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-2008 NFL Mock Draft - Round 1
By Chris Pokorny, PFCritics Writer
April 12, 2008
The 2008 NFL Draft will take place from April 26th to April 27th. There are a few changes this year though:

On Day 1, only the first two rounds will be picked, instead of the traditional three rounds. Also, teams will have only ten minutes to make their picks in the first round, compared to having fifteen minutes in the past. In the second round, the time has been reduced from ten minutes to seven minutes. On Day 2, teams will have five minutes for each pick in rounds three through seven.

This year's draft seems to be less predictable than last year's, at least for the first several picks. The Dolphins need more than one impact player to improve their fortunes this season, so it'll be very interesting to see if they field any trade offers in the coming weeks.

Here are my previous year's mock drafts for your viewing pleasure:
2006 Mock Draft | 2007 Mock Draft

If you have any love or hate for my picks, please send me a message using my email at the top or bottom of the page. Your comments will be featured in my next mailbag session here at PFCritics.com, prior to the start of the draft. Without further adieu, here is my official 2008 NFL Mock Draft for the first round (and be sure to bookmark our site):

2008 PFCritics.com Mock Draft - Round 1
Miami Dolphins - Chris Long, DE - Virginia
1 - The Dolphins are in a situation where they can't be too excited about having the No. 1 overall pick this year. The Dolphins nearly had the most holes of any football team in history last season, as they finished with a 1-15 record. Bill Parcells has already come in and cleaned up quite a bit, but the organization would rather have several high picks rather than "the" high pick.

Staying at No. 1 though, it looks like the Dolphins are going to have to decide between the two Longs -- Chris Long and Jake Long. Although both players fill a need, the Dolphins would be making the "safer" pick in Howie Long's son, defensive end Chris Long. Chris Long's high motor and intellect of the game surpasses the risks associated with Jake Long, who many feel would've been ranked behind Joe Thomas last season (who was selected third overall).
St. Louis Rams - Vernon Gholston, DE - Ohio St.
2 - The Rams fell apart in so many ways last season due to injuries. One of those injuries includes left tackle Orlando Pace, who appears to be far past his prime. That would make Jake Long a reasonable pick here, except for the fact that the "what-if" factor makes it possible that Pace would be perfectly fine this season, thus delaying the timeframe of Long's debut on the line.

That's where the shift turns to the defensive side of the ball, where the Rams chose defensive end Adam Carriker last season. Carriker was moved to the defensive tackle position last year, meaning the team again needs youth on the end, especially when you consider that veteran Leonard Little is 34 years of age. Gholston would bring an immediate pass rushing ability that the Rams haven't seen in a long time.
Atlanta Falcons - Glenn Dorsey, DT - LSU
3 - The Falcons can't sit back and wait on Michael Vick to come back in several years, but on the same note they can probably get just as good enough of a quarterback with the third pick in the second round as they could with the third pick overall.

The Falcons could also use Jake Long to add much-needed protection for the quarterback they select in round two, but I believe Peter King is right when he says new Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is a "very big fan" of Dorsey (remember, Dimitroff came from the Patriots, where the likes of Ty Warren, Richard Seymour, and Vince Wilfork were selected). Dorsey battled injuries last season, but through that he never missed a game and was dubbed by many as the best defensive lineman in the country.
Oakland Raiders - Darren McFadden, RB - Arkansas
4 - Al Davis does some of the most bizarre things these days, the most recent being when he overpaid defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, despite the fact that he was coming off of a serious injury. If McFadden is on the board at this point though, it should be a 99% lock that the Raiders will take the best running back in this year's class. This is the type of pick that absolutely turned around the Minnesota Vikings season last year compared to two years ago.

McFadden ran a 4.33 at the combine and would probably be able to beat out Justin Fargus for the starting role. McFadden can do everything that a running back can be asked to do -- run effectively, block consistently, and catch the ball regularly. That, paired with the potential of second-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell, would add the "big-name" publicity that the team has lacked since their Super Bowl run (and, their failed efforts with Randy Moss).
Kansas City Chiefs - Jake Long, OT - Michigan
5 - The Chiefs' had their playoff runs a couple of years ago because they had one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the league. The Chiefs could run a pitch play to Larry Johnson, who would walk with his hand on a lineman's back all the way to the sideline, patiently awaiting for a hole, and then explode through it for a touchdown.

Last year, the Chiefs suddenly averaged a pitiful 78.0 rushing yards per game. Sure, that can be blamed on inept quarterback play and a lack of threat at the receiver position, but the Chiefs' offensive line deteriorated all around. The Chiefs hope that Jake Long is still on the board at this point, because they'd prefer not to have to spend this high of a pick on the second-best offensive tackle in the draft (like the Arizona Cardinals did with Levi Brown last season at No. 5). Although the Chiefs don't have a proven quarterback either, they seem to be willing to try out Brodie Croyle for a full year.
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New York Jets - Sedrick Ellis, DT - USC
6 - The Jets were a tough team to pick, because many mocks have them taking Vernon Gholston, Jake Long, or Darren McFadden. I believe all three of them will have been picked already though, which is where you could see the Jets try to trade up (perhaps with Oakland to take Jake Long, while the Raiders could still get McFadden).

Without trades though, the Jets settle on defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. I can't really justifiably say that I, or many Jets fans would be jumping out of their chairs with this pick, but he would be the best available player on the board to fill a position of need. The Jets still need help in the secondary, but there should be plenty available still when they pick in the second round.
New England Patriots - Leodis McKelvin, CB - Troy
7 - By putting together a 16-0 record last season, the Patriots earned the 31st pick of the draft after suffering a shocking loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl. Due to Bill Belichick illegally filming the sideline signals of the New York Jets (and, presumably many, many other teams), the team was forced to forfeit that pick. No biggie though, because the Patriots are almost always one step ahead of the rest, as they had a higher draft pick through a trade last year (which they keep, because it is technically the 49ers pick).

Now that the irony is out of the way, the Patriots did take one of their biggest beatings in years on a defensive unit -- the secondary. The Patriots lost Asante Samuel, Randall Gay, and Eugene Wilson to free agency. Belichick doesn't want those absences to be the downfall of next season, so drafting Leodis McKelvin is the best pick for the Patriots after taking safety Brandon Meriweather last season. There are quite a few talented corners in the draft, meaning the Patriots could trade down to acquire someone with just as much skill at the position. Belichick covets players who are versatile though, and that's where McKelvin is a step above the rest of the corners in the draft -- he is a dynamic return man.
Baltimore Ravens - Matt Ryan, QB - Boston College
8 - Steve McNair? Too old and ineffective last season. Kyle Boller? A good game here and there doesn't change the years of disappointment. Troy Smith? The consensus already seems to be that he's in line to be a backup. The Ravens haven't had a franchise quarterback since Brian Billick came in, and this would be attempt No. 2 in getting one (considering Boller failed). Ryan is the only acceptable quarterback for the Ravens in the first round, so if either the Falcons or the Chiefs grab him, you can bank on the Ravens taking a cornerback.
Cincinnati Bengals - Derrick Harvey, DE - Florida
9 - The Bengals really hope that either of the top defensive tackles --  Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis -- will fall to them. While Dorsey is unlikely, Ellis could be very likely considering I was indecisive on who the Jets should pick. With both of them off the board though, the Jets take Harvey, a talented defensive end out of Florida.

The Bengals already have Robert Geathers and newly-signed Antwan Odom anchoring the defensive end positions, but it's about time the Bengals build some serious depth somewhere on the defensive side of the ball. Also, although Odom was one of the higher-rated defensive end free agents this season, he hasn't been battle-tested in the role of an every-down lineman. Harvey had tremendous pass rushing ability in college, recording 20 sacks in 18 starts.
New Orleans Saints - Keith Rivers, LB - USC
10 - Jason David had quite a few nightmares last season, especially early on in the season as receivers were burning him for touchdowns every other play. Having Mike McKenzie, David, and free agent signing Randall Gay filling the first three spots already though, it'd seem like a waste to take a cornerback this high only to stick him in as a dime back.

The Saints also worked on the inside linebacker position by acquiring Jonathan Vilma in the offseason. They still needed help on the outside though, and that's where Rivers comes in. Rivers' solid performance at his Pro Day shot his stock up to the point that the Saints will be more confident in the fact that this will not be a reach.
Buffalo Bills - Devin Thomas, WR - Michigan St.
11 - For the past several weeks, I was ready to have Malcolm Kelly penciled in for the Bills. Then, the worst possible thing happened for Kelly's stock -- he had an awful workout, and then he put the blame on there being a conspiracy against him. The Bills may be another trade interested in trading down because of Kelly's drop in stock, and because of the fact that Thomas would probably be available until pick No. 19 at least.

Still, Thomas is the top receiver in this year's class now that Kelly bombed. Trent Edwards will be thrilled to have another receiving threat besides Lee Evans, who teams became accustomed to double-teaming last season. Edwards, Evans, Thomas, and running back Marshawn Lynch sounds like too young of a group all around, but Buffalo needs to do something to jumpstart their offense a little more.
Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady, OT - Boise St.
12 - The Broncos' biggest need? Someone on the defensive line, considering their once-praised-by-the-media efforts of signing all of the former Cleveland Browns' defensive linemen failed to pan out. At this point though, the top defensive linemen are already gone, and picking someone like Kentwan Balmer would be too much of a reach.

The offensive line is another position of need for the Broncos, and Clady has the bulk and strength to aid a Broncos rushing attack that has started to slip over the past two seasons. This pick also gives Jay Cutler a high-quality left tackle to work with for years to come, aiding his development as well.
Carolina Panthers - Chris Williams, OT - Vanderbilt
13 - The Panthers re-signed offensive linemen Travelle Wharton and Jordan Gross during the offseason. The team plans on moving Wharton to left guard after being the team's left tackle last season, but they'd still like to keep Gross at his natural position of right tackle (although it could go vice-versa, with Gross to LT and the draft pick to RT).

That leaves a void at left or right tackle, and thus, the reason behind selecting Williams. The Panthers should have enough luxury with the 13th pick to find a tackle with good value even if Williams is gone (Jeff Otah), or they may have a chance at seeing Ryan Clady slip one spot to them.
Chicago Bears - Jeff Otah, OT - Pittsburgh
14 - While the defense had its troubles last season, most of that can be attributed to injuries. The offensive side of the ball is where the Bears still have so many holes -- whether it be at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or on the offensive line. The Bears have won with defense before though, so if that's the initial gameplan next season, then the focal point with this pick should be strengthening the offensive line.

At 6'6, 340 pounds, Otah is a mauler. After parting ways with tackle Fred Miller in the offseason, the Bears will take the best available tackle on the board (and, by somewhat unfortunate luck, the third offensive tackle taken in a row). Otah would probably start off as a right tackle with the potential to grow into a solid left tackle.
Detroit Lions - Rashard Mendenhall, RB - Illinois
15 - After a hot start last season, Jon Kitna was less effective after being sacked several times a game week in and week out. That could pave the way for Branden Albert to be the pick here, except for the fact that running back Rashard Mendenhall has fallen right into their laps.

After not re-signing Kevin Jones in the offseason, the team's No. 1 running back is Tatum Bell. That's not the most enticing threat heading into next season, and Mendenhall has the tools the team is looking for -- a big back capable of bowling over defenders and carrying the load for an entire game.
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Arizona Cardinals - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Tennessee St.
16 - Antrel Rolle is moving to safety, and cornerback seems to be the definite position the Cardinals will be leaning towards. Many mocks have them taking Aqib Talib with this pick, and that may very well be the case if not for the fact that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is still available on the board.

Rodgers-Cromartie has seen his stock rise significantly over the past couple of weeks to the point where the Patriots, Ravens, and Saints will have heavy interest in him at No. 7, No. 8, and No. 10 respectively. Of all the corners in this year's draft, Rodgers-Cromartie may have the best chance of being this year's Antonio Cromartie (and not just because of the name similarity).
Minnesota Vikings - Phillip Merling, DE - Clemson
17 - The Vikings were a dominant run-stopping defense last season and often held opposing teams to a minimum amount of points on the scoreboard. The defensive end position wasn't a strong point to begin with though, and the team took a hit after learning of Kenechi Udeze's leukemia in February.

Viking fans have to be hesitant in taking another defensive end with a first-round pick after Udeze and Erasmus James not living up to their expectations, but there really doesn't seem to be any better choices at the 17th spot. The Vikings are in need of a sackmaster, something they hope Merling can provide to compliment the dominating middle.
Houston Texans - Jonathon Stewart, RB - Oregon
18 - Ahman Green can't be depended on health-wise, and although the team signed Chris Brown in the offseason, he hasn't been a true No. 1 running back for a couple of years (and even then, he wasn't near the top of the league). The Texans have had their shots at taking a premiere running back in the draft for a few years now, and it'd be a tall order to ask them to pass up another one.

Stewart had toe surgery in March, but he still ran well at the combine. The Texans would probably opt to select Chris Williams with this pick if he were available, but if not, Stewart would form a nice trio at each playmaking offensive position (Schaub at QB, Johnson at WR, Stewart at RB).
Philadelphia Eagles - Branden Albert, OG - Virginia
19 - With Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan getting older, the Eagles will be pleased to see that one of the five highly-rated offensive lineman is still available in Branden Albert. In his own way, Albert provides more luxury than all of the other linemen in the sense that the team can choose to use him at guard or move him to tackle. He played guard in college, but scouts believe he can make the move to tackle without issues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DeSean Jackson, WR - California
20 - The Buccaneers really seemed to want Calvin Johnson last season, but the Lions selected him second overall. Jeff Garcia made due with really only having Joey Galloway as a receiver last season. Addressing the receiver position, considering they already have a talented defense, is the most viable option for the Buccaneers in round one.

Jackson can do exactly what Jon Gruden likes to see in a receiver -- make something happen after the catch. With his lightning speed, Jackson can also double as a punt returner for Tampa Bay, providing a spark for an aspect of the game that the Buccaneers have been incredibly weak in.
Washington Redskins - Limas Sweed, WR - Texas
21 - How about the little symbolic tidbit -- Sean Taylor (R.I.P) wore No. 21, and that's the slot the team will draft in.

The Redskins have speed at the receiver position in Santana Moss and Antwan Randle El, so the team will be looking for someone who can provide better size for Jason Campbell. Limas Sweed suffered a broken wrist last season, but that shouldn't be an injury that affects what made Sweed one of the top receivers in his class. With that said, the Redskins may also try to lean towards a defensive end or cornerback because Sweed is still somewhat of a reach here.
Dallas Cowboys - Aqib Talib, CB - Kansas
22 - Cornerback and running back.
Running back and cornerback.

Which should come first for the Cowboys? That'll probably be the biggest decision in mind for the Cowboys, because they own the 22nd and 28th pick overall and would ideally like to get the best cornerback available (Aqib Talib) and the best running back available (Felix Jones). The Seahawks and the Chargers are candidates to select Jones, but in both cases it would be in purposes of depth. Talib would already be a steal at this point, so there'd be more risk in trying to take him at No. 28 than with Jones.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Gosder Cherilous, OT - Boston College
23 - It always seems like the Steelers are in a position to draft a player that may not make the biggest splash -- they'll simply fill a position of need. With the top five offensive linemen off the board, the Steelers still need to do something to improve their offensive line. The team already lost Alan Faneca to free agency and it's not looking good for them to be able to retain Marvel Smith next season. With Cherilous having low-end first round buzz, it's hard to believe the Steelers would go in any other direction.
Tennessee Titans - Malcolm Kelly, WR - Oklahoma
24 - A week ago, I would've had Malcolm Kelly going No. 11 overall to the Buffalo Bills. After his horrendous workout (running a 4.68) though, there's a good chance he'll fall all the way to the second round. Instead, I'll bank on Jeff Fisher seizing the opportunity and drafting who could potentially be the top receiver in the draft still.

The Titans were led to the postseason last year because of their defense, as Vince Young took a step back due to a lack of weapons offensively. The team added tight end Alge Crumpler in the offseason, and taking a receiver in the first round is the right move quicken the pace of Young's development.
Seattle Seahawks - Kentwan Balmer, DT - North Carolina
25 - While Balmer isn't the prototypical player that fans will get excited about, he'll fill a need for the Seahawks after losing Chuck Darby and Ellis Wyms in the offseason. Balmer's chances of stepping in and starting immediately for the Seahawks would be high, but whether or not he'd be effective is the big question.

The Seahawks are in a position where if they pass on picking for the sake of filling a need, they could go in a variety of directions. One quiet alternative you'd have to like is taking Brian Brohm, and letting him sit behind Matt Hasselbeck for several years, alas Aaron Rodgers behind Brett Favre in Green Bay.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Calais Campbell, DE - Miami
26 - Jack Del Rio loves big defensive linemen, and Campbell fits that role at 6-8, 290 pounds. Much like I have a few other teams doing earlier in my mock draft, the Jaguars are also getting an effective pass rusher (it seems like a lot of teams are planning to follow suit to what the New York Giants did).

Taking a defensive end is the most logical pick for the Jaguars after losing Marcus Stroud and Bobby McCray in the offseason. On my secret draft-board of possibilities, the Jaguars are the team that I had the most players listed for -- Campbell, Quentin Groves, Lawrence Jackson, and Trevor Laws (all are defensive linemen). Campbell seems to have the highest stock between the four of them.
San Diego Chargers - Kenny Phillips, S - Miami
27 - The Chargers will miss Drayton Florence in the secondary, but they will add to one of the best young secondaries in the league in safety Kenny Phillips. It's not often that the highest-rated safety in the draft can still be taken towards the end of the first round, but that could be the fortunate fate of the Chargers.

Phillips would replace Marlon McCree immediately, but what the Chargers decide to do with this pick could ride on the fact that the team does not having a second or third round draft choice. While the draft is deep at cornerback, not having a pick for a few rounds might mean that they'd rather take Antonie Cason, Brandon Flowers, Justin King, or Mike Jenkins.
Dallas Cowboys - Felix Jones, RB - Arkansas
28 - So, Jones is still available indeed, as I have both the Seahawks and the Chargers passing up on him. After not re-signing Julius Jones in the offseason, Cowboys fans will get used to having another Jones in the backfield.

The biggest change in the first round of the draft could involve the Cowboys though. It's no secret that the Cowboys have wanted Darren McFadden dating back to last April. In fact, when the Cowboys traded for Cleveland's first-round pick last season, fans were jumping through hoops because they thought they would be guaranteed a top-five pick. They may be able to jump into the top five still, but it'd require both first-rounders and one of those top five teams' willingness to pull the trigger.
San Francisco 49ers - Dan Connor, LB - Penn St.
29 - AHHHHH!!!

The worst offensive team in football last season again neglects offense in the draft? It's tough to take a quarterback, because you have Alex Smith still. It's tough to take a running back, because you have Frank Gore still. It's viable to take a receiver, but you did sign Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson in the offseason.

One bright spot for the 49ers last season came in Patrick Willis at inside linebacker. With Willis and Connor each playing inside, the pair would have the potential to become a dynamic duo for a long time, building the type of group that could end up controlling the NFC West.
Green Bay Packers - Mike Jenkins, CB - South Florida
30 - The Packers had a surprising offense last season, but a lot of that unit's success will depend on Aaron Rodgers' maturity level in his first season as the team's starting quarterback.

Al Harris and Charles Woodson form one of the best starting cornerback groups in the league, but the team is thin after that. When either of them when down due to injury last season, the Packers lost their reputation of effectively playing bump-and-run. Mike Jenkins would have Packers fans pumping their fists here, because some drafts have him being taken as high as No. 6 overall. Jenkins also provides insurance for the future if the Packers lose one of their top-two in free agency, or if their productivity levels fall.
New England Patriots (FORFEITED)
-- -- Pick Forfeited due to Spygate. No worries though, as the still had the No. 7 overall pick (where CB Leodis McKelvin was selected).
New York Giants - Jerod Mayo, LB - Tennessee
31 - With the 31st and final pick of the first round, the Giants again go to work on the defense that led them to a Super Bowl victory last season.

Outside linebacker isn't a glaring need for the Giants, but then again what is after coming off of a Super Bowl season? This pick gives the Giants the flexibility of using Mathias Kiwanuka as a defensive end more often than a linebacker though, something that could benefit the defense later in the season and in the next couple of years.
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Hail Redskins - Mock Draft Database
FFToolbox - Mock Draft Database


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