Thursday, January 17, 2008

2008 Mock NFL Draft- Round 1

Disclaimer: All Player Profiles link directly to the draft coverage at; they have done some excellent work there! Thanks guys!

1. Miami Dolphins - Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Parcells will make all the calls for the first draft. Dorsey at 6-1 310, is the top rated defense player in the draft. However, he is similar to Dwayne Robertson (physically) coming out of college. He penetrates well in the 2 technique in the 4-3. Not sure if he is built for the 3-4 nose tackle technique. He needs to improve his strength and avoid nagging injuries. Can he handle double teams and use his hands to disengage blockers in the NFL will be the major question. He has a great motor and leadership skills.
However, do not be surprised if Bill trades down a couple spots to pick up additional picks later in the draft. He could easily drop 5 spots and still pick up an essential piece to the rebuilding process.

2. St. Louis Rams - Jake Long, OT, Michigan
St. Louis has many areas where they need to improve. Defense was porous and the offensive line couldn’t stop a elderly woman. Chris Long at DE is a good pick but he is not a true end in the 4-3. St. Louis needs to solidify the offensive line and become the greatest show on Turf again. Protecting Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger should be the key for the Rams success next year. If Pace can come back healthy next year, in addition to Long, ST. Louis should improve in the NFC West.
Long is better than Gallery coming out of college and has more of the physical tools to be a dominating force on the line. If Pace can come back healthy, they can move Long to RT, plus move Alex Baron (RT, 1st Rd Florida St.) to Guard. This would give St. Louis a versatile line, which could protect Bulger.

3. Oakland Raiders - Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas °
Note: as per the NFL, the Raiders will end up with either the #3 or #4 overall pick in the draft.
McFadden is a rare talent who has incredible potential as a pro. Lamont Jordan obviously in not the answer in Oakland and has already said he wants out and Derrick Rhodes played very well coming back from his suspension. Oakland has many holes but, can you pass on a Franchise back, even in this is very deep running back draft, when history has shown that you can find a capable back later in the draft. If I were Oakland I would try to trade back a couple spots and pick up more pieces to rebuild around. Warren Sapp retirement will hurt more than people think. He was an important piece of the Defense.

4. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Note: Atlanta could pick as high as #3 or as low as #5.
The Falcons will take a QB in the first round to firmly put the Vick saga behind them, once the coaching situation is solidified that is. If they choose Ryan in the first round, I would make a trade for Pennington or another Veteran who could captain the ship until Ryan is ready to take the reins. It has been proven that grooming your QB is better than throwing him directly into the fire.

5. Kansas City Chiefs - Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State °
Note: the Chiefs will pick at either #4 or #5.
The Chiefs offensive line has lost a lot of stars in the last three years due to retirement. It is time for the team to rebuild the line to protect Larry Johnson and give a young quarterback time in the pocket. Clady is a reach this high in the draft, but you cannot pass on offensive linemen who can potentially upgrade your offense, quickly. Clady has good footwork but needs a little more polishing. He could learn a lot from the veterans but he should be battle tested quickly. He will struggle in pass protection but should be able to lead the way in the running game. Can he handle the speed of the NFL will be key to his success. He also needs to work on his core strength to help his balance.

6. New York Jets - Chris Long, DE, Virginia
The Jets will continue with a 3-4 base defense, utilizing hybrid packages for situational defense. Therefore the Jets need a versatile player. *NOW PAGING CHRIS LONG*. Virginia is one of the very few college programs that employ the 3-4 defenses. Former Jets coach Al Grogh's system will allow Long to contribute immediately. The Jets 3-4 DEs played well (Shaun Ellis / Kenyon Coleman) however, the Jets did not pressure the quarterback as often as they would have liked. They could use Long and Coleman as the base DEs and use Ellis as the Rush end. Ellis was very successful this year when used in the Rush position. Sadly, Bryan Thomas did not continue to build on his successful 2006 season so an upgrade in the rush position is needed. This will increase the Teams DL depth and allow players to stay fresh and use multiple packages. Honestly, the Jets need a true 3-4 Nose tackle. Dorsey would be a perfect fit but there is no way he will drop to the 6th spot and I do not see the jets moving up to the number# 1 spot. Long is a leader and high character player the Jets seek. With this pick and the emergence of David Harris and Darrelle Revis, the Jets Defense should be a lot better next year.

7. New England Patriots (from 49ers) - Dan Connor, LB, Penn State
He is a tough middle linebacker who is the epitome of the Penn State Linebacker mold. He is a smart player and hard hitter. The Patriots aging linebacker corps will look different next year. Seau will most likely retire, especially if they win a ring this year. It’s unfair that the potential Super Bowl Champions will have a top 10 pick in the draft. Fans in San Francisco must be ready to jump off a pier by now. They could have used this pick on a Franchise QB or Defensive help. The Pats will most likely trade down in the draft to obtain more picks to replace aging players. They will most likely not stay in the 7 spot due to the salary cap hit. They have few needs for immediate help, so why pay a rookie $16 million in guarantees.

8. Baltimore Ravens - Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
Even though I disagree with the drafting a quarterback with a high pick I can not see B’more going in any other direction. They have no option unless you think that Troy Smith will be a true NFL QB. Brohm is polished and could use a year of seasoning before being thrown into the fire. Baltimore could also stand to upgrade at WR. It is also time to find Ray Lewis’ Replacement. The Ravens will have to be creative with Brohm’s contracts or they will be in Cap Space trouble in 2009. 2008 will most likely be Ray Lewis last year in Baltimore. GM Ozzie Newsome probably has a LB that he is scouting from a D-1AA school no one has ever heard of and will be their starting MLB in 2009.

9. Cincinnati Bengals - Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
Marvin Lewis needs to look in the mirror and figure out where did his Defense knowledge go after he left Washington and Baltimore. Let the offense coordinator take hold of the offense and focus purely on Defense and Team Chemistry. With TJ Whosyourmama a legit #1 receiver and IF Chris Henry can stay off the show Cops, he is a legit # 2 receiver. It might be time to trade Chad Johnson for a High Character Defense player who can be a leader on the team. Maybe offer there number #1 Draft pick or Chad Johnson to the jets for Vilma? Lewis announced on ESPN, Chad Johnson will not be traded.

10. New Orleans Saints - Mike Jenkins, CB, USF
Has anyone seen Jason David play this year for NO? If not you are lucky He has been burned by more receivers than Paris Hilton has burned men. Mike Jenkins is a big time player who will be a force in the league. Antoine Cason from Arizona could also go in this pick, or even Aqib Talib from Kansas. Drafting a running back in this draft also makes sense for the Saints. It is becoming evident that Reggie Bush will only be a glorified 3rd down back. They should use Bush much how the Jets use Leon Washington and draft a running back in the later rounds who can be an everydown back. (Ray Rice or Jonathon Stewart).

11. Buffalo Bills – Frank Okam, DT, Texas
The Buffalo Bills played well above expectations in 2007 due mainly to better than expected contributions at QB, RB, and from their young defense. To prevent a dip in productivity next season, Buffalo needs to continue to compliment their defense. By shoring up the D-line they will be able to compete with the better teams in the AFC. He is a bull rusher who uses leverage to collapse the pocket. He needs to develop more inside moves and continue to work hard in the gym. Stamina has always been an issue for Okam.

12. Denver Broncos - Kenny Phillips, FS, Miami °
It is time to find Jon Lynch’s replacement at Safety. Phillips will be a playmaker right away. He has great range and is not afraid to lay the lumber. He does not have Lynch’s awareness, however, he will make up for his gaffes with his physical ability and closing speed. Champ Bailey should take him under his wing and show him how to be a ball hawking safety. Another choice in this spot could be his University of Miami teammate Calais Campbell, Denver needs a Rush end who can also play the run.

13. Carolina Panthers - Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State °
What happened to the their Defense? The D-line has regressed in the last two years. Its time to bring new blood into the equation, they need to stop the run better. They could also go middle line backer in this situation. Dan Morgan will never be the player he could have been. Gholston stock will drop or rise quickly depending on his combine numbers. He needs to work on his footwork and shedding blocks.

14. Chicago Bears - Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Quarterback is a major need, but can Andrew Woodson deliver accurate bullets through the Chicago wind? Their top receiver, Bernard Berrian, may be leaving via free agency, so there will be a need for a speedy wide receiver later in the draft. There will be solid round 2 and 3 WR in this draft. Some people question Woodson’s decision skills but I think he is a good leader and understands how to read defenses. He plays in the SEC where the CBs are fast and physical. He has a good arm but he needs to work on his release point and timing. Chicago also needs a running back. It is more than clear that Cedric Benson is not the answer at running back.

15. Detroit Lions - Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
The Lions weakness was in their defensive backfield. They lacked any playmakers to oppose the QBs in the NFC. Antoine Cason has seen his stock fall slightly since last year, but I think he is the most complete corner in the draft. He saw a lot of action playing in the Pac-10. I am curious to see how he will do playing run defense in the running dominated NFC North. Detroit has a solid front 4 who can get pressure on the QB, so Cason should have plenty opportunities of making play in the secondary. He opens his hips quickly and plays good press coverage.

16. Arizona Cardinals - Keith Rivers, LB, USC
Rivers is in the usual USC linebacker mold, tough, quick to the ball, good instincts and is prepared for reading complex offenses because of USC pro-style program. Has problems shedding big guards but he is always in the right place at the right time. He is a great tackler and will make a difference on the Cardinals defense. He needs to work on his first step when reading plays but he should be a solid linebacker in the league.

17. Minnesota Vikings – Aquib Talib, CB, Kansas
Aquib, 6-2 202 big time CB would be perfect fit for the Vikings Defense. The Vikings were stout against the run but gave up big plays in the secondary. Aquib will give them a physical corner that will be able to slow down the Green Bay or Detroit’s big time receivers. He has quick hips and has great range on the ball. He went against some big time receivers in the BIG 12 who will be playing on Sundays next year.

18. Houston Texans - Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois (declared for the draft) °
Big time playmaker who makes quick decisions and burst through the hole. He has great hands and deceptive speed. He knows how to find a crease and make people miss. He is my pick for Rookie of the year. He will fit in perfectly with the Texans-by-way-of-Denver running scheme. He is versatile and in my opinion the number 2 running back in the draft. He runs well between the tackle and has the speed to stretch the field on zone blocking plays.

19. Philadelphia Eagles - Calais Campbell, DE, Miami °
One rule about the Eagles… 9 times out of 10 in they will select a big, physical lineman in the first round. In this situation they will pick Campbell, a slightly underperforming, physical specimen out of “Da U”. With the right coaching Campbell is perfect for the Eagles and Jim Johnson’s complicated defensive schemes. He will replace “the Freak” Javon Kearse who will must likely be released by the Eagles due to his high cap figure and low production. At 6’8”, he will limit the passing window when rushing the QB. With his wingspan he will help limit passes in the short zone to his side of the field. He will need to develop leg strength to make headway against the league’s bigger tackles. (Possible defensive rookie of the year).

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
Balmer might seem like a reach at this point, but he will do well in the combine and shoot up draft boards. DTs are always a premium and this year the pool is especially shallow. He has a good base and knows how to use leverage. Questionable work ethic but he has a good motor when he turns it on. He needs to work on his stamina and use his hands better in the trenches. He will do well in the 4-3 Cover 2 defense. He would be a good addition to Gaines Adams who made considerable strides late in the season. Derrick Brooks only has a year or two left in the tank, so he would benefit greatly from having a big DT occupy the interior offensive linemen in front of him. He will not be the next Warren Sapp, but he should be a solid DT with good coaching.

21. Washington Redskins - Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida °
Washington needs to develop a serious pass rush in 2008. They barely touched quarterbacks this year. They need someone who can rush off the end and make plays on the quarterback. Harvey can dominate the line of scrimmage or disappear for long stretches. He needs to develop more power moves and learn how to use his hands to disengage from blocks. He often uses a pure speed rush to get the QB, but that will not cut it in the NFL. He needs to work on a spin move and duck penetration move similar to Dwight Freeney’s repertoire. Washington is in serious cap trouble in 2008, so do not be surprised to see them deal this pick to relieve some financial stress.

22. Dallas Cowboys (from Cleveland) – Terrel Thomas, CB, USC
One could argue the Cowboys could use another receiver / returner such as DeSean Jackson from Cal, but the true Achilles heel for the Dallas has been their secondary. They need another CB who can help protect against the long ball. Roy Williams is a liability in the secondary so they need corners that can play on the island.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Sam Baker, OT, USC
Baker is a versatile talent who could fill a number of offensive line spots. The Steelers might have to replace two starting offensive linemen. The Steelers had a good year but they gave up too much pressure on Ben Rothlisberger. Sam Baker played in a pro-style offense at USC and should be prepared to play right away. I hope he has his lunch pail and is ready to work hard in the trenches. His Left knee should be at 100%, by the combine.

24. Tennessee Titans - Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
Sweed is a reach at this spot in the draft, but it is no secret that Young lost confidence in his receivers this season. Adding Sweed can help Young’s development by adding a receiver who Young has chemistry, confidence, and experience playing with (Texas). When Young is improvising, Sweed can use his size to provide him with a big target. He needs to work on his route running and conditioning, and he will have trouble against bigger, more physical corners. He also needs to learn how to use his body to shield away defenders to help be in the best position to make catches. The Titans like to run the ball so it is important Sweed improves his blocking technique.

25. Seattle Seahawks - Early Doucet, WR, LSU
I was not impressed with Doucet, but LSU receivers have done well in the league of late, a la Bowe (Kansas City). Sources say Doucet has better hands and can make more catches in traffic, than Bowe. He should do well in Seattle. Also look for the Seahawks to make a move with Shaun Alexander and look to draft Jonathon Stewart (Oregon), Ray Rice (Rutgers), or Mendenhall if he slides this deep.

26. New York Giants – Ali HighSmith , OLB , LSU
The Giants two glaring weaknesses are at linebacker and defensive tackle. Giants linebackers lack physical, playmaker ability, and with their depth at DE, the Giants could use some athletic presence to help against the run, and in the flats. With good young playmakers emerging in the secondary, and a shallow pool of defensive tackles in this draft, Jerry Reese would probably be best suited with a guy like Ali Highsmith. While Highsmith is a bit undersized, he is an athlete, and, if nothing else, would add considerable depth and be an immediate impact guy in their already excellent special teams unit.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars - Reggie Smith, CB, Oklahoma *
Playing in the AFC South it is necessary that the Jags continue to build their secondary. They need physical CBs to play against big time receivers like Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne. Jacksonville has a stout front 7 so adding a corner back makes a lot of sense. Also look for a sleeper pick such as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Tennessee St.

28. San Diego Chargers – Erin Henderson, OLB, Maryland
The Chargers do not have picks in the 2nd, 3rd & 4th rounds, so it is crucial that they get the most possible value out of this 1st round selection. They could use help solidifying their linebacker corps, and Erin Henderson out of Maryland could fit their system well. They could also use a playmaking safety or receiver, although Vincent Jackson’s development at WR this post season makes that a lesser need. Henderson will add depth to the team and improve their special teams. He is a smart linebacker who knows how to play in space. He struggles in coverage but has good instincts. He has a knack for making big plays when needed.

29. Dallas Cowboys – Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
Terry Glenn will be gone next year and Patrick Crayton is in Jerry Jones dog house for his big mouth and low production against the Giants. I believe Adrian Arrington, his teammate at Michigan, will be the better NFL receiver however, Manningham runs crisp routes, displays great hands, and knows how to create separation against high level defenders (Ohio St, Wisconsin, Oregon, Penn St., and Florida). He will be a great option in the slot for Dallas. I could also see them trying to add a safety to compliment Roy Williams.

30. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis) - Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma °
It is no question Norv Turner leaving killed the offense. I wouldn’t let Jim Hostler be the offense coordinator for my madden team. The receiving corps needs a major upgrade and Vernon Davis needs to step up now (late season production aside). With Mike Martz coming onboard as the new offensive coordinator, the 49ers will target a receiver. I could also see DeSean Jackson from Cal falling to this spot and playing the slot receiver in the new Mike Martz offense (Shaun McDonald anyone)? The 49ers lack a homerun threat on offense, and he could provide a spark at both slot receiver and kick returner. The Niners could also use a DT or a Playmaker safety.

31. Green Bay Packers – Pat Sims, DT, Auburn
With Brett Farve not looking like he will retire, and Ryan Grant plugging their immediate need at RB, the Packers would be best served by adding to their defensive front. GB has good ends and linebackers, and an excellent defensive backfield, so adding a stout DT will allow AJ Hawk and the DE’s more space to make plays, especially in the running game. Pat Sims will occupy the OG/C allowing the linebackers to scrape freely off the line of scrimmage. Sims could gain a little muscle weight and needs to work on his stamina, but he has a solid motor.

32. New England Patriots - FORFEITED

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