NFL Draft: Predicting the Top Four Picks

David WilsonCorrespondent IApril 1, 2008

The draft is less than one month away. Glenn Dorsey has mostly dispelled rumors of his injury status with a good pro day.  All the other pro days now completed, there is no more information to come in. 

That means we have all we need to start the mock drafts in earnest, with a real chance that they might be in some way accurate.

My predictions and reasoning regarding drafts in the top four (barring any trades) is as follows:

Miami, Matt Ryan, QB

I know that conventional wisdom has the Dolphins going with Chris Long here, but I don’t buy it.  You don’t rebuild a franchise with a defensive end, you do it with a QB. 

Does anyone believe that John Beck is the answer?  No, I thought not. 

Bill Parcells will want a quality signal caller to take things forward in Miami, and Ryan is certainly that.  What makes him even more attractive is that there is no one in the senior QB class from next year’s class that would be top prospects.

So if not Ryan, then who? If Parcells really wants a star linebacker for a three-four defense, then Vernon Gholston is a better fit than Long in any event.

St. Louis, Jake Long, T

There has been talk of the Rams taking Glenn Dorsey or Chris Long here, but after selecting Adam Carriker last year, I don’t believe they will go defensive line two years in a row. 

They need offensive linemen.  Marc Bulger looked like a bad QB last year.  He isn’t.  The problem was that they couldn’t keep him upright or healthy.  Orlando Pace is just about done, and the Rams will take his replacement in Jake Long.

Atlanta, Glenn Dorsey, DT

With Ryan off the board, the Falcons take the best defensive tackle in the draft in Glenn Dorsey. 

Dorsey has been compared to a young Warren Sapp, which is praise indeed.  The Falcons had big problems against the run last year, and with Rod Coleman gone they have a hole to fill at defensive tackle.

Dorsey is well worth the No. 3 pick here and is capable of lifting a whole defense with his play. 

Matt Ryan is the guy they want, but he is already off the board.

Oakland, Chris Long, DE

Whatever players the Raiders have brought in, whatever money they have spent in other areas, they still have to address the defensive line.  If they can’t stop the run they won’t win games. 

Tommy Kelly is only one piece in the puzzle and Kalimba Edwards and William Joseph are not the answer, only depth.  

Al Davis loves his Raider heritage, and you can’t get much better than the son of perhaps the greatest Raider ever.  If Chris Long is on the board here, he doesn’t get past Oakland. 

If Long is gone, Vernon Gholston is the kind of athletic freak Davis loves.  A wild card pick would be Darren McFadden, but I don’t see it as the Oakland backfield is already well stocked.

Other Thoughts 

· Matt Ryan doesn’t get past Atlanta at No. 3.

· Darren McFadden will be the big slip in this year’s draft. 

· Vernon Gholston is this year's wild card, he could go anywhere from the top slot down. But he doesn’t get past the Jets at No. 6.

It is going to be an interesting draft this year, and Oakland picks in a good spot at No. 4.  Even in a worst case scenario, we end up with a very good player. 

It certainly looks to be a better season for Oakland this year, and whatever you think of Al Davis, no one can say he doesn’t do everything in his power to make the Raiders a winning team.

Here is to a last hurrah for Al!


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