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Best and worst first-round NFL draft picks of the 2000s

Aaron Rodgers might have had to wait on draft day, but he has proven to be one of the top picks of the decade.

Who were your NFL team's best and worst first-round draft picks of the 2000s? Here is a look at two strong candidates for each category in all 10 drafts of the decade. Let the debates begin:

2000

Best: Chris Samuels or Julian Peterson

Samuels: As a No. 3 overall pick, Samuels made 141 starts for the Redskins and was named to six Pro Bowls as one of the elite left tackles of his era.
Peterson: The San Francisco 49ers made a wise investment in Peterson with the No. 16 pick, as Peterson played 11 years, six with the Niners, and proved to be a long-term, every-down player.

Worst: Courtney Brown or Ron Dayne

Brown: After a healthy rookie season with the Browns, injuries beset the No. 1 overall pick for the remainder of his six-year career, and he never again played a full season.
Dayne: Dayne averaged only 3.5 yards per carry over four years as the No. 11 pick of the Giants, and never averaged more than 48 yards per game. Jaguars bust R.J. Soward is spared here only because Brown and Dayne were drafted much higher in the round.

2001

Best: LaDainian Tomlinson or Reggie Wayne

Tomlinson: The Chargers got great value for the No. 5 pick with eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, beginning with his rookie year.
Wayne: Who could ask for more of a No. 30 overall pick than what Wayne has brought to the Colts as a 13-year veteran with 80 touchdowns on his resume?

Worst: Jamal Reynolds or David Terrell

Reynolds: The No. 10 overall pick was drafted to be a difference maker as a pass rusher for the Packers, but the injury-plagued end made just 14 tackles and three sacks in three NFL seasons.
Terrell: When the Bears took Terrell at No. 8, they had bigger things in mind than 14 starts in his first three seasons.

2002

Best: Ed Reed or Dwight Freeney

Reed: The Ravens' No. 24 pick was named to nine Pro Bowls and was at one time the best safety in football.
Freeney: The Colts took Freeney No. 11 overall, and by the end of his fourth year, the 12-year veteran already had 50 sacks to his credit.

Worst: Joey Harrington or Mike Williams

Harrington: The Lions' No. 3 overall pick had a bad knack for interceptions, and the club never won more than six games in his four-year stretch in Detroit.
Williams: The big offensive tackle from Texas was the No. 4 pick of the Bills, but was largely ineffective at right tackle and lost his starting job in 2005.


14 for '14 series:
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2003

Best: Terrell Suggs or Troy Polamalu

Suggs: The Ravens took Suggs at No. 10 overall, and 11 years later, he is still in Baltimore and closing in on 100 career sacks.
Polamalu: The Steelers spent a No. 16 pick on the safety from Southern Cal, and after playing backup as a rookie, he quickly became a long-term centerpiece talent for the club's defense.

Worst: Charles Rogers or Johnathan Sullivan

Rogers: The No. 2 overall pick broke his clavicle twice, had issues with substance abuse, and caught just 36 career passes at wide receiver before the Lions let him go.
Sullivan: The New Orleans Saints traded up for the defensive lineman from Georgia to take him at No. 6, and in three years there, he went from 12 starts as a rookie, to four, to none in his third and final year.

2004

Best: Larry Fitzgerald or Ben Roethlisberger

Fitzgerald: Other options for the Cardinals with the No. 3 pick at wide receiver included Roy Williams, Reggie Williams and Lee Evans -- the right choice was definitely made.
Roethlisberger: The Steelers picked up a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback at No. 11, whose toughness and grit was a great fit for the Pittsburgh fan base.

Worst: Ahmad Carroll or Rashaun Woods

Carroll: The Packers took the brash cornerback with the No. 25 pick, and after a season and a half of struggles as a starter, he was on the bench by Year Three.
Woods: The Oklahoma State receiver, chosen by San Francisco No. 31 overall, barely played as a rookie and never started a game in his two-year NFL career.

2005

Best: Aaron Rodgers or Roddy White

Rodgers: At No. 24 overall, the future star quarterback was a wise investment to groom behind Brett Favre.
White: The Falcons picked up one of the NFL's top receivers in White with the 27th pick.

Worst: Mike Williams or Erasmus James

Williams: The Lions got just two disappointing years from Williams before trading him to the Raiders.
James: The defensive end from Wisconsin, chosen at No. 18 by the Vikings, struggled through injuries and was traded to the Redskins after just three years for a seventh-round pick.

2006

Best: D'Brickashaw Ferguson or Tamba Hali

Ferguson: The Jets took him at No. 4 and got a Pro Bowler who hasn't missed a game in eight years.
Hali: The pass rusher from Penn State fell to the Chiefs at No. 20, and he turned in his third season of double-digit sacks just last year.

Worst: Vince Young or Matt Leinart

Young: The former Texas star went to the Titans at No. 3 overall, and after 30 interceptions over his first two seasons, he fell out of favor in Tennessee.
Leinart: After getting extensive playing time as a rookie with the Cardinals, Leinart (No. 10 pick) was quickly relegated to a backup role.

2007

Best: Calvin Johnson or Darrelle Revis

Johnson: The Lions hit it the jackpot with the No. 2 pick, getting the game's best receiver today.
Revis: The Jets got one of the game's elite cornerbacks at No. 14, who has compiled 109 pass breakups and 21 interceptions for his career.

Worst: JaMarcus Russell or Jarvis Moss

Russell: One of the all-time worst busts, Russell went No. 1 to the Raiders and was out after just three dismal seasons.
Moss: The Broncos' pick at No. 17 lasted six years in the NFL, but was a career backup who finished his career with just six sacks.

2008

Best: Joe Flacco or Aqib Talib

Flacco: In six years, the Ravens' quarterback hasn't missed a start and has a Super Bowl MVP as a No. 18 pick.
Talib: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got one of the NFL's top cornerbacks at No. 20, and he just signed a $57 million contract with the Broncos.

Worst: Vernon Gholston or Derrick Harvey

Gholston: The No. 6 overall pick, a defensive end, was a three-year bench player with the Jets who never recorded a sack.
Harvey: The defensive end never developed as the pass-rushing force he was drafted at No. 8 to be, and was out of Jacksonville after three seasons.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks digs deep into the game tape to evaluate college football's most talented players.

» Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
» Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
» Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
» Leonard Williams, DL, USC
» Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
» Wisconsin's Gordon vs. Georgia's Gurley

2009

Best: Clay Matthews or Alex Mack

Matthews: In a first round full of picks that didn't work out, the Packers found a future star pass rusher at No. 26.
Mack: The Browns took Mack at No. 21, and earlier this year matched a $42 million contract offer to keep him.

Worst: Aaron Curry or Aaron Maybin

Curry: The Seahawks took Curry No. 4 overall from Wake Forest, and the linebacker was on the bench by this third season.
Maybin: Maybin, a linebacker from Penn State, lasted just two years in Buffalo, with only one start, as the No. 11 pick.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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