2008 NFL Mock Draft

Greg Haefner@@ghaefSenior Analyst IMarch 4, 2008

This is a full round one mock of the upcoming 2008 NFL Draft.
I will be updating this mock regularly to keep up with free agent signings, trades, etc.
Here we go:
1. Miami Dolphins - Chris Long, DE, Virginia - After a terrific combine, Chris Long all but locked up his position as the No. 1 overall selection. With Bill Parcells as the new GM, and Tony Sporano as the new head coach, you can bet Miami will be looking to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive scheme. With Jason Taylor already there as a perfect 3-4 OLB, the Dolphins will need a bigger DE to go in and play next to the newly acquired Jason Ferguson, and Chris Long will fit perfectly. At 6'3" and 272 lbs. Long should be able to live up to the hype and inevitable comparisons drawn by his last name.
2. St. Louis Rams - Jake Long, OT, Michigan - This is a very tough decision to make for the Rams, having to decide which line is worse. Their D-Line anchored a defense that ended up ranked 31st in points allowed, 21st in yards allowed, and 21st and 20th in pass and rush yards allowed, respectively. While the O-Line had the misfortune of representing an offense ranked 28th in points per game, 24th in yards per game, and an astounding 25th in rush yards per game at a mere 95.4. Granted, former Titan Jacob Bell will help with that, but one guard can only do so much. I have them going with Jake Long here because Orlando Pace is nearing the end of his career, and there are certain players you just can't pass up. A franchise LT is one of them, and the Rams get theirs here.
3. Atlanta Falcons - Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU - After releasing Rod Coleman, the Falcons left a 300-pound gap in their D-Line. For a while there may have been an argument for Darren McFadden at this juncture, but with the signing of Michael Turner, the need at RB has been taken care of. Dorsey has been quoted as saying he "would love to be a bird." and the Falcons should be jumping at the opportunity to grab someone that actually WANTS to be a part of this team.
4. Oakland Raiders - Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas - While the Raiders did in fact re-sign Justin Fargas, Al Davis has made it no secret over the past few years that he loves to draft speedy, flashy players. McFadden is perfect for Davis, and would help a miserable offense last year that ranked 23rd in the league in total points scored, despite ranking sixth in rush offense. Sedrick Ellis was also in consideration here, but after the monster contract that the Raiders gave Tommy Kelly, it seems apparent that they are confident in the players they already have on that line.
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State - The Chiefs missed out on their man Jake Long, but Clady is one hell of a consolation prize. At 6'6" and 317 lbs., Clady is not going to be bullied by anyone on the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs have been desperately searching for their new LT since Willie Roaf retired, and I can say without a shred of doubt in my mind that Kyle Turley is not, nor will he ever be, the answer to their troubles on that side. Clady goes here, and is instantly welcomed by both the fans and whoever plays QB for the Chiefs next season.
6. New York Jets - Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio State - Eric Mangini found one of his 3-4 OLBs in former Arizona Cardinal Calvin Pace, and adds another stud and freak athlete on the other side in Ohio State's Vernon Gholston. A terrific speed rusher, Gholston ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. Gholston is too perfect for the Jets' defensive transition, and will easily get on Eric Mangini's good side if he can produce half as well in the pros as he showed he could in college.
7. New England Patriots - Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida - Asante Samuel and Randall Gay both bolted in free agency. Need I say more? The Pats are extremely lucky to be picking this high even after losing their draft pick due to "spygate." San Francisco should be kicking themselves in the butt for making this trade last year.
8. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College - With Brian Billick gone, the Kyle Boller era can finally come to an end. With Steve McNair's whopping two TDs and four interceptions last season, to say that he didn't produce is an understatement. The man was terrific in his prime, but is no longer fit to be a starting QB in the league, and all Ravens fans know it. Matt Ryan can easily be Baltimore's new franchise QB, holding down the spot for a solid decade. New coach Jim Harbaugh should be thanking his lucky stars that Ryan fell this far.
9. Cincinatti Bengals - Keith Rivers, OLB, Southern Cal - Dhanni Jones. Seriously? Dhanni Jones? Well, either way, with Landon Johnson likely to leave in free agency the Bengals will need to address the OLB spot and Rivers is the best of this year's class. With so many question on defense, the Bengals should take the best defensive player available—as long as he's not a CB. The choice here is between Rivers and Sedrick Ellis, and with the Bengals landing DT Dewayne Roberston from the Jets, the scale tips in Rivers' favor.
10. New Orleans Saints - Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas - The Saints need help desperately in the secondary after watching Jason David get constantly burned in almost every game last year. Talib should help improve a pass defense ranked No. 30 in the league. This may be between Talib and Leodis McKelvin of Troy, whose stock is absolutely soaring, along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
11. Buffalo Bills - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State - The Bills relied on Jabari Greer as a starting CB last season. Not a good choice. Buffalo was a mere one spot ahead of New Orleans in pass defense, finishing 29th overall. DRC is a physical specimen at 6'2" and 185lbs. He can help shore up a poor pass defense AND run defense, as the Bills Cover-2 scheme relies on CBs being able to come up and tackle in the run support game. DRC's frame will help him fill the role Buffalo is looking for. It's a competition between him and Talib at this spot, and whomever is still available should be picked.
12. Denver Broncos - Sedrick Ellis, DT, Southern Cal - Wow, talk about a steal. Ellis should be a top-10 pick, but he is simply stuck at a position that not many teams need right now. Denver, however, needs help at almost every defensive position, and Ellis is the best player available. Denver took a gamble drafting Marcus Thomas last year, and it didn't pay off. Denver thought the troubled DT could shape up and resolve his character issues, but he proved them wrong. Thomas was just arrested this week when police found him with cocaine and a handgun in his pickup truck at a traffic stop. Ellis should help shore up this position, and comes with much less baggage.
13. Carolina Panthers - Dan Connor, OLB, Penn State - With the release of Dan Morgan, the Panthers need a new LB, and Connor's versatility makes him worthy of a top-15 pick. Morgan was constantly injured and should be replaced by the man who broke all of Paul Posluszny's records at "Linebacker-U". Connor can play all of the LB positions, which is what makes him able to fit so well with any team that takes him. Carolina gets a solid talent and blue-collar worker here. Before his awful combine to go along with a woeful junior year, Kenny Phillips was in consideration at this spot.
14. Chicago Bears - Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville - When a team signs two QBs, they're usually still looking for one. Orton is a solid backup and Grossman has proven what could've happened if Ryan Leaf had the support from the Chargers that the Bears are giving Grossman. Brohm is a superb talent, and can easily step in as the number-one guy in Chicago. Look for OTs like Jeff Otah of Pittsburgh and Chris Williams of Vanderbilt to also garner strong consideration here.
15. Detroit Lions - Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy - Detroit's secondary has been a mess ever since Dre' Bly left, and with a talent like McKelvin still on the board here, the Lions would be fools not to take him. Now that I've said that, they probably will take another receiver. All that aside, Leodis McKelvin would come in and instantly start for a team that finished ranked 31st against the pass. He's a perfect fit here.
16. Arizona Cardinals - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon - The Cardinals might want to look at a OLB here, but with Connor and Rivers already off the board, the Cards decide to draft the heir apparent to Edgerrin James. Stewart had a breakout season for the Ducks in 2007, setting the school record for single-season rushing yards with 1,772 to go along with 11 TDs. Weighing in at 235 lbs. on a 5'10" frame, he is a load to take down, and is very reminiscent of Maurice Jones-Drew.
17. Minnesota Vikings - Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida - The Vikings have tried desperately over the past few years to add a speed rusher off the edge, but all their trials have failed. With neither Kenechi Udeze or Erasmus James panning out, the Vikings find themselves stuck with a need at DE yet again. Harvery is the real deal, and will greatly improve this Vikings D that has two monster run stuffer inside with Pat and Kevin Williams. It's a battle between Harvey and the rising Philip Merling from Clemson for this spot, look for the Vikings to make one of them the start to a new era... They hope.
18. Houston Texans - Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt - The Texans have had a pretty poor O-Line for a while now, and Chris Williams has been soaring up draft boards lately. The Texans also signed former Cowboy CB Jaques Reeves to a $20 million deal to shore up their secondary. Don't get me wrong, I think it was an awful signing, but like it or not the Texans front office is now going to be so smitten with themselves that they won't recognize CB as a need in the first round. Williams should come in and can start at either tackle position, and the Texans would be lucky to have him.
19. Philadelphia Eagles - DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal - The Eagles missed out on Randy Moss, and so must go to the draft to find their new prime-time receiver. Jackson has speed flying out the wazoo, and could off-set Reggie Brown very nicely. He would also help in Philadelphia's return game, and can simply be described as "electric". Eagles fans will love to watch this guy.
20. Tampa Bay Bucs - Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma - After missing out on Calvin Johnson last year, the Bucs get a guy who is nothing to laugh at in Malcolm Kelly. Kelly is 6'4" and runs a 4.4 forty, which is very impressive. He will be privileged to be tutored by Joey Galloway, and would provide a great dimension to Tampa Bay's offense. Look for Rashard Mendenhall to be considered here as well.
21. Washington Redskin - Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn - Calais Campbell was originally going to be my pick here, but after showing up to the NFL combine weighing in at a massive 303 lbs and running a 5.04 forty, he seems like he's just trying to lose himself money. Every Big Mac he eats is another $100k off his signing bonus. Oh well. Thanks to his slip up, Groves gets the nod here. After a great senior year and a satisfactory combine, Groves sealed his place as a late first rounder, and can help improve on Washington's meager 33 sacks this past season.
22. Dallas Cowboys - Limas Sweed, WR, Texas - It's almost too perfect. Terrell Owens gets his own prodigy, and Jerry Jones gets to draft a hometown Texas kid to play in Big D. Everyone's happy! Sweed is a huge receiver who can run pretty well for his size, and should recover from his wrist injury in time to fully participate in work outs with whoever drafts him. He would be a great fit with T.O. and Terry Glenn.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh - This move allows Pittsburgh to move current RT Willie Colon inside to guard, where he is better suited to play. Colon could replace the departed Alan Faneca, and Otah has tremendous potential and could help anchor the right side of Pittsburgh's line for the next decade.
24. Tennessee Titans - Branden Albert, G, Virginia - It is definitely a questionable call for me to put a guard in round one this year, but this pick makes a lot of sense for Tennessee. After free agent Jacob Bell bolted to the Rams this past week, the Titans find themselves with a gaping hole to fill on the O-Line. Albert is the best guard in this draft class and can easily take over where Bell previously played.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State - D.J. Hackett hasn't signed with a new team yet, but it's pretty clear that he will, and Seattle will need to fill that void. While RB may be a pressing need with Shaun Alexander going from 29 to 50 instantly, the Seahawks put themselves in the same position the Texans did. They signed an underachiever to hopefully fill their need by bringing T.J. Duckett on board. With Duckett and Alexander as their main backs, Seattle will need to throw the ball a LOT, and at 6'2", Devin Thomas can go get it.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Philip Merling, DE, Clemson - The Jaguars get the best DE on the board to replace Bobby McCray, who bolted for New Orleans in free agency. Merling has been skyrocketing up draft boards recently, and is a great fit down in Jacksonville.
27. San Diego Chargers - Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona - Look for the Chargers to trade out of this spot, since they don't pick again until round five, and will need to stock up on as many picks as they can. Should they stay here, Cason is the pick. San Diego let Drayton Florence leave in free agency, and they now need to put someone decent on the other side for when teams throw away from Antonio Cromartie. Cason would give the Bolts a very formidable corner tandem, and he is the pick here.
28. Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn - Patrick Lee can come in for the Cowboys and replace Jaques Reeves, and eventually take over for either Anthony Henry or Terrence Newman, who both have had injury-riddled careers and both will be on the wrong side of 30 when the season starts. Great value pick here for the 'Boys, assuming they don't make a move for Darren McFadden or trade down with this pick.
29. San Francisco 49ers - Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan - The 49ers finished dead last in points per game, total yards per game, and pass yards per game last season. Simply pathetic. Darrell Jackson, their big pickup form Seattle, finished behind Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Arnaz Battle for receptions on the 49ers team. Needless to say, their pass game needs help. They took a step in the run game signing DeShaun Foster to back up Frank Gore, but the still need a go-to receiver and while Super Mario's slow 40 time hurt his draft stock, his sheer playmaking ability is too much to ignore. He will definitely help San Francisco's dreadful passing game.
30. Green Bay Packers - Reggie Smith, CB/S, Oklahoma - Green Bay's secondary got abused by New York in the playoffs, and while Al Harris and Charles Woodson are both solid corners, they are both also on the wrong side of 30. Reggie Smith could come in and play the nickel right away, or possibly replace Atari Bigby at safety, who was responsible for more penalties than anyone else on the Packer team. Either way, Reggie Smith would instantly help this already solid defense.
31. New England Patriots - Steven Spielberg, Camera Man - The Patriots aren't going to get caught again, so they bring in a professional here. Look for Spielberg to demand a huge contract.
32. New York Giants - Kenny Phillips, S, Miami - New York signed Sammy Knight to try to help fill the void left by Gibril Wilson, but I still think they need to upgrade at FS, and Kenny Phillips is the best safety in this draft. Phillips slips all the way to the bottom of round one after being a possible top-10 pick going into the season, but he can still definitely help the Giants' secondary and is a good fit here.
Well that about wraps it up. Feel free to tell me what you think about your team's pick.