Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 NFL Mock Draft


Since one of the two projected trades from my previous mock actually panned out, I'm going to stick to my guns and keep the second projected trade (Dallas's 22nd pick to Detroit for Roy Williams) in this mock.

1. Miami Dolphins
Jake Long, OT, Michigan
I guess I changed the pick to Jake Long just in time.

2. St. Louis Rams
Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
I still consider Chris Long the best prospect in the draft, so of course I would take him, but I'm not the Rams.

3. Atlanta Falcons
Branden Albert, G/OT, Virginia
It seems unlikely that Albert goes this high, but I don't think the Falcons take Matt Ryan. And they don't need a DE or a RB, but they do need offensive linemen. If at all possible they will trade down, unless Dorsey is still on the board.

4. Oakland Raiders
Chris Long, DE/OLB, Virginia
What can make Al Davis pass up DMac? Why, Son-of-Howie, of course.

5. Kansas City Chiefs
Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio St.
With Jake Long off the board, the Chiefs quickly find Jared Allen's replacement.

6. New York Jets
Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
Some call it fate.

7. New England Patriots (from San Francisco 49ers)
Derrick Harvey, DE/OLB, Florida
I've had Harvey as a top-seven pick since mid-January, I can't bail on it now.

8. Baltimore Ravens
Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Steve McNair's retirement makes this even more of a no-brainer, but then again I would have thought Brady Quinn a no-brainer for Miami once he fell to them last year.

9. Cincinnati Bengals
Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
Ellis is the best remaining player on the board and he fills a need for the Bengals. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will love seeing a disruptive tackle like Ellis added to his new defense.

10. New Orleans Saints
Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
Even though the Saints added Randall Gay, their other new CB addition Aaron Glenn will soon be 36. Mike McKenzie is 32 and coming off an injury. Jason David isn't going to get better. And 2007 third-rounder Usama Young is a work in progress.

11. Buffalo Bills
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
Wide receiver and a pass rushing defensive end may be Buffalo's biggest needs, but the value at this point in this draft is in offensive linemen, running backs, and DRC.

12. Denver Broncos
Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
I'm not nearly as high on Clady as most draftniks are, but he could be a good fit in Denver's zone-blocking scheme.

13. Carolina Panthers
Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
The Panthers need to rebuild their offensive line to help keep Jake Delhomme healthy and Matt Moore on the sidelines for another season or two, where he can be brought along slowly the way Tony Romo was in Dallas.

14. Chicago Bears
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
With the top offensive linemen off the board, the Bears nab an elite running back prospect and look forward to the post-Cedric Benson era. Mendenhall is the kind of elite runner who is actually worth a first-round pick: the kind of back whose presence can help the passing game by forcing eight in the box.

15. Detroit Lions
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
If I were in Matt Millen's place I would opt for Vanderbilt tackle, Chris Williams. The Lions are reportedly considering Jerod Mayo, and if they could trade down and pick him up that would be some solid draft maneuvering on Millen's part. Unfortunately, if the Lions can't move, I think they blow it and take Stewart.

16. Arizona Cardinals
Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
Roderick Hood may be underrated, but 2005 first-rounder Antrel Rolle has been a bit of a bust at corner and will be moving to free safety. The other starter, Eric Green, has played inconsistently as well.

17. Kansas City Chiefs (from Minnesota Vikings)
Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
Merrily, the Chiefs pickup their left tackle of the future after all.

18. Houston Texans
Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
New offensive line coach Alex Gibbs prefers to select lower round linemen and coach them up, so I'm skeptical of the conventional wisdom that has the Texans selecting an offensive tackle here. If the board falls like this, look for the Texans to bolster their linebacking corps.

19. Philadelphia Eagles
Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
So maybe McNabb does get the big-play receiver he's looking for.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
I want to put Aqib Talib here, but I'm not sure a Tampa-two team should be using their first-round pick on a cornerback. They definitely can use some new blood at wide receiver (don't count on Antonio Bryant, anything he gives the Bucs, assuming it's not grief, should be considered a bonus), as well as another pass rusher to team with 2007 first-rounder Gaines Adams. But the Bucs are thin at defensive tackle and could use an infusion of young talent there, too.

21. Washington Redskins
Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
Beyond Andre Carter and Phillip Daniels, the Redskins have a whole lot of nothing at defensive end.

PROJECTED TRADE: Dallas trades the 22nd pick to Detroit for Roy Williams.
22. Detroit Lions (from Cleveland Browns via Dallas Cowboys)
Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
Word is that the Cowboys would want to use the 28th pick for any potential player deals and use the 22nd pick for Felix Jones. But if they're going to deal with Detroit, it's probably going to be so the Lions can pickup a guy they covet a bunch, such as Mayo. In that case, waiting till pick 28 probably would mean that Detroit loses their guy (see next pick).

23. Pittsburgh Steelers
Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
Mayo would have to get serious consideration if he's still on the board. I previously had cornerback Aqib Talib here, but I think his character flags would keep the highly image-conscious Steelers away. So what do the Steelers need more than anything else? Offensive linemen.

24. Tennessee Titans
DeSean Jackson, WR, California
A speedy target for Vince Young, the Titans will be hoping Jackson can stretch the field as a receiver and shorten it as a punt returner.

25. Seattle Seahawks
James Hardy, WR, Indiana
I wouldn't be surprised if Seattle GM Tim Ruskell went out and "reached" for a defensive tackle like Trevor Laws or an offensive lineman like Sam Baker: guys who are rated lower than their production warrants purely because of measurables.

26. San Diego Chargers
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
What to get the team that has just about everything? How about the higest-rated player available?

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
Free agent-signing Drayton Florence isn't nearly enough to stabilize the Jags' secondary which is lacking in talent beyond Rashean Mathis and 2007 first-rounder Reggie Nelson. Flowers' physical style of play is a perfect fit for the Jacksonville defense.

28. Dallas Cowboys
Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
The Cowboys' gamble to deal the 22nd pick instead of the 28th pays off, as Felix Jones is still on the board. Jones's quickness and ability to bounce the play outside for a big gain would be a fine complement to Marion Barber's punishing style. Jones would also help settle a kick return game that was terribly inconsistent last year.

29. Green Bay Packers
Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
The Packers have few needs, but an upgrade at tight end is perhaps their biggest.

30. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis Colts)
Quentin Groves, DE/OLB, Auburn
2006 first-rounder Manny Lawson hasn't contributed to the pass rush as expected (partly due to injuries). By selecting Groves, the 49ers might be able to move Lawson, who has shown more all-around game than pure pass rushing ability, inside next to last year's first-rounder Patrick Willis.

31. New York Giants
Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
The University of Miami's streak of first-round picks continues, but just barely. The Giants signed 32-year-old free-agent safety Sammy Knight, but they need a long-term replacement for Gibril Wilson and an immediate upgrade over James Butler/Michael Johnson.

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