2008 NFL Mock Draft - Final Edition
We are closely closing in on the big day. The one time of the year when teams like Miami, Atlanta, and Oakland actually have some hope. When the "Who the hell is this guy?" turns into Terrell Davis and Tom Brady. When the "This guy is going to save our franchise!" turns into Tim Couch and Akili Smith. No matter which team you call your own, you have to love the NFL Draft.
Couple things before I get started...
1. I get a mulligan on the #1 pick if Bill Parcells signs someone different before the draft gets started.
2. Chad Johnson will be traded. And I see him going to the Eagles. The only time Philly has been to the Super Bowl with McNabb was when he had a big-time WR target. Chad Johnson is mouthy but he's a great player and doesn't have "off-field" issues.
2. I really think the defining picks of this draft lie at picks 3-5. They will shape the rest of the top 10 and determine whether or not we see a lot of trade activity come draft day.
3. Considering Al Davis has one of those 3 critical picks, ANYTHING can happen.
That being said...here are my selections.
1) Miami Dolphins - Jake Long. All signs point towards Parcells selecting the mammoth OT with the first overall selection. And it would appear to make sense if he's able to get him signed before draft day. On the field Jake Long helps to shore up a porous offensive line. This is a team full of needs at numerous positions but OT has got to be #1. This position is too important to pass up a potential franchise guy.
2) St. Louis Rams - Chris Long. I really think the first two picks will be Long's...regardless of what order they are selected. Chris Long doesn't have the unlimited ceiling of Gholston or Dorsey but you know what you're getting and his basement isn't as low. He's going to be a talented and relentless pass rusher who won't take a play off. Not often you should ever throw around the term "can't miss" but this kid is as close to that as it gets. At worst he's a 12 year pro that ends his career with 70-80 sacks. At best he's a Hall of Famer.
3) Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan. I find it very hard to believe that Atlanta isn't going to select the top QB in this draft. After the Vick debacle this organization needs a "face of the franchise" who is seen as a reputable individual. That guy is Matt Ryan. He's smart, poised, experienced, and doesn't get rattled...plus he's a good guy (something Atlanta needs desperately). It's almost cliché to say anymore but Matt Ryan has that indefinable "It" quality and the Falcons will be sorry if they don't take him with this pick.
4) Oakland Raiders - Glenn Dorsey. This is the ultimate decision between best available player and biggest need position. If they drafted the best player available they would take McFadden. But RB is the least of their concerns. They have Fargas who they just re-signed, they still have both Rhodes and Jordan on the roster, and they took Michael Bush last year in hopes he will return to his pre-injury form. It's hard for me to imagine taking a guy like McFadden and adding him to that mix. Rather they need to take Dorsey. This instantly upgrades their run defense which ranked #31 last year. With Hall added to the secondary and now Dorsey to the D-Line they have themselves a formidable defense. And what better way to help a young QB develop that to give him a top-flight defense that will at least keep games close.
5) Kansas City Chiefs - (Trade the #5 to the Cincinnati Bengals for the #9, 2009 2nd Rounder, and #112) Cincinnati Bengals - Sedrick Ellis. Now some of you are saying why would they need to trade up? None of the other teams ahead of them are really looking too hard at a DT. That's true but with NE sitting at #7 and looking to trade back, someone with a DT need (Saints, Panthers, and Broncos) may jump them to snag Ellis. Also factor in that the Chiefs know they can still get Ryan Clady at #9. Sedrick Ellis is the perfect fit for the Bengals. He gives them exactly what they needed this offseason, a disruptive and athletic defensive tackle. He will help to shore up a terrible run defense. Don't let the Bengals fool you, this is their guy and they will do what it takes to get him.
6) New York Jets - Darren McFadden. For all the times we've heard the Jets fans boo on draft day, here's one pick where we will here nothing but cheers. They think about Gholston but then realize they could snag the best player in the draft and for the first time in a long time give the offense a dynamic playmaker. This pick just makes sense. They have Thomas Jones, who is a solid NFL running back. But he becomes above average when he's part of a duo. McFadden can be used as RB, WR, and maybe even a 2 headed monster in the return game with Leon Washington. Congrats Jets on drafting best available instead of need.
7) New England Patriots - Vernon Gholston. Perfect fit for the Patriots. With former Buckeye Mike Vrabel there to mentor him, Gholston falls into a perfect situation. He won't be asked to do much more than be a disruptive force during his rookie season, which will give him time to adjust to playing in space. New England decides against a couple trade offers when they realize Gholston has fallen to them.
8) Baltimore Ravens - Leodis McKelvin. With Ryan gone, the focus turns to getting a CB. The big question becomes which one of the cornerbacks do the Ravens have listed highest on their board. There are 3, maybe 4, possibilities. McKelvin, Talib, Rodgers-Cromartie, and Jenkins...Talib would be the safest pick but McKelvin has the highest upside. When their corners were hurt the defense really suffered. This pick eliminates that worry. He's going to be a very solid NFL corner.
9) Cincinnati Bengals - Traded Pick. Kansas City Chiefs - Ryan Clady. The plan works out perfectly for the Chiefs. They pick up an early 4th Round selection, a 2009 2nd Round pick, move down, and still get their guy. Clady becomes an instant starter on that depleted OL of the Chiefs. (Even after trading Allen and needing a DE, I don't think they are sold on Gholston as a 4-3 DE. So they stick with their plan to trade the #5 to the highest bidder and get Clady here at #9. Then address the DE position at #17.)
10) New Orleans Saints - Keith Rivers. After going out and signing Vilma and Morgan, the immediate need for a LB isn't quite as pressing but they could still use a talented outside LB. Rivers is the best player available at this point and will start immediately alongside Vilma. Picking up another CB here is also an option but without a clear cut CB they go with Rivers.
11) Buffalo Bills - Devin Thomas. I'm 95% sure this pick is going to a WR. They desperately need someone opposite Evans who can take some pressure off...Thomas can be that guy. He's rocketed up draft boards since the end of the season and jumped over Sweed and Kelly to become the first WR taken. Secondary help is also an option at this pick.
12) Denver Broncos - Chris Williams. The next 3 teams are all looking at OT as their #1 priority. Luckily for the Broncos they have the first of the three picks and are able to get their guy. Williams is a hard worker who is also very intelligent. Will be a very good fit for the Broncos.
13) Carolina Panthers - Jeff Otah. With the Jordan Gross situation up in the air and the RT position in desperate need of help this is a good fit for the Panthers. Otah can come in and start immediately. Also, if Gross decides to leave or they want to move Gross back to right side, Otah will be able to step into that LT position as early as his second season.
14) Chicago Bears - Branden Albert. The Bears get their man here. They wanted Albert because his versatility. Their situation is a little different in that they could use help over the entire OL. Albert comes in as an OG/OT, giving the Bears an enormous amount of flexibility on the line. Albert can start at OT and then move to OG if necessary...or vice versa.
15) Detroit Lions - Derrick Harvey. This is a tough selection here. Let me first say that I'm a Lions fan...this is my home town pick. I know the pressing need for a RB but there is tremendous depth at that position in this draft. Getting a speedy DE would really go a long way towards shoring up that defense. It's amazing what you can do when you put a little pressure on the QB (see the Super Bowl). Harvey reminds me of Freeney coming out of college...a little undersized but blazing off the corner. And with Marinelli (a D-Line guy), I hope he snags Harvey if he falls to them.
16) Arizona Cardinals - Rashard Mendenhall. Arizona sits back and is able to snag the 2nd best back in the draft. Mendenhall would make a great #2 back behind James during his rookie year and in a year or two could become a top-flight NFL back.
17) Kansas City - Phillip Merling. The pick here has to be a DE...the question is which one do you take. It has to come down to Merling or Calais Campbell. They decide to go with Merling because of possible question marks about Campbell's effort. Merling will compete for a starting spot from Day 1. (After trading Jared Allen I made a slight change...same player is taken here but he goes to KC and not Minnesota)
18) Houston Texans - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Secondary help is priority #1 heading into this draft and taking Rodgers-Cromartie is a definite step in the right direction. He will come in and compete with Reeves for the #2 CB spot alongside Dunta Robinson. This pick comes down to what CB they have rated highest on their board.
19) Philadelphia Eagles - Kenny Phillips. Not sure what the reaction will be from Eagles faithful on this one but it should be a joyous one. Phillips was a stud in his first two years at Miami and then had a disappointing junior season. However, playing alongside Brian Dawkins and learning from him would give the Eagles 2 hard-hitting playmakers at the safety position. This would be a significant upgrade for the Eagles and a great pick.
20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Jenkins. They think about taking a WR in this spot but decide to go with a CB to replace Brian Kelly instead. Jenkins will compete with Buchanon for a spot alongside Ronde Barber.
21) Washington Redskins - Calais Campbell. For year's they have talked about snagging an impact DE in the first round and never have. This year they do...sort of. Campbell is one of those all or nothing picks. While it seems you shouldn't gamble like that in the first round, this guy is worth the risk. His upside is so high that if he realized his potential he could be one of the top 3 players to come out of this draft. Sounds like just the kind of risk Daniel Snyder and Company are willing to take.
22) Dallas Cowboys - Felix Jones. These two picks are going to be spent on a running back and a WR...especially if Pacman comes over from Tennessee. While Jerry Jones doesn't make the brash move into the top 5 to snag his Arkansas boy McFadden, he does get the "other" Razorback here at pick 22. Felix Jones will be a nice compliment to Barber and will also help in that return game if necessary.
23) Pittsburgh Steelers - Gosder Cherilus. The Steelers would love to somehow get their hands on Brenden Albert but his stock is rising and more than likely won't be around when it's their turn to pick. So they take Cherilus instead. He's a very solid prospect who can be shaped and molded by their veteran's.
24) Tennessee Titans - Limas Sweed. Vince Young should be waiving his arms and pleading with the Titans to take his former college teammate. It gives the Titans a true #1 and also gives VY his security blanket...someone he feels comfortable with. If he falls this far, he has to be the Titans pick.
25) Seattle Seahawks - Fred Davis. I'm very high on Davis and think he can be a huge weapon for Hasselbeck and the offense. He can stretch the middle of the field with his speed and has fantastic hands. Seattle would wise to satisfy their biggest need with the top TE prospect here at pick #25.
26) Jacksonville Jaguars - Lawrence Jackson. That defensive line, which was an absolute strength of that defense, is quickly becoming a thin position for the Jags. They need some youth, depth, and talent at both positions. Jackson gives them all of that. He's a versatile player with a very good upside. Good value and good fit here at #26.
27) San Diego Chargers - Aqib Talib. They already have two very good CB in place but they lack depth after those two. Talib gives them a talented #3 CB who can be brought along slowly and eventually thrown into a starting role. Another good value pick here by the Chargers.
28) Dallas Cowboys - Malcolm Kelly. After snagging their RB with the #22 pick they get their WR here at #28. Kelly was projected as the top WR for a long time before his debacle at pro day. He still has a chance to be the best of the bunch and could be a home run pick here at the end of the first round.
29) San Francisco 49ers - Quentin Groves. If he falls down this far it has to be a no-brainer for San Francisco. He is exactly what they need. An OLB/hybrid type that will be able to put pressure on the QB. A little consolation after trading away the #7 pick in the draft.
30) Green Bay Packers - Antoine Cason. I really think Cason is going to a solid NFL cornerback. Some have guys like Brandon Flowers ranked ahead of him but I give the edge to Cason. The Packers need youth at CB and someone who can step in and play when Woodson and Harris can't anymore. Cason is most definitely up for that challenge.
31) New York Giants - Reggie Smith. Well this pick makes sense for the Giants because it fills two needs...cornerback and safety. Smith has experience at both and has the ability to play both in the NFL. The Giants could go from a weak secondary at the beginning of last year that slowly improved by Super Bowl Sunday to a very good secondary by the end of this upcoming season.
32) Miami Dolphins - Jerod Mayo. If Mayo falls out of the first round look for the Dolphins to snag him with the first pick of the 2nd round. After the departure of Thomas, Mayo can step in and start from day 1. Good fit for either defensive scheme they decide to run.
33) St. Louis Rams - Desean Jackson. After the departure of Isaac Bruce the Rams need a #3 WR to make some plays. They have the big physical guy already in Bennett to play in the #2 WR role but after that the cupboard is barren. Jackson gives them a big-time playmaker and can help in the return game where Hall has been somewhat of a disappointment.
34) Atlanta Falcons - Sam Baker. At this point in the draft this would be a very good value pick for the Falcons. They snagged their franchise QB in the first round and here in the 2nd they get a guy who can start on the O-Line from day 1.
35) Kansas City Chiefs - James Hardy. After hitting on Bowe in last year's draft at the WR position they take a guy who can be his running-mate for years. Hardy is a big-physical receiver who runs very well for his size. Having this guy in the red-zone will help whoever they decide to put behind center.
36) New York Jets - Mario Maningham. They still need help at that WR position. Maningham gives them a playmaker to help in the development of their young quarterback.
37) Atlanta Falcons - Kentwaan Balmer. What a luxury it is to have these three 2nd Round selections. They get great value here for Balmer who has a real chance of going in the first round. He can come in and start immediately...he's that good. Atlanta does well to grab 3 guys who could potentially start early and be around for 10+ years.
38) Baltimore Ravens - Anthony Collins. With the Ogden situation it would be very wise to pick up an OT here in the 2nd Round. Collins has the kind of ability to start come Game 1.
39) San Francisco 49ers - Pat Sims. The 49ers need help at that DT position and Sims is a guy who can play the DT position in either the 4-3 or 3-4. Only question may be character issues. Versatility too hard to pass up...guys who can play DT in both a 3-4 and 4-3 are rare.
40) New Orleans Saints - Tracy Porter. After taking Rivers in the first they turn to their 2nd biggest need here. Comes down to which CB they have ranked the highest. Porter is the safe pick. He can turn into a solid #2.
41) Buffalo Bills - Justin King. The opposite of Porter. He's the ultimate boom or bust guy. Very good upside...but was inconsistent in college. Could turn into a lock-down corner if he realizes his potential.
42) Denver Broncos - Marcus Harrison. Has good size and athletic ability and will push for time on that weak defensive line. Defensive tackle might be their biggest need position along with OT...they address both in the first 2 rounds.
43) Carolina Panthers - Jonathan Stewart. Lingering injuries cause a drop from the first round to here in the middle of the second. The Panther's won't hesitate to take this guy. Great pick for the Panthers. Don't have to rush him with Williams already in place.
44) Chicago Bears - Brian Brohm. He falls into the Bear's lap. Great pick here. Could take over the offense in a year or two. Brohm was the clear cut #1 QB before the 2007 college football season and now he goes in the 2nd Round. The Panther's will think long and hard about taking Brohm as well. If Carolina takes Brohm expect the Bears to take Stewart.
45) Detroit Lions - Curtis Lofton. This might just be wishful thinking from a Lions fan that Lofton will fall to the Lions here in the 2nd Round but if he does I sure hope they take him. He would be a great fit in the middle of that defense playing alongside Ernie Sims.
46) Cincinnati Bengals - Andre Caldwell. After losing Chris Henry and Chad Johnson complaining like it's his job and likely to be traded, they need a WR. Caldwell would be a solid fit. Not flashy but has a good chance to be the #2 or #3 WR along with T.J. and Chatman. Could be a better pro than college guy.
47) Minnesota Vikings - Carl Nicks. Consider this an insurance policy plus a future starter. He could push for time early but more importantly he provides a backup plan for their currently troubled offensive lineman. He has the kind of ability to make an immediate impact.
48) Atlanta Falcons - Patrick Lee. With the departure of Hall they need a CB who can play early. Lee is experienced and talented. They thought about taking Flowers who is the most talented CB left on the board but they haven't had the best luck with players from Virginia Tech lately. If he beats out their CB's for a starting position they will have acquired 4 starters in the first 2 Rounds...that's how you turn around a franchise.
49) Philadelphia Eagles - (Trade #49, #115, and 2009 2nd Round Pick to Cincinnati for Chad Johnson) Cincinnati Bengals - Jason Jones. Cincinnati will look to try and get one of the Cowboys first round selections in this year's draft for Chad Johnson. However, with the Cowboys more than likely already trading for Pacman Jones, I can't see them making a second blockbuster trade this offseason. Especially a trade for another dynamic personality. So the Bengals settle for the next best thing. They pick up two 2nd Round picks (one this year and one next year) along with a 4th Round selection from the Eagles. As for the selection they make here at #49, Jason Jones is a big DE that gives them some needed size, talent, and youth at the DE position.
50) Arizona Cardinals - Brandon Flowers. After addressing the RB position in Round One they snag a CB with big upside. Some character issues though.
51) Washington Redskins - Chilo Rachal. Both of their guards are getting up their in age. This gives them a future 10 year starter they can groom for a year.
52) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Early Doucet. They need some youth at WR and Doucet could become a very solid #2 WR for the Bucs.
53) Pittsburgh Steelers - Charles Godfrey. Will push for time and eventually become a solid NFL starter. They are looking for guys who can lock up on receivers so they can free up Polamalu to do his thing.
54) Tennessee Titans - Trevor Laws. Good motor who never quits on a play. Gives them needed depth at DT. He can also shift over to DE if necessary which gives them needed depth there as well.
55) Seattle Seahawks - Dre Moore. Depth and talent needed on the D-Line. Adding a talented defensive tackle will go a long way.
56) Green Bay Packers - Dustin Keller. They could use a TE opposite of Donald Lee. Good value here towards the end of the 2nd round.
57) Miami Dolphins - Kendall Langford. Versatile defensive end who can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 at the defensive end position. Gives them a younger option with talent.
58) Jacksonville Jaguars - Terrell Thomas. Another USC guy here in the 2nd Round that will provide another solid option at DB. Could give them the option to move one of their CB to safety to fill that need.
59) Indianapolis Colts - Dan Connor. Linebacker is the top need for the Colts and Connor slips all the way to the end of the 2nd Round. Good value. Connor is an Indy kind of guy.
60) Green Bay Packers - Oniel Cousins. This pick adds depth to the OT position and gives them a future starter to groom.
61) Dallas Cowboys - Red Bryant. If they can pick up a good DT they could move Ratliff to DE (his best position) and then slide Tank Johnson to starting DT with Bryant backing him up. That would improve their D-Line greatly.
62) New England Patriots - Dwight Lowery. CB is a need position and this small school kid could be another hidden gem for the Pats.
63) New York Giants - Erin Henderson. With the loss of Mitchell they need a replacement. Henderson has good genes and is a talented player.
64) Miami Dolphins - Joe Flacco. With Beck and McCown already there they can afford to take a QB here that they can develop.
65) St. Louis Rams - Tyrell Johnson. The Rams need a safety and Johnson is rising up draft boards. He may not be here in the 3rd Round.
66) Kansas City Chiefs - DeJuan Tribble. With their CB's getting old and winding down their careers, they need to find a replacement to groom.
67) Carolina Panthers - DeMario Presley. After losing Jenkins they need someone who can compete for a spot.
68) Atlanta Falcons - Xavier Adibi. They break down and take a VT guy. This one has potential to start at LB.
69) New England Patriots - Roy Schuening. They don't have much depth at the OG position and Schuening is a potential down the road starter they can bring along slowly.
70) Chicago Bears - Chris Johnson. The Bears already have a grind it out (they think) in Benson. Benson is also a low yards per carry guy. They need the homerun hitter. Enter Chris Johnson. 4.2 speed translates to homerun hitter.
71) Jacksonville Jaguars - Kirk Barton. Don't need a true starter right now but could use a OT they can develop.
72) Buffalo Bills - John Carlson. They could use youth and talent at the TE position. Carlson is good value in the third round.
73) Kansas City - Chad Henne. Gives the Chiefs another young QB to put some pressure on Broyle to perform. After the Allen deal they may use these 3rd Rounders to move up and take Henne. He will go higher than 3rd Round.
74) Carolina Panthers - Andre Woodson. Once thought of as the best QB in the class, he has fallen down to a 3rd Round selection. Has a big arm and can make all the throws. Good value here.
75) San Francisco 49ers - Lavelle Hawkins. They still need some offensive playmakers. Hawkins is a California kid who can push for time.
76) Detroit Lions - Jamaal Charles. With the depth in this class they can afford to wait to the middle of the 3rd Round and still get a very good RB. I think Jamal Charles will be a top 15 back in the NFL within a couple years. If they need to they may trade up to grab a RB.
77) Cincinnati Bengals - Martin Rucker. They need defense but after losing Johnson and Henry you need to give Palmer more weapons helps to tie up safeties in the middle of the field.
78) New Orleans Saints - Andre Fluellen. They still need a defensive tackle to give them depth and talent in the front 7. Fluellen was once considered a top prospect and then he plummeted. Boom or bust pick here.
79) Houston Texans - Ray Rice. Without a lot of teams jumping on the running backs, Rice falls to the Texans who get their workhorse type back for the first time in franchise history.
80) Philadelphia Eagles - Brian Johnston. They need some youth and talent on the defensive line. This guy has a motor that doesn't quit and has decent size.
81) Arizona Cardinals - Cliff Avril. Goodbye Calvin Pace. Hello Cliff Avril. Great pickup here that can step in and replace Pace.
82) Kansas City - Martellus Bennett. OK so I'm cheating again by keeping the pick the same but Gonzalez realizes after the trade of Allen that the Chiefs are rebuilding and he's going to want out.
83) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kevin Smith. With all the question marks surrounding Cadillac, it would be smart to pick up another talented RB.
84) Washington Redskins - Adarius Bowman. Once thought of as a first round pick, his stock has fallen. Boom or Bust pick here.
85) Tennessee Titans - Matt Forte. They need some depth at RB. Who knows what's going on with Lendale White.
86) Seattle Seahawks - Donnie Avery. Could push for some time. Gives them another weapon on the outside.
87) Detroit Lions - Barry Richardson. If he can find someone to motivate him and teach him some technique this guy can be a stud. But he may end up being a big softy.
88) Pittsburgh Steelers - Chris Ellis. Good motor. They could use some youth and depth at DE and Ellis gives them that.
89) Jacksonville Jaguars - Tavares Gooden. Not a lot of holes. Could push for time and add depth to LB position.
90) Chicago Bears - DaJuan Morgan. They need help and depth at safety. Morgan will give them a much needed body back there.
91) Green Bay Packers - John David Booty. Tough to go from Southern California weather to Green Bay, Wisconsin weather.
92) Dallas Cowboys - Jamie Silva. Tough to draft a guy for strictly special teams but this guy just looks like he was built for special teams play in the NFL. Gives them a little depth at safety as well.
93) Indianapolis Colts - Jeremy Zuttah. Could potentially play all 3 OL positions in the NFL. Gives them exactly what they need...a talented and versatile lineman.
94) New England Patriots - J Lehman. They have Gholston as their OLB of the future and now this guy could be their ILB of the future. Plays like a Zach Thomas.
95) New York Giants - Duane Brown. They could use an OT that they can groom into a future starter.
96) Washington Redskins - Antwuan Molden. CB is becoming somewhat of an issue when it comes to depth and youth.
97) Cincinnati Bengals - Ali Highsmith. They need depth at the LB position. They played a game last year with 1 active LB.
98) Atlanta Falcons - Jermichael Finley. With Crumpler gone they need to find someone who can push for time with Hartsock and play opposite of him in 2 TE sets.
99) Baltimore Ravens - Eric Ainge. With McNair now retired they need to seriously consider their options at QB. And it wouldn't hurt to bring in another young arm.
There you have it! Let the criticism begin!!