This is the third installment of my series “The 2007 Draft at ten” where I have been reviewing the first round selections of one of the first draft classes I really followed through the draft process. This installment has a little bit of everything as it features a Super Bowl champion, multiple players who played (or are still playing) at a Pro Bowl level and then some of your typical draft busts. The two previous installments of this series can be found here.
17. Denver Broncos: Jarvis Moss, DE Florida: At 6’6″ 270 pounds with a 4.7 forty, the Broncos thought they had found a potential star pass rusher in Moss and traded up to select him. Unfortunately, Moss never really found his footing in the league. HIs rookie season was cut short after just six games as a broken shin placed him on injured reserve. In 2008, Moss had his best season playing in 12 games, serving as an effective defender against the run and recording 2.5 sacks.
Leading up to the 2009 season as a result of a scheme change, Moss was asked to move from defensive end to outside linebacker (a position he had never played). Leading up to that season it was reported that Moss considered retirement with the position adjustment possibly playing a role. Moss ended up returning to the team, and was released by the Broncos in the middle of the 2010 season. He was then signed by the Raiders for the rest of that year, and was also signed to a one year deal through 2011. That was the last of Moss’ NFL career although it was reported that the Cowboys gave him a tryout in 2013.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: Leon Hall, CB Michigan: Despite a lack of accolades, Hall has had a very productive NFL career to this point. The Bengals drafted Hall to pair him with Johnathan Joseph who they had selected in the first round just a year before, and it worked out very well. Hall was an immediate contributor to the Bengals secondary and was even named a 2nd team All-Pro in 2009. Even more impressive regarding Hall is that he has continued to be productive despite having not one, but two seasons ending as a result of a torn Achilles tendon (2011 and ’13).
After nine seasons with the Bengals, Hall signed with the Giants in 2016 where he played twelve games at corner. He was one of the league’s better slot corners at the end of his stint with the Bengals, so even entering free agency at 32, Hall should continue to play for at least another few years.
19. Tennessee Titans: Michael Griffin, S Texas: A four year starter at Texas, Griffin came in right away and made an impact for the Titans defense. In 2008 he had his breakout campaign as he recorded seven interceptions and made his first Pro Bowl as a result. Griffin went on to make another Pro Bowl in 2010, and was also named second team All Pro in that same season. After nine seasons with the Titans, they released Griffin in the 2016 offseason.
He went on to sign with the Vikings but was released with an injury settlement before week one. Griffin ended up catching on with the Panthers where he started six games. With over 800 career total tackles, 25 interceptions and ten years in the league, Griffin has had a very nice career to this point. He is currently a free agent, so his 2017 team if he wishes to continue playing has yet to be determined.
20. New York Giants: Aaron Ross, CB Texas: Having won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top collegiate defensive back to go along with sprinters speed, Ross had a lot of things teams look for in a number one corner. His career got off to a great start as he became a starting corner on what’s now a highly memorable Giants defense where he won a Super Bowl as a rookie which gave him both a Super Bowl and national championship ring. In his first two years, Ross was an outside corner who had a combined six interceptions while returning two for touchdowns.
In 2009, he missed the majority of the season and was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. While he played as a slot corner in 2010, Ross had his best year as a pro back on the outside in 2011 as he recorded four interceptions and proved to be viable against the run. That same year he went on to win a second Super Bowl ring with the Giants. When he hit free agency, Ross signed a three year deal with the Jaguars which only lasted a year and he went on to later say was a “nice paid vacation to Florida” to which he did later apologize. After his release, Ross signed back with the Giants in 2013 but his return was short lived as a back injury placed him on injured reserve after week four.
That week four game ended up being the last of Ross’ career. While he signed with the Ravens for 2014, he tore his Achilles during an offseason conditioning test. Ross attempted to catch on with the Browns in 2015 after going through the grueling rehabilitation process, but did not make the final roster. While it surely didn’t end how Ross would of liked, an eight year career with multiple Super Bowl rings is something he could proudly look back on.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars: Reggie Nelson, S Florida: A focal point on Florida’s 2006 national championship defense, Nelson didn’t have to move far for his first NFL home. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned in Nelson’s first three years in Jacksonville. Too frequently would be play instinctually which is something Peyton Manning would easily exploit in their divisional matchups. It appeared a fresh start would be needed to rejuvenate Nelson’s career after 2009, and he got just that in what now is one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory.
In 2010, Nelson was traded to the Bengals for cornerback David Jones (who played five games with the Jaguars). Under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer, Nelson suddenly became the player many expected him to be out of college and his work in pass coverage drastically improved. In his six years with the Bengals, Nelson racked up 460 total tackles, had 23 career interceptions (including a league high 8 in 2015), forced five fumbles and was named second team All-Pro in 2015.
Last offseason, Nelson was a free agent and took that opportunity to get back together with his former head coach in Jacksonville, Jack Del Rio. The season resulted in Nelson’s second straight Pro Bowl appearance as he recorded five interceptions and provided a stable presence in the secondary for one of the league’s most improved teams. Nelson should continue to be a focal point of the Raiders defense in 2017.
22. Cleveland Browns: Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame: Once projected to be the top quarterback picked in this draft, Quinn’s draft status started to free fall after Dolphins passed on him at nine. Now one of the more memorable draft slides of all time, it got to the point on draft day where Roger Goodell invited Quinn to leave the green room and stay with him to eliminate the scrutiny of cameras. Quinn’s fall came to an end when the Browns traded up to get the Ohio native and presumed quarterback of the future.
With the emergence of Derek Anderson and a potent Browns offense in 2007, Quinn only attempted 8 passes in his rookie campaign. In 2008, the Browns brought Anderson back resulting in Quinn starting the year as a backup. After a slow start, Quinn was named the starter but that lasted three games before needing season ending surgery.
2009 was the most Quinn played in a season after winning the starting job over Anderson in training camp. However the two rotated out of the starting spot throughout the year, and Quinn played in 10 games (started nine) while throwing for 1,339 yards, 8 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
In the 2010 offseason, Quinn was traded to the Broncos for a 6th round pick and eventual Madden cover boy Peyton Hillis. Quinn spent two years in Denver, but with Kyle Orton and then Tim Tebow in the fold, he did not take a snap. In 2012, Quinn did get to play 10 games with the Chiefs and started eight of them. One of those games resulted in what was probably his finest day as a pro winning AFC offensive player of the week after going 19 of 23 for 201 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Panthers. Unfortunately for Quinn, those were the only touchdown passes he threw in Kansas City.
For a few years after that, Quinn had numerous tryouts or was brought into camp for teams to get a look. The Seahawks and Jets gave him a look in 2013, but he ended up signing with the Rams later that year where he was placed on injured reserve. Quinn last got a look from the Dolphins in 2014. Quinn finished his career with 3,043 yards, a completion percentage of 53.8 and threw 12 touchdowns to 17 career interceptions. He is now an analyst for Fox Sports where he works as a color commentator for both college and pro games.
23. Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe, WR LSU: Checking in with prototypical measurables for a wideout and college production to go with it, Bowe made tons of sense for a Chiefs team in need of a receivers. Right away he showed the Chiefs what he was capable of as he hauled in 70 passes for 995 yards and six touchdowns setting franchise rookie records in the process. Bowe recorded his first 1,000 yard season in 2008 to go along with seven touchdowns, but in part due to the quarterback carousel going on in Kansas City, Bowe’s tenure there was one of inconsistency.
His apex was a 2010 season in which he hauled in 72 passes for 1,162 yards and a league high 15 touchdowns which was aided by a seven week span where he hauled in a whopping 13 touchdowns. This was the first and last year that Bowe made the Pro Bowl. Despite not having reported injuries, Bowe had his last 1,000 yard season in 2011 at age 27. The Chiefs ended up releasing Bowe in the 2015 offseason.
Bowe then signed a two year deal with the Browns, where many would of assumed he would of taken on number one receiver duties. Instead, he appeared in only seven games catching five of the 13 passes thrown his way for 53 yards. Considering the depth of receiver around the league and that he didn’t play this past season, it’s fair to assume Bowe’s days in the NFL are done after nine years. While 537 catches for 7,208 yards and 44 touchdowns is a very fine career in itself, there is reason to believe that in a different situation his career would of been more decorated.
24. New England Patriots: Brandon Meriweather, S Miami (FL): One of my favorite prospects entering this draft, Meriweather looked to be the next safety from “The U” to go on to become a star at the next level. While he showed flashes early on his career, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Meriweather was a reserve on the famous 16-0 Patriots team as a rookie, but became a starter in 2008 where he showed flashes of his Pro Bowl level talent. That came to fruition over the next two seasons as Meriweather made consecutive Pro Bowls in 2009 and 2010. Entering the last year of his rookie deal in 2011, he was a surprising final cut by the Patriots but as we all know now, even if it’s surprising you have to give Bill Belichick and company the benefit of the doubt. Meriweather ended up signing with the Bears that season where he gained a reputation for his hard hitting ways.
He then signed a two year deal with the Redskins the first of which was ended by a freak injury in pregame warmups where receiver Aldrick Robinson collided with him and resulted in Meriweather tearing his ACL. In 2013, Meriweather once again was under attack for his style of play and exchanged some barbs with Brandon Marshall on the matter through the media. He started the 24 games he played with the Redskins between the 2013-14 seasons. In 2015, Meriweather signed with the Giants where he started 12 games but he did not play during the 2016 season. Now 33, it is likely Meriweather has played his last NFL game. He would finish with over 450 total tackles, 17 interceptions and nine forced fumbles for his career.