So here it is. My shot at a mock draft for 2008. Ok now let’s see. I am reading the Kiper book “Mock drafts for dummies” instruction manual and I am following them to the letter…First I need to put the board up on the wall…Then get out the darts…Put on the blind fold and begin tossing the darts…(several minutes later)…Take off the blind fold and…Here we go! This looks like a winner. ESPN salary here I come!
1. Miami- Jake Long, OT Michigan
Miami has already began contract negotiations with Long which is a very smart move after seeing the Raiders lose JaMarcus for nearly his entier rookie season after holding out of training camp
2. St Louis- Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU
Dorsey is the most decorated Defensive lineman in this years draft and he dominated in arguably the best conference in college football. He is a must pick for a team that is in desperate need of a DT. He is the kind of player that can anchor the Dline for years to come.
3. Atlanta- Matt Ryan, QB Boston College
Many say he is the only franchise quarterback in this years draft. Which is what the Falcons are in desperate need of right now. Harrington was re-signed to the team and Leftwich was released. It looks as if Harrington will hold down the position until Ryan is ready at which point he can be a mentor for Ryan as he develops.
4. Oakland- Chris Long, DE Virginia
After hearing over and over that Chris Long had “Zero chance” of falling to the Raiders at the fourth pick, he falls to them after all. Chris is as close as this draft has to a can’t miss (knock on wood) Defensive End. He had 14 sacks his senior season which is the exact amount that combine stud Vernon Gholston had. Unlike Gholston, Chris was far more consistent. What he lacks in speed, he more than makes up for in motor, passion, strength and passion. Not to mention he is the son of Raider legend Howie Long. Throw all that together and you have the perfect Raider. The entire Raider nation will celebrate the 2nd coming of DE Long.
5. Kansas City- Ryan Clady, OT Boise State
The Chiefs have long been known for their offensive line. But that is now a thing of the past. All of their great Olineman have either retired or should very soon. I would guess that with LJ and a young QB in the backfield they may want to protect them. And KC has gone to Boise State before when they got Jared Allen so I think they have sufficient respect for the kind of players that come from the blue field.
6. New York Jets- Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio State
Gholston is the closest this draft has to a Shawn Merriman or a DeMarcus Ware. Mangini comes from the Belichick school of versatile tweeners and Gholston will fit in perfectly. Another possibility would be if the Jets have their minds set on McFadden at which point I could see them trading up with the Raiders. The only way the Raiders do that is if Chris Long and perhaps Glenn Dorsey is gone at which point they would target Gholston as well. Either way, I see him going at this spot.
7. New England- Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy
It is no secret that the Pats need defensive backs…Badly. They were cleaned out in free agency. Losing Randall Gay, Asante Samuel, and Eugene Wilson. The only question will be who the Pats have rated highest on their board. McKelvin is considered by many to be the best corner in this draft. Mike Jenkins is also a possibility with this pick but the Pats can be a bit unpredictable.
8. Baltimore- Brian Brohm, QB Louisville
McNair is no spring chicken and he may not even be the short term answer so a quarterback is a must. The only question will be if they think they can still get Brohm or perhaps another good QB with their 2nd round pick. Brohm may be a reach at this spot but if they don’t think he will be there with their next pick they will pull the trigger.
9. Cincinnati- Sedrick Ellis, DT USC
With most of the Bengals defensive picks in and out of jail these days, it seems like a never ending need. Ellis is a NT that can eat space, take on multiple blockers and also rush the quarterback. They need a NT so Ellis is value and need.
10. New Orleans- Keith Rivers, LB USC
Yes two Trojans in a row. The Saints brought in Randal Gay from the Pats to help bolster their defensive backfield. They lost Mark Simoneau in free agency so LB and DT are their biggest holes to fill. Ellis was the last DT that was worth this high of a pick and went to the Bengals so the logical choice is Rivers.
11. Buffalo- Malcolm Kelly, WR Oklahoma
The Bills will be happy as flies on feces to get the best receiver in the draft at this spot. Lee Evans desperately needs someone to take the double teams off of him so Trent Edwards can have a few good targets to throw to.
12. Denver- DeSean Jackson, WR California
Another team bereft of big play threats is the Broncos. Javon Walker has gone to the Raiders leaving them with Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokely. Stokely is a slot receiver so there is literally NO ONE to stretch the field opposite Marshall. DeSean Jackson is that guy. He has decent size and is the fastest receiver in the draft running a 4.32 40.
13. Carolina- Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas
I know what you are thinking: “D Mac falling to 13th? No Way!”. I smell a trade up with New England here. The Pats are known for trading down in drafts and in this case the Pats could still get their guy in McKelvin and the Panthers can jump up to get McFadden if no one else trades up and takes him before he can slip to the 7th pick.
14. Chicago- Chris Williams, OT Vanderbilt
Williams is the next OT on the board and the Bears need a tackle. John Tait is more suited to play right tackle and Fred Miller was terrible and was released. Enter the guy Chicago hopes will be their next left tackle.
15. Detroit- Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon
Stewart is the best running back in the draft not named McFadden. Two seasons ago he started to show the skills that made him a top recruit coming out of high school and last year after QB Dennis Dixon went down, he also showed that he can carry a team on his back. He is a bonafide 30+ carry a game NFL featured back who is bigger than both McFadden and Mendenhall, has unmatched power and is a home run threat just the same. If Detroit doesn’t trade up for DMac, they will get their guy here.
16. Arizona- Rashard Mendenhall, RB Illinois
The Cardinals will be more than happy to get Mendenhall as a consolation prize after Stewart goes to Detroit. He has the exact same 40 time as Stewart and had a very impressive senior season at Ilinois Including an eye opening Rose Bowl against USC. I am sure Cardinal scouts were watching. And if Millen and company saw more Illinois than Oregon games the Cardinals will pee themselves to have Stewart fall to them at this pick. Either way they will be happy.
17. Minnesota- Calais Campbell, DE Miami
The only bigger need going into the offseason was at receiver. Well they got Bernard Berrian and in a deep and questionable receiver class they can probably get a receiver in the 2nd round they like. At this spot it will be hard to pass up Campbell. The Vikes had the #1 rushing attack in the NFL last year and were the only team in the top 5 in rushing not to make the playoffs. That was because they couldn’t pressure the quarterback. If not Campbell then Philip Merling would be a possibility.
18. Houston- Mike Jenkins, CB South Florida
Thought by some to be the best corner in the draft. Houston has long needed upgrades at corner. Causing them to make some questionable signings and trades like Phillip Buchannon (many thanks) and a washed up Aaron Glenn.
19. Philadelphia- James Hardy, WR Indiana
The Eagles have filled many of their holes this offseason by signing CB Asante Samuel, DE Chris Clemons, and franchising TE LJ Smith. They haven’t been able to solve their receiver situation yet though. The last Receiver this team drafted in the first round was Freddie Mitchell so they are well overdue to get McNabb a nice big target.
20. Tampa Bay- Early Doucet, WR LSU
Simply put: The Bucs need recievers and he is the best one on the board at this spot.
21. Washington- Philip Merling, DE Clemson
The Redskins are not known for trying to build their team through the draft. In the past they have either traded away picks for players or loaded up in free agency. I think it is safe to say that isn’t working. Phillip Daniels is 35 and it is time to build for the future at that end spot. Merling could be good enough to start at that end spot. He is a value pick here as he could be as good or better than defensive ends taken ahead of him. Other directions they could go are corner and receiver.
22. Dallas- Felix Jones, RB Arkansas
Everyone is well versed by this point in Jerry Jones “love affair” with Arkansas players. He won’t sniff Run DMC without a trade up of mammoth proportions so the next best thing is Felix Jones. He needs a running back to run tandem with MB3 now that Julius Jones is in Seattle and since Felix Jones ran tandem with McFadden quite well, we know he will fit that role no problem.
23. Pittsburgh- Brandon Albert, OG Virginia
Faneca went to the Jets and the Steelers will try and replace him and not miss a beat with Albert. In Albert the Steelers will get the best guard in the draft. Which is a great pick at this spot.
24. Tennessee- Devin Thomas, WR Michigan State
The big argument as far as the Titans were concerned was “Is Vince Young overrated or does he just not have any good targets to throw to?” Well Devin Thomas should help to solve that great mystery that surrounds Captain Wonderlic. On a side note: VY is indeed overrated.
25. Seattle- Jeff Otah, OT Pittsburgh
Tight End is also a big need for the Seahawks. Unfortunately there are not really any tight ends in this draft worth a first round pick. None even shine enough more than the others for a reach here. Otah is the last of the top flight Tackles in this draft and he will be hard to pass up here. Or they could trade out of the spot for someone who is looking to hop back into the lower part of the first round. Cough-Al Davis-cough cough. Sorry I had something in my…keyboard.
26. Jacksonville- Derrick Harvey DE, Florida
The Jags have a good defense which is saying a lot considering they have no pass rush to speak of. Adding a guy like Harvey could possibly give them that speed off the edge that they desperately lack. Some pressure on the quarterback would really put that defense over the top.
27. San Diego- Kenny Phillips, S Miami
This couldn’t be more perfect for the Chargers. They lose Marlon McCree in free agency and then get the best safety in the draft at the 27th pick. And the beat goes on.
28. Dallas- Limas Sweed, WR Texas
This was a tough one. It is dependant on whether Jerry Jones thinks he can get Pacman Jones or perhaps trade for another corner (Fabian Washington?). If he feels he would be better served to protect himself against getting nothing he may take either Rodgers-Cromartie or Aquib Talib with this pick. Otherwise getting a big time receiver out of Texas to play for his home crowd would be good too.
29. San Francisco- Jarrod Mayo, LB Tennessee
The Niners need a good inside linebacker to play alongside middle linebacker Patrick Willis to make their 3-4 defense effective. Mayo could turn out to be a steal at this pick and could give the Niners a killer LB tandem.
30. Green Bay- Aquib Talib, CB Kansas
Another need pick of best of what is available. Aquib Talib is a top pick but he slides because of his admission of marijuana use. He is a ball hawk but he lacks toughness and is not a solid tackler. The only guy I have ever seen get away with that on the pro level is Deion Sanders. He takes a lot of risks and ends up getting beaten a lot as a result. His versatility as a reciever and returner add to his value as well.
31. New York Giants- Dan Connor, LB Penn State
Giants lost a slew of Line Backers in the offseason and getting a guy that some consider to be the best Inside linebacker in the draft at this spot would be great for them. They could also decide to go with an outside linebacker in which case Quentin Groves is possibility.
So that is my mock draft. Now that I have wasted a considerable amount of time putting this together I get to wait two weeks to see it get butchered by draft day trades. Until then I will stare at it’s perfection with awe and wonder.