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 Â°
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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