Fifth overall picks: A retrospective since the 2000 NFL draft

Mar 15, 2011, 4:27 PM | Updated: 9:13 pm

Looking back at the players picked fifth overall in the last 10 NFL drafts, there is a consistent pattern of solid players.

The Cardinals, who hold the fifth overall pick this April, are hoping this trend continues as they search for a star to help them improve after a rough 5-11 season.

Here is a look back on the players that went fifth overall since the 2000 draft:

2010: Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Free Safety Eric Berry

Berry, widely considered one most athletic prospects available in 2010, was taken to fill a need a free safety and as a centerpiece for a young, improving Chiefs defense. Berry finished the season with 92 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble. It is early to judge him based on just one season, but it looks like he will be a top-10 safety in the league for years to come.

2009: New York Jets, USC Quarterback Mark Sanchez

The Jets traded up to snag Sanchez as their franchise quarterback in 2009. He hasn’t been fantastic, tossing 29 touchdowns and 33 interceptions over two seasons, but he has prospered alongside the Jets’ running game and stingy defense. The Jets have made it to the AFC Championship game two seasons in a row under Sanchez and could take the next step to the Super Bowl soon if he becomes the franchise passer they envisioned when selecting him.

2008: Kansas City Chiefs, LSU Defensive Tackle Glenn Dorsey

The Chiefs have owned the fifth overall pick twice in the last three years, using their 2008 choice on Dorsey. Dorsey was thought by many to be the top defensive prospect in the draft and was expected to become a dominant player almost immediately. He is an effective run stopper but has only managed four sacks in three seasons. Dorsey still has time to improve but has not warranted the fifth overall pick so far.

2007: Arizona Cardinals, Penn State Offensive Tackle Levi Brown

The Cardinals are having fifth overall flashbacks after using the pick on offensive tackle Levi Brown in 2007. Brown has started all but three games in his tenure as a Cardinal and has been a serviceable starter. However, his play has not warranted the fifth overall selection, especially when you realize the Cardinals could have drafted Adrian Peterson, Darrelle Revis or Patrick Willis, who all went in the next 10 picks after Brown.

2006: Green Bay Packers, Ohio State Linebacker A.J. Hawk

Hawk has been a consistent starter for the Packers since he was drafted, starting every game. He has never been particularly disruptive as a pass rusher but is good in coverage, tallying eight career interceptions, and he is a tackling machine with an average of 102 tackles per season. Hawk was part of the Packers Super Bowl victory this season and was a decent pick at number five for Green Bay in 2006.

2005: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Auburn Running Back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams

Williams was an explosive and talented running back coming out of college and Tampa Bay made him the fifth overall pick in 2005. His great rookie season was capped by the NFL offensive rookie of the year award after he ran for 1,178 yards and six touchdowns, but he has since been plagued with injuries. He tore his patellar tendon in both 2007 and 2008 and has not scored more than four touchdowns in a season since.

2004: Washington Redskins, Miami Free Safety Sean Taylor

Taylor was another player in the long line of defensive stars to come from Miami and the Redskins made him the fifth pick in 2004. Taylor was an immediate star with the Redskins, averaging 75.5 tackles in his four years to go along with 12 interceptions and eight sacks. Taylor looked to be the real deal as the fifth overall draft pick and had tremendous potential before his life was tragically cut short in a 2007 shooting.

2003: Dallas Cowboys, Kansas State Cornerback Terence Newman

Newman has been a consistent player in the Cowboys secondary since he was drafted in 2003. He was invited to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and has only missed nine games in his career. He has averaged 61 tackles per year and has 28 career interceptions as a stalwart corner for Dallas.

2002: San Diego Chargers, Texas Cornerback Quentin Jammer

Jammer is another consistent corner and has been a mainstay on the Chargers defense since he was drafted in 2002. He has only missed three games for San Diego and his average of 67 tackles per season compliments his 18 career interceptions. He has never been voted to a Pro Bowl but has earned the value of the fifth pick for his solid contributions to the Chargers defense.

2001: San Diego Chargers, TCU Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson

Tomlinson is easily the most productive member of this list and is a surefire hall of famer at his point. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards in eight of his ten career seasons and has at least 10 touchdowns in nine of them. He has been elected to the Pro Bowl five times and broke the single season rushing touchdown record with 28 in 2006. Now with the Jets, Tomlinson is continuing to outperform his draft spot.

2000: Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Running Back Jamal Lewis

Lewis is another good running back and has maintained respectable numbers since he was drafted in 2000. He was the NFL Offensive Player of the year after rushing for 2,066 yards and 14 touchdowns om 2003, a season that ended with a Pro Bowl spot. His production has decreased the last two seasons after he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2007, but he was still a good pick-up at number five.

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Fifth overall picks: A retrospective since the 2000 NFL draft