Sports Outside the Beltway

2008 NFL Mock Draft

The playoffs aren’t even over yet but fans of 28 of 32 teams are already looking ahead to next year.

I read a lot about football and listen to Sirius’ NFL Radio on my daily commute but I’m not a professional scout. I can, however, see what the pros are saying and look for trends. It’s silly at this early stage to go beyond the 1st round, so I won’t; most of those who are linked below do, though, so you can click through if you’re interested.

Note: I’m a (bitterly disappointed) Cowboys fan, so I’ll highlight their picks in bold. I’ll also leave in explanations/discussion about picks that I remove for other teams for sake of brevity, not stealing all the thunder of the pickers.

Mel Kiper is the best known draft guy. Here’s his current Big Board (1/14). It merely ranks players without assigning them to teams, since sometimes teams draft based on need.

1. Darren McFadden Jr. RB Arkansas
2. Glenn Dorsey Sr. DT LSU
3. Jake Long Sr. OT Michigan
4. Chris Long Sr. DE Virginia
5. Sedrick Ellis Sr. DT USC
6. Matt Ryan Sr. QB Boston College
7. Ryan Clady Jr. OT Boise St.
8. Aqib Talib Jr. CB Kansas
9. Vernon Gholston Jr. DE Ohio St.
10. DeSean Jackson Jr. WR California
11. Calais Campbell Jr. DE Miami
12. Sam Baker Sr. OT USC
13. Kentwan Balmer Sr. DT UNC
14. Felix Jones Jr. RB Arkansas
15. Brian Brohm Sr. QB Louisville
16. Jonathan Stewart Jr. RB Oregon
17. Kenny Phillips Jr. S Miami
18. Dan Connor Sr. LB Penn St.
19. Mike Jenkins Sr. CB South Florida
20. Rashard Mendenhall Jr. RB Illinois
21. Reggie Smith Jr. CB Oklahoma
22. Keith Rivers Sr. LB USC
23. Pat Sims Jr. DT Auburn
24. Fred Davis Sr. TE USC
25. Leodis McKelvin Sr. CB Troy

Tony Conty, NFL Draft Blitz (1/15)

1) Miami Dolphins-Glenn Dorsey, DT-LSU

2) St. Louis Rams-Chris Long, DE-Virginia

3) Oakland Raiders-Sedrick Ellis, DT-USC

4) Atlanta Falcons-Matt Ryan, QB-Boston College

5) Kansas City Chiefts-Darren McFadden, RB-Arkansas

6) New York Jets-Jake Long, T-Michigan

7) New England Patriots-Keith Rivers, OLB-USC

8 ) Baltimore Ravens-Brian Brohm, QB-Louisville

9) Cincinnati Bengals-Dan Connor, OLB-PSU

10) New Orleans Saints-Michael Jenkins, CB-South Florida

11) Buffalo Bills-Limas Sweed, WR-Texas

12) Denver Broncos-Early Doucet, WR-LSU

13) Carolina Panthers-Jonathan Stewart, RB-Oregon

14) Chicago Bears-James Laurinaitis, ILB-Ohio State

15) Detroit Lions-Derrick Harvey, DE-Florida

16) Arizona Cardinals-Ryan Clady, T-Boise State

17) Minnesota Vikings-DeSean Jackson, WR-California

18) Houston Texans-Malcolm Kelly, WR-Oklahoma

19) Philadelphia Eagles-Vernon Gholston, DE-Ohio State

20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Andre Woodson, QB-Kentucky

21) Washington Redskins-Jeff Otah, T-Pittsburgh

22) Dallas Cowboys-Sam Baker, T-USC

23) Pittsburgh Steelers-Michael Oher, T-Ole Miss

24) Tennessee Titans-Kenny Phillips, S-Miami

25) Seattle Seahawks-Felix Jones, RB-Arkansas

26) New York Giants-Malcolm Jenkins, CB-Ohio State

27) San Diego Chargers-Pat Sims, DT-Auburn

28) Jacksonville Jaguars-Calais Campbell, DE-Miami

29) Green Bay Packers-Aqib Talib, CB-Kansas

30) San Francisco 49ers (from Indy)-James Hardy, WR-Indiana

31) Dallas Cowboys-Rashard Mendenhall, RB-Illinois

32) New England Patriots-Forfeited

From a need perspective, I’d much rather see the Cowboys take a CB and WR in the first, as they’d be more likely to see significant playing time than an offensive lineman or RB. But best available is the way to go.

Draft King (1/15)

1. Miami Dolphins – Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Long, OT, Michigan

3. Oakland Raiders – Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

4. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

5. Kansas City Chiefs – Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

6. New York Jets – Chris Long, DE, Virginia

7. New England Patriots (from 49ers) – Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

8. Baltimore Ravens – Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville

9. Cincinnati Bengals – Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC

10. New Orleans Saints – Mike Jenkins, CB, USF

11. Buffalo Bills – Dan Connor, LB, Penn State

12. Denver Broncos – Kenny Phillips, FS, Miami

13. Carolina Panthers – Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

14. Chicago Bears – Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky

15. Detroit Lions – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State

16. Arizona Cardinals – Keith Rivers, LB, USC

17. Minnesota Vikings – Quentin Groves, DE/OLB, Auburn

18. Houston Texans – Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon °

19. Philadelphia Eagles – Calais Campbell, DE, Miami

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina

21. Washington Redskins – Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida

22. Dallas Cowboys (from Cleveland) – DeSean Jackson, WR, Cal
DeSean Jackson is an enigma; trying to predict where he will go is a challenging thing. Jackson had a great performance (after sitting out for the first quarter due to a rule violation) in Cal’s comeback win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, which should boost his stock. He waited until literally the final day to decide to go pro.

At 6’0″ 180, he has decent height, but not the bulk that some other receivers in the draft bring to the table. What sets Jackson apart is his blazing speed. If he can really run a 4.35ish 40 at the combine, he could end up similar to Ted Ginn, Jr. last year as a surprise top ten pick. If Jerry Jones is looking for a kick return boost, he’d sure land that in Jackson.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers – Sam Baker, OT, USC

24. Tennessee Titans – Limas Sweed, WR, Texas

25. Seattle Seahawks – Fred Davis, TE, USC

26. New York Giants – Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

27. Jacksonville Jaguars – Reggie Smith, CB, Oklahoma

28. San Diego Chargers – Ali Highsmith, OLB, LSU

29. Dallas Cowboys – Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

Jones has been overlooked by many due to the presence of Darren McFadden, but should Bobby Petrino be unable to talk him into staying for his senior year, he could end up being a first round pick. He would be a particularly nice fit for the Cowboys, who are likely going to lose Julius Jones to free agency but have Marion Barber, III under contract.

While Barber is a bruiser, Jones would be a great contrast, given that he’s 6’0″, 200 pounds and runs a sub-4.4 40. Felix Jones has feature back ability, and he would be a great pickup by the Cowboys.

While the Cowboys may also look to add depth in the secondary and should have their choice from a number of good RBs in rounds two and three, a talent like Jones (or Rashard Mendenhall) at this spot in the draft may be too much to pass up.

30. San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis) – Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma

31. Green Bay Packers – Terrell Thomas, CB, USC

32. New England Patriots – FORFEITED

Walter Football (1/16):

1. Miami Dolphins: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

2.St. Louis Rams: Jake Long, OT, Michigan

3. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

4. Oakland Raiders: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

5. Kansas City Chiefs: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

6.New York Jets: Chris Long, DE, Virginia

7. New England Patriots: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

8. Baltimore Ravens: Andre’ Woodson, QB, Kentucky

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

10. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Phillips, FS, Miami

11. Buffalo Bills: Keith Rivers, OLB, USC

12. Denver Broncos: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC

13. Carolina Panthers: Sam Baker, OT, USC

14. Chicago Bears: Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville

15. Detroit Lions: Dan Connor, OLB/MLB, Penn State

16. Arizona Cardinals: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

17. Minnesota Vikings: Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn

18. Houston Texans: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeSean Jackson, WR/PR, California

22. Washington Redskins: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina

22. Dallas Cowboys: Reggie Smith, CB/S, Oklahoma

This pick is from Cleveland. Terence Newman and Anthony Henry aren’t exactly young. Newman will be 30 in September 2008, while Henry doesn’t have many productive seasons remaining in the NFL. Jacques Reeves sucks. [Exactly right. Newman was a first round pick (#5 overall) in 2003 but a CB's career tends to be short. -JHJ]

23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

24. Tennessee Titans: Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma

25. Seattle Seahawks: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

26. New York Giants: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy State
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Calais Campbell, DE, Miami

28. San Diego Chargers: Frank Okam, NT, Texas

29. Dallas Cowboys: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

It was rumored that Dallas was interested in Dwayne Jarrett in April, but Jerry Jones apparently liked Anthony Spencer a bit more. With Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn close to the end of their careers, the Cowboys would love to secure a top-notch wide out.

That said, if someone of Felix Jones’ caliber is available – which is plausible, given the depth at the running back position in this class – Dallas won’t be able to resist. Julius Jones likely won’t be back next year, and the Cowboys clearly don’t think Marion Barber can carry the load on his own; otherwise he’d be doing so already instead of starting his first game in the playoffs. [They should definitely draft best available and we need a second stud RB. All things equal, though, I'd like a corner and a wideout in this round. - JHJ]

30. San Francisco 49ers: Adarius Bowman, WR, Oklahoma State

31. Green Bay Packers: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

[32. New England: No pick. They're cheaters. - JHJ]

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