Chris Pokorny provides the most comprehensive, personable outlook regarding the 2008 draft.
2008 NFL Mock Draft - Round 1
By Chris Pokorny, PFCritics WriterApril 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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
New York Jets - Sedrick Ellis, DT - USC
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
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
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
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
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
Cincinnati Bengals - Derrick Harvey, DE - Florida
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
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
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.
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 -
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
Chicago Bears - Jeff Otah, OT - Pittsburgh
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 -
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
Arizona Cardinals - Dominique
Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Tennessee St.
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 -
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 -
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
Philadelphia Eagles - Branden Albert, OG -
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 -
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 -
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
Dallas Cowboys - Aqib Talib, CB - Kansas
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 -
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 -
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
Seattle Seahawks - Kentwan Balmer, DT -
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 -
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 -
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
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
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
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
New England Patriots (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
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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