in Philadelphia. Westbrook was a thousand plus yard rusher twice in his career, and he added two Pro Bowls (2004, 2007), and a First Team All-Pro (2007) to his resume. In his eight year Philadelphia career, he rushed for 5,995 yards, added 3.790 yards receiving to go along with his 66 total touchdowns (37 rushing and 29 receiving). He was a Philadelphia favorite and is in the Eagles Hall of Fame.
5 Donald Driver
One of Brett Favre’s favorite targets throughout his illustrious career was Donald Driver. Driver was a seventh round pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, and did not make a huge impact until the 2002 NFL season when he made his first Pro Bowl to go along with his first 1,000 plus yard receiving season. Donald Driver in the prime of his career had 7 1,000 plus yard receiving seasons from 2002-2009, and can add three Pro Bowls to his resume. He spent his entire career with Green Bay from 1999-2012, but was the number one receiver for Green Bay from 2002-2009 which he had both Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football in his career.
In his 2000s career he tallied 644 receptions for 9,019 receiving yards and added 48 touchdowns. Driver will go down as one of Green Bay’s all-time greats.
4 Warrick Dunn
The former Florida State Seminole was taken in the first round in the 1997 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 2000s Dunn played for Tampa Bay (2000-2001), then went to Atlanta (2002-2007), and then ended his career back in Tampa Bay (2008). Dunn ran for over 1,000 yards four times in the 2000s and five times for his whole career. He dominated in Atlanta due to the fact that Michael Vick was his quarterback so it opened the holes for the ground game so to speak. In his 2000s career Warrick Dunn ran for 8,347 yards to go along with 43 touchdowns. Dunn is so forgettable because when people think of the Atlanta Falcons in the early 2000s they think of Michael Vick, not Warrick Dunn.
3 Laveranues Coles
Laveranues Coles was drafted in the third round by the New York Jets in the 2000 NFL Draft. Coles played from 2000-2009, and he played for the New York Jets (2000-2002), the Washington Redskins (2003-2004), then the New York Jets again (2005-2008), and the Cincinnati Bengals (2009). He made the Pro Bowl in 2003 with the Redskins and other than that he was a number one/number two target for every team that he played for in his career. Coles in his career had 674 receptions to go along with 8,609 receiving yards and 49 touchdowns. He was one of the better receivers in the 2000s, but is completely forgettable due to the fact that he only made one Pro Bowl. Oh, and he played for the Jets.
2 Jake Plummer
Jake Plummer was taken in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Plummer played for Arizona (1997-2002) and Denver (2003-2006), and was a one-time Pro Bowler in 2005. He is most known as the quarterback that gave Tom Brady his first ever postseason loss in 2005. Brady was 11-0 until the Patriots played the Broncos in the 2005 AFC Divisional game. Plummer was a great quarterback in Denver due to the fact that he strived in the system that Mike Shanahan had. In his 2000s career Plummer had a 54-46 record while throwing for 21,202 passing yards to go along with 120 touchdowns and 102 interceptions. He is a very forgettable quarterback because of the fact that he put up great numbers, but only made a Pro Bowl one time.
1 Marc Bulger
Marc Bulger was a sixth round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and was selected by the New Orleans Saints. He did not get his first starting gig until the 2002 NFL season where he was the starting quarterback for the St. Louis Rams. Bulger showed some serious potential early in his career as he led the Rams to a playoff berth in the 2003 NFL season, but then after that season Bulger did not win more than eight games in a season. Bulger is a two-time Pro Bowler (2003, 2006) and only had two winning seasons in his career. He played as the starter for the Rams from 2002-2009 and he posted a 41-54 record in games in which he had started. Marc Bulger also added 22,814 passing yards to go along with 122 passing touchdowns and 93 interceptions. He is the most forgettable NFL player from the 2000s due to the fact that he could not put up a consistent run of winning seasons.