2008 Draft Grades from JagNation.com

At JagNation we are not big believers in draft grades, especially before any of the draft picks have even signed. Like good grade school peer pressure, everyone else was doing it, so we decided to chime in.

Arizona Cardinals

1) Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, CB
2) Calais Campbell, DE
3) Early Doucet, WR
4) Kenny Iewbema, DE
5) Tim Hightower, RB
6) Chris Harrington, LB
7) Brandon Keith, OT

I like what the Cardinals did, they took the best player available on their draft board.  They didn't give into temptation and take Mendenhall, who they could have used.  DRC will give them an impact immediately and Campbell should slim down and play OLB for them.  They had a nice draft and strengthened the defense, but they didn't pick up a running back until round five.

GRADE: B+


Atlanta Falcons

1) Matt Ryan, QB
1) Sam Baker, OT
2) Curtis Lofton, ILB
3) Chevis Jackson, CB
3) Harry Douglas, WR
3) Thomas DeCoud, S
5) Robert James, LB
5) Kory Bierrmann, LB
6) Thomas Brown, RB
7) Wilrey Fontenot, CB
7) Keith Zinger, TE

I like the Falcons draft mainly because they are a rebuilding team they picked up a lot of players.  This draft will always hinge on whether or not Matt Ryan becomes the QB the Falcons hope he does, and passing on Glenn Dorsey will be a non factor.  Sam Baker gives them a tackle for 10 years and Curtis Lofton reminds me a lot of Demeco Ryans.  DeCoud should be able to compete for the starting safety job as well.

GRADE: B+


Baltimore Ravens

1) Joe Flacco, QB
2) Ray Rice, RB
3) Tavares Gooden, LB
3) Tom ZBikowski, S
3) Oniel Cousins, OT
4) Marcus Smith, WR
4) David Hale, OT
6) Haruki Nakamura, S
7) Justin Harper, WR
7) Allen Patrick, RB

They traded down with the Jaguars after Matt Ryan was picked (to #26), but then they traded back up to #18 to select Joe Flacco who they could have likely picked with the #26 pick they got from Jacksonville.  It was not a smart move, in my opinion.  Flacco is not a whole lot different than Chad Henne or Brian Brohm, both of which went late in the second round.  Ray Rice was not a needed commodity but Gooden and Zbikowski could end up being starters by the end of the season.

GRADE: C+


Buffalo Bills

1) Leodis McKelvin, CB
2) James Hardy, WR
3) Chris Ellis, DE
4) Reggie Corner, CB
4) Derek Fine, TE
5) Alvin Bowen, LB
6) Xavier Omon, RB
7) Demetrius Bell, OT
7) Steve Johnson, WR
7) Kenard Cox, CB

I love what the Bills did in the draft by getting both needs accomplished in the first two rounds with McKelvin and Hardy. Before the draft there was talk that the Bills could stay put and select Hardy at #11.  Both will instantly be starters by week one.  One prospect that intrigues me is Demetrius Bell who could fight for a starting job on the offensive line.

GRADE: A-


Carolina Panthers

1. Jonathan Stewart RB/Oregon
1. Jeff Otah OT/Pitt
3. Charles Godfrey CB/Iowa
3. Dan Connor LB/Penn State
5. Gary Barnidge TE/Louisville
6. Nick Hayden DT/Wisconsin
7. Hilee Taylor LB/North Caroina
7. Geoff Schwartz OL/Oregon
7. Mackenzy Bernadeau OG/Bentley

The Panthers gave up a pretty penny to get Jeff Otah by trading their first-round pick in 2009 to the Philadelphia Eagles.  They had a need for an offensive lineman and Otah will be an instant starter.  An intriguing pick was that of Jonathan Stewart, who doesn't exactly fill a need but gives them a two back system.  Stewart reminds me of Fred Taylor in his early years.  Dan Connor was also a steal in the third-round.

GRADE: A+


Chicago Bears

1. Chris Williams OT/Vanderbilt
2. Matt Forte RB/Tulsa
3. Earl Bennett WR/Vanderbilt
3. Marcus Harrison DT/Arkansas
4. Craig Steltz S/LSU
5. Zack Bowman CB/Nebraska
5. Kellen Davis TE/MSU
7. Ervin Baldwin DE/Michigan State
7. Chester Adams OG/Georgia
7. Joey LaRocque LB/Oregon State
7. Kirk Barton OT/Ohio State
7. Marcus Monk WR/Arkansas

The Bears had a so-so draft to me, nothing really special.  Chris Williams was said to be dropping down draft boards due to neck problems but the Bears drafted him ahead of Branden Albert.  Another questionable pick was that of Matt Forte who many thought would have gone in the third-round. If he can be their feature back, it's a decent pick but if he ends up playing more of a full back roll, it was way too early.  Marcus Harrison could be a steal for them and should be inserted in the DT rotation right away.  Kellen Davis and Craig Steltz could be starters by the end of the season.  Ignoring the QB position again will come back to bite them.

GRADE: C


Cincinnati Bengals

1. Keith Rivers LB/USC
2. Jerome Simpson WR/Coastal Carolina
3. Pat Sims DT/Auburn
3. Andre Caldwell WR/Florida
4. Anthony Collins OT/Kansas
5. Jason Shirley DT/Fresno State
6. Corey Lynch FS/Appalachian State
7. Angelo Craig DE/Cincinnati
7. Mario Urrutia WR/Louisville

It was clear at the end of the draft that the Bengals were bent on addressing the WR position.  Jerome Simpson went incredibly too high in my opinion, but they got solid talent in the later rounds.  Caldwell, Lynch and Sims should all be quality starters in the near future.  Keith Rivers could be a 100+ tackle, 5+ sack guy in his first year. 

GRADE: B-


Cleveland Browns

4. Beau Bell LB/UNLV
4. Martin Rucker TE/Missouri
6. Ahtyba Rubin DT/Iowa State
6. Paul Hubard WR/Wisconsin
7. Alex Hall DE/St. Augustine

It's hard to grade the Browns draft due to the fact that they only had second day picks.  Bell and Rucker are solid pickups in the fourth-round.  Rubin could become a starter at some point if they inquire an injury on the front four.  Paul Hubbard is a dark horse receiver.

GRADE: C


Dallas Cowboys

1. Felix Jones RB/Arkansas
1. Mike Jenkins CB/USF
2. Martellus Bennett TE/Texas A&M
4. Tashard Choice RB/Georgia Tech
5. Orlando Scandrick CB/Boise State
6. Erick Walden DE/Middle Tennessee

This draft will hinge on how successful Felix Jones becomes; passing on Rashard Mendenhall could come back to bite them.  Mike Jenkins should be that shutdown corner they were looking for.  Bennett was more of a luxury pick than a need, the same with Tashard Choice, but both should be solid role players.

GRADE: B-


Denver Broncos

1. Ryan Clady OT/Boise State
2. Eddie Royal WR/Virginia Tech
4. Kory Lichtensteiger OG/Bowling Green
4. Jack Williams CB/Kent State
5. Ryan Torain RB/Arizona State
5. Carlton Powell DT/Virginia Tech
6. Spencer Larsen OLB/Arizona
7. Josh Barrett S/Arizona State
7. Peyton Hills FB/Arkansas

Ryan Clady served their biggest need, but linebacker was also a need and it wasn't addressed until the 6th round.  Eddie Royal went too high for my taste but he'll be solid as a third receiver.  Peyton Hills was considered largely the best full back in the draft so to get him is an added plus.

GRADE: C+


Detroit Lions

1. Gosder Cherilus OT/Boston College
2. Jordan Dizon LB/Colorado
3. Kevin Smith RB/UCF
3. Andre Fluellen DT/Florida State
3. Cliff Avril LB/Purdue
5. Kenneth Moore WR/Wake Forest
5. Jerome Felton FB/Furman
7. Landon Cohen DE/Ohio
7. Caleb Campbell S/Army

In my opinion, the Lions didn't have a good draft but what else is new?  It was actually a better draft than their previous five due to the fact that they didn't take a wide receiver in the first round.  Gosder Cherilus was picked too high, as they passed on Jeff Otah who is considered a better tackle.  Jordan Dizon is a solid linebacker but he went too high.  Kevin Smith and Andre Fluellen with Cliff Avril is where this draft is a success; all should be solid starters in their careers. 

GRADE: C+


Green Bay Packers

2. Jordy Nelson WR/Kansas State
2. Brian Brohm QB/Louisville
2. Patrick Lee CB/Auburn
3. Jermichael Finley TE/Texas
4. Jeremy Thompson DE/Wake Forest
4. Josh Sitton OT/UCF
5. Bren Fiacomini OT/Louisville
7. Matt Flynn QB/LSU
7. Brett Swain WR/San Diego State

Green Bay had a very puzzling draft to me...they selected a wide receiver with their first pick but have nowhere to put him.  At best Jordy Nelson will be the #4 receiver on their depth chart and then the #3 once Donald Driver leaves.  Greg Jennings and James Jones are both up and coming WR's, so it just doesn't make sense to pick Nelson.  Brian Brohm was a horrible pick as well.  If anything, Aaron Rogers struggles and then you have a QB controversy.  Not something you need in the wake of Brett Favre retiring.  Patrick Lee and Jermichael Finely with Jeremy Thompson were all solid picks but they could have stayed in the first round and picked up Kenny Phillips who would have come in on day one and started.

GRADE: D+


Houston Texans

1. Duane Brown OT/V-Tech
3. Antwaun Molden CB/Eastern Kentucky
3. Steve Slaton RB/West Virginia
4. Xavier Adibi LB/V-Tech
5. Frank Okam DT/Texas
6. Dominique Barber FS/Minnesota
7. Alex Brink QB/Washington State

The Texans were reached for what they hope is their franchise tackle, but they had a very solid draft in the later rounds.  Molden could start opposite of Dunta Robinson, and Steve Slaton and Xavier Adibi should be solid role players their first seasons.

GRADE: B-


Indianapolis Colts

2. Mike Pollak OT/Arizona State
3. Phillip Wheeler LB/Georgia Tech
4. Jacob Tamme TE/Kentucky
5. Marcus Howard LB/Georgia
6. Tom Santi TE/Virginia
6. Steve Justice C/Wake Forest
6. Mike Hart RB/Michigan
6. Pierre Garcon WR/Mount Union
7. Jamey Richard OL/Buffalo

I wasn't a fan of the Colts draft mainly because they are always so boring.  You can't argue with their results from past seasons though.  Pollak will likely become one of the best centers in the league and Wheeler is a Colt linebacker from the get go...a fast, hard hitting, plays side line to side line, type of backer.  Tamme and Howard should make major contributions from day 1.  Mike Hart is an intriguing prospect.

GRADE: B+


Jacksonville Jaguars

1. Derrick Harvey DE/Florida
2. Quentin Groves DE/Auburn
5. Thomas Williams LB/USC
5. Trae Williams CB/USF
6. Chauncey Washington RB/USC

The Jaguars, you have to give them credit, they went up and got the guy they wanted.  Did they reach?  Eh, maybe...but they only had one desperate need and that was to find a pass rush, which they did with Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, both who should be the bookends to their defensive line for many years to come.  Harvey could start right away and Groves will play the DPR position.  Thomas Williams is a solid linebacker who will likely play special teams and back up the starting three linebackers.  Trae Williams, IMO, was a steal in the 5th round.  Many thought that Williams out played Jenkins at USF.  Williams could eventually be a starting nickelback for this team.  Chauncey Washington could end up being a compliment to Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew in a few seasons.

GRADE: B+


Kansas City Chiefs


1. Glenn Dorsey DT/LSU
1. Branden Albert OG/Virginia
2 . Brandon Flowers CB/V-Tech
3. Jamaal Charles RB/Texas
3. Brad Cottam TE/Tennessee
4. William Franklin WR/Missouri
5. Brandon Carr CB/Grand Valley
6. Barry Richardson OT/Clemson
6. Kevin Robinson WR/Utah State
7. Brian Johnston DE/Gardner-Webb
7. Mike Merritt TE/Central Florida

The only team that will get an A+ grade in this draft.  They get three instant starters with their first three picks, which is amazing.  Dorsey will likely end up being one of the best DT's in the game.  Branden Albert, if he can make a smooth transition to LT, could become one of the best, and Brandon Flowers is a solid enough corner right now to start right away.  Charles and Robinson are wild cards for the offense.  They probably could have used a QB as a backup plan if Brodie Croyle doesn't work out. 

GRADE: A+


Miami Dolphins


1. Jake Long OT/Michigan
2. Phillip Merling DE/Clemson
2. Chad Henne QB/Michigan
3. Kendall Langford DL/Hampton
4. Shawn Murphy OT/Utah State
6. Jalen Parmele RB/Toledo
6. Donald Thomas OG/Uconn
6. Lex Hilliard RB/Montana
7. Lionel Dotson DL/Arizona

Miami had a very good draft, getting three potential starters with their first three picks.  Jake Long will be a franchise tackle for a long time and getting Phillip Merling in the second-round could be the steal of the draft.  Some thought Merling was a better DE than his 2006 counterpart in Gaines Adams.  Chad Henne will come in expecting to compete for the starting QB job.  Kendall Langford can play many positions so he should be able to make an impact from day one from somewhere. 

GRADE: A


Minnesota Vikings

2. Tyrell Johnson S/Arkansas State
5. John David Booty QB/USC
5. Letroy Guion DT/Florida State
6. John Sullivan C/Notre Dame
6. Jaymar Johnson WR/Jackson State

They acquired DE Jared Allen via trade with Kansas City, thus the reason they have so few draft picks.  Tyrell Johnson is an instant starter and a steal in the second-round.  John David-Booty should go into training camp expecting to compete for the starting job, and he could eventually win that job.  Letroy Guion should be able to come in right away and get into the defensive line rotation.

GRADE: A


New England Patriots

1. Jerod Mayo LB/Tennessee
2. Terrence Wheatley CB/Colorado
3. Shawn Crable LB/Michigan
3. Kevin O'Connell QB/San Diego State
4. Jonathan Wilhite CB/Auburn
5. Matt Slater WR/UCLA
6. Bo Ruud LB/Nebraska

New England reached on some of their picks, but who am I to question that?  Mayo is the best value meets need pick for them, and he could be a instant starter.  Wheatley and Crable could be reaches, but both address needs so I can see why they went with those picks.  O'connell was a good pick but did they need a QB that early?  Probably not...  Bo Rudd and Slater were both great acquisitions in the later rounds.

GRADE: B-


New Orleans Saints

1. Sedrick Ellis DT/USC
2. Tracy Porter CB/Indiana
5. DeMario Pressley DT/NC State
5. Carl Nicks OT/Nebraska
6. Taylor Mehlhaff K/Wisconsin
7. Adrian Arrington WR/Michigan

New Orleans had an ok draft by my standards...Ellis is a starter right away and will be very good.  Tracy Porter and DeMario Pressley have starting caliber talent.  Carl Nicks and Adrian Arrington were both steals in their respective rounds.

GRADE: B


New York Giants

1. Kenny Phillips S/Miami
2. Terrell Thomas CB/USC
3. Mario Manningham WR/Michigan
4. Bryan Kehl LB/BYU
5. Jonathan Goff LB/Vanderbilt
6. Andre Woodson QB/Kentucky
6. Robert Henderson DE/Southern Miss

The Giants come away from this with three potential starters...and for a team that just won the superbowl, that's pretty good.  Kenny Phillips should start right away and Terrell Thomas and Mario Manningham could work their way into the starting lineups in their rookie year.  Goff and Woodson were steals in the fifth and sixth-rounds.

GRADE: B


New York Jets

1. Vernon Gholston DE/Ohio State
1. Dustin Keller TE/Purdue
4. Dwight Lowery CB/San Jose State
5. Erik Ainge QB/Tennessee
6. Marcus Henry WR/Kansas
7. Nate Garner OT/Arkansas

There is a bust factor to Vernon Gholston, but he also brings a very high reward factor as well.  In the Jets' system he should excel.  Keller in the first was a reach for them but he should end up being the best TE from this class.  Their draft wasn't very exciting, but they addressed a lot of needs.

GRADE: B-


Oakland Raiders

1. Darren McFadden RB/Arkansas
4. Tyvon Branch CB/Uconn
4. Arman Shields WR/Richmond
6. Trevor Scott DE/Buffalo
7. Chaz Schilens WR/Miami

Darren McFadden should come in right away and make a difference, he's that good.  Not quite as good as Adrian Peterson, who everyone was comparing him to, but he should put up solid numbers.  Branch and Shields should pay dividends for them eventually.  But only getting one potential starter out of this draft could be costly. 

GRADE: C-


Philadelphia Eagles

2. Trevor Laws DT/Notre Dame
2. DeSean Jackson WR/Cal
3. Bryan Smith LB/McNeese State
4. Mike McGlynn OT/Pitt
4. Quintin Demps FS/UTEP
6. Mike Gibson OT/Cal
6. Joe Mays LB/North Dakota State
6. Andy Studebaker LB/Wheaton
7. King Dunlap OT/Auburn

Trevor Laws will do wonders for the Eagles defensive line, as he and Patterson should wreak havoc.  DeSean is incredibly raw as far as receiving goes (route running, blocking, bumping at the line), but he will make an immediate impact in the return game.  Mike McGlynn, Mike Gibson, and King Dunlap all are decent enough o-line prospects that all three of them could make the team.  Demps and Mays should make the team and eventually start.

GRADE: A-


Pittsburgh Steelers

1. Rashard Mendenhall RB/Illinois
2. Limas Sweed WR/Texas
3. Bruce Davis LB/UCLA
4. Tony Hills OT/Texas
5. Dennis Dixon QB/Oregon
6. Mike Humpal LB/Iowa
6. Ryan Mundy S/West Virginia

The Steelers had Mendenhall fall into their laps and they would have been fools to pass on him but they really didn't do much to upgrade their respective offense and defensive lines.  Mendenhall is a good switch up to Willie Parker and Limas Sweed could have a fantastic career.  Davis and Hills could be eventual starters.

GRADE: B


San Diego Chargers

1. Antoine Cason
3. Jacob Hester
5. Marcus Thomas RB/UTEP
6. DeJuan Tribble CB/Boston College
7. Corey Clark OT/Texas A&M

The Chargers really didn't upgrade their team all that much.  Cason was picked far too early, and he'll be a nickel back at best (although he will make an impact on Special Teams in the return game).  Jacob Hester was a big reach, especially if he was selected to be a fullback.  If he's going to be a running back you have to wonder where he will fit in.  Thomas and Tribble weren't very good picks mainly because both were not great in college.

GRADE: D


San Francisco 49ers

1. Kentwan Balmer DE/North Carolina
2. Chilo Rachal OG/USC
3. Reggie Smith DB/Oklahoma
4. Cody Wallace OL/Texas A&M
6. Josh Morgan WR/Virginia Tech
7. Larry Grant LB/Ohio State

The 49ers had a good draft, as Kentwan Balmer fits perfectly at NT in their 3-4 scheme, and Chilo Rachal should step in at guard right away.  Reggie Smith was a steal in the third-round and should become a very valuable tool for their defense.  Smith can play a wide array of DB positions.  Wallace and Morgan are "jars on the shelf " type of guys.

GRADE: B+


Seattle Seahawks

1. Lawrence Jackson DE/USC
2. John Carlson TE/Notre Dame
4. Red Bryant DT/Texas A&M
5. Owen Schmitt FB/West Virginia
6. Tyler Schmitt LS/San Diego State
7. Justin Forsett RB/Cal
7. Brandon Coutu K/Georgia

The Seahawks reached on some of their picks, as Lawrence Jackson could have been had if they traded down, and I don't think he will be better than Phillip Merling.  John Carlson and Red Bryant will be eventual starters and the Schmitt's should be starters as well.  Coutu will be a 30 FG maker before his career is over.

GRADE: C+


St. Louis Rams


1. Chris Long DE/Virginia
2. Donnie Avery WR/Houston
3. John Greco OT/Toledo
4. Justin King CB/Penn State
4. Keenan Burton WR/Kentucky
5. Roy Schuening OG/Oregon State
7. Chris Chamberlain DB/Tulsa
7. David Vobora LB/Idaho

The Rams had a very good draft, highlighted by Chris Long who will be a starter in this league for 10-12 years.  Donnie Avery, I felt, was a reach mainly because he's primarily a speed guy but he should become a solid contributor.  Greco and King will be starters it's just a matter of time.

GRADE: B+


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. Aqib Talib CB/Kansas
2. Dexter Jackson WR/Appalachian State
3. Jeremy Zuttah OG/Rutgers
4. Dre Moore DT/Maryland
5. Josh Johnson QB/San Diego
6. Geno Hayes ILB/Florida State
7. Cory Boyd RB/South Carolina

Aqib Talib is such a good pick for the Bucs...he fits their defense perfectly and can play offense as well.  Are his character issues behind him?  Dexter Jackson was a bit of a reach but they need WR help.  Zuttah, Moore, and Johnson could be the future of this franchise.  Hayes and Boyd will also make contributions.

GRADE: A-


Tennessee Titans

1. Chris Johnson RB/East Carolina
2. Jason Jones DE/Eastern Michigan
3. Craig Stevens TE/Cal
4. William Hayes DE/Winston-Salem
4. Stanford Kegler LB/Pudeu
7. Cary Williams CB/Washburn

The Titans draft bothers me some...they got a gifted playmaker in Chris Johnson, but they didn't get Vince Young anyone he can rely on for the next five years to catch the ball.  Even if it had been a reach, they should have selected Devin Thomas or Limas Sweed.  Jason Jones was a good pick, he can come in and instantly be a starter.  Steven and Hayes are role players.  Not a good draft by the Titans.

GRADE: D


Washington Redskins

2. Devin Thomas WR/Michigan State
2. Malcolm Kelly WR/Oklhoma
2. Fred Davis TE/USC
3. Chad Rinehart OT/Northern Iowa
4. Justin Tryon CB/Arizona State
6. Durant Brooks P/Georgia Tech
6. Kareem Moore DB/Nicholls State
6. Colt Brennan QB/Hawaii
7. Rob Jackson DE/Kansas State
7. Chris Horton FS/UCLA

The Redskins finally had a good draft...and they didn't even have a first rounder!  Getting both Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly could be the best combo of the draft.  Much like Jax did with their DE's, the Skins needed WR help so what better way to do it than draft the future #1 and #2.  Fred Davis was a luxury pick, as they have Cooley.  Colt Brennan could eventually be a starter somewhere, but it all depends on if he can develop.

GRADE: A-



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