A look back at the best and worst picks of the draft seven years ago:
Tony Romo, QB, Eastern Illinois
The Division I-AA star had a big fan in then-Dallas quarterbacks coach Sean Payton, an Eastern Illinois alumnus. Romo won the chance to start from Bill Parcells three years later and since has settled in as the next great Cowboys quarterback. At 29, he is just hitting his prime.
Antonio Gates, TE, Kent State
The Colts (Dallas Clark, Round 1) and Cowboys (Jason Witten, Round 3) also found elite tight ends in this draft, but San Diego’s scouts had the foresight to see how Gates’ great basketball skills as a power forward would help him become the best "post-up" receiver in the NFL.
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Cal
Raiders: Round 1, Pick 31
It was a good draft for cornerbacks, and Asomugha was the last of five to go in the first round. He also has been the best, noting that Andre Woolfolk and Sammy Davis went right before him. Asomugha’s name was hard to pronounce on draft day, but every top receiver in the league now knows it.
Asante Samuel, CB, Central Florida
Patriots: Round 4, Pick 120
New England realized just how deep the cornerbacks ran in this draft and landed the premier ballhawk of the group. Samuel helped the Patriots reach three Super Bowls before signing as a free agent with Philadelphia two years ago. He has 35 interceptions and four touchdowns in seven seasons.
Robert Mathis, DE, Alabama A&M
Colts: Round 5, Pick 138
Thanks to team president/G.M. Bill Polian, the Colts find late-round gems year after year. In the same year, Polian also grabbed linebacker Cato June in the sixth round and signed linebacker Gary Brackett as an undrafted free agent. Mathis has been a consistent, disruptive force opposite All-Pro Dwight Freeney.
Charles Rogers, WR, Michigan State
Lions: Round 1, Pick 2
The Lions made many bad draft picks the past decade, including some notable ones involving wide receivers. Rogers looked like a can’t-miss prospect athletically, a la Larry Fitzgerald and future Lion Calvin Johnson, but a lack of work ethic, injuries and a history of drug abuse caused his career to fizzle fast. The Texans, sitting in the next slot, were lucky Detroit president/G.M. Matt Millen didn’t opt for Andre Johnson instead.
Johnathan Sullivan, DT, Georgia
Saints: Round 1, Pick 6
Sullivan had three ho-hum seasons in New Orleans before being shipped off to New England in a minor trade in 2006. Just like Rogers, problems stemming from marijuana caught up with Sullivan and put a quick end to his NFL career.
Dewayne Robertson, DT, Kentucky
Jets: Round 1, Pick 4
Jets officials finally moved past this whiff as the concerns have turned to whether 2008 No. 6-overall pick Vernon Gholston will meet the same fate. Although Robertson proved to be a durable starter early in his career, he never made enough big plays to justify this pick.
Michael Haynes, DE, Penn State
Bears: Round 1, Pick 14
Haynes was supposed to energize Chicago’s pass rush. Instead, despite sharing a name with a Hall of Fame cornerback, he made few plays. The highlight of his three-year NFL career was a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Kwame Harris, OT, Stanford
49ers: Round 1, Pick 26
San Francisco thought it had a solid, athletic left tackle for a decade, but Harris just didn’t put it all together. He last played across the Bay in Oakland in ’08 before leaving football to pursue a career as a chef.
2003 NFL draft, First round
1. Cincinnati — Carson Palmer, QB, USC
2. Detroit — Charles Rogers, WR, Michigan St.
3. Houston — Andre Johnson, WR, Miami (Fla.)
4. N.Y. Jets — Dewayne Robertson, DT, Kentucky
5. Dallas — Terence Newman, CB, Kansas State
6. New Orleans — Johnathan Sullivan, DT, Georgia
7. Jacksonville — Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall
8. Carolina — Jordan Gross, OT, Utah
9. Minnesota — Kevin Williams, DE, Oklahoma St.
10. Baltimore — Terrell Suggs, OLB, Arizona State
11. Seattle — Marcus Trufant, CB, Washington St.
12. St. Louis — Jimmy Kennedy, DT, Penn State
13. New England — Ty Warren, DE, Texas A&M
14. Chicago — Michael Haynes, DE, Penn State
15. Philadelphia — Jerome McDougle, DE, Miami (Fla.)
16. Pittsburgh — Troy Polamalu, DB, USC
17. Arizona — Bryant Johnson, WR, Penn State
18. Arizona — Calvin Pace, DE, Wake Forest
19. Baltimore — Kyle Boller, QB, Cal
20. Denver — George Foster, OT, Georgia
21. Cleveland — Jeff Faine, C, Notre Dame
22. Chicago — Rex Grossman, QB, Florida
23. Buffalo — Willis McGahee, RB, Miami (Fla.)
24. Indianapolis — Dallas Clark, TE, Iowa
25. N.Y. Giants — William Joseph, DT, Miami (Fla.)
26. San Francisco — Kwame Harris, OT, Stanford
27. Kansas City — Larry Johnson, RB, Penn State
28. Tennessee — Andre Woolfolk, CB, Oklahoma
29. Green Bay — Nick Barnett, MLB, Oregon State
30. San Diego — Sammy Davis, CB, Texas A&M
31. Oakland — Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Cal
32. Oakland — Tyler Brayton, DE, Colorado
33. Cincinnati — Eric Steinbach, G, Iowa
34. Detroit — Boss Bailey, OLB, Georgia
35. Chicago — Charles Tillman, CB, La.-Lafayette
36. New England — Eugene Wilson, S, Illinois
37. New Orleans — Jonathan Stinchcomb, OT, Georgia
38. Dallas — Al Johnson, C, Wisconsin
39. Jacksonville — Rashean Mathis, CB, Bethune-Cookman
40. Minnesota — E.J. Henderson, LB, Maryland
41. Houston — Bennie Joppru, TE, Michigan
42. Seattle — Ken Hamlin, S, Arkansas
43. St. Louis — Pisa Tinoisamoa, OLB, Hawaii
44. Washington — Taylor Jacobs, WR, Florida
45. New England — Bethel Johnson, WR, Texas A&M
46. San Diego — Drayton Florence, CB, Tuskegee
47. Kansas City — Kawika Mitchell, MLB, South Florida
48. Buffalo — Chris Kelsay, DE, Nebraska
49. Miami — Eddie Moore, LB, Tennessee
50. Carolina — Bruce Nelson, C, Iowa
51. Denver — Terry Pierce, LB, Kansas State
52. Cleveland — Chaun Thompson, LB, West Texas A&M
53. N.Y. Jets — Victor Hobson, LB, Michigan
54. Arizona — Anquan Boldin, WR, Florida State
55. Atlanta — Bryan Scott, S, Penn State
56. N.Y. Giants — Osi Umenyiora, DE, Troy
57. San Francisco — Anthony Adams, DT, Penn State
58. Indianapolis — Mike Doss, S, Ohio State
59. Pittsburgh — Alonzo Jackson, LB, Florida State
60. Tennessee — Tyrone Calico, WR, M. Tennessee St.
61. Philadelphia — L.J. Smith, TE, Rutgers
62. San Diego — Terrence Kiel, S, Texas A&M
63. Oakland — Teyo Johnson, TE, Stanford
64. Tampa Bay — Dewayne White, DE, Louisville
Vinnie Iyer is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.