Sunday, June 15, 2014

The second best COMC patch card from 2002 Heads Up Quads

Greg Clark (of a lovely three color patch) was a third round pick in 1997, just 7 picks after Duce Staley.  He was the 5th most effective TE in that draft (which was headlined by Tony Gonzalez), which is all the more impressive Clark only started 38 games over his four year, injured shortened, NFL career.  He was a blocking tight end by trade, but his final two seasons each produced 34+ catches and 340+ yards.  So an average tight end at best, but one talented all around and it's a shame injuries had to hamper what could have been.

Fred Beasley had a slightly longer career in San Francisco after being selected in the 8th round of the 1998 draft.  A surprising four FB were drafted that year, but only one other is even notable (former Raider/Eagle Jon Ritchie) and Beasley outplayed him during his 8+ year career.  Beasley did a little bit carrying/catching the ball early in his career, but it's his blocking that earned him 2002 and 2003 All Pro honors and a 2003 Pro Bowl nod.  After an injured plagued 2005 season, Beasley was released byt the 49ers and spent time with the Dolphins and Redskins before retiring from the NFL.
Paul Smith was drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 draft, and though he's listed here as a RB (and was drafted as such) he was really more of a FB.  This is curious, of course, since Beasley was already on the team, but in 2000 Beasley was not as well established yet which gave Smith an opening.  He was okay in limited opportunities rushing the ball (40 carries for 189 yards, a 4.7 average) during three years in San Francisco, but it wasn't enough and he was released following the 2002 seasons.  Smith then spent two seasons in Detroit and one each in St. Louis and Denver before retiring from the NFL.

One interesting thing I noticed while comparing Smith to the 1997 NFL draft class: He finished 15th in career rushing yards for RB with 210 yards, but 23rd overall.  QBs Tom Brady, Chad Pennington, and Marc Bulger all had more rushing yards, and WRs Dennis Northcutt, Peter Warrick, Dante Hall, Travis Taylor, and Laveraneus Coles did as well.  Very weird.

Cedrick Wilson, whose patch is absolutely BAUS, had a seven year career in the NFL after being drafted in the 6th round in 2001.  He ranks as the 11th best WR depending on your view of Quincy Morgan, ahead of guys like first WR picked (and Dennis favorite) David Terrell but behind Reggie Wayne and 7th round pick T.J. Houshmandzadeh.  He was pretty much just a kick returner his first two years, but then played very well with a combined 82 receptions for 1,037 yards in his last two 49ers years.  That enticed the Steelers, who got a good season and playoff/Super Bowl run from Wilson in 2006 but also didn't get much.  Wilson was cut before the 2008 season after a domestic abuse incident and never saw NFL action again.  He has since been indicted for test-taking fraud after hiring someone to take a standardized teacher certification test for him in Tennessee.  Sketchy stuff.

Who wins the card? This is a fairly hard one - Wilson has been the most notable given his contributions to Pittsburgh's 2006 Super Bowl win, but I don't want to give the win to a guy with domestic assault and test-taking fraud on his resume.  So instead I'm giving it to two-time All Pro Fred Beasley, who arguably could've won the card regardless of one's view on Wilson.

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