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The 2006 NFL Draft pick that Could Have Been


With the NFL preseason just around the corner, and with that, the regular season right behind it, the early stages of the month of August are a bit boring, to say the least. Sure, training camps are underway around the league, but it’s still just practice, and no real competition begins until the preseason takes flight. So what better to do in this boring time frame then take a look back at past draft classes. First up, the 2006 Draft.

With our first two picks in 2006, the Bucs did quite good, selecting guard Davin Joseph and tackle Jeremy Trueblood. Both of these guys ended up becoming fairly good starters in Tampa, but the Bucs missed a big opportunity with their third round pick. Ultimately, the Bucs chose Notre Dame’s Maurice Stovall, who at the time was a highly touted prospect, but never lived up to it in the pros.

Stovall was the draft’s 90th overall selection, but the biggest named player as of today, came off the board at 119. Who am I talking about? Former Denver Bronco and current Miami Dolphins receiver, Brandon Marshall.

It is, of course, hard to determine how any draft pick will perform in the future, and at the time, many believed Maurice Stovall would turn out to be the better pro than Marshall. Coming out of  Central Florida, Marshall didn’t receive the notoriety as Stovall did coming out of Notre Dame. Because of that, Stovall received a heck of a lot more attention from the scouts, and because of his success in college, even though Marshall put up great numbers in Central Florida, Stovall ended up becoming the higher pick.

I kindly took the time to search the web for both Stovall’s and Marshall’s senior season stats at their respected universities.

  • Stovall @ Notre Dame - 60 catches, 1,023 yards, 11 touchdowns
    Marshall @ Central Florida - 74 catches, 1,195 yards, 11 touchdowns

Now doesn’t Marshall appear to be the better player coming out of college? Even if you don’t believe so, at the very least the two are about even. So what made Stovall the higher pick? Was it his size?

  • Stovall - 6’5", 220 lbs.
    Marshall - 6’4", 230 lbs.

Hmm, both of them were very similar in their size frame, so what could possibly have given Stovall the advantage over Marshall? Was it the over hyped, highly regarded 40-yard dash?

  • Stovall - 4.57
    Marshall - 4.56

Okay, what gives! How did Stovall get ahead of Marshall? Well, I guess it does pay off to attend prestigious schools such as Notre Dame, rather then mid-major colleges like Central Florida, even if the statistics between two players favor the mid-major talent.

So I decided to extend my research between the two players, and take a look at what the scouts had to say about both Marshall and Stovall coming out of college.

In Marshall’s case, the scouts nailed him on his quickness and speed, and claimed that he was a marginal route-runner. I guess he proved them wrong. As for Stovall, the scouts knocked him for his speed, as well, and said he dropped too many balls. What?! You’re telling me that a guy who had a problem with his hands as a receiver in college was picked in the third round? However, Stovall did receive praise for his height and leaping ability, but if I’m not mistaken, isn’t Brandon Marshall a tall target who will go up to get the ball? I guess sometimes NFL scouts just completely fall short on a prospect.

Man, it would have been nice to have Marshall on our team, despite his past interactions with the law.