1. Miami Dolphins- Chris Long (Defensive End, Virginia)?
With rumblings throughout organization that drafting a QB is still an option, Matt Ryan is now in the fold for the top pick along with Jake Long and Chris Long, but as of now there is virtually no downside to drafting Chris Long. Long offers the Dolphins a very quick and talented pass rusher, who plays with a good motor and has a great work ethic. He is, without a doubt, the kind of player Bill Parcells loves. Miami is in need of youth and playmakers up front, and Long fits both these bills. He could have the immediate impact the Dolphins' 3-4 defense needs. ??
2. St. Louis Rams- Jake Long (Offensive Tackle, Michigan)
With injuries starting to pile up on perennial pro-bowler Orlando Pace, a replacement might need to start being groomed in the wings. Jake Long offers the versatility to play both tackle spots and has the feet and strength to excel at either. The Rams have had mixed reviews with 2005 first round pick Alex Barron, so even if Pace stays, Long can definitely upgrade the Rams' offensive line in some form in 2008.
3. Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan (Quarterback, Boston College)
With all the chaos that has the surrounded the Atlanta franchise in the last couple months, the Falcons front office realizes they need to start over—even if that means taking a QB a little higher then they would like. Ryan has the talent and measurables to be a solid NFL quarterback. He is very accurate and a hard worker who will take to coaching—a welcome change from what Mike Vick has been the last few years.
4. Oakland Raiders- Glenn Dorsey (Defensive Tackle, LSU)??
The Oakland Raiders did take some steps under Lane Kiffin in 2007 but still have a long way to go. Oakland signed DT Tommy Kelly to a monster deal this offseason, and pairing him with Dorsey would give the Raiders a very strong one-two punch inside. Dorsey is an explosive, penetrating DT that can hold the point of attack and would really improve the Raiders' last-ranked run defense from a year ago.
5. Kansas City Chiefs-Ryan Clady (Offensive Tackle, Boise State)
What was once the Chiefs' strength, the offensive line has now fallen on tough times in Kansas City, and a franchise LT is the team's biggest need. Ryan Clady simply is the most athletically gifted offensive lineman in the country. He has long arms, great feet and moves well in space. He is a little raw technically but would be too good to pass up. He has all the physical tools you look for in a left tackle and is just what the doctor ordered to protect the blind side of KC's quarterback of the future Brodie Croyle.
6. New York Jets- Darren McFadden (Running Back, Arkansas)
The Jets went out and signed All-Pro Guard Allen Faneca and veteran tackle Damien Woody to improve the offensive line play in 2008, but New York is still in need of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. McFadden gives the Jets a potential star at the running back position, one who can pound the rock 20-25 times a game. He has game-breaking ability and brings a new homerun threat to the New York backfield.
7. New England Patriots via SF- Leodis McKelvin (Cornerback, Troy)
With the losses in free agency of starting corners Asante Samuel and Randall Gay, the Patriots need to use the draft to find some replacements. McKelvin has everything you look for in a top-flight corner except for ball skills. But he shows great burst out of his breaks and range in zone coverage and is an ideal fit for New England's defensive scheme.
8. Baltimore Ravens- Vernon Gholston (Defensive End, Ohio State)
Quarterback is the team's biggest need, but with no one on the board worthy of the eighth pick, the Ravens turn to their bread and butter and look to improve their defense. Jarret Johnson performed decently this year, but Vernon Gholston looks like a perfect replacement for Adalius Thomas as an OLB in the Ravens' 3-4 scheme. Gholston has a long, angular body and uses his arms well to disengage quickly. He has a great burst off the edge and has the quickness to reach the corner consistently. He would bring a lot of pressure from the outside and give the Ravens some options, allowing Gholston to attack from all angles.
9. Cincinnati Bengals- Sedrick Ellis (Defensive Tackle, USC)?
The Bengals defense under Marvin Lewis has lacked playmakers along the defensive line for years. Cincinnati made a run at DT Shaun Rogers only to have him sneak away to the Cleveland Browns. Ellis is a thickly built, stout defensive tackle who makes a living in opponents' backfields, either getting to the quarterback or blowing up running plays before they start. He could end up bring the centerpiece of Bengals defense in the future and could make Bengal fans quickly forget about the Shaun Rogers saga.
10. New Orleans Saints-Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Cornerback, Tennessee State)
The Saints lack talent at corner and are missing a true number one shutdown guy. Mike McKenzie has been respectable but is often injured and even with the signing of Randall Gay, a talent like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is too much to pass on. Rodgers-Cromartie is an ultra athletic corner with great ball skills and explosion out of his breaks. It might take him a year to adjust to the NFL, but he has a very similar skill set to his cousin Antonio Cromartie.
11. Buffalo Bills- Malcolm Kelly (Wide Receiver, Oklahoma)
The Bills have some pieces in place on the offensive side of the ball, but they lack a complement for Lee Evans. There are rumors about a Bryant Johnson signing, but at this point a big target at receiver is still a need. Kelly is a large, physical wideout who runs smooth routes and is tough to bring down after the catch. He wouldn't have any problem finding a niche and becoming a key contributor in the Bills young offense.
12. Denver Broncos- Chris Williams (Offensive Tackle, Vanderbilt)
The Denver defense definitely has some glaring needs but with no defenders that warrant the 12th pick, why not add the best offensive lineman available? Chris Williams is really starting to move up boards thanks to a great senior year and his dominate senior bowl play. He has a long wingspan and very quick feet, but he still needs to add some bulk to his frame. He moves well in space and would be a nice fit in Denver's zone blocking scheme.
13. Carolina Panthers- Phillip Merling (Defensive End, Clemson)
A dominate defensive line has been a staple in Carolina over the past five years, but with the trade of Kris Jenkins, and Mike Rucker leaving via free agency, the Panthers need to replenish that pool of talent. Merling has a quick first step on the outside and relies on his body control and motor to get pressure on the QB. He has a nice-sized frame and does a nice job holding the point of attack on the outside versus the run. He would go a long way in taking some pressure off Carolina's star DE, Julius Peppers.
14. Chicago Bears DeSean Jackson (Wide Receiver, California)
The Bears are in desperate need of a quarterback, but with no QBs warranting the 14th pick they'll have to address their offensive inconsistencies by drafting a receiver. DeSean Jackson is another vertical threat that is deadly after the catch. He is very similar to Devin Hester and gives the Bears two big-time deep threats who won't allow defenses to simply key on the run.
15. Detroit Lions- Mike Jenkins (Cornerback, South Florida)
Detroit has lacked playmakers in the secondary for years, and adding a potential elite cover-two corner would definitely be a step in the right direction. Jenkins is very physical at the line of scrimmage and drops into zone coverage quickly. He is a smart instinctive guy who can click and close very quickly and can make a lot of plays in space.
16. Arizona Cardinals-Derrick Harvey (Defensive End, Florida)
No matter what front seven the Cardinal are running, they are always in need of pure pass rushers to get after the QB. Derrick Harvey offers an explosive first step off the line and has the speed to hit the corner and get around the edge. With the loss of Calvin Pace in free agency, the Cardinals need a hybrid pass rushing specialist to fill his role as they make the switch to a 3-4 front in 2008.
17. Minnesota Vikings- Calais Campbell (Defensive End, Miami)
The Vikings have been trying to find a pass rushing threat in the draft for the past couple years, having used first round picks on defensive ends Erasmus James and Kenechi Udeze, with little to no avail. Campbell at 6'8, 280 pounds is a freak off the edge. He has an explosive first step and uses his long arms to disengage from blocks quickly. He needs some work holding the POA in the run game but his skills as a pass rusher could finally give the Vikings the kind of pass rushing threat they have been searching for.
18. Houston Texans- -Rashard Mendenhall (Running Back, Illinois)
The Texans signed Ahmad Green last offseason, but at the age of 30, a replacement needs to be on the horizon. Mendenhall has good balance, runs with short choppy steps inside and is extremely difficult to bring down. He showcases good burst and lateral mobility to get outside, and his vision and lateral mobility makes him an ideal fit for the Texans' zone-blocking scheme.
19. Philadelphia Eagles- Devin Thomas (Wide Receiver, Michigan State)
The Eagles have some pieces in place on the offensive side of the ball, but they lack a true number one receiver. Devin Thomas is big physical wideout with a nice blend of deep speed and athletic ability. He will consistently win his one-on-one battles on the outside and allow Reggie Brown to take over the number two receiver spot and Kevin Curtis to roam the slot. These are the upgrades that Donovan McNabb has been begging to see in Philly.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Keith Rivers (Outside Linebacker, USC)
Rivers is a physically gifted linebacker who shows the toughness and instincts to play near the line of scrimmage or in space. He would add some nice playmaking skills to Tampa's cover-two scheme and could be the perfect replacement for Derrick Brooks in the near future.
21. Washington Redskins- James Hardy (Wide Receiver, Indiana)
The Redskins offense has really struggled finding a consistent playmaker this season and seemed to lean more and more on Chris Cooley as the year went on. James Hardy is a long, physical receiver with good short area quickness in the Plaxico Burress mold. He has the ability to be a very good starting wide out in this league and would give Jason Campbell a larger playmaker to work with on offense.
22. Dallas Cowboys via Cleveland- Jeff Otah (Offensive Tackle, Pittsburgh)
The Cowboys have all the weapons in the world on the offensive side of the ball, but keeping their quarterback clean is a must for this team to reach its Super Bowl aspirations. Jeff Otah is an extremely gifted tackle with good feet. He has seen his stock rise as much as any senior this year, due in large part to his added base strength and attention to his technique. He has all the physical tools you look for in a right tackle and would be a nice fit in the Cowboys power run game.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers -Branden Albert (Offensive Guard, Virginia)
With the departure of Alan Feneca, a replacement needs to be found, and who better than this year's top-rated guard? Branden Albert, a junior who declared early for the draft, has seen his name continue to shoot up draft boards the closer we get to April. Blessed with the athleticism of a left tackle, Albert has great feet, lateral mobility and does an excellent job pulling and getting out to the second level. With the Steelers trying to feature more of a horizontal running game, Albert makes perfect sense.
24. Tennessee Titans- Limas Sweed (Wide Receiver, Texas)
The biggest need for the Titans is to find Vince Young a true number one target. He has possibly done more with less in his first two years in the league than any other quarterback in the NFL. Limas Sweed is Young's former college teammate and possesses a nice blend of size and athletic ability. The two already have a relationship and confidence with each other that should translate nicely to the NFL.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Jonathan Stewart (Running Back, Oregon)
If you saw the Seahawks' run game this season, or lack thereof, there's no question that Shaun Alexander not only isn't the same back he was two years ago, but could be on his way out in the near future. Jonathan Stewart would go a long way in improving the Seahawks' run game. Steward is a load at 230 pounds and shows good power between the tackles. He has the quickness to reach the corner and make plays at the second level. A workhorse of a back who can pound the ball 25 times a game, he would bring some much needed balance to the Seahawks offensive attack.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars- Kentwan Balmer (Defensive Tackle, North Carolina)
With the loss of Marcus Stroud in the middle of their defense, the Jags will be in search of an explosive tackle to pair up with John Henderson. Balmer has seen his stock rise all year with his consistent play and motor inside. He does a good job getting off blocks and has the burst and power to beat the double team inside. He would give the Jaguars the possibility of another elite defensive tackle tandem inside.
27. San Diego Chargers- Kenny Phillips (Safety, Miami)
The University of Miami has given a nice crop of safeties to the NFL over the last couple years, and Phillips is the next in line. The Chargers could use a physical, young safety to replace the recently released Marlon McCree. Phillips shows great range covering the deep half and does well at the LOS in run support. He could make the immediate impact the Chargers need in their secondary next year.
28. Dallas Cowboys- Felix Jones (Running Back, Arkansas)
With all the success the Cowboys had on offense this year, a game-breaker at the running back position was never an option. Julius Jones looks to be on his way out, and a replacement will be needed to complement Marion Barber's power. Felix Jones gives the Cowboys another gem at running back; Jones has good bulk, quickness and runs with good power. He has game-breaking ability and brings that homerun threat to the Cowboys backfield they have lacked the last couple years.
29. San Francisco 49ers via IND. – Quentin Groves (Defensive End/Linebacker, Auburn)
Mike Nolan has done a nice job continuing to add pieces to his 3-4 defense but still needs to find that consistent explosive pass rusher off the edge. Groves is an excellent athlete with a rare first step. He is a bit undersized but has good body control and can play in space as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has the quickness to reach the corner consistently and would bring a lot of pressure from the outside, the key ingredient for a successful 3-4 defense.
30. Green Bay Packers- Dustin Keller (Tight End, Purdue)
This may be a bit of a reach, but after Keller lit it up at the Combine, he put himself in position for a shot at the end of Round One. The Packers know they are now in the post-Favre era and need to give Aaron Rodgers every chance to succeed. Keller is a great athlete who can get down the seam and will create a lot of mismatches in the passing game. He is a real nice check-down option who will only add another element to that talented Packer receiving core.
31. New England Patriots- Forfeit
32. New York Giants- Dan Connor (Linebacker, Penn State)
The World Champion Giants have the fortune of sitting back and taking the player that fits best in their scheme. The Giants are in need of youth and athleticism at the linebacker position, and the back end of the first round is a great place to start looking. Dan Connor is a very smart and instinctive player that plays the pass well and the run even better. He has the ability to play in the middle or on the outside and would give the Giants options at the linebacker and some much needed sideline range in their aging linebacking corps.
Wes Bunting has been mentored by some of the brightest minds in NFL scouting, names such as GMJR President and former Cleveland Browns scout Russ Lande, former Coordinator of the Year Marc Trestman, 31-year NFL and college football scout Joe Butler and Sports Xchange President and longtime NFL scout Frank Cooney.
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