Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Positional Rankings

The 2008 NFL Scouting Combines concluded with the usual surprises and disappointments. NFL front offices tend to put way too much emphasis on the combines. Players like Mike Mamula come to mind when talking about players who put up amazing numbers. Players like Zach Thomas come to mind when talking about players who didn’t measure up to NFL standards. While the combines aren’t the ultimate test of NFL skills, they do provide the setting for relative no-namers to put themselves near the top of front office rankings.

Over the next few days, there will be a series of articles culminating with my first mock draft of the year. The list is as follows:

2/28: Positional Rankings
3/1: Impact Underclassmen
3/2: Sleeper Picks
3/4: 2008 NFL Mock Draft

Below are my rankings at each position. The rankings are based on combine performance, game performance and personal opinion. While these rankings are due to change as Pro-Day workouts commence, and players that may have done poorly at the combines have a last chance to shine.


1. Matt Ryan, Boston College
2. Brian Brohm, Louisville
3. Joe Flacco, Delaware
4. Andre Woodson, Kentucky
5. Erik Ainge, Tennessee

Running Back:

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
2. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
3. Rashard Mendelhall, Illinois
4. Felix Jones, Arkansas
5. Chris Johnson, East Carolina
6. Jamaal Charles, Texas
7. Ray Rice, Rutgers
8. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
9. Matt Forte, Tulane
10. Chad Simpson, Morgan State

Wide Receiver:

1. Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma
2. DeSean Jackson, California
3. Limas Sweed, Texas
4. Devin Thomas, Michigan State
5. Andre Caldwell, Florida
6. James Hardy, Indiana
7. Dexter Jackson, Appy State
8. Mario Manningham, Michigan
9. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt
10. Jordy Nelson, Kansas State

Tight End:

1. Fred Davis, USC
2. Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M
3. Craig Stevens, California


1. Steve Justice, Wake Forest
2. John Sullivan, Notre Dame
3. Mike Pollak, Arizona State


1. Branden Albert, Virginia
2. Eric Young, Tennessee
3. Chilo Rachal, USC
4. Roy Schuening, Oregon State
5. Jeremy Zuttah, Rutgers


1. Jake Long, Michigan
2. Ryan Clady, Boise State
3. Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
4. Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
5. Sam Baker, USC
6. Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
7. Heath Benedict, Newberry
8. Anthony Collins, Kansas
9. Duane Brown, Virginia Tech
10. Oneil Cousins, UTEP

Defensive Tackle:

1. Sedric Ellis, USC
2. Glenn Dorsey, LSU
3. Kentwan Balmer, UNC
4. Pat Sims, Auburn
5. Red Bryant, Texas A&M
6. Dre Moore, Maryland
7. Ahtyba Rubin, Iowa State
8. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame
9. Marcus Harrison, Arkansas
10. Frank Okam, Texas

Defensive End:

1. Chris Long, Virginia
2. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
3. Phillip Merling, Clemson
4. Quentin Groves, Auburn
5. Derrick Harvey, Florida
6. Calais Campbell, Miami
7. Cliff Avril, Purdue
8. Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech
9. Lawrence Jackson, USC
10. Marcus Howard, Georgia

Inside Linebacker:

1. Jerod Mayo, Tennessee
2. Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma
3. Phillip Wheeler, Georgia Tech
4. Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt
5. Beau Bell, UNLV

Outside Linebacker:

1. Keith Rivers, USC
2. Dan Connor, Penn State
3. Erin Henderson, Maryland
4. Gary Guyton, Georgia Tech
5. Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech
6. Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky
7. Shawn Crable, Michigan
8. Ali Highsmith, LSU
9. Tavares Gooden, Miami
10. Ezra Butler, Nevada


1. Leodis McKelvin, Troy
2. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State
4. Tracy Porter, Indiana
5. Aqib Talib, Kansas
6. Patrick Lee, Auburn
7. Tyvon Branch, UConn
8. Justin King, Penn State
9. Antoine Cason, Arizona
10. Zach Bowman, Nebraska


1. Kenny Phillips, Miami
2. Reggie Smith, Oklahoma
3. Josh Barrett, Arizona State
4. DaJuan Morgan, NC State
5. Quintin Demps, UTEP


1. Taylor Mehloff, Wisconsin
2. Steven Hauschka, NC State
3. Dan Carpenter, Montana


1. Durant Brooks, Georgia Tech
2. Mike Dragosavich, North Dakota State
3. Brett Kern, Toledo


Anonymous said...

no way Chris Johnson, and Jamaal Charles, are better than Ray Rice

Anonymous said...

What do you think of Tommy Kelly getting 50 million dollars? Is he really that good?

Clement said...

I will add a few questions for the resident expert:

1) What makes you rate Flacco above Woodson QB?
2) What makes you rate Ellis above Dorsey at DT?
3) What has sparked the meteoric rise of Clemson DE Phillip Merling?
4) What are your thoughts on Kansas CB Aqib Talib (who Mel Kiper has going #7 overall to the Pats).

Great work.

Sum said...

solid work A-dawg. Though I'm thinking that after the combine, Mendelhall has at least drawn even with Stewart as the #2 RB, if he hasn't surpassed him.

Then again, I'm a part-time combine follower ... nowhere near your level of dedication. :)

Armin said...

I will attempt to answer all questions in this reply.

1. Johnson & Charles better than Rice: I based this mostly on the combine, where NFL front-offices tend to over-rate the numbers. Johnson was the fastest back in the combines, and has decent size. Charles put up better speed and explosion figures than Rice.

2. Tommy Kelly worth $50 mil: I like Tommy Kelly, but the Raiders pulled a Dan Snyder on this one. I'd be willing to bet that if Kelly hit the market, his value was nowhere near that amount.

3. Flacco over Woodson: They're both about as unpolished as each other. Woodson had more exposure. Flacco's arm is one of the strongest out there and he has great size. This was more of a matter of personal opinion, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if a handful of teams (or more) have Flacco rated higher.

4. Ellis over Dorsey: I think Florio put it best when he said that Dorsey could be this year's Alan Branch. His injury history raises questions. We all see what questions about knees have done to Jon Vilma's career. Dorsey's injury was kept under wraps much like Vilma's.

5. Merling's meteoric rise: It's about to become a fall after he posted a very pedestrian bench press at the combines (17 reps). However, Merling is (I'm going to get butchered for this) a Strahan-like player. He won't give you the best measurables, but he just produces. He's got that high-motor that I love to see in a player (especially at DE).

6. Talib #7 to Pats on Mel's chart: Talib's versatility is tempting, but as far as pure CB play, he doesn't rank as high as the 4 I put ahead of him (Porter is arguable). Talib is a great return man, which may give him a little more value though.

7. Mendelhall vs. Stewart: It's neck and neck. I like Stewart better because he has better size, which translates (not always, but often enough to be a trend) to better durability in the most demanding position in the NFL. I can see most draft gurus being split on this one.

Hope that answers the questions. Looking forward to more.