NFL Draft 2008: Who Won and Who Lost

Max IasconeSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2008

Well, this year's NFL draft is nearly over and it's been an interesting and surprisingly entertaining two days, in spite of Mel Kiper and ESPN as a whole.

With that said, every draft has its share of reaches, blunders, and bad picks, as well as some great picks and the occasional diamond in the rough.

So here's who won and who lost in this year's NFL draft.

The Winners

1. New York Giants

They may not have done anything flashy or surprising, but the Giants filled just about every hole in their roster with quality players who have a chance to contribute right away.

With their first pick, New York took Kenny Phillips, whose athleticism, instincts, and playmaking ability could make him a more than capable replacement for the departed Gibril Wilson, if not a Pro Bowler.

However, the Giants made their best move late in the third round when they took Michigan wideout Mario Manningham.

New York's receiving corps, especially Amani Toomer, is aging quickly and Manningham's fantastic playmaking abilities make up for his character issues and combine woes that caused him to fall into the third round.

One of the more underrated picks by Jerry Reese in 2008 had to be Vandy's Jonathan Goff, With Kawika Mitchell's departure, New York had become very thin at inside linebacker. Goff is very tough, strong, and hard working.

He should be the starter from Day One next season if he can beat out former backup Gerris Wilkinson for the job.

Goff may not be an every-down starter, but he and Wilkinson will fill the void left by Mitchell on the interior of the Giants' defense.

Big Blue also found a bargain in Round Six in the form of Kentucky QB Andre Woodson, who was a first round possibility before the Senior Bowl.

Woodson is a developmental project at this point, but Eli Manning seems to have earned his place as New York's starting quarterback.

However, if Manning should fall back to his regular season form in the coming years, New York will have a viable option at quarterback in Woodson.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have had unquestionably the best draft this year in terms of the quality of who they brought in and where they picked their guys.

Most notably, the Chiefs eschewed the biggest need on their roster, the O-line, to take arguably the best player in this year's draft, Glenn Dorsey.

Dorsey may not be the run-stopping 2-gap defensive tackle the Chiefs still need, but he is a disruptive force in the middle who is capable of getting to the quarterback and disrupting plays in the backfield.

Perhaps most importantly, Dorsey is a high-character guy who will bring a culture of winning to the beleaguered Chiefs' locker room.

He is also tenacious at the point of attack and he never gives up on a play. The Chiefs were lucky to be able to draft a player of Dorsey's caliber outside of the top 3.

Ten picks later, Carl Peterson astutely traded up two spots to pick up West Virginia guard Brandon Albert, who was actually a Top Five possibility before Dorsey dropped.

In essence, Peterson had two No. 5 here in that he got two of the guys they wanted at that spot without having to give out two Top Five contracts.

KC's O-line was nothing short of pathetic last year, and Albert's presence along the O-line should take some pressure off of starting QB Brodie Croyle and RB Larry Johnson.

However, I think that KC's best pick (Dorsey was a layup, only an idiot or Al Davis would've passed on him in that situation) occurred at No. 35, when they took Virginia Tech corner Brandon Flowers.

Flowers will provide a much-needed jolt of youth to an aging Chiefs secondary, not to mention a replacement for free agent corner Ty Law.

Flowers may be only 5-foot-9, and his measurables may be somewhat lacking, but the Chiefs saw that Flowers has the instincts and the toughness to be a Pro Bowler for years to come.

In the third round, the Chiefs took a few gambles on Texas RB Jamaal Charles and Tennesee TE Brad Cottam. Charles will likely be used to compliment aging starter Larry Johnson due to his speed and pass catching ability.

Cottam, while he only caught 20 passes in college due to injury, is huge at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds. He should fill the role of blocking tight end, previously vacated by Jason Dunn, in KC's running game for now.

He also has the athleticism to blossom into a fantastic starter in the NFL when Tony Gonzales retires.

3. Baltimore Ravens

Despite the fact that the Ravens reached a bit for Joe Flacco, they got what they wanted on both sides of the ball. The only reason Baltimore makes this list is how they ripped off Jacksonville by trading out of the Top 10 to stockpile picks.

Even if they did end up moving back up to get Flacco, the Ravens got a package of picks (#26, 2 3rd rounders and a 4th rounder) In exchange for the pick that ended up being Derrick Harvey.

This was similar to what the Chiefs got from Minnesota for NFL sack leader Jared Allen.

Flacco may have been a reach at No. 18, but he has everything the Ravens look for in a franchise quarterback: arm strength, character, size, and (surprisingly enough) mobility. In the wake of the Kyle Boller debacle, the Ravens needed to get their man, no matter what the price.

With the pick they got from a trade with Seattle, the Ravens took Rutgers running back Ray Rice, who was a workhorse in the college ranks and can dole out some serious punishment despite his size.

Willis McGahee may be the starter for the time being, but he will be 28 when next year rolls around and most running backs begin to decline around age 30, so finding a replacement here was vital.

One round later, Baltimore picked up playmaking Miami linebacker Tavares Gooden, who is similar from an athletic standpoint to what Ray Lewis was at this point at his career.

While Gooden may never be a Ray Lewis-type player, he definitely has the potential to start from Day One over incumbent starter Bart Scott.

Baltimore will have three free agent linebackers in 2009, including Lewis and Terrell Suggs, so finding some youth at the linebacker position at this point in the draft was necessary.

What makes Baltimore's moves during the draft so impressive is not who they selected, but how they got in position to select these players and other that I didn't mention.

The Losers

1. Oakland Raiders

Sure, Darren McFadden is a special talent, and yes he may be the best player in this draft, but the Raiders have two proven veterans at running back in Dominic Rhodes and Justin Fargas, and a stud in Michael Bush.

No matter what they did in free agency, the Raiders still went 4-12 last year and a team in the Top Five can't afford to make a luxury pick, no matter who the player is.

What makes this pick even more surprising is the fact that DT Glenn Dorsey, who was thought to be even better than McFadden by some teams, could have filled a much bigger need at defensive tackle than McFadden did at running back.

Also, Dorsey was allowed to fall to division rival Kansas City, who took him almost immediately.

Normally, I wouldn't have had such a big problem with taking McFadden, even in light of what I said, but Oakland didn't make another pick until the fourth round. William Joseph and Kalimba Edwards aren't the answer, people.

A defensive player was a must at that position in the draft even, if Chris Long wasn't available and Dorsey falling to No. 4 was an absolute gift. Leave it to Al Davis to burn a pick like this.

However, I have seen some pretty convincing arguments in favor of McFadden going to Oakland on this site and his playmaking skill is undeniable, I think they made a costly mistake here, but the jury is out on this one.

2: Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars at this point are one solid pass rusher away from being a bonafide Super Bowl contender. Unfortunately for the Jags, neither Derrick Harvey nor Quentin Groves will be that pass rusher, at least not immediately.

Trading up is one thing, but mortgaging your draft to reach for a guy who wouldn't have gone in the Top 15 is another thing entirely.

As I mentioned earlier, the Jags traded all of their picks in the third and fourth rounds, along with the 26th overall pick, to move up to No. 8 to pick up Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey.

This would have been fine had Harvey been a "can't miss" prospect. However, Harvey has been known to disappear at times, and there are a lot of questions surrounding his explosiveness and ability to shed blocks at the next level.

The Jags ended up taking yet another defensive end, Auburn's Quentin Groves, with their second-round pick, which again would have been fine if the need were truly dire and Groves had fallen from where he was expected to go.

Groves was not even a second-round pick on some teams' draft boards and he, like Harvey, has issues in the consistency department.

Groves is also a bit undersized for an NFL defensive end at 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds and he probably would have been a better fit as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Jacksonville is noticeably thin at wide receiver and unless they expect disappointing ex-Raider Jerry Porter to be a bonafide No. 1, David Garrard may not have many weapons going into next season.

Granted, defensive end was an area of need in Jacksonville, but the fact that they overpaid so grossly for Harvey and used all of their Day One picks on the position makes the Jags come out of the draft a loser.

3. Tennessee Titans

Unlike the preceding teams, I have no real issue with who the Titans drafted or where they went, with the exception of Chris Johnson at No. 24

However, the fact that they didn't get Vince Young a receiver, despite the fact that Early Doucet was available in the second round, is why the Titans are here.

As I said before, taking Chris Johnson at No. 24 was a bad pick, mainly because the Titans have drafted three running backs in the past three years, not to mention that it was a huge reach.

If Johnson was their guy, the least Tennessee could have done is trade down into the early- to mid-second round, where Johnson would have surely been available.

The Titans did get Vince Young a good tight end to throw to in Craig Stevens, but as long as Roydell Williams is their No. 1 receiver, the team is going nowhere.

Honorable mentions

New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers: Both of these teams made reaches early in the draft (Cason at No. 27, Wheatley at No. 62, Hester at No. 69, O'Connell at No. 94) but A.J. Smith and Bill Belichick usually know what they're doing, so I'll give these teams the benefit of the doubt.