1. MIAMI DOLPHINS CHRIS LONG
DE | Virginia | Scouting Report
Odds are Bill Parcells will try to trade down but the question is will anyone want to move up? Not only would it be costly in terms of draft picks but then they will have to worry about negotiating a huge, #1 overall pick contract as well. If they stay put the Dolphins will likely be zeroing in on three players: Chris Long, Glenn Dorsey and Jake Long. Knowing Parcells the smart money is certainly on defense and in a photo finish Howie's boy gets the nod. Not only is Long a perfect fit for Miami's 3-4 scheme but he also brings the type of intensity and non-stop motor that "The Tuna" covets.
2. ST. LOUIS RAMS GLENN DORSEY
DT | L.S.U. | Scouting Report
This is a tough spot for the Rams since the value on the board does not necessarily match their greatest needs but at this point defensive line looks like the best option. Chris Long may be a better fit but it is hard to classify Glenn Dorsey as a consolation prize because many consider him to be the top senior prospect in this draft. La'Roi Glover won't be around much longer and even though Clifford Ryan played well as a rookie it would probably be difficult to justify passing on a talent like Dorsey because of him. Moving last year's #1 Adam Carriker back outside to end is even a possibility.
3. ATLANTA FALCONS MATT RYAN
QB | Boston College | Scouting Report
Sure the case could be made for Jake Long or even Darren McFadden here but you have to believe the Falcons will be looking for a top signal caller to build around with this pick. There's still some debate as to whether or not Matt Ryan is a franchise guy but he is the consensus top quarterback available which means he will likely go very high. Maybe even a little higher than he should. In terms of physical tools Ryan is at least adequate across the board but where he separates himself from the pack are with his intangibles, which are top-notch. They don't call him "Matty Ice" for nothing.
4. OAKLAND RAIDERS DARREN MCFADDEN
RB | Arkansas | Scouting Report
With the retirement of Warren Sapp defensive tackle has become perhaps their #1 need so Glenn Dorsey or even Sedrick Ellis might make the most sense here but it is hard to imagine Al Davis passing on a rare talent like "D-Mac". Justin Fargas came on late in the year but he'll be an unrestricted free agent and with both LaMont Jordan and Dominic Rhodes on their way out there's a lot of uncertainty at running back. He may not be quite as good as Adrian Peterson but McFadden is awfully close which is why he will be almost universally rated as the top overall player in the '08 NFL Draft.
5. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS JAKE LONG
OT | Michigan | Scouting Report
This would be a dream scenario for the Chiefs because Jake Long is the player they would probably take if they had the #1 overall pick. Since Willie Roaf and Will Shields retired the Chiefs offensive line has really gone downhill and what was once a team strength has now become a liability. For a team with a young quarterback that relies on a strong run game that is troubling and it is a big reason why they are selecting this high. Jake Long is probably just a notch below Joe Thomas as a prospect coming out of college but he is better than Levi Brown was and should be an instant starter.
6. NEW YORK JETS VERNON GHOLSTON
DE | Ohio St. | Scouting Report
Thanks to a meaningless win in Week 17 the Jets dropped from the #3 overall pick all the way down to #6 which probably takes them out of the running for Chris Long, Jake Long and Darren McFadden. With their three most likely targets already off the board Eric Mangini might turn his attention to Vernon Gholston in hopes that he can become the Jets very own version of Willie McGinest. A physical marvel and fantastic pass rusher, Gholston played defensive end for the Buckeyes but should be able to make the successful transition to outside linebacker in a 34 scheme at the pro level.
7. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (f/SF) MIKE JENKINS
CB | South Florida | Scouting Report
Most assume that the Patriots selecting in the Top 10 is a case of the rich getting richer but that may not be the case. Asante Samuel, who has developed into one of the premier cornerbacks in the league, is set to become an unrestricted free agent and per the terms of a previous deal the Patriots gave up the right to franchise him. That means they will be forced to either shell out a Nate Clements-esque $80 million contract, which seems unlikely, or lose him. Nobody is going to confuse Mike Jenkins for Deion Sanders but he's the #1 senior cover guy available and the Pats need him.
8. BALTIMORE RAVENS BRIAN BROHM
QB | Louisville | Scouting Report
When you really think about it the Ravens are not all that bad of a team and with a little better play from the quarterback position they may even be able to compete for a playoff spot next year. It looks like Steve McNair is cooked and Kyle Boller still isn't the answer so it is time to bring in a long-term answer at the position. Brian Brohm's somewhat of a polarizing prospect who people seem to either love or hate but even though there are question marks with him he is probably the most logical option for Baltimore at this point. If Matt Ryan were still available he would likely get the edge.
9. CINCINNATI BENGALS SEDRICK ELLIS
DT | USC | Scouting Report
Once again the Bengals defense was horrendous in '07 so one way or another look for this pick to be devoted to a stud on that side of the ball. One specific area where they could use an upgrade is the interior of their defensive line since John Thornton has seen better days and Sedrick Ellis would provide an ideal compliment to Domata Peko. An added bonus with Ellis is that he is a high-character guy, something Cincy apparently has a shortage of. Ellis could also very easily be long gone by this point and if that's the case they might turn their attention to a linebacker like Keith Rivers.
10. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS KEITH RIVERS
OLB | USC | Scouting Report
Legend has it that before Reggie Bush fell into their laps the Saints were preparing to take A.J. Hawk with the #2 overall pick in '06 so they have obviously been looking for help at linebacker for quite some time now. The New Orleans linebacking depth chart is littered with journeymen and veterans who are past their prime so they take this opportunity to grab the best this draft has to offer. Keith Rivers has nice speed, is very athletic and is versatile enough to play either the weakside or the middle for the Saints. Cornerback is another area that they could look to address with this pick.
11. BUFFALO BILLS LIMAS SWEED
WR | Texas | Scouting Report
The Bills could go in a lot of different directions here but their offense really needs a shot in the arm and Limas Sweed is exactly what the doctor ordered. Outside of Lee Evans the Bills really don't have another starting caliber wideout on their roster and guys like Peerless Price, Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed don't offer much in the way of size. Needless to say at 6-5 and 220 lbs. with better speed than he's given credit for Sweed would be a welcomed change of pace in Buffalo and could provide them with a perfect compliment to Evans. They may also look for a linebacker or a corner here.
12. DENVER BRONCOS KENNY PHILLIPS
S | Miami (FL) | Scouting Report
With the unexpected retirement of Matt Lepsis a left tackle such as Ryan Clady may draw some consideration here but defense remains the biggest problem in the Mile High City. John Lynch has had a terrific career but he is nearing the end of the road and beyond him there isn't too much to get excited about at safety so it may be time to secure the future of the position. Kenny Phillips did not have the junior year most were expecting but he is still an excellent prospect who will help carry on the Canes tradition of sending safeties like Bennie Blades, Ed Reed and Sean Taylor to the NFL.
13. CAROLINA PANTHERS RYAN CLADY
OT | Boise St. | Scouting Report
It's not too often you see a team with both of their starting offensive tackles hitting the open market in the same offseason but that is what Carolina is now facing with Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton. It will be difficult to re-sign both and it looks like Wharton may be the odd man out, which would open up a gaping hole at left tackle. Ryan Clady has that rare blend of size and athleticism you look for in a franchise left tackle and there is a chance he could even come off the board a lot earlier than this. Quarterback could be an option too but I do not see John Fox wanting to start over.
14. CHICAGO BEARS ANDRÉ WOODSON
QB | Kentucky | Scouting Report
Quarterback might be the Bears most glaring weakness but they have other needs to address as well, most notably offensive tackle, so it's far from a lock that they will take a signal caller here. With that said considering all the problems they have had at the position over the years it's hard to envision them passing on Woodson. He is still far from a finished product and will require some patience and development but Woodson may have the highest upside of all the quarterbacks in this draft. If one of the "Big 3" quarterbacks are still available here that is the direction they have to go.
15. DETROIT LIONS JEFF OTAH
OT | Pittsburgh | Scouting Report
I will refrain from making that same old Matt Millen / wide receiver crack... For all of the Lions problems, and there have been plenty, perhaps the biggest has been the offensive line. The George Foster experiment was a major flop so Detroit needs to add a top right tackle and Jeff Otah is an intriguing possibility. A JUCO transfer who didn't start playing football until his senior year of high school, Otah is still very raw but he is coming off of a fantastic senior campaign and has excellent size (6-6, 340) and athleticism. As good as he already is Otah still has a ton of upside and potential.
16. ARIZONA CARDINALS JONATHAN STEWART
RB | Oregon | Scouting Report
Every draft has a first round surprise and this could be it for 2008. Word is Edgerrin James may not be around much longer and even so he has a lot of miles on his tires and they could use a quality backup. Jonathan Stewart is a special prospect with the type of speed and burst you just don't normally find in a 230 lb. running back. Similar in some ways to Jamal Lewis when he was coming out of Tennessee, Stewart is the best player available at this point. The Cardinals also need help in the secondary at cornerback so guys like Aqib Talib and Leodis McKelvin are possibilities here as well.
17. MINNESOTA VIKINGS DERRICK HARVEY
DE | Florida | Scouting Report
Despite investing first round picks on Kenechi Udeze and Erasmus James in recent years defensive end is still a big problem area for the Vikings and they need to find someone who can put some pressure on the quarterback. Derrick Harvey has racked up 30 tackles for a loss and 15.5 sacks the past two seasons and he is a better pro prospect than Jarvis Moss, who went 17th overall last year. Wideout is also a glaring need and Cal's DeSean Jackson is just the type of explosive playmaker their offense needs but Brad Childress does not believe in addressing that position in round one.
18. HOUSTON TEXANS AQIB TALIB
CB | Kansas | Scouting Report
A running back like Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall or Felix Jones would be tempting but the Texans have more pressing concerns elsewhere, most notably the secondary. Dunta Robinson suffered a potentially career-threatening knee injury and may miss at least the first half of next season and while Fred Bennett seems to have secured the other starting spot the depth is almost non-existent. Timed speed may be an issue with Aqib Talib but you can't question his size, athleticism or playmaking ability and Houston may choose to bring this native of Richardson, Texas back home.
19. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES DESEAN JACKSON
WR | California | Scouting Report
If it's playmakers Donovan McNabb wants then it's a playmaker he shall get. If he's still around that is. DeSean Jackson is arguably the most explosive offensive weapon in this entire draft and he is also a dynamic return specialist to boot. In fact, Jackson shares quite a few similarities with last year's #9 overall pick Ted Ginn, Jr. except he is more polished as a receiver and an even better return man. Cornerback, offensive tackle and linebacker are a few other areas that Philly could look to bolster with this pick but if he's available Jackson sure seems to make an awful lot of sense for them.
20. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS SAM BAKER
OT | USC | Scouting Report
In what is becoming a recurring theme Luke Petitgout went down with yet another season ending injury (knee) so he just can't be counted on and even though Donald Penn performed admirably in his place it's a stretch to rely on a young undrafted free agent at left tackle. Sam Baker may not have the sheer size of some of the other top tackles in this class but he's a decent athlete and a battle tested veteran who was a four-year starter in the Pac-10. Wide receiver is also an option and guys like DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly and Mario Manningham will likely catch Jon Gruden's attention.
21. WASHINGTON REDSKINS MALCOLM KELLY
WR | Oklahoma | Scouting Report
I would venture to guess that most of the mocks you see will have a defensive end here and it's hard to argue with that logic because the Skins could definitely use an impact player opposite Andre Carter. However their lack of a true #1 wideout is just as glaring of a need and while they were ranked in the top ten defensively last year their passing offense was middle of the pack. The Redskins need a receiver with size to compliment Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El and at 6-4 and 219 lbs. Malcolm Kelly certainly fits that bill. This could just as easily be a guy like Calais Campbell too.
22. DALLAS COWBOYS (f/CLE) LEODIS MCKELVIN
CB | Troy | Scouting Report
After having so much luck with DeMarcus Ware why not go back to the same Troy program for some help at cornerback? Anyone who watched the Cowboys this year saw Jacques Reeves get picked on early and often so at the very least Dallas needs an upgrade in the nickel and if Anthony Henry ever makes his long-anticipated move to safety corner just becomes that much more of a glaring need. You might not know a lot about Leodis McKelvin just yet but you will soon because not only does he have prototypical size (5-11, 190) and speed (4.45) but he's also an excellent return man.
23. PITTSBURGH STEELERS GOSDER CHERILUS
OT | Boston College | Scouting Report
The Steelers have always been able to hang their hat on a dominant offensive line but they could be preparing to undergo a significant changing of the guard up front. It looks as though free agent Alan Faneca is all but gone, Max Starks is a free agent who is not expected back and Marvel Smith has battled some injuries in recent years and has just one more year left on his contract. Basically Pittsburgh could be in the market for the best offensive lineman here and Gosder Cherilus is a prototypical NFL right tackle. This choice might also free them up to move Willie Colon inside to guard.
24. TENNESSEE TITANS CALAIS CAMPBELL
DE | Miami (FL) | Scouting Report
There's no doubt that the Titans receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired and that is definitely an option here but also keep in mind that they've recently invested draft picks in Brandon Jones, Roydell Williams, Paul Williams and Chris Davis so they might be reluctant to go back to that well yet again. On the other hand both Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy are set to become free agents so a top defensive end to team with Kyle Vanden Bosch would make sense as well. Calais Campbell did not have a great junior year and saw his stock drop a bit but he's a pretty intriguing guy at this point.
25. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS RASHARD MENDENHALL
RB | Illinois | Scouting Report
It sure looks as though Shaun Alexander may never regain his MVP form and while Maurice Morris is a decent backup the running game got so bad in Seattle this year that Mike Holmgren all but admitted that he gave up on it at one point. Granted they still have a lot of money invested in Alexander but if you recall Holmgren drafted him back in 2000 even though they seemed to be set at the position with Ricky Watters. Rashard Mendenhall burst onto the scene this season and would provide good value here, although a tight end like Fred Davis would probably make some sense as well.
26. NEW YORK GIANTS DAN CONNOR
OLB | Penn St. | Scouting Report
The G-Men have a few issues at linebacker. Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor are both set to become unrestricted free agents and the Mathias Kiwanuka experiment is still up in the air so you have to believe they will take a long look at a guy like Dan Connor here. The latest product of "Linebacker U", Connor is similar in many ways to Bills 2nd round pick Paul Posluszny in terms of physical tools and intangibles but he might be an even better prospect. The other most plausible option here is probably cornerback, where age is really catching up with Sam Madison and R.W. McQuarters.
27. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS PHILLIP MERLING
DE | Clemson | Scouting Report
Defensive end Bobby McCray is set to become an unrestricted free agent and might not be back while Reggie Hayward is still struggling to regain his pre-injury form so it would not be a surprise to see the Jaguars look in that direction with this pick. After playing second fiddle to Gaines Adams earlier in his career Phillip Merling finally got his chance to shine in 2007 and he emerged as a potential first rounder. A two-way end with a terrific motor who can play both the run and the pass effectively, Merling may be just the right fit here. Don't rule out yet another wide receiver either though.
28. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS KENTWAN BALMER
DT | North Carolina | Scouting Report
Looking at their depth chart it is somewhat difficult to pinpoint many glaring needs for the Chargers. Difficult but not impossible. One area that is a concern is the lack of depth along the defensive line, where Luis Castillo has been unable to stay healthy the past couple of years and they have little or nothing behind Jamal Williams at the nose. Kentwan Balmer is a talented former underachiever who enjoyed a breakout senior campaign and saw his stock rise dramatically. Balmer, who could play tackle in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4, would be a perfect fit for San Diego at this point in round one.
29. DALLAS COWBOYS FELIX JONES
RB | Arkansas | Scouting Report
With their second #1 pick the Cowboys could feel like they are playing with house money to a degree and while everyone assumes that Arkansas alumnus Jerry Jones wants Darren McFadden he might have to settle for another Hog running back. Julius Jones is an unrestricted free agent who is not expected back and Felix Jones would be a perfect replacement, providing some lightning to Marion Barber's thunder. Felix was also an All-American kick returner in college so that would be an added bonus. Wideout could be another possibility here since Terry Glenn has been wearing down.
30. SAN FRANCISCO 49'ERS (f/IND) MARIO MANNINGHAM
WR | Michigan | Scouting Report
Picking this low after such an awful season must be a tough pill to swallow but that is reason #1,567,811 why you should think long and hard about trading away those future #1's. With that said landing a great talent like Mario Manningham should help take the sting off it and he is exactly the type of playmaker this franchise needs on offense. He may have a slight frame but Manningham knows how to stretch the field vertically and get in the endzone and you just know new offensive coordinator Mike Martz will be angling for a weapon like that. This one certainly feels like a perfect fit.
31. GREEN BAY PACKERS REGGIE SMITH
DB | Oklahoma | Scouting Report
Al Harris and Charles Woodson are one of the better starting cornerback combos in the league but to say the Packers have little or no depth behind them would be an understatement. Enter Reggie Smith, who played safety earlier in his college career before recently moving to corner in '07 and he could project to either position at the next level. A physical cover guy with great range and playmaking ability, Smith would provide a major upgrade in the nickel while being groomed for an eventual starting gig. In fact with things still unsettled at safety he could also contribute there as well.