2008 NFL Draft: First Round

1.)  Miami Dolphins:  OT Jake Long, Michigan;  We already knew this one, as this stud on the O-Line had already been signed to a nice big contract by the ‘Phins.

2.)  St. Louis Rams:  DE Chris Long, Virginia; The Rams add a very strong, powerful, and explosive pass-rusher to their defensive line.

3.)  Atlanta Falcons:  QB Matt Ryan, Boston College;  The Falcons fill their gaping hole at the position with the consensus best quarterback available.

4.)  Oakland Raiders:  HB Darren McFadden, Arkansas;  With this pick and QB Jamarcus Russell, the Raiders now have a very talented, young, and explosive pair of playmakers in the offensive backfield.

5.)  Kansas City Chiefs:  DT Glen Dorsey, LSU; Glen Dorsey didn’t drop on draft boards so much as other players rose.  The Chiefs will be happy to have the defensive monster many had going #1 late last year.

6.)  New York Jets:  DE Vernon Ghoulston, Ohio State; Ghoulston is a quick, athletic end who will be very versatile in the Jets’ 3-4 defensive scheme.

TRADE:  The Patriots trade the #7 pick (from a trade with San Francisco) to the New Orleans Saints for the Saints’ #10 pick and a third-round selection.

7.)  New Orleans Saints:  DT Sedrick Ellis, USC;  The Saints really wanted a defensive tackle, and Ellis was the best one on the board, but probably wouldn’t have made it to the Saints had they stayed at #10.

TRADE:  The Ravens trade the #8 pick to the Jaguars for Jacksonville’s #26 pick, two third round picks, and a fourth round pick.

8.)  Jacksonville Jaguars:  DT Derrick Harvey, Florida;  Last season, the Jaguars had a fierce defensive line, but injuries, free agency, and some offseason trades have decimated Jacksonville’s once feared defensive front.  This pick is a step in the right direction for the Jags.

9.)  Cincinatti Bengals:  LB Keith Rivers, USC;  The Bengals have a need at the linebacker position, and Rivers is a versatile and instinctive player.  Perhaps more importantly, Rivers stays out of trouble.

10.)  New England Patriots:  LB Jerod Mayo, Tennessee;  Mayo adds some much-needed youth to the aging Patriots linebacking corps.

11.)  Buffalo Bills:  CB Leodis McKelvin, Troy;  The fast, hard-hitting McKelvin is the first corner taken.

12.)  Denver Broncos:  OT Ryan Clady, Boise State;  This tall, athletic tackle will fit well into Denver’s zone-blocking scheme.

13.)  Carolina Panthers:  HB Jonathan Stewart, Oregon;  Possibly a steal, because Stewart would have been picked even higher if there hadn’t been doubts about an injured toe.

14.)  Chicago Bears:  OT Chris Williams, Vanderbilt;  The Bears could have, and probably should have, taken a quarterback such as Joe Flacco or Brian Brohm here, but they chose to solidify their offensive line.  Hey, maybe Grossman will actually be a competent quarterback if he is given more time to throw.  Just kidding.

TRADE:  The Lions trade their #15 pick and a 3rd round pick to the Chiefs for Kansas City’s #17 selection, 3rd round, and 5th round picks.

15.)  Kansas City Chiefs:  G Brandon Albert, Virginia;  The Chiefs move up a tad to ensure that they get a solid offensive lineman here.

16.)  Arizona Cardinals:  CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State;  Rodgers-Cromartie shot up draft boards after an incredibly impressive Senior Bowl and combine.  He has blazing speed and will offset the move of Antrel Rolle to safety for the Cardinals.

17.)  Detroit Lions:  OT Gosder Cherilus, Boston College; How many strikes does Matt Millen get?  Goose-der Cheri-who?  With Rashard Mendenhall still available?

TRADE:  The Ravens trade their #26 pick, which they had received earlier in a trade from Jacksonville, and their 3rd and 6th round picks, to the Texans for the #18 pick.

18.)  Baltimore Ravens:  QB Joe Flacco, Delaware;  With McNair gone, the Ravens hope that Flacco lives up to all the hype he’s gotten lately.  Scouts suddenly realized that a 6’6″ QB with a rocket arm might just make it in the NFL.

TRADE:  The Panthers get another first round pick by trading their second-round pick, a fourth round pick, and their ’09 first round pick to the Eagles for their #19 pick.

19.)  Carolina Panthers:  OT Jeff Otah, Pitt;  Another solid offensive tackle in a draft class full of them.  What’s really amazing here is how much Carolina was willing to give up to draft this guy.

20.)  Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  CB Aqib Talib, Kansas; Talib may have the best raw talent of any corner in the draft, and the Bucs needed a complement to the aging Ronde Barber.

TRADE:  The Redskins traded the #21 choice to the Atlanta Falcons.  The Redskins also sent one of their third-round picks, the 81st overall, and their fifth-round choice, the 154th overall, in exchange for two of Atlanta’s second round draft choices, the 34th and 48th overall, and Atlanta’s fourth-round draft choice, the 103 choice overall.

21.)  Atlanta Falcons:  OT Sam Baker, USC; This may have been a bit of a reach, but Baker had been rising on draft boards and the Falcons need some protection for Matt Ryan.

22.)  Dallas Cowboys (from a trade last year with Cleveland):  HB Felix Jones, Arkansas;  Everyone knew that Jerry Jones loved the two running backs from Arkansas.  So while this isn’t really a team need, the Cowboys took what they saw to be the best available player.

23.)  Pittsburgh Steelers:  HB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois;  The Steelers should be thrilled that the Lions let Mendenhall slip away.  It’s amazing this bruiser fell into Pittsburgh’s hands.

24.)  Tennesse Titans:  HB Chris Johnson, East Carolina;  This insanely fast back was clocked at an incredible 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash.  Johnson lit up Conference USA.  Will he light up the NFL?

TRADE:  The Seattle Seahawks traded the #25 pick to the Cowboys in exchange for Dallas’ #28 pick, 5th round pick, and 7th round pick.

25.)  Dallas Cowboys:  CB Mike Jenkins, USF;  Jenkins is a great cover corner, and will help the Cowboys immensely as long as he stays out of trouble off the field.  This is a guy the Packers had an eye on.

26.)  Houston Texans:  OT Duane Brown, Virginia Tech;  An underrated tackle who might be better than Sam Baker or even Jeff Otah later in his career.  This will help the Texans’ still-weak offensive line.

27.)  San Diego Chargers:  CB Antoine Cason, Arizona;  After Drayton Florence left in free agency, the Chargers needed some depth at corner.  Meanwhile, this pick all but eliminated any prospect of the Packers taking a corner in the first round.

28.)  Seattle Seahawks:  DE Lawrence Jackson, USC; Southern Cal continues to churn out first round picks.  Jackson is effective against both the run and the pass.

29.)  San Francisco 49ers (from a trade last year with Indianapolis):  DE Kentwan Balmer, UNC;  The 49ers had a choice to make here.  Revitalize an aging D-Line or give QB Alex Smith some offensive weapons to throw to.  They went with defense.

TRADE:  Green Bay traded its #30 pick to the Jets in exchange for the #36 pick in the second round and a fourth round pick.

30.)  New York Jets:  TE Dustin Keller, Purdue:  This guy was overrated.  I’m glad the Packers didn’t waste their first round pick.

31.)  New York Giants:  S Kenny Phillips, Miami:  The Super Bowl champs replace Gibril Wilson with a solid all around free safety.

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