In the first of many mock drafts to come, a few things jumped out. The first is that New England, which was forced to forfeit its 32nd pick, made out just fine by having San Francisco's pick, which the Pats received in a draft-day trade last April and right now is the second overall. That means there will be high drama; Bill Belichick and Co. will have to decide whether to take Darren McFadden or trade down as the Patriots look to continue their run of great drafts. Another thing is the abundance of juniors here (they're the ones with the * next to their name). Just to be clear, we never promote juniors leaving early, but it's a fact of life that they do. So instead of ignoring it, we add those players who belong in the first round. Obviously, there are lot of decisions to be made between now and Jan. 15 -- the early entry deadline -- as the process goes on and players officially declare their intentions, we'll adjust the mock draft accordingly. But for now, 16 of the 31 picks are draft eligible juniors. A couple other notes: LSU's Glenn Dorsey would become the first defensive tackle selected No. 1 overall since Cincinnati took Dan Wilkinson first in 1994. A case of mock draft vs. my personal rankings jumps out with Atlanta taking Brian Brohm. I think Boston College's Matt Ryan is the best QB prospect, but Atlanta would take Brohm based on his ties with his former coach at Louisville Bobby Petrino. Finally, while Atlanta and St. Louis and Oakland and Kansas City would flip a coin to determine their slot based on being tied in record and opponents winning percentage, the players they are projected to take wouldn't change. Remember, this is the first of many mock drafts and things will change as we move closer to the 2008 draft, but if the draft were today, here's how it would shake out. NFL Mock Draft 1. Miami Dolphins Current record: 0-12 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, OG, DT Projected pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU One of the Dolphins' top priorities is to upgrade the talent level along the offensive and defensive lines with an injection of youth. Dorsey played most of the second half of the season with a minor knee injury and a back injury and was still the most disruptive defensive tackle in the country. He should be ready to contribute immediately in the NFL. 2. New England Patriots (from 3-9 San Francisco) Current record: 12-0 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: ILB, CB, OLB Projected pick: Darren McFadden*, RB, Arkansas This hardly seems fair. The league's best team lands the draft's top talent -- or strikes another lucrative draft-day deal for him. Both McFadden and Laurence Maroney split carries in college. A two-back rotation would make both last longer, not to mention the possibilities for an offense already overloaded with talent. 3. New York Jets Current record: 3-9 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: WR, NT, ILB Projected pick: James Laurinaitis*, ILB, Ohio State There simply is not a wide receiver to get excited about with the third overall pick and USC DT Sedrick Ellis is not a good fit as a two-gap NT in this scheme. McFadden should be the pick, if he falls to the Jets, but in this scenario, Laurinaitis makes the most sense. He would solidify the linebacker corps next to another young talent in David Harris (2nd round pick in '07). Michigan OT Jake Long is a possibility, as well. 4. Atlanta Falcons Current record: 3-9 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: QB, OL, DT Projected pick: Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville It almost makes too much sense. The Falcons, in desperate need of a franchise quarterback in the wake of the Michael Vick mess, use their first-round selection on a signal-caller who played for current Atlanta head coach Bobby Petrino at Louisville from 2004-06. 5. St. Louis Rams Current record: 3-9 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, CB, DE Projected pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan The season-ending injury to perennial Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace and the Rams' overall poor play along the offensive line this season make Long a real possibility with this pick. He is unquestionably the most dominant offensive-line prospect in the 2008 class. 6. Cincinnati Bengals Current record: 4-8 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: DT, LB, OT Projected pick: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC It would be tough to pass on DE Chris Long, but the Bengals have a much bigger need for interior help. Ellis is a quick, tough and relentless defensive tackle. He has the potential to disrupt plays in the backfield while occupying blocks, which would make the Bengals' entire front-seven better. 7. Oakland Raiders Current record: 4-8 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OL, WR, DL Projected pick: Chris Long, DE, Virginia Outside of McFadden, there isn't a player I value more in the 2008 class than Chris Long. He plays the game with rare passion and nearly flawless technique. In addition to controlling blockers as a 3-4 end in college, Long also disengages from blocks and makes big play after big play. The fact that he finished the regular season with 14 sacks playing in that scheme tells you all you need to know about his talent and motor. Raider Nation would certainly welcome another Long with open arms. 8. Kansas City Chiefs Current record: 4-8 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OL, WR, CB Projected pick: Ryan Clady*, OT, Boise State Clady only makes sense here if Chiefs QB Brodie Croyle makes strides during the final few weeks of the season. If not, QB Matt Ryan would have to be a possibility with this pick. Clady is still improving his strength but he possesses impressive feet to go along with his enormous wingspan. 9. Baltimore Ravens Current record: 4-8 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: QB, CB, LB Projected pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College Ryan is the top quarterback prospect in the 2008 class. In this scenario, the Ravens would send a thank-you letter to the Falcons and gladly take Ryan with the ninth overall selection. 10. New Orleans Saints Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: MLB, TE, DT Projected pick: Keith Rivers, LB, USC This is a bit high for Rivers, but the Saints need linebacker help and could fall in love with his leadership and tempo. Rivers could possibly play inside in the NFL, but his more natural fit is on the weakside. Regardless, he is a first-round talent with very good instincts, quickness and tackling skills. 11. Houston Texans Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: DB, OG, RB Projected pick: Malcolm Jenkins*, DB, Ohio State Jenkins spends most of his time in soft-zone coverage at both corner and safety at Ohio State. It's unlikely he will ever emerge as a shutdown man-to-man cover corner in the NFL, but Jenkins is a ball hawk with excellent size and straight-line speed. His versatility could help solidify the Texans' secondary. 12. Denver Broncos Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OL, DT, S Projected pick: Kenny Phillips*, S, Miami (Fla.) Phillips had a substandard season, and it would say a lot about his character if he returns to Miami for his senior season and take on a leadership role. On the flip side, Phillips is likely to be the top safety selected if he bolts school early for the 2008 draft. Denver is aging at the position, making it one of Phillips' potential first-round landing spots. His speed and athleticism would be a good complement to the Broncos' existing group of comparatively slow-footed tough guys. 13. Carolina Panthers Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: QB, WR, DE Projected pick: Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky Woodson has the size, arm strength and accuracy as a passer to develop into a good starter in the NFL. Some teams will be concerned about his occasional lapses in decision-making and lack of mobility. However, I would consider the Panthers fortunate if Woodson drops to them at No. 13 overall. In this scenario, Woodson would be the third and final quarterback off the board in the first round, leaving the Bears to adjust their plans quickly. 14. Chicago Bears Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: QB, OT, S Projected pick: Mike Jenkins, DB, South Florida If the team can't get one of the top three quarterbacks, it likely will look for help along the offensive line and at safety. Jenkins plays mostly corner at South Florida but he may be a better fit at free safety in the NFL. Regardless, Jenkins has excellent speed and ball skills for his size. He has shown much better discipline and technique as a senior, which is why he is shooting up many NFL draft boards. 15. Philadelphia Eagles Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, S, WR Projected pick: DeSean Jackson*, WR, Cal Sam Baker would be a possibility, but will the Eagles really take another USC tackle considering Winston Justice's struggles thus far? From my vantage point, Jackson would be tough to pass on here if he leaves following a disappointing junior season at Cal. Sure, critics will attack Jackson for being lean and struggling to stay healthy. But none of his injuries project to have long-term ramifications. Plus, he's a better pure wide receiver than Ted Ginn Jr. (picked by Miami No. 10 overall in 2007) and Jackson is just as explosive in the return game. 16. Washington Redskins Current record: 5-7 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: WR, DE, S Projected pick: Derrick Harvey*, DE, Florida Harvey could use another season in Gainesville to improve his bulk and strength, but don't count on him returning. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound junior notched 17.5 sacks the past two seasons and will wow scouts with his speed and athleticism during workouts. Harvey could upgrade the Redskins' perimeter pass rush immediately. 17. Arizona Cardinals Current record: 6-6 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, DT, RB Projected pick: Sam Baker, OT, USC Baker has the feet and balance of a future Pro Bowl left tackle. Unfortunately, he is neither aggressive nor strong enough to start in the NFL right now. Depending on how many come out, Arizona could have more to choose from with this pick -- at both the offensive and defensive tackle positions. 18. Buffalo Bills Current record: 6-6 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: TE, CB, OLB Projected pick: Ali Highsmith, LB, LSU Paul Posluszny, Buffalo's second-round pick in 2007, showed lots of promise prior to his season-ending injury. The Bills, however, could still use help at the position even if Posluszny returns to form. Cornerback and tight end are bigger needs, but Highsmith is rated higher than the next-best prospect at either position. Highsmith possesses the athleticism and speed to emerge as a playmaking starter in the NFL, but only if his bulk and recognition skills improve. 19. Minnesota Vikings Current record: 6-6 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: DE, S, C Projected pick: Calais Campbell*, DE, Miami (Fla.) Yes, it's true. The Vikings are really in the market for another first-round defensive end. Campbell is first-round material despite failing to live up to expectations in 2007. Sure, he could improve his stock to the top-10 range by returning to school and maximizing his talents as a senior. Though something tells me an athletic 6-7, 285-pound end with 4.7-speed and 17 sacks the past two seasons won't slip far -- even if he's not fully developed. 20. Detroit Lions Current record: 6-6 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, CB, TE Projected pick: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh It looks like the Lions will be selecting outside of the top 10 for the first time since 2001. Now the trick is to find quality players this far down the line. Otah is a late-rising prospect from Nigeria with quick feet for such a massive frame. Otah will take some time to develop but he might be worth the wait. 21. Dallas Cowboys (from 7-5 Cleveland) Current record: 11-1 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: S, OT, WR Projected pick: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas Sweed is the most naturally gifted receiver in the 2008 class if healthy. Unfortunately, the homegrown product's senior season was cut short by a wrist injury. Although durability is a concern, some team could get a steal in the bottom-half of the first round if Sweed returns to form as expected. Owner Jerry Jones has never been one to shy away from risks. 22. Tennessee Titans Current record: 7-5 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: WR, DT, CB Projected pick: Malcolm Kelly*, WR, Oklahoma The Titans need to surround franchise quarterback Vince Young with better perimeter weapons. Young may be forced to befriend a Sooner if his former teammate, Sweed, is off the board. Kelly could use another season of polishing but word out of Norman is the 6-4, 220-pound glider will take his chances in the upcoming NFL draft. 23. San Diego Chargers Current record: 7-5 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: ILB, DL, RB Projected pick: Rey Maualuga*, ILB, USC Maualuga is finishing strong as a junior. He publicly stated he plans on returning to Southern California next fall, but Maualuga wouldn't be the first to renege on such a promise. A strong showing at the combine could catapult the 250-pound middle linebacker into the top-half of the first round. 24. Seattle Seahawks Current record: 8-4 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OL, S, TE Projected pick: Jonathan Stewart*, RB, Oregon The Seahawks have some tough questions to ponder at the running back position in the upcoming offseason. Will Shaun Alexander return to form? Can Maurice Morris be the full-time load-carrier if not? Stewart has yet to indicate his intentions but it wouldn't be a bit surprising if he followed QB Dennis Dixon out of Eugene. Stewart has the versatility, power and burst to thrive in coach Mike Holmgren's system. 25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Current record: 8-4 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, CB, OLB Projected pick: Aqib Talib*, DB, Kansas Talib is a versatile athlete with the size, toughness and ball skills to fit well in the Tampa 2. Who knows, maybe coach Jon Gruden would get him some time at wide receiver like Mark Mangino did at Kansas. 26. New York Giants Current record: 8-4 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OLB, OT, DB Projected pick: Dan Connor, LB, Penn State Connor is a bit overrated, but the Giants would be getting a solid value on him at No. 26 overall. Connor moved inside to middle linebacker as a senior but it seems his better fit in the NFL will be at the Will (weakside linebacker) position. 27. Jacksonville Jaguars Current record: 8-4 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: WR, OLB, S Projected pick: Vernon Gholston*, DE/OLB, Ohio State This would have to be worst-case scenario for Gholston, who has 21.5 sacks the past two seasons, including eight in his last four outings. Gholston is a bit undersized but he is powerfully built with above-average speed. The Jaguars would jump at the opportunity to select the junior here, even if end is not a top priority. 28. Pittsburgh Steelers Current record: 9-3 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OL, WR, S Projected pick: Michael Oher*, OT, Mississippi The Steelers should use this picks to upgrade their offensive line. Oher is reportedly on the fence in regards to staying in school or turning pro. Should he leave early, Oher has all the physical tools a team looks for in a potential starting left tackle. He comes with some baggage, though, and his technique still needs polishing. 29. Green Bay Packers Current record: 10-2 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: RB, S, OL Projected pick: Felix Jones*, RB, Arkansas Ryan Grant has been a nice story this season but the Packers can't count on him as its premier back moving forward. The verdict is still out on rookie Brandon Jackson, who has failed to meet expectations so far. A proven veteran would be ideal but Jones has proven capable of contributing as a complementary weapon. He brings world-class speed to the table as a runner, receiver and return specialist. 30. San Francisco 49ers (from 10-2 Indianapolis) Current record: 3-9 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: WR, OL, S Projected pick: Early Doucet, WR, LSU Obviously, the 49ers would like to have that No. 2 pick back from the Patriots, but they'll have to make due with the 30th pick. Doucet has been bothered by a nagging groin injury, which prevented him from emerging as a reliable No. 1 weapon at LSU this fall. But a couple fast 40 times and a big week at the Senior Bowl could help affirm his big-play potential for NFL decision-makers. 31. Dallas Cowboys Current record: 11-1 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: S, OT, WR Projected pick: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College The Cowboys can use this pick to bolster their offensive line depth after selecting a wide receiver (Sweed) earlier in the round. Cherilus has struggled in his first year on the left side and in a new system. A team patient enough to rebuild his confidence -- which probably includes moving him back to ROT -- could reap the rewards. New England Patriots Current record: 12-0 Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: ILB, CB, OLB Projected pick: Pick forfeited.