Five years have passed since the 2008 draft, giving NFL teams more than enough time to evaluate their first-round selections. Nine of the 31 players chosen are no longer with their initial teams. Many more are hitting free agency this offseason, as a four-year deal was the norm for the rookie players.
The draft was fairly successful in the top end. The Miami Dolphins hit with offensive tackle Jake Long, who has made four Pro Bowls in five seasons. Chris Long and Matt Ryan are franchise players for their respective teams, and the Baltimore Ravens just got a Super Bowl championship from signal-caller Joe Flacco.
This year also featured one of the biggest busts in NFL history in Vernon Gholston. Several others came nowhere close to reaching their potential and would surely have rated last if not for Gholston.
Like my previous articles, this article grades the players solely on the production they’ve given their team so far. Players taken in the top five are held to higher standards than those taken later in the draft. And as expected, injuries have to be counted against a player.