It's been days since Jake Long walked up to the podium, shook the hand of Commissioner Roger Goodell, and became the first pick of the 2008 draft class.
After mini-camps, training camp, four preseason games, 16 regular season games and a playoff later, the 2008 rookies have an entire year of leading the NFL life under their belt. We look back on the hits, and misses, one year later.
1. Miami Dolphins select Jake Long (T, Mich)
The first pick of the Bill Parcells era was a left tackle out of Michigan. A no-nonsense guy, questions were asked about whether he was able to play the left tackle spot in the NFL, with analysts suggesting he would be a better right tackle.
Jake Long showed no such problem keeping Chad Pennington upright on the team with the least turnovers in 2008. With a solid year under his belt, he is on his way to becoming a perennial Pro Bowler.
2. St Louis Rams select Chris Long (DE, Virginia)
The son of Howie Long, Chris Long was the pick for the St Louis Rams at the second spot. Being surrounded with non-starter caliber players hurt his chance of performing at a higher level, but he did show that he was more than capable of beating offensive linemen at an NFL level.
The hiring of Steve Spagnuolo as the new head coach bodes well for Long, who might have a breakout year in year two. For now, it was a decent pick.
3. Atlanta Falcons select Matt Ryan (QB, Boston College)
Need I say more? Rookie quarterbacks aren't meant to be this good. Manning failed miserably in his first year. Look what a year of starting as a rookie did to Steve Carr's career.
His first throw in the NFL was a touchdown pass(an achievement even though it was against the Lions), and he almost led the Falcons to a playoff spot. With unbelievable intangibles, is it too early to start proclaiming that he'll be joining the Elways, Marinos, Namaths, Mannings, and Bradys when his career ends?
4. Oakland Raiders select Darren McFadden (RB, Arkansas)
Despite more pressing needs, Al Davis just couldn't pass up on the talents of Run DMC. He had a decent start to his season, gaining 164 yards against Kansas City in week two. Other than that though, he never even gotten 50 yards in any of the other games he played in.
5. Kansas City Chiefs select Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU)
Coming out of college, he was the top rated player on many draft boards. Injury concerns let him drop to Kansas City at No. 5, who were more than willing to stop his slide. He didn't have a successful rookie campaign, with only 32 solo tackles. But with a new regime in place at Kansas City, he has to prove himself in 2009.
6. New York Jets select Vernon Gholston (DE/LB, Ohio State)
He took the combine by storm, and that convinced the Jets to take this DE in college and try to convert him into a LB in the 3-4 defense in the NFL. So far it hasn't worked, and he looks like the biggest bust of the draft so far, with only 13 tackles and no sacks in his first year.
7. New Orleans Saints select Sedrick Ellis (DT, USC)
The New Orleans Saints liked Sedrick Ellis so much they moved up in the draft to get him. He had a pedestrian rookie season, but was coupled by injuries. Still have a lot to prove but so far, he hasn't met expectations.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars select Derrick Harvey (DE, Florida)
The Jaguars thought they were just a missing piece away from toppling the Indianapolis Colts at the top of AFC South, and they thought that Derrick Harvey was that piece, so they moved up to get him.
Boy how wrong they were on both counts. Injuries decimated the offensive line and they never got anything going. The latter can be used to describe Harvey as well, who only amassed 3.5 sacks and 18 tackles.
9. Cinncinati Bengals select Keith Rivers (LB, USC)
For the first six games of the season, he was having a decent season. Until he ran into Hines Ward. The innocent Rivers was laid out by a devastating but clean hit by Ward that ended his season with a jaw injury.
10. New England select Jerod Mayo (LB, Tennessee)
The Patriots traded down to the 10th pick to pick Mayo, who to some people, was still a reach at that time. But Bill Belichick saw something in him. By the time the season was over, the defensive rookie of the year amassed an amazing 128 tackles, 100 of which are solo tackles.
This is my first piece for Bleacher Report and I like to see what you guys think. Feel free to criticize. I'll do 11-20 soon.
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