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One of the few downsides to being a Super Bowl champion, of course, is that you're shuffled to the end of the line in the next draft. In this edition of the NFList, we look at how defending Super Bowl champions drafted from 2000 through 2009. As you'll see, some teams fared well, while others struggled.
2000 St. Louis Rams
First pick: RB Trung Canidate (No. 31 overall)
Summary: Canidate flashed major potential at times but lasted just three seasons with St. Louis, struggling with fumbles and eventually falling out of favor. DB Jacoby Shepherd (second round) played just two seasons with the club. However, DE Brian Young (fifth round) was productive for St. Louis and had a solid career.
2001 Baltimore Ravens
First pick: TE Todd Heap (No. 31)
Summary: The Ravens generally draft well, and this was no exception. Heap was a capable replacement for Shannon Sharpe and continues to be the Ravens' top target at tight end. CB Gary Baxter (second round), C Casey Rabach (third round) and LB Ed Hartwell (fourth round) all became starters before moving on in free agency.
2002 New England Patriots
First pick: TE Daniel Graham (No. 21)
Summary: The Patriots traded up with Washington to select Graham, a very good blocker. In Round Two, they selected WR Deion Branch, who became the receiving star of their back-to-back Super Bowl-championship clubs. DE Jarvis Green (fourth round) became a key part of the Pats' D-line, and WR David Givens (seventh round) was a steal, playing an important role on two Super Bowl-winning teams for New England.
2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
First pick: DE Dewayne White (No. 64)
Summary: The Buccaneers surrendered their first-round pick to Oakland as part of the compensation for hiring head coach Jon Gruden. White was a serviceable pass rusher before departing for Detroit in 2007. QB Chris Simms (third round) looked like he could become the Bucs' long-term answer at quarterback, but he suffered a ruptured spleen early in the '06 season and never started another game for Tampa Bay. In all, the Bucs didn't get much from this draft.
2004 New England Patriots
First pick: NT Vince Wilfork (No. 21)
Summary: The Patriots hit a home run with the stout Wilfork, who was selected with what had been the Ravens' first-round pick. With their own first-round pick, the Patriots chose TE Benjamin Watson, a moderately productive starter who signed with Cleveland this offseason. The Pats didn't get much out of the rest of the draft class.
2005 New England Patriots
First pick: OG Logan Mankins (No. 32)
Summary: This was a very good draft. Mankins has developed into one of the NFL's better guards. CB Ellis Hobbs (third round), OT Nick Kaczur (third round) and S James Sanders (fourth round) were contributors on the Pats' vaunted 2007 team. QB Matt Cassel (seventh round) played well in Tom Brady's absence in 2008 and eventually was dealt to Kansas City for a second-round pick.
2006 Pittsburgh Steelers
First pick: WR Santonio Holmes (No. 25)
Summary: The Steelers traded up for Holmes, who captured Super Bowl XLIII MVP honors after catching the game-winning TD pass in Pittsburgh's 27-23 win vs. Arizona. However, off-field problems abruptly ended his career with the Steelers, who traded him to the Jets for a fifth-round pick in April. The only player left from this draft class is ORT Willie Colon (fourth round), the Steelers' best lineman.
2007 Indianapolis Colts
First pick: WR Anthony Gonzalez (No. 32)
Summary: Gonzalez caught 94 combined passes in his first two NFL seasons but missed all but one game in '09 with a knee injury. OT Tony Ugoh, the second-round pick, has struggled to live up to expectations, and the Colts gave up a first-round pick in '08 to trade up for him. LB Clint Session (fourth round) has been a pleasant surprise.
2008 New York Giants
First pick: FS Kenny Phillips (No. 31)
Summary: Phillips looked like a star in the making before suffering a season-ending foot injury last season. CB Terrell Thomas (second round) was a starter in '09, and WR Mario Manningham (third round) caught 57 passes, 15 of which went for 20 yards or longer. LBs Bryan Kehl (fourth round) and Jonathan Goff (fifth round) are contributors.
2009 Pittsburgh Steelers
First pick: DE Ziggy Hood (No. 32)
Summary: Hood is expected to eventually become a starter and could get more playing time in 2010. WR Mike Wallace (third round) will move into the starting role vacated by Santonio Holmes. CBs Joe Burnett (fifth round) and Keenan Lewis (third round) could have bigger roles this year.
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.