Alex Smith’s retirement leaves 2005 draft with few remaining players

2005 NFL Draft
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The retirement of Alex Smith, the first overall pick 16 years ago this month, leaves the 2005 draft with only a handful of remaining players.

With linebacker Thomas Davis (the fourteenth overall pick) retiring earlier this year, the only remaining active players under contract from the 2005 draft are Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (24th), Raiders offensive lineman Richie Incognito (81st), and Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (250th).

Free agents from the 2005 draft who have not retired include kicker Mike Nugent (47th), running back Frank Gore (65th), and punter Dustin Colquitt (99th).

The rest of the top 10 that year included Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown (No. 2), Browns receiver Braylon Edwards (No. 3), Bears running back Cedric Benson (No. 4), Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams (No. 6), Titans cornerback Pacman Jones (No. 6), Vikings receiver Troy Williamson (No. 7), Cardinals defensive back Antrel Rolle (No. 8), Washington cornerback Carlos Rogers (No. 9), and Lions receiver Mike Williams (No. 10). (And, yes, any of those teams could have had Aaron Rodgers instead.)

Other notable players included pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman, linebacker Derrick Johnson, receiver Roddy  White, offensive lineman Logan Mankins, receiver Vincent Jackson, running back Marion Barber, defensive end Chris Canty, quarterback Dan Orlovsky, tight end Bo Scaife, and quarterback Matt Cassel.

19 responses to “Alex Smith’s retirement leaves 2005 draft with few remaining players

  1. Only Rodgers destined for the HOF.
    Gore shouldn’t get in but probably will.

  2. Gore potentially outlasting his old quarterback really speaks to his longevity.

  3. I never will forget the feeling of despair and disappointment when my team selected Pacman Jones

  4. I won’t forget Da Bears selecting Benson (RIP) and leaving Cadillac Williams there…

  5. Quarterbacks and kickers do not have to be fast to play. So they can play well into their 30s and 40s, unlike running backs, linebackers, defensive backs and receivers.

  6. I would have guessed a number of those names were drafted 5 years earlier…

    Cadillac Williams and Antrel Rolle among them…

  7. Illustrates the difference on how QBs are drafted since the rookie wage scale and 5th year option. In 2021 Alex Smith and Rodgers go #1 and #2. Jason Campbell would be hovering around 10 to 15 maybe higher and Charlie Frye would have been gone in the 1st round. All these early QB picks aren’t panning out any better than those 4 did. Most far worse.

  8. The Vikings passed on Rodgers *twice* in 2005, not only Troy Williamson at 7 but Erasmus James at 18. Both those first round picks were completely out of the league after 2009.

  9. Alex Smith can still have a long career in the NFL as a coach in some capacity for any team

  10. trollingforjustice says:
    April 20, 2021 at 11:46 am
    Alex Smith can still have a long career in the NFL as a coach in some capacity for any team


    He could but probably won’t. Guys who made big money in the pros don’t want to put in the long hours to be a coach for the little pay they get.

  11. That’s a brutal top ten. Mike Williams takes the cake though. Takes it, eats it, and has another.

  12. People crap on Cedric Benson, but he had more career yards than Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams, and had 3 1000+ yard seasons, while Brown and Cadillac combined only had 2.

  13. I remember the 2005 draft well, and Vikings fans declaring themselves the winners with not one but two first round future HOFers.

  14. I watched the first round of that draft at a tavern with a few friends. IIRC, it was the first televised draft with top prospects and a camera in the players green room. One by one, those players got picked, big smiles, handshakes, leave for the stage to be introduced…until only Aaron remained. Pick after pick, with nobody else there, the camera showing Aaron repeatedly checking his flip phone for texts, you could see in his face the disappointment…then picked by Green Bay.

    Probably still the biggest chip on his shoulder today…

  15. Being picked 24th by a team that already had an established QB may have been a blessing in disguise for Rodgers. Had he been picked in, say, the top 5 or 10 he’d have gone to a bad team that would have expected him to start right away. Instead he got three years to learn and adjust to the pro game behind one of the all-time greats, instead of being instantly thrown to the wolves.

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