After 10 years you can firmly grasp how good or bad a draft was. I've been doing these look backs for several years now and only the 2000 and 2001 drafts were worse then 2004. This draft gave us only one starter and one other player who saw significant playing time. Drafts like this are what set teams back.
Dallas had the 22nd overall pick entering draft day but decided to move back in a draft day trade with Buffalo. Dallas really needed a running back entering this draft and many people were angered by the fact that they skipped on taking Steven Jones who went 24th overall to the Rams. For the trade Dallas received the 43rd overall, 144th overall, and a 2005 first round pick.
2nd round (43rd overall). Julius Jones, RB, Notre Dame. Jones managed 4 years in Dallas and only produced one 1 thousand yard season. He was a decent back and will be remembered for his Monday night game against Seattle, but struggled with injuries and was never the player Dallas had hoped. Final stats in Dallas, 3,484 yards and 18 TD's. After leaving Dallas as a FA he signed a 4 year deal with Seattle where he lasted 31 games over 2 and a half seasons before being cut and finishing the season in New Orleans. He's been out of football since 2010. Career stats, 5,068 years and 22 TD's.
2nd round (52nd overall). Jacob Rogers, OT, USC. This pick really hurt. Offensive line was a huge need and Rogers was supposed to be the starting RT from day 1. Instead he was only active for 2 games and then got hurt and was refused rehab and Dallas' facilities. He was waived in August of 2006.
3rd round (83rd overall). Stephen Peterman, OG, LSU. Another offensive line pick that completely missed. Peterman missed the entire 2004 season only played 3 games with Dallas in 2005. Dallas released him in August of 2006. The Lions signed him to their practice squad and he became a starter for them in 2007. He's made 86 starts at RG since 2006 for them. So maybe Dallas gave up to soon.
4th round (121st overall). Bruce Thornton, CB, Georgia. Another bust for Dallas who only lasted 1 year with the team. Thornton played in 1 game for Dallas in 2004 and was signed off the practice squad by the 49ers in 2005. He started 11 games for them that year but in 2006 he slid down the depth chart before being cut by them. He was signed by the Jets but never played for them. Career stats: 13 games, 11 starts, 2 INTS. Active in 2004 and 2005.
5th round (144th overall). Sean Ryan, TE, Boston College. Another TE taken by Dallas that was a wasted pick. Ryan played 2 seasons with Dallas and never had a catch despite playing in 9 games and making 2 starts. He bounced back and forth between the active roster and the practice squad. He was traded to the Jets in 2006 for a 7th round pick in the 2007 draft. He played 2006 and 2007 in New York before spending 2008 with the 49ers, Dolphins, and Saints. Spent 2009 in Kansas City. Career stats: 53 games, 15 starts, 26 catches for 240 yards and 2 TD's.
7th round (205th overall). Nathan Jones, CB, Rutgers. Jones was a pretty good player for Dallas considering where he was drafted. He played in all 16 games as a rookie and lasted 4 years in Dallas. He signed a 2 year contract in 2008 with Miami, then a 2 year contract with with Denver in 2010. He was released in 2011. He resigned with Miami but was released mid season and signed with New England where he finished the 2011 season. Career stats: 106 games, 11 starts, 163 tackles, 3 INTS.
7th round (216th overall). Patrick Crayton, WR, NW Oklahoma St. Probably the most productive player taken by Dallas in this draft. Crayton stepped in and did well as a rookie. He played through the 2009 season in Dallas before being traded to San Diego for a 7th round pick in the 2011 draft. His career struggled some in San Diego. He played 2 seasons with them and has been out of football since 2011. Career stats: 105 games, 35 starts, 247 receptions for 3,650 yards, and 25 TD's.
7th round (223rd overall). Jacquess Reeves, CB, Purdue. For being a 7th round pick Reeves wasn't a bad player. He played through the 2007 season before leaving as a FA and signing with Houston. He lasted 2 seasons in Houston before being released and being out of football until 2012 when he was signed by Kansas City and played in 2 games before being released. Career stats: 90 games, 36 starts, 163 tackles, 6 INTS.
Overall this draft gets an F. Jones never developed into the player Dallas hoped for or needed. The middle round picks were all busts and only some decent play out of the three 7th rounders saved this draft from a complete waste.
On the plus side Dallas did sign Mat McBriar as an UDFA in 2004 out of Hawaii. He was one of the better punters until he broke his foot.
Drafts that are this bad really can set a team back. Dallas really didn't even get any depth or special teams players out of this draft. Jones and Reeves were decent corners but both lasted to the 7th round for a reason. Crayton was a good player but was never able to push across the line between good player and starter. Missing on the two offensive lineman is a problem that we are still dealing with. If they had both panned out we probably don't sign Livings and might not have drafted Free. This draft proves that mistakes in the draft have expensive ramifications for years down the road.