2004 NFL Redraft: Does Eli Manning, San Diego Chargers QB swap still happen?

The 2004 NFL Draft Redraft | Picks 17-32

17) Denver Broncos: Karlos Dansby, LB, Auburn

Although D.J. Williams was a solid pick for the Denver Broncos, they get an upgrade at the linebacker position in this 2014 NFL Draft redraft. Dansby made an immediate impact as a second-round pick for the Arizona Cardinals. He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team. Some nine years later, he was a second-team All-Pro selection.

A productive coverage linebacker, Dansby finished his NFL career with 20 interceptions and had 43 sacks. He had stops in Miami, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, before returning to Arizona to finish his career in 2017.

18) New Orleans Saints: Will Smith, DE, Ohio State

No need for a change here. Will Smith spent his entire playing career with the New Orleans Saints. He registered 67.5 sacks and 20 forced fumbles in eight years with the franchise. His impact on the Saints was recognized with his induction to the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. Smith won Super Bowl XLIV with the Saints.

19) Miami Dolphins: Vernon Carey, OT, Miami (FL)

As we head into the 2021 NFL Draft, Miami fans would love to get back to the days of having an eight-year starter on the offensive line. Vernon Carey played across the line for the Dolphins before retiring from football in 2012. Although they also had needs at defensive tackle, Carey was — and probably still is — the best available option.

20) Minnesota Vikings: Jason Babin, DE, Western Michigan

Sadly, the Minnesota Vikings’ original selection Kenechi Udeze had to medically retire after just four seasons in the NFL due to the side effects of chemotherapy to treat cancer. He had logged 11 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in his career. He went on to coach, currently serving as the Tennessee Titans’ assistant defensive line coach.

In this 2014 NFL Draft redraft, the Vikings instead select Western Michigan defensive end Jason Babin. The former 27th overall pick of the Houston Texans forged an 11-year career. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2011 and twice went to the Pro Bowl. Babin racked up 64.5 sacks and 14 fumbles while playing for nine teams.

21) New England Patriots: Bob Sanders, S, Iowa

Vince Wilfork is gone in this 2004 NFL Draft redraft. However, the New England Patriots move to improve the defense with the selection of Desmond “Bob” Sanders. The big-hitting safety may have only had a short NFL career, but it was an impactful one.

Related | Redrafting the 2016 NFL Draft: Carson Wentz no longer an Eagle

The second-round selection out of Iowa won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a two-time first-team All-Pro. In the crowning glory of his injury-ravaged career, he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007.

22) Buffalo Bills: Matt Schaub, QB, Virginia

Whereas their first selection in the opening round of the 2004 NFL Draft was well received, the selection of J.P. Losman out of Tulane with the 22nd overall pick turned out to be not so impressive. In fairness to Losman, a broken leg sustained in his rookie training camp wasn’t the ideal way to start his NFL career. However, he went on to post a 33-34 touchdown-to-interception ratio and was allowed to leave the Bills at the end of his rookie contract.

Enter Matt Schaub. It’s easy to forget that Schaub led the NFL in passing yards in 2009 and that he twice went to the Pro Bowl. He might not be the most tantalizing prospect for Bills fans, but outside of Rivers, Roethlisberger, and Manning, the quarterback-needy team doesn’t have many other options than the former third-rounder.

23) Seattle Seahawks: Darnell Dockett, DT, Florida State

Original pick Marcus Tubbs arrived in the NFL as a promising All-Big 12 defensive tackle. However, just four injury-ravaged seasons later and he was back out of the league. In this redraft of the 2004 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks shore up the defensive line with Florida State defensive tackle Darnell Dockett.

Dockett was the Arizona Cardinals’ first pick in the third round. His performances as a rookie would earn him a place on the NFL All-Rookie Team. He was a part of the team that took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, ultimately losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A three-time Pro Bowler, Dockett was named second-team All-Pro in 2009. He ended his career in 2016 with 40.5 sacks and 7 forced fumbles.

24) St. Louis Rams: Michael Turner, RB, Northern Illinois

With running back Steven Jackson long gone in this 2004 NFL Draft redraft, the then-St. Louis Rams address the running back position somewhat differently. Michael Turner was a school record-setter at Northern Illinois, but his small school status led to him slipping to the fifth round, where the Chargers picked him up.

He went on to have an All-Pro career with appearances on the first team (2008) and second team (2010). Turner had 7,338 career rushing yards and 66 touchdowns in his eight years in the league. His performances for the Chargers earned him a lucrative deal with the Atlanta Falcons, where he rushed for over 200 yards on his debut.

25) Green Bay Packers: Nathan Vasher, CB, Texas

Texas cornerback Nathan Vasher is an infinitely better selection for the Green Bay Packers in this 2004 NFL Draft redraft. Original selection Ahmad Carroll flamed out after just three seasons in the NFL. He was burnt on the field and found himself on the wrong side of the law off the field.

Vasher earned the nickname “The Interceptor” during his early career at the Chicago Bears. The fourth-round selection logged 20 career interceptions. In his best season, the former Longhorns DB was named first-team All-Pro in 2005. Unfortunately, his Chicago career was ended by injuries, followed by unsuccessful stints in San Diego and Detroit.

26) Cincinnati Bengals: Nick Hardwick, C, Purdue

The Cincinnati Bengals used the 26th overall pick to select Michigan running back Chris Perry. He amassed a meager 606 career rushing yards and 2 touchdowns before being released in 2009.

In this 2014 NFL Draft redraft, they choose a slightly different path. Starting center Rich Braham was 34 during the season and would only play two more seasons in the NFL. Instead of selecting a running back, they put the future protection of quarterback Carson Palmer in Purdue center Nick Hardwick’s hands.

Hardwick forged a 10-year career in the NFL after being drafted in the third round by the Chargers. He was twice named Chargers Offensive Lineman of the Year and was voted to the Chargers’ 50th Anniversary Team.

27) Houston Texans: Chris Snee, G, Boston College

After locking down the defensive line with Vince Wilfork, the Houston Texans use their other first-round pick to address the offensive line. The Texans’ line is credited with ruining David Carr’s career, so selecting Boston College guard Chris Snee would be music to the quarterback’s ears.

Snee — originally selected in the second round by the New York Giants — was a first-team All-Pro in 2008. He followed that with consecutive seasons where he was named second-team All-Pro. Snee played 141 games and won two Super Bowls with the Giants.

28) Carolina Panthers: Mike Adams, S, Delaware

Although original selection Chris Gamble had a solid NFL career, the Carolina Panthers add a different dimension to their secondary in this 2004 NFL Draft redraft. Delaware safety Mike Adams went undrafted in 2004 but went on to have a 15-year career that saw him twice go to the Pro Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts.

Adams logged 83 pass breakups and 30 interceptions in an NFL career that saw him play for six teams. Coincidentally, he had a two-year spell with the Panthers in the twilight of his career. Here, they get to use him in his prime.

29) Atlanta Falcons: Jerricho Cotchery, WR, North Carolina State

The 2004 class of wide receivers wasn’t particularly strong, as the Atlanta Falcons found out. Michael Jenkins had a nine-year career but never broke over 800 yards for the Falcons as a target for Mike Vick and Matt Ryan.

This time around, they select North Carolina State wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. With 6,623 receiving yards and 34 career touchdowns, Cotchery was still playing at a decent level when he retired in 2015. He had a career-high 10 receiving touchdowns in 2013 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. By that time, Jenkins was on his way out of the NFL.

30) Detroit Lions: Willie Parker, RB, North Carolina

Although original pick Kevin Jones had an excellent rookie season, injuries led to him becoming a backup and his eventual release. He backed up Matt Forte in Chicago before ending his NFL career in 2010.

Even though his career didn’t last much longer, “Fast” Willie Parker certainly would have provided more upside for the Detroit Lions. Parker had over 5,000 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns as an undrafted free agent of the Pittsburgh Steelers. A two-time Super Bowl Champion, Parker holds the longest run in Super Bowl history.

31) San Francisco 49ers: Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma

As mentioned earlier in this 2004 NFL Draft redraft, the wide receiver class left a lot to be desired. The San Francisco 49ers selected Rashaun Woods, who contributed just 160 yards and 1 touchdown in his short career.

With few viable receiving options, the 49ers instead select the best player available in Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2005, logging 31.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.

32) New England Patriots: Chris Cooley, TE, Utah State

With the final selection in this 2004 NFL Draft redraft, the New England Patriots select Utah State tight end Chris Cooley. With 4,711 receiving yards and 33 receiving touchdowns, Cooley fits the now-famous Patriots mold of the pass-catching tight end.

Despite Cooley’s selection here, the Patriots found a star originally in Georgia tight end Ben Watson. The first-rounder would go on to have a 15-year career in the NFL, retiring after a second stint in New England.

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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.

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