NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Combine

Richard BowlerSenior Analyst IFebruary 16, 2008

1- Miami Dolphins- DE, Chris Long, VA- With no clear cut number one pick the Dolphins could go with a player that fits the classic Bill Parcells style 3-4 defense. I expect that Parcells will do every thing he can to move this pick with his old boss Jerry Jones and the Cowboys as a top suitor.

2- St Louis Rams- DT, Glen Dorsey, LSU- The Rams were much improved last season on the defensive side of the ball due in large part to the schemes of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett . The defense is still in need of some help and Dorsey is a top flight talent. Acquiring a defensive tackle the caliber of Dorsey will allow the Rams to move last years top pick, Adam Carricker, around on the defensive line.

3- Oakland Raiders-RB, Darren McFadden, Ark- Al Davis will not be able to pass on this talented back even though running back is a top priority. Bolstered by the success of Adrian Peterson last season McFadden looks to be an impact player from day one.

4- Atlanta Falcons- QB, Matt Ryan, BC- Ryan is a gritty leader and regardless of the position that is exactly what the Falcons need right now. While picking a QB this high is a serious risk it is Atlanta’s biggest need and with a weak class of free agents Ryan maybe the best option.

5- Kansas City Chiefs- OT, Jake Long, Michigan- On a team who has had as many losses on the offensive line as the Chiefs have had the line has to be a top priority. If the top offensive linemen in this class, Jake Long, falls to the Chiefs it is a no brainer pick.

6- New York Jets, DE/OLB, Vernon Gholston, Ohio St- The Jets defense was awful last season and Vernon could be a big help turning it around. I project Gholston will be a beast in a 3-4 scheme rushing the passer.

7- New England Patriots (from SF) - CB, Michael Jenkins, USF- With the future of Asante Samuel up in the air picking Jenkins makes sense. Also the Pats would like to get younger in the line backing corps but this year’s crop isn’t strong at the top of the draft.

8- Baltimore Ravens, QB, Brian Brohm, Louisville- The Ravens could try to pick up a veteran QB or hand the ball to second year QB Troy Smith but at the very least you need to solid signal callers in this league. The QB position has been in flux in Baltimore since they released Trent Dilfer following a Super Bowl victory.

9- Cincinnati Bengals, DT, Sedrick Ellis, USC- The Bengals would be thrilled if this fast rising Defensive Tackle were still available at pick number nine. Marvin Lewis has not been able to put together a good defense in his tenure in Cincinnati and hopefully for Bengals fans Sedrick Ellis will be a key piece to that puzzle.

10-New Orleans Saints, CB Aqib Talib, Kansas- I have no doubt that the Saints will draft a defensive back the only question is which one. In my estimation corner back is a far greater concern than safety in New Orleans. With that said I believe the size and big game experience of Aqib Talib will edge out the smaller Leodis McKelvin.

11-Buffalo Bills, OLB, Keith Rivers, USC- With the loss Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher last season the Bills line backing corps could use an upgrade. Adding Rivers to Paul Posluzny and Angelo Corwell will give Buffalo a solid young group of linebackers for years to come.

12-Denver Broncos, FS, Kenny Phillips, Miami- Phillips is an impact safety and the best player available in a position of need for the Broncos. Jon Lynch is currently the Broncos free safety but has clearly lost a step and may become a liability against the pass.

13-Carolina Panthers, OT, Ryan Clady, Boise State- Clady is a big time talent at the tackle position and questions about Jordan Gross make the big man from Boise state a solid choice. If the Panthers retain Gross the addition of Clady will still a valuable one giving them the option of moving Gross back to right tackle.

14-Chicago Bears, QB, Andre Woodson, Kentucky- The Bears need to do something at the QB position and Woodson could be the best available. Offensive line is also a concern with free agency and age depleting the unit. QB Joe Flacco of Delaware is a high rising prospect and might be a guy Chicago looks at.

15-Detriot Lions, CB, Leodis McKelvin, Troy- With out a receiver drafted at this point Matt Millen will want to draft one but McKelvin is to good to pass up at this point. McKelvin considered by some to be the most talented corner in this draft would bolster the back end of a defense that could use a playmaker in the secondary.

16-Arizona Cardinal, OT, Sam Baker, USC- Last year they drafted Levi Brown to play right tackle and this year they could pick up the book end in Baker. As Arizona looks to put together a playoff run a focus on good line play could be a key.

17-Minnesota Vikings, CB/S, Reggie Smith, Oklahoma- The Vikings need a QB but I don’t think that there is a guy in this draft position and they would be better suited for a veteran signal caller. With that said they gave up more passing yards than anyone in 2007 and could use an upgrade in the secondary.

18-Houston Texans, RB, Jonathan Stewart, Oregon- The Texans need a running back badly and Stewart could make an impact from day one. Offensive line seems to be a perennial need in Houston but the elite players at those positions probably will be gone at this point.

19-Philadelphia Eagles, WR, DeSean Jackson, Cal- Jackson is worth this pick for Philly with his return skills alone. Not mention that he is a deep target that will spread the whole field and make Donovan McNabb’s life a bit easier.

20-Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma- A big tall receiver could help give Tampa’s offense the shot in the arm it needs. Kelly since his freshmen year at Oklahoma has seemed to make big plays in key situations.

21-Washington Redskins, DE, Derrick Harvey, Florida- Looking to put a play maker opposite of Andre Carter defensive end Derrick Harvey could inject some life into the Redskins pass rush.

22-Dallas Cowboys, RB, Felix Jones, Arkansas- Jerry Jones may be enamored with Darren McFadden but his teammate Felix Jones is a player as well. The Cowboys looking for a replacement for Julius Jones they will likely take a running back with one of two first round picks.

23-Pittsburgh Steelers, OT Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh- The Steelers offensive line was not up to the Pittsburgh standard in 2007. Look for the Steelers to take multiple offensive linemen in this draft.

24-Tennessee Titans, WR, Limas Sweed, Texas- A reunion of Vince Young with his favorite target from college could do a world of good for a bad passing game. Drafting a receiver is a must to bolster the anemic offense of the Titans.

25-Seattle Seahawks, RB, Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois- With Seattle looking to be active in free agency, both on the offensive line and at tight end, running back will be a top priority. Mendenhall is a good combo of size and speed with upside potentially.

26-Jacksonsville Jaguars, WR, Early Doucet, LSU- A small quick receiver is just what the doctor ordered for a team with a group of tall physical of wide outs. A player like Doucet could revolutionize the Jag’s offense spreading the field and giving them a change of pace target.

27-San Diego Chargers, MLB, Dan Connor, Penn State- A team with out many needs can afford to take the best player available. Dan Connor will help give help and depth up the middle for the Chargers.

28-Dallas Cowboys, CB, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State- A high rising player in this draft is one of those big talents for a small school type of guys. Could go much higher if a team falls in love with his potential.

29- San Francisco, WR, James Hardy, Indiana- A big Physical target at 6'7" will be hard for Alex Smith to miss.

30- Green Bay Packers, CB, Antione Cason, Arizona- Cason will add depth to an aging corner back corps.

31- New York Giants, OLB, Erin Henderson, Maryland- Henderson is a versatile line backer that will add depth and speed to Giants defense.