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Piece by piece preliminary mock

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  • Piece by piece preliminary mock

    EDIT: Picks 21-25 have been added. The last six should be done by Saturday at the latest.

    So I came back from class today with a hankering to do a mock draft. Quite frankly, I didn't want to claim that I know everything about every team or every prospect in the draft, so I've come up with a process to help me determine team needs, positional rankings, player rankings, and player strengths and weaknesses. I've browsed a number of scouting report and player ranking websites, read through a couple of mock drafts, and watched the limited video available on prospects I am considering on youtube. To be more precise, I intend to do about 5 picks per day. I will post the picks and analysis from that day's work on the forum at night. The next day I will look over feedback on the previous days' picks, adjust anything if need be, and continue with the next 5.

    So, without further ado, or lengthy explanations, here are picks 1 through 5 of the 2008 NFL Draft:

    1. Miami Dolphins—Jake Long, T, Michigan
    Ultimately, I believe that Vernon Gholston will be Parcells’/Ireland’s/Sparano’s pick here. I don’t believe, however, that Gholston is talented enough to warrant a #1 pick. So, keeping value in mind, Jake Long, the monster left tackle from Michigan, is the pick here. Long will play on the left side for the Dolphins, allowing Vernon Carey to move back inside to his more natural position. The selection of Jake Long will spell a major upgrade for a line in dire need of one. With Cam Cameron gone, Parcells may consider selecting a quarterback with his top pick, but at this point, no quarterback merits consideration. So, with reservations, the Dolphins select Jake Long.

    EDIT: I’m seriously considering a change here. Knowing Parcells’ belief in Virginia players (Al Groh is a Parcells disciple, and he traded up to select Chris Canty with the Cowboys) and in bloodlines, Chris Long does become a more intriguing selection. I do think, however, that Parcells is going to give control of this team to Ireland and Sparano, at least initially. That will mean that Sparano and Ireland get to choose the scheme they want to run, and the players they want to select. In the end, I don’t doubt that Miami will have a new quarterback next season (probably a veteran), and he will need an upgraded line to be successful. Jake Long remains the pick. If I made a change to Chris Long, however, I would have the Rams selecting Dorsey and the Raiders taking Jake Long. If I went with my gut instinct and had Miami taking Gholston, I would probably give Jake Long to KC and possibly Sedrick Ellis to the Jets. But I’m not.

    2. St. Louis Rams—Chris Long, DE, Virginia
    The Rams struggled on both sides of the ball in 2007. Offensive woes can be attributed (partially at least) to the loss of key players, especially Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson. The defense, however, struggled throughout the season, even with a full complement of players. Chris Long seems to have all the intangibles a coach could ask for: an excellent motor, good leadership skills, and superb bloodlines. Long’s intangibles, however, are matched by his physical attributes: his excellent size to speed ratio, his quickness, and his strength. He is a force against the run and the pass and would provide a significant boost to a struggling defense.

    3. Atlanta Falcons—Darren McFadden, HB, Arkansas
    Clearly the best prospect in the draft, going to the team possibly in need of the most help. I don’t have to harp on how or why the Falcons are in shambles. The fact is that they need to get back to playing and focusing on football. McFadden is an elite combination of size, speed, and power, along with patience and vision. The Falcons already have Jerious Norwood, but the addition of McFadden would turn them into a running team that could control the game clock and then turn everything over to an above average defense.

    4. Oakland Raiders—Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
    This is certainly the easiest selection of the draft thus far, with Warren Sapp retiring following the 2007 season. Dorsey should be able to step right in for Sapp (to whom he has even been compared) and help upgrade a defense that was 31st against the run in 2007. Dorsey’s strength and quickness will provide the Raiders with good penetration from the inside on passing downs, and the strength and lateral quickness to hold up against the run.

    5. Kansas City Chiefs—Ryan Clady, OT, Boise St.
    With Damien McIntosh protecting their quarterbacks’ blindsides, how could the Chiefs expect to have success this season? Clearly an offensive tackle is the Chiefs’ biggest need, and without top prospect Jake Long on the board, they may have to reach a bit, similar to what Arizona did last year, to select the next best offensive tackle with the fifth pick. With Michael Oher’s indecision on whether to return to school or not, Boise State’s Clady is clearly the pick as a left tackle who can dominate.

    6. New York Jets—Vernon Gholston, OLB, Ohio St.
    The Jets struggled more offensively than defensively in 2007, amounting less than 300 yards and just over 16 points a game. Once again, that lack of production can be largely attributed to the Jets’ play at quarterback. Chad Pennington was once again unspectacular, and Kellen Clemens wasn’t an instant hit. Nevertheless, the Jets’ offense has some potential, with two solid running backs, a decent core of receivers, and a young offensive line. Once they figure out their quarterbacking situation, this offense could turn itself around.
    Turning our attention to the defense, the most glaring hole is at right defensive end, where journeyman Kenyon Coleman is the current starter. The Jets ranked 29th against the run last season (some of which can be attributed to the fact that teams tended to run on the Jets late in games to kill the clock). The defensive line, however, must be mostly responsible for that lack of production. Ideally, Chris Long would be the best upgrade over Coleman, but since he’s gone, Vernon Gholston would be the best defensive player available. One major difference between the Jets’ 10-6 playoff season in 2006 and their 4-12 finish to 2007 would certainly be their sack totals: the Jets managed only 29 sacks in ’07, and only 6 came from their outside linebackers. Gholston could take over immediately for Victor Hobson, who registered an abysmal 2 sacks all season as a 34 outside linebacker.

    7. New England Patriots—Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
    The Patriots’ most obvious need (if the word “need” can even be applied to the Patriots) is at inside linebacker, where Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau are in their 12th and 18th seasons, respectively. In fact, the Patriots starting linebackers average age totals to just under 34 years of age. Without highly touted backups at any of the four linebacking positions, the Patriots certainly could seem to be in need of some non-arthritic joints in their linebacking corps. But with Vernon Gholston already gone, and James Laurinatis returning to school, no linebacker appears to fit the bill. Neither Randall *** nor Asante Samuel is under contract with the Patriots following this season, leaving them with just Ellis Hobbs and Brandon Meriweather at cornerback. Presumably one of the two will resign (my money would be on ***, rather than Samuel), but the Patriots will still need more depth at a position where they ran only four deep this season. Mike Jenkins may be a slight reach at the seventh pick, but could work his way up with good postseason practices and a solid combine.

    8. Baltimore Ravens—Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
    One statistic stands out when trying to assess why the Ravens struggled in 2007: their -17 turnover differential. Other than that one statistic, the Ravens numbers actually would indicate that they are closer to an 8-8 or 9-7 team than a team that finished a surprising and bewildering 5-11. The Ravens did, however, struggle in the passing game, a fact that can, once again, be attributed to their lack of consistency at the quarterback position. Knowing the Ravens and their drafting patterns, along with the promise Troy Smith showed at the end of the season, it is difficult to see them drafting a quarterback here. Ozzie Newsome is known for selecting the best player available and it certainly does not seem like any of the three top-rated quarterbacks would be fitting selections for the Baltimore Ravens with the eighth selection in the draft. Baltimore could use a pass-rusher to improve on their 32 sacks registered this season, or a corner to add more depth to a secondary that struggled without its two starting corners. No player at either position merits consideration here. If Jonathan Ogden retires, left tackle becomes an instant need for the Ravens. Jeff Otah is very raw, and could well be a reach here (I seem to be contradicting what I said earlier about BPA), but certainly has the most potential of the remaining left tackles, and could even sit for a year behind Ogden if the big man decides not to retire.

    9. Cincinnati Bengals—Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
    Once again in 2007, the Bengals’ defense was unable to match the quality of their high-powered offense. The Bengals ended the year as the 27th ranked defense in the league, allowing nearly 350 yards per game, while only totaling 22 sacks (in contrast, the Bengals’ offensive line only gave up 17 sacks). Sacks did indeed seem to be a problem for the Bengals, as only one player on the entire team racked up more than two on the season. Clearly the Bengals need defensive help in any possible form. The best defensive player on the board at this point is Sedrick Ellis, the defensive tackle who many believe is almost the equal of LSU’s Glenn Dorsey as a prospect. Ellis should be able to help both in generating a pass rush for the Bengals and stopping the run.

    10. New Orleans Saints—Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
    The Saints have a wealth of options here with the 10th pick, which will almost certainly address the defensive side of the ball. There are a number of second tier defensive players available, including Keith Rivers, Dan Connor, and Kenny Phillips. The Saints struggled mightily against the pass this season, and most of their struggles can be blamed on a lackluster secondary. The Saints are, however, in better shape at safety than at linebacker, where a guy like Dan Connor or Keith Rivers would be a major upgrade. The edge here goes to Keith Rivers, who, although undersized, is a top prospect and a three-down linebacker who can help both the Saints run and pass defense.

    11. Buffalo Bills—Dan Connor, OLB, Penn St.
    The Bills did well with numerous injuries to their linebacking corps last season, but it became evident down the stretch that the group needed an upgrade. Adding Paul Posluzny’s former teammate Dan Connor would give the Bills a healthy, dynamic, young set of linebackers and certainly improve both their run and pass defenses, which ranked 25th and 29th respectively this past season. The Bills could also use some help in their passing game, and adding a big play-making wide receiver like Malcolm Kelly would definitely help young quarterback Trent Edwards out a lot. But the Bills have more pressing needs on defense.

    12. Denver Broncos—Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
    Ideally, Denver would like to select a player here to help improve their 30th ranked run defense. Unfortunately, both top defensive tackles and linebackers are gone at this point. Denver’s other major need lies at left tackle, where long-time stalwart Matt Lepsis has retired, but once again all top left tackle prospects are gone when Denver selects here and Denver’s need does not match the remaining value at the position. As a result Denver goes to their next biggest need and possibly the best player on the board at this point in Kenny Phillips, who they can pair with John Lynch in the defensive backfield.

    13. Carolina Panthers—Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
    The Panthers also struggled on offense this season, once again largely due to injuries to their quarterbacks, where they eventually had to start undrafted rookie free agent Matt Moore. It is too soon, however, for John Fox to give up on Jake Delhomme and start over at the quarterback position. The Panthers once had a pair of star defensive ends in Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker, but Peppers was injured this year and Carolina had difficulties generating a pass rush, creating only 22 sacks all season. Derrick Harvey appeared on the radar screen last year in the national championship game when he was a terror for Troy Smith and the Ohio State line and could provide the Panthers with a presence across from Peppers to create more pass rush.

    14. Chicago Bears--Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
    On paper, it was the Bears' defense that was the team's weak link this season, ranking 28th overall and 24th against the run and 27th against the pass. But the Bears' offense struggled as well and as always, those struggles began with the quarterback, where Chicago went through a carousel of Rex Grossman, Brian Griese and Kyle Orton. Although the Bears' pass offense actually ranked 15th in the league while the run offense was 31st, opposing defenses were able to key on the Bears' running game and force the Bears to beat them with their passing game. Matt Ryan is a guy who played in a pro style offense at Boston College and can come in right away and start. Despite their lack of success this season, with a few pieces the Bears are a team who can easily challenge for the Super Bowl next season and Ryan is the quarterback most ready to lead them there.

    15. Detroit Lions—Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
    The Lions fielded the league's worst defense in 2007 led by the second worst pass defense in the NFL. Indeed, the Lions could use help at nearly every defensive position, with corner, safety and defensive tackle potentially being the biggest of those needs. Of those three positions, the best value is at corner where Aqib Talib, the star Kansas corner, can step in and replace Travis Fisher as the Lions’ second corner. Talib has the size and the instincts to perform well in the Lions’ cover two scheme and while he may not be the best value here, Talib is certainly the best corner to fit the Lions’ scheme and needs.

    16. Arizona Cardinals—Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy State
    The Cardinals biggest hole this offseason is clearly at corner, where they currently have Rod Hood and Eric Green as their starters. Former first round pick Antrel Rolle may also be moved to safety, so a talented, young corner like Leodis McKelvin would certainly be a big addition to a defense that ranked 28th against the pass this season. McKelvin is solidly built, with decent speed for a corner, and while he played against weaker competition in the Sun Belt Conference, he has a ton of potential and chances to shine coming up at the Senior Bowl and the combine. The Cardinals could also use some help balancing their offense, where the running game did not meet the standard of the Cards’ air attack. This could be due to Arizona’s running backs, where starter Edgerrin James averaged only 3.8 yards per carry, or their line, as all Arizona players averaged only 3.6 yards per attempt this season.

    17. Minnesota Vikings—Reggie Smith, S, Oklahoma
    The Vikings managed to have one of the most interesting statistics of the 2007 NFL season: a run defense that ranked 1st, due largely to the superb duo of defensive tackles in Pat and Kevin Williams; and the 32nd (last) ranked pass defense in the league. The Vikings have 3 solid corners in Winfield, Griffin, and McCauley, so the blame for the lack of production against the pass must go elsewhere. The Vikings racked up 38 sacks this past season, but no one player recorded more than 5. If the Vikings want to continue to get better, their pass rush must improve. Unfortunately, at this position in the draft, Calais Campbell is the best available player at end, and Campbell is the type of player who has potential but is coming off a shaky season and has a pretty high “bust” factor. The Vikings can’t afford to waste yet another pick on an underachieving defensive end, so in the end, I believe they’ll stay away from Campbell and take their chances with Ray Edwards and Brian Robison. The other area of the Vikes’ defense that could use some help is safety, where Darren Sharper, although still a good safety, is aging, and where Dwight Smith has gotten into some legal trouble. Reggie Smith never stuck at one position throughout his college career, but has the talent to play both safety and corner, and his cover skills at the safety position would be a huge advantage in a day and age where safeties are being asked to cover bigger, more athletic tight ends.

    18. Houston Texans—Sam Baker, OT, USC
    For the Texans to be able to challenge in the competitive AFC South, they need to cut down on turnovers. The Texans threw 21 interceptions and lost 21 fumbles in 2007, while only collecting a combined 29 turnovers from their opponents. While the Texans only gave up 22 sacks this season, pressure on the quarterback can undoubtedly be blamed for a number of Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfel’s poor throws. Sam Baker’s stop has dropped a bit, but he’s an extremely experienced player with quick feet who could easily step in from day one and become the solid offensive tackle the Texans have been searching for since their inception. The Texans could also use a running back, but the coaching staff seems pretty high on Ahman Green, so one of the second tier backs like Ray Rice could be an option when the Texans pick again in the third round.

    19. Philadelphia Eagles—Xavier Adibi, OLB, Virginia Tech
    This pick may come as a surprise to a lot of people, not because of the position, but rather the player. Xavier Adibi is vastly undersized, weighing at the Senior Bowl at 6-2, 220, but has excellent speed (he has been timed at 4.48 in the 40 yard dash), and is a playmaker on defense. Adibi could certainly step in and provide an upgrade over Chris Gocong, who seems out of place at times as a linebacker. The Eagles could also use an upgrade to an offensive line that allowed 50 (!) sacks this season or a play-making receiver like Desean Jackson for Donovan McNabb to throw the ball to.

    20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Desean Jackson, WR, Cal
    To be honest, I was leaning towards Brian Brohm here, mostly because Tampa is the last team that I could see taking a quarterback in the first round, and it would be astounding to me to see only one quarterback taken in the first (barring any trades). But the move really doesn’t make sense knowing Jon Gruden. It seems more likely to me now that Gruden selects a guy like Colt Brennan or Josh Johnson in the middle rounds than spending his first round pick on a quarterback to backup Jeff Garcia—especially when a flashy wideout like Desean Jackson is available. Jackson would be an excellent addition to an aging receiving corps and would provide that deep threat that Tampa seems to have lost with Joey Galloway’s slowdown.

    21. Washington Redskins—Calais Campbell, DE, Miami
    The Redskins have two major needs: a pass-rushing defensive end to take some attention away from Andre Carter, and a big possession type wideout to balance smaller, quicker guys like Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El. It would be easy to make cases for both. At wideout, the Skins lacked a true standout guy in the number one receiver mold, as Moss and Randle El caught 61 and 51 passes respectively. If the Redskins want young quarterback Jason Campbell to progress, they need to provide him with another target. On the other side of the ball, no Redskin was able to generate a consistent pass rush outside of Andre Carter, who came up with nearly a third of the Skins 33 sacks. Furthermore, the Redskins struggled to generate turnovers, ending the season with only 14 picks. Much of this can be blamed on the pass rush.
    Now a case can be made against each position here. The Redskins have invested big money in their wide receivers the past few years, bringing in guys like Randle El and Brandon Lloyd. Defensively, the Redskins have a young defensive end in Chris Wilson who registered four sacks in limited action this season and could be a future starter. In the end, this decision leans toward Campbell because of a gut instinct. It may change when we find out who the new coach is.

    22. Dallas Cowboys—Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
    At this point in the draft, we begin to encounter teams with very few needs, if any, and more wants. These teams are the ones who are looking for the one or two players who can push their franchise over the top and into contention for the Super Bowl. I’ll review the Cowboys a little more thoroughly since they are the team that I pay most attention to and watch most thoroughly.
    You might not know it, but the Cowboys were racked with injuries this season: both starting cornerbacks were out for extended periods of time, outside linebacker Greg Ellis missed 3 weeks, starting wide receiver Terry Glenn played in only one regular season game, and perhaps most importantly, nose tackle Jason Ferguson missed the entire season after tearing a biceps in the Cowboy’s first game. These injuries exposed some depth issues in some instances, and in others, showed the strength of the Cowboys’ youth.
    The Cowboys struggled in a couple of areas this season. The pass defense suffered, especially when either Anthony Henry or Terrence Newman was out, forcing Jacques Reeves into a starting role. And even when Newman and Henry were healthy, Reeves was targeted. The playoff game against the Giants was a perfect example of this. Reeves is certainly a serviceable third corner, but if the Cowboys want to get where they want soon, especially in an age where teams go to more three and four wide receiver sets, he may need to be upgraded. This position for the Cowboys is one that is not a need at this point, but is more of a want.
    Antoine Cason, this year’s Thorpe Award winner for the country’s top defensive back and All-American, has begun to slip down draft boards because of concerns about his speed. Cason, however, has prototypical size for a corner, and has simply been a playmaker since he arrived at Arizona. Cason’s opponents completed just 35% of their passes on him this past season (for an average of 3.53 yards per attempt), for only two touchdowns. Cason is also experienced, as a four year starter, All Pac-10 player twice, and All-American. He could immediately provide the Cowboys with an upgrade over Reeves as the third corner and spot starter.

    23. Pittsburgh Steelers—Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
    Despite finishing 10-6 and winning the AFC North, the Steelers struggled to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger all season, allowing a total of 46 sacks. If the Steelers want to reach the Super Bowl within the next decade, they must upgrade an offensive line that may already be losing a few pieces this offseason. Chris Williams, who allowed only one sack in 2007, can play on either the right side, allowing Willie Colon to move inside to guard, his more natural position, or on the left, where he could take over for Marvel Smith. In any event, Williams would be a good start towards upgrading a line that needs some help.

    24. Tennessee Titans—Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
    The Titans were yet another flawed playoff team in 2007. Despite registering a dominant defense and a solid running game, the Titans struggled to throw the ball. The blame for the Titans’ struggles through the air must go to three separate groups of players: first, Vince Young, who managed only a 9:17 TD-to-interception ration; second, to the offensive line, which allowed 40 sacks; and finally, to Young’s receivers. It is tough to blame Young’s receivers to some extent, since none of them are especially talented. In steps Malcolm Kelly, a tall, lanky receiver who can be a playmaker for Vince Young in the style of Limas Sweed at Texas.

    25. Seattle Seahawks—Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
    I’ll state it simply: Shaun Alexander has slowed down over the years. It’s time to start developing his successor.
    Ok so the future may not be that glum for Alexander and the Seahawks, but if they want to get the most out of their former franchise back, he’s going to need someone to help take the load off his shoulders. Jonathan Stewart, a local product, is a tremendous value here at the 25th pick in the draft, and can certainly be the dominant runner that Seattle needs to return to glory. A great combination of size, speed, power, and vision, Stewart is a top prospect in his own right and would be a great addition to a running game that lost a step this year.

    Quick thoughts on the next 5:
    26. Jacksonville Jaguars--Lawrence Jackson
    27. San Diego Chargers--Gosder Cherilus
    28. Dallas Cowboys--Early Doucet
    29. San Francisco--Mario Manningham
    30. Green Bay--Jack Ikegwuonu
    31. New York Giants--Ali Highsmith
    Last edited by JJJ888; 01-23-2008, 07:27 PM.

  • #2
    I thought Oher declared is he having second thoughts now?


    • #3
      good Oakland pick.
      "The liberator who destroys my property, is fighting to save my spirit. The teacher who clears all possessions from my path will set me free."-Tyler Durden


      • #4
        I like the rams pick, i really am starting to take to Chris Long, but I think there is a better chance the phins take Chris instead of Jake
        I'm doing a real job now...well, semi-real.

        Check out my twitter @mrocchio42 and check out my radio show on I'm on every morning with Pro Football HoF voter and NFL regular season awards voter, Howard Balzer. It's always a blast from 9-11.


        • #5
          Originally posted by T-RICH49 View Post
          I thought Oher declared is he having second thoughts now?
          He changed his mind and is going back to school.


          • #6
            Okay Ravens pick

            Baltimore: 7-4


            • #7
              Bad Phins pick, we can get an equal OT like Chris Williams or perhaps Sam Baker in the 2nd, give us Vernon Gholston instead.

              Dolphins Dream Draft: 1. Jaylon Smith 2. Artie Burns 3. Landon Turner


              • #8
                Chris Williams is no where near the level of Long.

                You would be much better off with Long/Groves than Gholson/Williams.
                Last edited by junior2430; 01-17-2008, 01:08 AM.


                • #9
                  Trip J is my hero! Best partial mock draft so far. Good explanations on each pick. Looking forward to the rest of it.


                  • #10
                    so my question is when are we going to see the rest of your draft????


                    • #11
                      Trip, get the the Lions already . . . that's all anyone cares about anyways . . .
                      R.I.P. L.E.F.
                      "I am the one who knocks!"


                      • #12
                        It's coming boys (and girl?)...I'm starting to work on the next 5 and maybe 10 right now...although I am considering some changes to the first 5 picks or maybe just some changes in explanations.


                        • #13
                          Picks 6-10 are now up. Expect the next 5 by sometime on Saturday.


                          • #14
                            man tis is going to be one long wait for my team, we are picking at 31. the wait is going to kill me.


                            • #15
                              great raider pick

                              "Just Win Baby"- Al Davis



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