Receivers were the class of 2004 draft


NEW YORK -- For months, everyone was hearing how this NFL draft was heavy on receivers and thin on offensive linemen.

The scouts were right on, and that became even more apparent during the second day of the NFL draft Sunday.

Only 12 offensive linemen were selected Saturday in the first three rounds. But while teams had a chance to reflect on their scouting boards Saturday night, they awoke Sunday morning and still ignored the offensive linemen in the fourth round, selecting only five more.

Good thing practice squads were expended from five to eight, because the NFL treated the offensive line class of 2004 like practice squaders. Nineteen of the 26 tackles went in the second day -- a dozen in the sixth and seventh rounds alone. Seven of the nine centers went on Day 2. Only eight guards were drafted in the entire seven rounds.

No team needs offensive linemen more than the Chargers, who released eight of the 11 blockers from last year's team. The Chargers drafted only three, including Shane Olivea from Ohio State and Carlos Joseph from Miami in the seventh round. Third-round choice Nick Hardwick, a center, is expected to be a backup to Jason Ball.

There may not be more than eight to 10 legitimate first-year starters from this group of linemen. It's not that they won't develop. Most of the tackles were 6-7 or 6-6. All were in the 300-pound plus range. But the NFL is for now, and these linemen were drafted for the future.

As for the receivers, the class lived up to billing. There were 31 receivers drafted, including 13 in the first three rounds and seven in the first round alone. Many of these top receivers can be No. 1 threats. Many of the down-the-line prospects had either size or speed.

Here's the 10 things from the second day of the draft that catch your eye:

1. Call it the Tom Brady syndrome. Quarterbacks were taken high or low. There was no middle class. Four went in the first round. The next QB wasn't picked until Matt Schaub (Virginia) went to Atlanta in the third. Luke McCown (Louisiana Tech) followed to Cleveland in the fourth and Craig Krenzel (Ohio State) to Chicago in the fifth. Ten of the other 17 went in the sixth or seventh rounds. Most scouts thought this was a pretty good quarterback draft. Well, it was, but this quarterback class suffered because most teams have three on their depth charts already. That's why John Navarre fell all the way to the seventh round to Arizona despite all of his passing stats at Michigan. That's why Cody Pickett fell to San Francisco in the seventh despite being one of the most productive Pac-10 quarterbacks. Don't be surprised if one or two starting quarterbacks emerge from the sixth or seventh rounds of 2004 quarterback class.

2. The biggest drop involved Purdue tackle Kelly Butler. Many projected him to be a second-rounder. He went to the Lions in the sixth round as the 172nd choice. What happened? Teams only projected him to be a right tackle, he has some worries about his shoulder and he had a couple off-the-field fights that caused concerns for teams.

3. See, the Raiders did add some youth at wide receiver. Despite having ageless Tim Brown and Jerry Rice as starters, the Raiders took left tackle Robert Gallery instead of trading down to get Roy Williams. They waited until the second day to get their receivers -- Carlos Francis of Texas Tech and Johnnie Morant of Syracuse. Neither will work into the three-receiver mix, but the 5-foot-9 Francis could use his 4.3 speed to help on kickoffs and punts. He was the fastest player at the scouting combine and Al Davis loves speed. Morant might not have great speed, but he could be a tough slot receiver for the future.

4. The Eagles gave up a second-round pick to San Francisco to move up in the first round to take tackle Shawn Andrews, but a player to watch is his brother, Stacy. The Bengals took him in the fourth round and were lucky to get him. Stacy Andrews went to Mississippi as a track star -- an indoor weight thrower (hammer and discus). He's had only one year of football and is the rawest offensive lineman in the draft. Given a year or two of good coaching, he might develop into a stud. He has great feet, and he's massive at 346 pounds. He's a player to watch in 2005 and 2006.

5. The most interesting back-to-back choices were toward the bottom of the fifth round. Wide receiver Drew Carter of Ohio State went to the Panthers in the fifth round, 31st pick, and then the Patriots picked up wide receiver P.K. Sam of Florida State with the round's 32nd pick. Carter is coming off a major knee reconstruction but is running 4.4 40s in recent weeks. Sam is raw but he has a chance to develop over a couple years because he has all the size, speed and tools. The Patriots have the depth to develop guys like Sam. Interesting choices.

6. The draft was a traders market. There were a record 28 draft-day trades -- two more than ever before. This indicates it was a draft for needs. Teams that needed a running back traded for one. Teams that needed receivers traded for them. The Bills wanted quarterback J.P. Losman and traded a ransom to get him. The trend continued through the second day of the draft with 10 trades. That's rare.

7. Some veterans moved. Some veterans didn't. The most interesting trade came when the Ravens acquired wide receiver Kevin Johnson from the Jaguars for a fourth-round choice. The Ravens were willing to give the Browns a third for Dennis Northcutt. The Browns said no because they didn't want him in their division. Well, Johnson was the Browns top receiver for years and now he's a Raven. Interesting. Eagles guard John Welbourn ended up going to the talented Kansas City offensive line for a fifth-rounder this year and a fourth-rounder next year. Cowboys guard Larry Allen, Packers cornerback Mike McKenzie and Browns quarterback Tim Couch all remained with their respective teams.

8. The Titans believe in volume. They ended up with 13 draft choices. But they bombarded their defensive line needs by making four of their top six choices defensive linemen. The plan is for two or three of them to hit. At defensive end, they hope Travis LeBoy of Hawaii, Antwan Odom of Alabama and Bo Schobel of TCU can fill in some of the void as young prospects to replace Jevon Kearse. Randy Starks of Maryland has a chance to be the third tackle in the inside rotation.

9. So who said the Big Ten had a bad year. Ohio State set the record with 14 drafted players, including nine in the first four rounds. Purdue had nine, including four third-rounders -- linebacker Gilbert Gardner (Indianapolis), center Nick Hartwick (San Diego), linebacker Landon Johnson (Cincinnati) and safety Stuart Schweigert (Raiders). A total of 44 draft choices came from the Big 10.

10. The Chiefs waited until the fourth round to get a young receiver, Samie Parker of Oregon. They needed a young one in the first day, but that didn't happen for Dick Vermeil. Parker is only 5-10, 176. That's Az-Zahir Hakim size. But he's fast. He was a 6.63 60-meter runner and a 10.61 runner in the 100 meters.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.