Every draftnik thinks they can do a better job of picking players than most real General Managers do so I decided to put my expertise to the test. This year, for the first time, I will be selecting prospects for my own hypothetical team using the following guidelines:
• I will get one selection in the middle of every round of the draft. • In each round I can only select a prospect who actually went in that frame. • I can't take anyone who was selected before my mid-round slot. • I can't choose more than one prospect at each position. • I will also be allowed to sign one undrafted free agent. • I will not be selecting for any particular offensive or defensive scheme.
Since this is the first year of the experiment there isn't a track record to look back and judge me on just yet. However, from this point forward I will be sure to diligently record exactly who I select every year and then include all of my historical classes on this page.
So without further adieu here is my inaugural "Dream Draft":
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tenn. St. 6-11/2 | 194 | 4.33
Sure he has to put on some weight, get stronger and adjust to NFL competition but with the proper development "D.R.C." has what it takes to be a star corner in the NFL, just like his cousin Antonio. I had Rodgers-Cromartie rated as the 8th best player in the 2008 NFL Draft and you just don't see very many prospects with his rare blend of size, speed and athleticism. A playmaker in the secondary, he has the hands, ball skills and leaping ability to make passers pay dearly for their mistakes.
Actual: Round 1 - Arizona Cardinals (#16 Overall)
DeSean Jackson, WR, California 5-93/4 | 169 | 4.35
I also gave strong consideration to Limas Sweed here but in the end I opted for the versatility, speed and athleticism of Jackson. I don't ever expect Jackson to be a true #1 wideout at the pro level so it's important to manage expectations with him. I ultimately envision Jackson settling in as either a #2 or #3 target who can stretch the field vertically while being a weapon on reverses and screens. Jackson could also be a Pro Bowl-caliber return specialist along the lines of Devin Hester.
Actual: Round 2 - Philadelphia Eagles (#49 Overall)
DaJuan Morgan, S, North Carolina St. 6-01/8 | 205 | 4.54
Some felt that Morgan was the best safety prospect in the '08 Draft and it would not have been a surprise if he had gone a round earlier. Morgan is still raw after beginning his college career as a wide receiver and even though he only started one year in college he opted to go pro after his junior season. He has all the physical tools you look for, he just needs more experience. Kenny Phillips and Tyrell Johnson might be better players right now but Morgan may have more long-term upside.
Actual: Round 3 - Kansas City Chiefs (#82 Overall)
A natural runner, Choice is able to make up for his lack of ideal size and speed with great vision and instincts. Choice may never be more than a backup in the NFL but he has the intangibles to excel in that role and is the type of mid-round running back who could turn out to be a pleasant surprise. Out of all my picks this is probably the one that I am least excited about and had I not already taken a wide receiver earlier I most likely would have gone with Cal's Lavelle Hawkins here...
Actual: Round 4 - Dallas Cowboys (#122 Overall)
Carl Nicks, OT, Nebraska 6-47/8 | 341 | 5.14
Jackpot! I had Nicks rated as the seventh best offensive tackle in the 2008 NFL Draft and as a solid 2nd or 3rd rounder so I am obviously ecstatic to see him drop to me here. A legit second round talent with rare size and athleticism who could project to either tackle or guard, Nicks fell as far as he did due to some relatively minor character concerns but at a certain point the potential rewards start to outweigh the risks and in my opinion that was at least a round ago. I really like this pick.
Actual: Round 5 - New Orleans Saints (#164 Overall)
Donald Thomas, OG, Connecticut 6-33/8 | 300 | 5.00
Another value pick, Thomas could have easily come off the board two or even three rounds earlier and nobody would have batted an eye. Thomas actually began his college career as just a regular student before joining the football team but by the time he was done the big man had proven he belonged. Thomas was only a one-year starter for the Huskies and will need some development but the sky's the limit when it comes to his vast potential and his best football is still ahead of him.
Actual: Round 6 - Miami Dolphins (#195 Overall)
Peyton Hillis, FB, Arkansas 6-03/4 | 240 | 4.58
My top rated fullback for the 2008 NFL Draft, Hillis certainly isn't a traditional lead-blocker but he is the type of versatile weapon that teams are looking for at the position these days. An above average athlete who can contribute as a runner, blocker and pass catcher, those who saw his performance in the Hogs upset win over L.S.U. in 2007 know what kind of impact he can have on a game. For my money Hillis was a mid-round value and a better pro prospect than Jacob Hester.
Actual: Round 7 - Denver Broncos (#227 Overall)
Undrafted Free Agent
Erin Henderson, LB, Maryland 6-23/4 | 244 | 4.73
It was quite obvious that Erin wasn't nearly as good of a pro prospect as his brother E.J. was coming out of Maryland but it was still a surprise to see him not get chosen at all. A shaky medical background and lack of ideal timed speed likely led to him going undrafted but Henderson was pretty productive in college and like his brother he can play either inside or outside. Henderson may never be a star but if he can stay healthy he could not only make a roster but maybe even eventually start.
Actual: Undrafted - Signed by the Minnesota Vikings
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