Blog Entry

2008 Mock Draft - 1st Round

Posted on: March 18, 2008 5:24 pm
  1. Miami Dolphins – Jake Long (OT, Michigan) – Is Matt Ryan the #1 guy? I don’t think Parcell’s is buying into that with the recent track record of QB’s selected #1 overall. There is speculation that Chris Long is a Parcell’s type of guy on Defense. But Parcell’s knows what’s best for this team and he takes the other Long. Parcell’s has already made improvements to the D-line and the O-line remains unsettled. You can build a franchise around a Jake Long…kind of like what the Ravens did with Jonathon Ogden when they moved to Baltimore.
  2. St. Louis Rams – Chris Long (DE, Virginia) - The Rams can’t go wrong with either Long. They need help on both O-line and D-line. Chris Long goes #2 right after Jake and would be a perfect complete to Leonard Little, Adam Carriker and La’Roi Glover. Maybe we have the makings of the next Fearsome Foursome. It wouldn’t least surprise me one bit if the Raiders move up and take son of Howie though.
  3. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan (QB, Boston College) – My, my, where to start? The Falcons need a lot of help. They will start by addressing their #1 trouble spot. Ryan will be their franchise QB and they will close the chapter on Vick. Ryan is a better pure passer than Vick and will win the games with his football smarts and arm. Falcons will address their O-line issues with 2 picks in the 2nd round (3, if the Hall trade with the Raiders is successful). The Falcons could take Glenn Dorsey here too.
  4. Oakland Raiders – Darren McFadden (RB, Arkansas) – Al Davis is a speed guy pure and simple. The Raiders are setting themselves up for this. They signed OT Kwame Harris, WR Javon Walker, resigned DT Tommy Kelly, and are about to trade to for DeAngelo Hall. They are investing heavily in “questionable” talent in areas of need. At least McFadden will be a home run.
  5. Kansas City Chiefs – Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU) – The Chiefs are ecstatic that Dorsey is still on the board because the Falcons and Raiders easily could have taken him. Injury history drops him to this spot. The Chiefs need help at O-Line to but unless Jake Long falls to #5, the Chiefs won’t take an OT here. Still, Dorsey will help a Chiefs defense that allowed over 130 rushing yards per game last year.
  6. New York Jets – Vernon Gholston (DE, Ohio St) – Mangini will continue to battle the Patriots in this division. Gholston will be the versatile player Mangini is looking for in his version of the 3-4, lining up in a 3 point stance DE or as a stand up pass rusher OLB. The Jets only logged 29 sacks last year and they will need more production in order to bring the heat against Tom Brady. Plus, Mangini knows that Belichick has an eye on Gholston and would love the chance to steal him away right before the Patriots make their pick.
  7. New England Patriots – Kenny Phillips (S, Miami) - The Patriots took a major blow to its secondary this offseason. Jason Webster and Ellis Hobbs will be the new starting corners. Due to examples set by Sean Taylor and Ed Reed in the past, Kenny Phillips is a safe pick here. There’s much to like about Phillips and he definitely is top-10 material. Forget about the subpar combine performance. With good coaching, Phillips is waiting to break out. Plus Rodney Harrison is getting long in the tooth and is no longer the dominant playmaker he once was. A rangy playmaker like Phillips will make up for some of the deficiencies at corner and reduce the opponent’s big plays, which killed them in Super Bowl XLII.
  8. Baltimore Ravens – Ryan Clady (OT, Boise St) – With the uncertainty of Jonathon Ogden’s retirement, the Ravens will start to prepare for his departure with Clady. Clady has the tools to be just as successful as Jake Long. He will play either tackle position and end up at LT when Ogden leaves.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals – Sedrick Ellis (DT, USC) – The Bengals defense was a big disappointment last year. They allowed 118 rush yds/gm and had a league worst 25 sacks. Coach Marvin Lewis better fix this or he’s gone. But he needs help…and he’ll get it with Sedrick Ellis. It’s no surprise that Ellis has been disrupting the draft charts and he will disrupt the opposing team’s offense as well.
  10. New Orleans Saints – Keith Rivers (OLB, Southern Cal) – Many feel that the Saints take one of the talented CB’s here. The Saints feel they have upgraded the CB position with the signing of Randall Gay. So they’ll go with Keith Rivers. Rivers can be this year’s Patrick Willis and the Saints have a need at OLB. Much will depend on how he responds to coaching, otherwise this will be a wasted pick. WR is also an option here but there will be good talent available when the Saints pick again in the 2nd round.
  11. Buffalo Bills – DeSean Jackson (WR, Cal) – The Bills were unable to close a deal with Cardinals wideout Bryant Johnson. The Bills will continue to load up on playmakers. It may be early to take him here but Jackson is a home run threat on offense AND kick/punt returns. He will be the perfect compliment to Lee Evans and will be reunited with former Cal teammate Marshawn Lynch. Hello Trent Edwards and bye-bye J.P. Losman.
  12. Denver Broncos – Chris Williams (OT, Vanderbilt) – Broncos need O-line and WR help. They could very well go with someone like WR Malcolm Kelly. No one was bragging about the Broncos’ O-line last year and Shanahan knows it starts here. Williams is a finesse type blocker, which is a trait for many of the Broncos linemen in the past. Jeff Otah warrants consideration but he doesn’t fit the Broncos’ mold. Jay Cutler is the Broncos’ future franchise QB and he will need franchise type protection at LT.
  13. Carolina Panthers – Rashard Mendenhall (RB, Illinois)DeShaun Foster is gone. The Panthers aren’t convinced that DeAngelo Williams is the full time starter and LaBrandon Toefield is unproven. Mendenhall gives the Panthers a solid 1st & 2nd down back if the Panthers take RB by committee approach…which they will. Mendenhall will eventually be the feature back.
  14. Chicago Bears – Malcolm Kelly (WR, Oklahoma) – The Bears need help at WR…BADLY. They lost almost everyone in the off season. Here is a receiver in the Muhsin Muhammad mold. He will be a good compliment to Marty Booker and may even overshadow him in 2008. Brian Brohm is a possibility here but the Bears will be gun-shy after the failed 1st round experiments with Rex Grossman and Cade McNown.
  15. Detroit Lions – Brian Brohm (QB, Louisville) – This pick will shock many. But there is a true need here. Kitna is not a long term solution. The Lions will get perhaps the 2nd best QB in the draft and will not have to pay him top-5 money. The Lions need help at DE so Derrick Harvey is a possible selection here as well. Lions also need a LB but none warrant consideration here.
  16. Arizona Cardinals – Mike Jenkins (CB, South Florida) The Cardinals were supposed to make the big leap to contender last year. I think this is the year they put it all together. They can go into the season with their current roster and be successful. Much will depend on Matt Leinart’s progression. The Cardinal’s are solid at every position but they could upgrade at CB because they will take the best player available. That player will be Mike Jenkins, who has the potential to fit into the physical style of defense that the Cardinals showed last year. Local kid Antoine Cason is an option here.
  17. Minnesota Vikings – Derrick Harvey (DE, Florida) – That status of Kenechi Udeze is uncertain while he is being treated for Leukemia. Erasmus James has not proven himself yet. The Vikings did log 38 sacks last year but the addition of Harvey is likely to bump the sack total up. Harvey is a game changer. He has good burst and can chase down the ball carrier. It is a surprise to see that he has lasted this long.
  18. Houston Texans – Leodis McKelvin (CB, Troy) – If you are in the same division as Peyton Manning and the Colts, then you need to stop the pass. With the emergence of Mario Williams, the Texans can now focusing on adding corners and safetys to help Dunta Robinson. McKelvin drops because of size (5-10). Too bad for Peyton, because now the Texans get an outstanding young corner. Jonathon Stewart is a possibility here but his injury scares the Texans.
  19. Philadelphia Eagles – Dan Connor (ILB, Penn St) – I would like to see the Eagles take a WR here such as Limas Sweed to complement Reggie Brown. However, WR has constantly been an area of need and the Eagles have never addressed it with a 1st round pick, at least not in recent memory. With the release of Takeo Spikes, the Eagles have a starting linebacker crew with 2 years of experience or less. There’s going to be some trial and error with this squad. Dan Connor is in the same mold as Paul Posluszny (Buffalo Bills) and would bring instant credibility to this unit.
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Tennessee St) – The Buccaneers need more help at WR and D-line. They would like to get more than the 33 sacks they had last year. They could opt for Quentin Groves as a DE, Phillip Merling as a DT or Kentwan Balmer (DT). Rhonde Barber is aging and Cromartie is an attractive replacement at this spot. He could really benefit with 1 year learning behind Barber.
  21. Washington Redskins – Limas Sweed (WR, Texas) – Redskins could use some help on the D-line too but WR covers a greater need. Jim Zorn is an offensive guy and he will be determined to put his stamp on the offense this year. What better way than to add a 6’4” WR to Santana Moss and Antwaan Randal El who are both 5’10”. There will be 3 good WR’s to aid in Jason Campbell’s development. He will need it…the West Coast offense is not an easy one to learn.
  22. Dallas Cowboys – James Hardy (WR, Indiana) – All this guy does is catch TD’s. He’s caught 36 of them through his junior year at Indiana. He has good physical tools but he will need help on his route running. A physically imposing receiver who needs polish? Sounds like another receiver on the Cowboys roster…”Ahem”…T.O. Jerry Jones sees the same thing and T.O. may not be on the team past 2008.
  23. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aqib Talib (CB, Kansas) – Cornerback is a work in progress. If Talib comes through, then the Steelers will get more than the 36 sacks they had last year. You can make a case for Antoine Cason, but Talib has the size that the Steelers are after. It is possible for Talib to make the switch to safety. The versatility, size and physical skills make him very attractive to the Steelers. Branden Alberts warrants consideration with the loss of Alan Faneca but Talib fills a greater need.
  24. Tennessee Titans – Quentin Groves (OLB, Auburn) - The 1st round of the draft didn’t play out very well for the Titans. They would like to have Limas Sweed as a compliment to Vince Young but the Redskins took him at #21. Historically, the Titans have done well with the later rounds in the draft with regards to sack production. Since the remaining WR’s would be a reach here, the Titans go for potential sack master Groves. He had 15 sacks as a junior. Titans lost Antwan Odom & Travis LaBoy who accounted for 14 of the team’s 40 sacks last year. Coach Fisher would find a way to incorporate Groves into his version of the 46 defense.
  25. Seattle Seahawks – Branden Albert (OG, Virginia) – A lot of people blame the downfall of the Seahawks running game on Shaun Alexander. In actuality, it was the loss of Steve Hutchinson that caused the downward spiral. Holmgren believes it too. That’s why they signed T.J. Duckett and Julius Jones. The Seahawks are clearly in a position to draft O-line. Who knows if Albert is the next Hutchinson but he has the tools to become a dominant guard in the NFL.
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars – Phillip Merling (DE, Clemson) – The Jaguars traded DT Marcus Stroud to the Bills. The Jaguars can use some improvement at DE. Merling is versatile enough to play DE or DT. Lack of sacks dropped Merling to 26 where he could have easily been picked between 15-20. Good motor, limited athletic ability. Should be a good system player. Coach Jack Del Rio will get the most out of him. Merling can also drop out of the 1st round due to recent injury news.
  27. San Diego Chargers -  Jeff Otah (OT, Pitt) – Otah projects to compete for RT with Jerome Clary. This is a luxury pick for the Chargers as they do not have very many needs. This is also a safe pick. Otah can win this job in 2008. At the very least, he will start by 2009.  
  28. Dallas Cowboys – Antoine Cason (CB, Arizona) – The draft works out well for the Cowboys. They get a WR in the mold of T.O. and arguably the best corner in the draft. Cason is knocked down because of his thin frame but he can flat out play. He will make teams pay for passing on him earlier.
  29. San Francisco 49er’s – Kentwan Balmer (DT, North Carolina) – The 49er’s feel that they have addressed their WR concerns with Bryant Johnson and Isaac Bruce. The 49er’s greatest need is O-line. Clearly this was the biggest disappointment in 2007. The 49er’s went from 135 rush yds/gm in 2006 to 92 rush yds/gm in 2007. They also yielded 55 sacks. They would like to draft guard Branden Alberts, but he will be gone. With Larry Allen’s potential retirement and Jonas Jennings injury issues, O-line will be worse in 2008. At this point, the 49ers take the best available player. One to replace a departed Bryant Young. Balmer is a tall specimen and can add 10-20 more pounds to play end in the 3-4 opposite Justin Smith. Another option has the 49er’s trading out of the 1st round and working on Guard and OT in rounds 2 & 3 where there is still talent to be had. Sam Baker (OT, Southern Cal) & Gosder Cherilus (OT, Boston College) are sneaky picks here.
  30. Green Bay Packers – Brandon Flowers (CB, Virginia Tech) – Tough pick for the Packers. They surprised everyone last year as their team put it all together and went deep into the playoffs. They have little needs going into the draft except to address depth. Flowers is a luxury pick that doesn’t have an immediate need to start but can contribute on nickel and dime packages. Flowers has the potential to start in 2009.
  31. New England Patriots – Forfeited
  32. New York Giants – Calais Campbell (DE, Miami) – The Giants draft Campbell with the uncertainty of Michael Strahan’s future. If Strahan does return for one more season, then Campbell will get to learn from one of the best in the game. Campbell has the skill to be a superb pass rusher. He has quickness, good strength and a high motor. If Strahan can teach Campbell some of his moves, then there will be little drop off when he retires.

Just my thoughts on how the 1st round of this year's NFL draft might play out. Jonathon Stewart drops due to injury concerns although the Texans may still take a chance on him. Phillip Merling may fall as well due to recent injury news. Comments welcome.

Category: NFL
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