Monday, April 28, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Final Review

The 2008 NFL Draft is over. There were some highs and lows, as with any draft. However, the theme that I would give this draft is the "Draft for Need" strategy. There weren't as many Best Player Available (BPA) picks as with past drafts. The "Draft for Need" strategy is exactly why we saw a run on offensive linemen in the first round as teams began to panic. Overall, while most teams helped themselves, we saw some add as many as 4 potential starters to their teams.

Everyone had Glenn Dorsey as the obvious steal of the top 5, but who else might be a regular name that was all but stolen in this year's selection show?
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Top 5 Drafts

1) Kansas City Chiefs: They went 6 deep with players that could offer the team help immediately. Glenn Dorsey fell in their laps, and instead of kicking back and basking in the sunlight of their fortune, they Chiefs went to work. Trading up for Branden Albert was huge, after he dropped further than his hype would have led some to believe. Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr have potential to get some significant playing time on this team as backup corners. Jamaal Charles will replace another Texas back (Holmes) as Larry Johnson's backup. Brad Cottam is a sleeper who could end up turning some heads, and he will learn behind one of the greatest TEs of all time in Gonzo.

2) Dallas Cowboys: Jerrah Jones puts some nice drafts together. He didn't let down this year. Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins will fill big roles with that team and could eventually be stars. However, my favorite picks for them were Martellus Bennett and Orlando Scandrick. Bennett, in my opinion was the best talent at TE in the draft, just based on his upside and similar ability to Antonio Gates. Scandrick was a 3rd round projection for me, but was stolen in the 5th round. Tashard Choice was an interesting pick with Felix Jones already onboard. However, Choice could be a nice steal in a couple of years too.

3) Washington Redskins: No, this is not a homer pick (Editor's Note: This is such a homer pick. Who passes on a defensive lineman with three picks in the top 51). The Redskins actually had a draft this year. Furthermore, they trade they made with the Falcons while still landing the top ranked WR on my list. Devin Thomas, Fred Davis and Malcolm Kelly could all help the team this season. The Danny stocked the shelves for his new head coach and his West Coast Offense. Chad Rinehardt was one of my sleeper picks who has vast potential at guard, while he could back up four positions for this team once he works on some mechanics. Justin Tryon and Kareem Moore could help out more than expected on a secondary that is short on bodies. Tryon may be small, but has the athletic ability and attitude to make a difference. Moore is a playmaker. They also added the top punter in the draft.

4) Carolina Panthers: Regardless of the first rounder that they miss out on next year, drafting Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah in the first round helps the teams at two positions where they needed the most help. They got what I felt were two Day One players on Day Two in Charles Godfrey and Dan Connor. All four players could earn significant playing time as rookies. Tight end Gary Barnidge could be a sleeper.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Though lacking many pressing needs, the Buccaneers addressed them with value. First, they selected oft-criticized CB Aqib Talib, who can be plugged into the starting lineup to fill the void left by Brian Kelly who jettisoned for Detroit. Knowing that at least eight games per year are played in sweltering heat, the Bucs latched onto the speedy Dexter Jackson out of App State. Before you know it, OG Jeremy Zuttah and DT Dre Moore may be starters on the respective lines, while Josh Johnson has plenty of upside at QB.

If you were the GM/Owner of the Cowboys, might you have tabbed Mendenhall over Jones?
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Worst 5 Drafts

1) Tennessee Titans: Ouch. For the third straight year, the Titans selected a running back in the first two rounds of the draft. Not to mention, Chris Johnson was on no one's radar as a 1st-round draft pick before the combine. If that's not a red flag, then I would like to know what is. Defensive end Jason Jones and WR Lavelle Hawkins may very well be the keys to any value being reaped out of this draft for Tennessee.

2) New York Jets: Sorry, Clement. Despite the Gholston pick not being as debilitating (yet) as some pundits have put it, the Jets did not have an effective draft. Simply stated, trading up to select Dustin Keller (hello, 2nd-round grade AT BEST) is appalling. At the 30th pick, the Jets could have addressed a need at WR. Meanwhile, they waited until the pick #171 to do that.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars: If Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves do not produce in the next two years, there will be an overhaul in management. It's that obvious. While I laud the Jags aggressive player target approach, they gave up too many draft picks and did not address other needs. Rumors are abound that they are trying to acquire Eagles CB Lito Sheppard. If they do, it will be with 2009 draft picks.

4) Cincinnati Bengals: Who doesn't take a 1st-round pick and a conditional 3rd-round pick for Chad Johnson? Apparently, the Bengals don't. After the no-brainer Keith Rivers pick at #9, the Bengals went with WRs in the next two rounds. Though Anthony Collins and Pat Sims could start at some point, I look at these selections and ask myself, "Did this team get tougher?" The short answer is no.

5) Atlanta Falcons: This was a top choice, because I thought some of the late-round selections merited praise. Nevertheless, the Falcons passed up a stud defensive tackle in Glenn Dorsey, and for that, they will suffer. Later in the first round, the Falcons did a rare thing and made Vinny Cerrato look good, jumping up 13 spots to reach for Sam Baker. Though Curtis Lofton and Harry Douglas could push for starting positions immediately, the Falcons remain thin and weak on the D-Line.

Is it just Clement, or would Gholston be considered the "prize" of the draft Jerod Mayo suddenly became if the all-too-brilliant-and-perfect Patriots drafted him?
Credit: Yahoo! Sports (and a bitter Jets fan tired of the post-draft HATE)


1) Glenn Dorsey and Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs: Are you kidding me? The only thing I see that can hurt Dorsey's value is the effect that lengthy contract negotiations will have on his psyche. I added Albert because many had him going in the top 10.

2) Limas Sweed, Pittsburgh Steelers: Todd McShay rated him with a first-round grade. If he is able to stay healthy, Sweed immediately becomes a deep threat for the Steelers and could work his way into becoming a long-term replacement for Hines Ward.

3) Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs: According to the game tape, Flowers has amazing technique, physicality and ball skills. Strike the 40-time and his smaller build, and you have a top 11 pick.

4) Dan Connor, Carolina Panthers: Expected to be selected by the middle of the second round, Connor fell to the 74th pick overall. With Connor, the Panthers acquire tough, intelligent and grounded linebacker who can contribute immediately.

5) Quentin Demps, Philadelphia Eagles: Taken in the 4th round, Demps is a ball-hawking safety who had 17 interceptions as a three-year starter at UTEP. Demps needs to get stronger, but can compete with Sean Considine and Quentin Mikell for the starting safety spot opposite Brian Dawkins.


1) Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: 24th pick? I'm just not convinced that Johnson is a three-down back. Unless he's the second coming of Thurman Thomas or Barry Sanders, which he is neither, he's a late second-round pick at best.

2) Dustin Keller, New York Jets: No chance. No way. No how. Keller will need to put up Gonzo's career numbers to validate trading up and selecting a tight end in the first round in this draft.

3) Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers: Is it just me or were the Panthers begging for the next Stephen Davis with this pick?

4) Duane Brown, Houston Texans: Brown (Richmond-native) could be great. We just don't know yet. He's a project lineman with minimal experience. Translation: The Texans should've traded down again.

5) Donnie Avery, St. Louis Rams: Addictions are dangerous. An addiction to speedy receivers may be kryptonite for a team that has been a perennial Charmin Award nominee.

There's one primetime star who wasn't dealt on draft day.
We have to ask. Who has a more inflated ego: Jason Taylor or the Tuna?

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Of course...we need your REACTIONS too! Let us hear em!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Day One Recap

If I had a nickel for every time my jaw dropped to the floor. I can't judge what a front office does on draft day any further than what I thought they might do. I was on the money in some cases, completely off in others.

Here's a few quick notes on things I noticed.

  1. The top 7 picks were no surprise (including the Saints trading up). Atlanta going with Matt Ryan was somewhat expected, even though I felt they should consider Dorsey.
  2. To point out the obvious, the Chiefs had a great first day. But, I have to give the Steelers some props for the value picks and not flinching with the run on offensive linemen. There are plenty of offensive linemen available on Day Two. Dallas added some great value as well, especially with the Bennett pick in the 2nd round.
  3. What exactly were the Falcons and Texans thinking. Sam Baker and Duane Brown? Panic may have set in.
  4. Jacksonville gets kudos for their bold move to get Harvey. Groves was a nice touch too. Any doubt that they're copycatting the Giants?
  5. I guess I should have never changed my ranking at RB, with Stewart going over Mendelhall. I bought into the hype about Stewart's toe surgery lowering his status.
  6. Flacco in the first?!?! He had the most impressive workout among QBs, but I have to question this one.
  7. Speaking of QBs...Aaron Rodgers and John Beck are some unhappy QBs. Brohm and Henne were steals at those picks.
  8. Was that Vinny Cerrato making that trade with Atlanta? Devin Thomas would have been a good pick at 21. The Redskins add 3 offensive weapons, but the Fred Davis pick was a little strange.
  9. With Miami's drafting of Phillip Merling, does that mean Jason Taylor is definitely on his way out?
Players in my Mock Draft that didn't make it in Day One
  1. Justin King, CB
  2. Andre Caldwell, WR
  3. Pat Sims, DT
  4. Early Doucet, WR
  5. Carl Nicks, T
  6. Red Bryant, DT
  7. Chris Ellis, DE
  8. Mario Manningham, WR
  9. DeMario Pressley, DT
  10. Cliff Avril, DE
  11. Jamaal Charles, RB
  12. Reggie Smith, DB
  13. Charles Godfrey, CB
  14. DaJuan Morgan, S

Looking forward to Day Two. Be sure to check back for the Post Draft Analysis.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Mock Draft Final

Finally, the draft is upon us. This is my final attempt at a mock draft for the 2008 NFL Draft. Compared to my previous mock, I stuck with Jake Long only to find out shortly after starting that Long got locked up by the Dolphins. With 62 other picks to make, let's get rolling and see how "on the money" or how far off I am. Can't wait for this weekend!!!

A note on the trades: The trade values are based on the latest list on PFT. I tried to stay within 25 points to the favor of the team that wasn't as inclined to move. There will probably be more trades than this, but I tried to keep to trades that made sense with available players and team needs.

  • Raiders trade #4, #66 & #213 overall to the Ravens for #8 and #38 overall
  • Patriots trade the #7 overall pick to the Saints for #10 and #78 overall
  • Eagles trade #19 overall to the Chiefs for #35 & #66 overall and a conditional bottom-half 2nd rounder or a top half 3rd rounder in 2009
  • 49ers trade #39 & #169 overall to the Redskins for #51 & #84 overall

1st Round

1. Miami: Jake Long, T - Michigan
I've said it from the almost the beginning. Jake Long will be the #1 pick With the Dolphins locking up Jake Long for 5 years, the Rams are now on the proverbial clock

2. St. Louis: Chris Long, DE - Virginia
The Rams debate on Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey. They bank on Howie's son, and hope he produces like his father, and not like former draftee Grant Wistrom

3. Atlanta: Glenn Dorsey, DT - LSU
Dorsey fills a major need on defense. Coach Mike Smith knows the value of having dominant DTs, like he had in Jacksonville

4. Baltimore: Matt Ryan, QB - Boston College
Knowing they had to get ahead of KC to draft Ryan, the Ravens make the move with Oakland and get their QB of the Future, now that McNair has retired

5. Kansas City: Vernon Gholston, DE - Ohio State
After trading Jared Allen to the Vikings, the Chiefs choose to replace him with Gholston. Gholston is an amazing athlete who's stock is in flux due to concerns over on-field production

6. New York Jets: Darren McFadden, RB - Arkansas
The team has had him in for 3 separate visits in New York. While there is talk of Dallas moving to this pick to nab the talented back, I think the Jets are more interested in him

7. New Orleans: Sedric Ellis, DT - Southern Cal
While the Saints would have liked to move to #2 for Glenn Dorsey, they still get a top DT in the draft and plug him right in the middle

8. Oakland: Branden Albert, T - Virginia
Raiders are drinking the Albert Kool-Aid. While he only has one start in his college career at left tackle, that is where he will be groomed. He will probably start on the inside however at his natural guard position

9. Cincinnati: Keith Rivers, LB - Southern Cal
Speaking of Kool-Aid, I've been a huge fan of Rivers since draft talk started. Outside of his 40 time, this kid has "Junior Seau" written all over him. Big shoes to fill, but the potential is there

10. New England: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Tennessee St.
The Patriots make a splash and take DRC as the #1 corner in the draft. There is a lot of hype behind this pick, but he's not a reach by any means

11. Buffalo: Leodis McKelvin, CB - Troy
Buffalo benefits from Baltimore's sudden need for a QB. They land, arguably, the top CB in the draft, and have no need to hesitate about placing him across the field from McGhee

12. Denver: Ryan Clady, T - Boise State
Clady has too much talent to pass up at this pick. He also fits Denver's zone-blocking style with his athletic ability. Chris Williams could be considered

13. Carolina: Derrick Harvey, DE - Florida
Derrick Harvey is slowly rising to where he was expected to go, until his stock took a hit at the combines. Regardless of Brayton's presence, the Panthers should have no problem making this pick. Mendelhall could be an option

14. Chicago: Chris Williams, T - Vanderbilt
Mendelhall could go here, but it's no secret that the Bears need help on the offensive line. Williams is an athletic left tackle who could keep speed rushers out of the backfield. Jeff Otah could be an option as well

15. Detroit: Rashard Mendelhall, RB - Illinois
Unless they're going to make a play for Shaun Alexander (and even then they might still go this direction), the Lions need a RB. Mendelhall is great value at 15, and could be a star in this league for years

16. Arizona: Aqib Talib, CB - Kansas
Arizona surprisingly passes on Jonathan Stewart and takes a shot at Talib. With Rolle moving to safety, there is a glaring weakness at the CB spot. Apparently, Talib's history with pot isn't hurting him much, because he was up front about it, and claims to be over it

17. Kansas City: Jeff Otah, T - Pittsburgh
Perfect spot for Otah to land. The Chiefs need help on the offensive line, and Otah fits their style perfectly. Otah could play either side, and may start out on the right side, depending on what the coaches try to do when shuffling the incumbents

18. Houston: Jonathan Stewart, RB - Tennessee
The Texans can give Stewart all the time he needs to heal. Don't be fooled by the presence of Green and Brown in the backfield. They aren't young by any means either. Without one of the top LTs available, the Texans would have no problem making this pick

19. Kansas City: Mike Jenkins, CB - South Florida
Philly didn't want to reach at 19 for a need position, so they do the smart thing and trade down with the Chiefs, also picking up a high round pick next year. The Chiefs desperately need help at the CB position, and knew Jenkins wouldn't fall past Tampa or Washington. He's a steal at this pick

20. Tampa Bay: Devin Thomas, WR - Michigan State
Gruden has no problem adding numerous bodies at QB and WR. In this case, with starters Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard beyond old age. He could push Hilliard early. He would be a nice addition to a disappointing corps

21. Washington: Phillip Merling, DE - Clemson
While word is that the Skins like Kentwaan Balmer, they can't pass up on a talented DE like Phillip Merling. If Mike Jenkins is available, he could also go. Word is they might reach for Malcolm Kelley as well

22. Dallas: Felix Jones, RB - Arkansas
Something tells me Dallas fans will be happier with this Barber/Jones combination, compared to the last one. While Jerrah Jones would like McFadden, he's more than happy to take his Arkansas running-mate

23. Pittsburgh: Ghosder Cherilus, T - Boston College
The Steelers have a need at tackle, and decide to fill it with Cherilus, who showed NFL coaches what he can do on the field at the senior bowl

24. Tennessee: Limas Sweed, WR - Texas
I'm sure Vince Young would love to lob passes to fellow Longhorn, Limas Sweed. When 100% healthy, Sweed is a big play possession receiver who can be dangerous near the goal line. The large receiver will be greatly complimented by the speedy receivers that will surround him

25. Seattle: Calais Campbell, DE - Miami
A tough pick to figure out if there isn't a top RB available. The Seahawks could trade down, instead they take a DE that might have been a top 10 pick in last year's draft, before having a dismal year last season

26. Jacksonville: Kenny Phillips, S - Miami
While Phillips projects as a free safety in most schemes, he can play strong in Gregg Williams's scheme. As another coverage option at safety, he can allow Williams to do what he loves and send the corners on blitz packages

27. San Diego: Jerod Mayo, LB - Tennessee
With Stephen Cooper set to be suspended to begin the season and Derek Smith is way past his prime, Mayo could get some time next to Wilhelm at ILB in the Chargers 3-4. Depending on how the team feels about Cooper and Smith, this could push one of them off the roster completely

28. Dallas: Antoine Cason, CB - Arizona
Cason should have no problem settling in as the #3 CB, and will be the eventual starter for the Cowboys by his 2nd season

29. San Francisco: Justin King, CB - Penn State
Finally, King lands in the first round. With the free fall of WRs, someone has to benefit, and King is one of the beneficiaries. King has as much athletic talent as any CB in this draft, he just needs the coaching to put it all together

30. Green Bay: Martellus Bennett, TE - Texas A&M
The Packers need a safety valve receiver for their young QB. Bennett looks like the best of a talented trio at the top of the TE ranks. Bennett looks a lot like Antonio Gates

New England: Selection Forfeited

31. New York Giants: Kentwan Balmer, DT - North Carolina
Balmer adds value as an interior pass-rusher, bringing a similar style to Warren Sapp early in his career. He will eventually replace Robbins, but for now will join a rotation with Robbins, Coefield and Alford

2nd Round

32. Miami: Chilo Rachal, G - Southern Cal
Rachal should step right into the left guard position and start. The Dolphins could probably trade down a few picks (picking up a 3rd rounder) and still get Rachal

33. St. Louis: DeSean Jackson, WR - California
Word is that the Rams are in love with Jackson. Questions about his lack of production in college still loom, and his size doesn't help either. However, he has Hester-like moves and will great value to the return game

34. Atlanta: Brian Brohm, QB - Louisville
While they might trade back into the first with their slew of 2nd round picks to take Brohm, they sit tight and land him anyway. He could be starting by season's end

35. Philadelphia: James Hardy, WR - Indiana
The Eagles land a WR that brings a lot of size to the table. At 6'6" he will compliment the burners that he will be teaming up with at WR. Donovan McNabb could benefit from this big target

36. New York Jets: Quentin Groves, LB - Auburn
Not phased by his surgery, the Jets take one of the best speed rushers in the draft and will plug him in at OLB in Mangini's 3-4 scheme

37. Atlanta: Brandon Flowers, CB - Virginia Tech
The team needs help at CB with Hall out of the picture. Flowers does it all on the field, however his size (5'9") and his work out results leave a little to be desired. This shouldn't bother teams that have scouted him well

38. Oakland: Trevor Laws, DT - Notre Dame
With a unit full of under-achieving DTs, the Raiders land a DT that continues to rise up the charts

39. Washington: Malcolm Kelly, WR - Oklahoma
The Redskins need a big receiver, and they have benefited from the WR free fall. Kelly will want to prove many wrong, and he could have all the opportunities to do it in Washington

40. New Orleans: Dan Connor, LB - Penn State
Needing help along the LB corps, the Saints dip into Linebacker-U for some help. Connor will probably challenge Scott Shanle, but could also be an option in the middle if injuries strike, or if Vilma is moved to the weakside

41. Buffalo: Andre Caldwell, WR - Florida
This could come down to Caldwell and Donnie Avery. Caldwell brings size and speed to the table. He also has experience in a lot of big games. He could eventually start alongside Lee Evans

42. Denver: Pat Sims, DT - Auburn
Sims will join McKinley and Thomas in the DT rotation. Sims has a lot of upside, and could crack the starting lineup

43. Carolina: Chad Henne, QB - Michigan
Apparenly, Henne is ranked as the #3 QB on a lot of teams' draft charts. Carolina needs a QB out of this draft that has gained experience on a large scale, and in college, it doesn't get much larger than Michigan

44. Chicago: Joe Flacco, QB - Delaware
The Bears need help at QB, and the team needs someone with the tools to develop into a starter. Flacco has the arm to air out the ball to the likes of Hester, Bradley and Davis

45. Detroit: Lawrence Jackson, DE - Southern Cal
Missing out on Derrick Harvey in the first round, the Lions don't panic, and nab a DE that was once projected to go in the first round. Jackson could win a lot of playing time early

46. Cincinnati: Early Doucet, WR - LSU
The Bengals are now very thin at WR, with Henry out and Chad Johnson pulling his regular antics. Doucet could push for time early on

47. Minnesota: Carl Nicks, T - Nebraska
Nicks has vast potential and can play either tackle. This can either be a wake up call for McKinnie, or a chance to move Cook to guard or his natural center spot to eventually replace Birk

48. Atlanta: Sam Baker, T - Southern Cal
Baker can't choose a better place to land than Atlanta, where he'll have every opportunity to beat out incumbent LT Patrick McCoy

49. Philadelphia: Curtis Lofton, MLB - Oklahoma
The Eagles need help at LB and Lofton can help in a big way. If he can beat Bradley out for the MLB spot, he can send Bradley to a more natural OLB spot

50. Arizona: Chris Johnson, RB - East Carolina
Johnson's speed and potential make him a very attractive pick at this point in the draft. He could be the change-of-pace back for a year, before he moves more towards a full time role

51. San Francisco: Red Bryant, DT - Texas A&M
The 9ers choose to add depth on their D-Line. Bryant projects more as a NT, but can play DE in the 3-4. He could eventually push Franklin for first team snaps

52. Tampa Bay: Chris Ellis, DE - Virginia Tech
The Bucs would probably be better off moving Marques Douglas inside to DT. However, they are so thin at DE, that he's penciled in there. Ellis brings a lot to the table in terms of motivation and a high motor. He could be one of those players that comes out of nowhere and impresses

53. Pittsburgh: Mario Manningham, WR - Michigan
Finally, Manningham ends his free fall (though some have him falling to day 2). Pittsburgh would be a nice place for Manningham, who would benefit from a mentor like Hines Ward

54. Tennessee: DeMario Pressley, DT - North Carolina State
Pressley could be a diamond in the rough. If he develops nicely in the Titans defense…he could wind up as a starter

55. Seattle: Dustin Keller, TE - Purdue
Keller brings a lot of upside to the table, and could be the team's answer to the TE position. Don't rule out Fred Davis here

56. Green Bay: Patrick Lee, CB - Auburn
Patrick Lee is a big corner who adds speed to the equation. He will provide much-needed depth behind Harris and Woodson

57. Miami: Cliff Avril, LB - Purdue
Avril can line up as Jason Taylor's backup and learn from him for a year before taking over full time.

58. Jacksonville: Jason Jones, DE - Eastern Michigan
A sleeper pick who was playing out of position as a DT his senior year. Has good technique and brings pressure. Worth a gamble at a money position

59. Indianapolis: Jamaal Charles, RB - Texas
The Colts need someone to spell Addai when he's tired and to keep his carries around 20-25 a game. Charles can step in and take on 10-15 carries a game and not leave much to be desired when Addai is out. With Kenton Keith's recent trouble, this pick is all the more enticing for the Colts

60. Green Bay: Tracy Porter, CB - Indiana
It's not secret that the Packers need depth at CB, and someone that can be groomed to take over for Harris and Woodson once they start to pack it in. I feel that Porter is better than advertised and can be considered a steal down the road

61. Dallas: Reggie Smith, S - Oklahoma
Jerrah Jones knows this kid, and in my opinion would have no problem picking him here. Especially with some minor rumblings that Roy Williams could be on his way out in a year or two

62. New England: Charles Godfrey, CB - Iowa
Godfrey should provide valuable depth, and could eventually be a starter on this club down the road

63. New York Giants: DaJuan Morgan, S - North Carolina State
A raw player who has all the confidence in the world. You can't tell him what he can't do. With the right coaching, he could be a steal

As always, reader insight is very important to us here at PH Sports. I would love to hear what you have to say and give my responses in the comments section. Hope you enjoyed, and can't wait for Saturday for the 2008 NFL Draft.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quick Hits: What Jake Long going #1 Overall Means

(For PHSports' complete pre-draft rankings, visit Armin's latest Positional Rankings)

Congrats are in order to the Miami Dolphins. By agreeing to terms with Jake Long, they’ve bitten the bullet and selected the most consistent collegiate player available in this uninspired draft year (and have also proven PHSports right since Armin's mock draft was one of the few who had Jake Long going first). Don’t get me wrong, there are some solid players, but there was no clear-cut best overall choice or superstar. But also, and more importantly, the Fins avoided any sort of hold out through training camp like what the Raiders went through with JaMarcus Russell last year.

With regard to other OTs, this arguably helps players like Branden Albert of UVA and Ryan Clady of Boise State shore up spots in the top 15 selections, if not top 10. Continuing the domino effect, it all but guarantees that 6-7 offensive linemen will go in the first round.

In terms of money and contracts, it seems that the Dolphins relented on contract length, agreeing to make it only a five-year deal rather than the six-year commitment teams tend to prefer. For five-years, Long will get $30 million in guaranteed money and can earn up to $57.5 million overall. Last year Russell received $32 million in guaranteed salary with the possibility of earning $61 million. So much for the Tuna’s attempt to pay less to this year’s #1 than what the Raiders paid last year. Based on this deal, I would expect to see a lot more five-year deals for the first 16 players selected this draft than six-year contracts. Also, look for a about a 10-15% bump in guaranteed money for the first round selections. Long received what equates to a 12.5% increase in guaranteed pay from last year’s #1 overall selection.

Now the Rams have about 4 days to try and figure out a contract with their choice, if they hold onto their pick at #2. Look for St. Louis to concentrate their efforts on Glenn Dorsey out of LSU and possibly Chris Long of UVA.

2008 NFL Draft: Positional Rankings 2.0

Compared to my last positional ranking, I must say that I have impressed myself with the level of consistency. I remember last year when doing positional rankings, some positions looked very different between gaps. I also removed kickers and punters, as I don't really care for those positions in the draft, unless there is a prospect like Ray Guy. As always, please leave comments. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Let me know which players you feel I might have left off, and who you feel has no business on these lists. Enjoy!

(* = First Round Talent)

1 Matt Ryan*, Boston College
2 Brian Brohm*, Louisville
3 Joe Flacco, Delaware
4 Chad Henne, Michigan
5 Josh Johnson, San Diego

At first glance, you see that Andre Woodson (Kentucky) has completely fallen off. To think that he was at one point, during the season, considered the top QB coming into this draft. I probably over-rated Josh Johnson, but like his ability in the pocket and his arm. Matt Ryan tops the group, and might be the only QB to go in round one, though Brohm could sneak in.

1 Darren McFadden*, Arkansas
2 Rashard Mendelhall*, Illinois
3 Jonathan Stewart*, Oregon
4 Felix Jones*, Arkansas
5 Chris Johnson, East Carolina
6 Jamaal Charles, Texas
7 Ray Rice, Rutgers
8 Matt Forte, Tulane
9 Kevin Smith, Central Florida
10 Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech

Not a lot changing here. McFadden is the cream of the crop. Mendelhall and Stewart flip-flop due to Stewart’s toe injury. Matt Forte is a bit of a tweener, he could be taken by a team grooming him as a fullback. Tashard Choice has garnered some talk about going in the 2nd round, however he will probably go in the 3rd or 4th.

1 Devin Thomas*, Michigan State
2 Limas Sweed*, Texas
3 DeSean Jackson*, California
4 Malcolm Kelley, Oklahoma
5 James Hardy, Indiana
6 Andre Caldwell, Florida
7 Mario Manningham, Michigan
8 Donnie Avery, Houston
9 Early Doucet, LSU
10 Jordy Nelson, Kansas State

The Wide Receivers list reshuffled more than any position. Kelley and Jackson no longer reside at the top. Devin Thomas has seemingly moved to the top spot, as the most complete WR in the bunch, bringing many tools to the table. If not for his wrist injury, Sweed would have been atop this list all offseason. There has been talk that Donnie Avery will be a top 40 pick. Manningham's dishonesty at the combines regarding marijuana hurt him more than if he had admitted to smoking it.

1 Martellus Bennett*, Texas A&M
2 Fred Davis, USC
3 Dustin Keller, Purdue

Based on some loose talk this past weekend, I feel like I should have stuck with my gut early on and kept Martellus Bennett at the top of this list all along. The three TEs are closely rated. Many will rank these three at the top in any order. Bennett and Keller offer more upside, while Davis offers immediate help.

1 Chilo Rachal, USC
2 Jeremy Zuttah, Rutgers
3 Mike Pollack, Arizona State
4 Eric Young, Tennessee
5 Roy Schuening, Oregon State

This is a tough position to rank, as this draft is somewhat weak at center and guard. Rachal looks to be the only one that could be mentioned as a first rounder, and probably won’t go there. Pollack is the top center and the only center worth mentioning in this list. Branden Albert was moved to tackle, as that is where he will be groomed.

1 Jake Long*, Michigan
2 Branden Albert*, Virginia
3 Ryan Clady*, Boise State
4 Chris Williams*, Vanderbilt
5 Jeff Otah*, Pittsburgh
6 Gosder Cherilus*, Boston College
7 Sam Baker, USC
8 Carl Nicks, Nebraska
9 Anthony Collins, Kansas
10 Tony Hills, Texas

Long stays at the top, however Branden Albert jumps into the #2 spot after moving over from guard. The rests of my list stayed pretty intact. Carl Nicks is a wild card, as his potential could cause a team to reach earlier than expected, while Sam Baker has the potential to fall.

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

After Trevor Laws, this list is somewhat up in the air. The 5th DT off the board could be any of those mentioned in this list. Dorsey moves back ahead of Ellis. While putting together the last set of rankings, there was fresh news out there questioning Dorsey’s health, much like Alan Branch last year, causing him to fall.

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

This list did not change much. Derrick Harvey is back up to the #3 spot. Even though he showed up to the combines heavier and slower than thought. He was stronger and still possesses that tremendous first step. Some are debating whether Gholston is the top DE in this draft. However, I’ll stick with Long, as he is the more finished product, while still possessing upside.

1 Keith Rivers*, USC
2 Jerod Mayo*, Tennessee
3 Dan Connor*, Penn State
4 Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma
5 Erin Henderson, Maryland
6 Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech
7 Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky
8 Jordan Dizon, Colorado
9 Shawn Crable, Michigan
10 Gary Guyton, Georgia Tech

Combining both list of LBs made sense to me, as many of the LBs fell significantly after the combines. Jerod Mayo, on the other hand, has been rising fast. I may stand alone, but I really like Guyton. He’s got size and lots of speed. Many of the top backers coming into the draft lack both of those attributes.

1 Leodis McKelvin*, Troy
2 Dominique Rodgers*, Tennessee State
3 Mike Jenkins*, South Florida
4 Aqib Talib*, Kansas
5 Antoine Cason*, Arizona
6 Justin King*, Penn State
7 Branden Flowers*, Virginia Tech
8 Patrick Lee, Auburn
9 Tracy Porter, Indiana
10 Tyvon Branch, UConn

This year, there is a relatively weak, yet deep CB class. McKelvin stays up top, but closely followed by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC) and Jenkins, who are interchangeable. Talib is rumored to still be regarded as a top corner, regardless of his past with marijuana. Cason and King are garnering more attention than before.

1 Kenny Phillips*, Miami
2 Reggie Smith, Oklahoma
3 DaJuan Morgan, NC State
4 Josh Barrett, Arizona State
5 Tom Zbikowski, Notre Dame

Kenny Phillips is the only first round talent in this bunch, although he has dropped from being a top 10 pick to nearly the bottom of the first round. Reggie Smith dropped out of the first round after slow times on his Pro Day. DaJuan Morgan and Josh Barrett seem to be rising up the charts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Mock Draft 3.0

As opposed to my previous draft this time I'm incorporating some trades. Trades are listed below. As you will also see, I went with a #1 pick that I don't exactly agree with, but thought I would mix it up a little. Hope you enjoy, and as alway, please leave comments. Tell me what you liked, tell me what you didn't like.

  • Raiders trade #4 overall to the Patriots for #7 and #62 overall
  • Jets send #6 overall to the Cowboys for #22, #28 and #92 overall
  • Saints trade #10 overall to the Bucs for #20, #52 and #153 overall
  • Saints trade #20 overall to the Jaguars for #26 and #89 overall
  • Redskins trade #21 and #154 overall to the Seahawks for #25 and #86 overall
  • The Chiefs ship the #35 pick overall to the Redskins for the #51 and #84 overall picks

1st Round

1. Miami: Chris Long, DE - Virginia
In reality, I'd stick with Jake Long at this pick. But for the purposes of this mock, I want to see how it might play out if Chris Long is the number one pick. This is still a very likely situation, especially with the talk of the Fins looking to move Jason Taylor

2. St. Louis: Glenn Dorsey, DT - LSU
Maybe the beat reporter that was putting negative info out there about Dorsey just didn't want his hometown Rams to draft the talented defensive lineman. They will decide to keep Carriker at DT, with Dorsey replacing La'Roi Glover as the starter.

3. Atlanta: Jake Long, T - Michigan
Many will call for Matt Ryan at this spot, but the fact is, you have to protect your QB first. Long is more than adequate for the job. QB can be something they look at next season.

4. New England: Vernon Gholston, DE - Ohio State
The Raiders are building a young nucleus and can use the extra 2nd. The Patriots knew they'd have to move above the Jets for a shot at Gholston. He'll settle right into the OLB spot and bring the rush.

5. Kansas City: Matt Ryan, QB - Boston College
Unless it's all smokescreen, the Chiefs seem to have made it clear, at Ryan's Pro Day, that they are the most interested team.

6. Dallas: Darren McFadden, RB - Arkansas
Jones met with both Arkansas RBs, and it's no secret that McFadden is the grand prize among RBs in this draft. Barber and D-Mac make a great duo out of the backfield.

7. Oakland: Sedric Ellis, DT - Southern Cal
The Raiders stay local and pick the Trojan DT that they can plug in right next to Gerard Warren, ahead of the disappointing Sands.

8. Baltimore: Leodis McKelvin, CB - Troy
McAlister and Rolle are up there in years. McKelvin can infuse the youth needed to build on in the future.

9. Cincinnati: Keith Rivers, LB - Southern Cal
Rivers had a great Pro Day. His speed and agility numbers were nearly DB-like (outside of his 40 time). Coupled with his on-field instincts, Rivers is the kind of player that the Bengals need at a weak position

10. Tampa Bay: Ryan Clady, T - Boise State
The Saints want either Dorsey, Ellis or Rivers. With all three gone, they trade down. Tampa won't be able to land one of the top three offensive tackles without moving up. They nab Ryan Clady, who can replace Petitgout.

11. Buffalo: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Tennessee St.
This could be Rodgers-Cromartie or Jenkins. DRC gets the nod due to his physical style, similar to the styles of former Bills Winfield and Clements.

12. Denver: Chris Williams, T - Vanderbilt
Williams gets high marks because of his athletic style and footwork. He's a great fit for the Zone-Blocking scheme in Denver.

13. Carolina: Rashard Mendelhall, RB - Illinois
Why aren't they content with DeAngelo Williams as their top back? Mendelhall would probably get the majority of the carries if he ends up in Carolina

14. Chicago: Branden Albert, G - Virginia
Albert can play either guard or tackle for the Bears. The Bears will actually groom him as a left tackle, but Albert could start out his career inside at guard.

15. Detroit: Jonathan Stewart, RB - Tennessee
The Lions take a pick that could be viewed as a reach, due to Stewart's current toe injury. However, with that toe injury, Stewart still timed extremely well at the combines

16. Arizona: Mike Jenkins, CB - South Florida
With Antrel Rolle moving to safety, the Cards have to address the CB position. Jenkins is a great pick at 16. He has had some of the best CB workouts.

17. Minnesota: Derrick Harvey, DE - Florida
The Vikes draft Harvey in hopes that he will be more effective than Udezi and will stay healthier than James.

18. Houston: Jeff Otah, T - Pittsburgh
Otah has vast potential, and could benefit from the line coaches in Houston. While Otah is on the big side, he is athletic enough in his space to thrive in Houston's zone-blocking scheme. He will probably sit behind Salaam for a year, then take over as a sophomore.

19. Philadelphia: Devin Thomas, WR - Michigan State
Yes, that is Devin Thomas as the top WR drafted. He's the total package and as of this moment, he's sitting pretty at the top.

20. Jacksonville: Phillip Merling, DE - Clemson
Knowing they had to move ahead of Washington to land Merling the Jags trade up. Merling should have no problem stepping ahead of Paul Spicer for the starting role.

21. Seattle: Felix Jones, RB - Arkansas
Worried that the Jets might go RB, the Seahawks trade ahead of them to nab the last RB that's worthy of going in the 1st round.

22. New York Jets: Brian Brohm, QB - Louisville
Here's where people will try to crucify me. But, Brohm tests similar to Matt Ryan in all of the major categories. Brohm is also a field general. Some will point to Kellen Clemens, but he's already proven that he's more backup material than a starter...or else Pennington would be elsewhere right now.

23. Pittsburgh: Ghosder Cherilus, T - Boston College
While this is a little high for Cherilus, the Steelers are the type of team that doesn't have a problem drafting need over value. Cherilus will challenge Colon for the RT spot.

24. Tennessee: Limas Sweed, WR - Texas
The Titans add a nice big target for Vince Young. He will also be nicely complimented by all of the speedy receivers that the Titans have spent mid to high draft picks on. Sweed also has school ties with Young

25. Washington: Kentwan Balmer, DT - North Carolina
Greg Blache gets his prayers answered. Balmer is the player he wants, and 25 isn't too high of a pick to use on him. He should create a nice rotation with Griffen, Montgomery and Golston. He will eventually replace Griffen altogether

26. New Orleans: Jerod Mayo, LB - Tennessee
Mayo is rising fast up the charts. He's had great workouts since the combines. He can play the weakside in New Orleans, and if Vilma and Morgan have lingering health problems, Mayo can move inside.

27. San Diego: Aqib Talib, CB - Kansas
The Chargers choose to overlook the issues with pot which caused this CB to slide. Although they have Jammer and Cromartie, they need a 3rd CB. Especially while multi-WR sets are popular.

28. New York Jets: Kenny Phillips, FS - Miami
Kenny Phillips falls to them in the right spot. The Jets needed a centerfielder to go with their standout Strong Safety Kerry Rhodes. Phillips comes from a long line of amazing safeties from "The U"

29. San Francisco: Antoine Cason, CB - Arizona
As much as they like Walt Harris, they also know the end is near. Cason is steadily moving up the charts, and could overtake Talib on draft day.

30. Green Bay: Quentin Groves, DE/LB - Auburn
Learning from the Super Bowl Champs, the Packers decide that they can't have too many pass rushers. Groves can spell Cullen Jenkins on pass plays and get after the QB with his speed rush skills.

New England: Selection Forfeited

31. New York Giants: Dan Connor, LB - Penn State
Connor should have little trouble taking over on the weak side. If Jared Mayo is available at this pick, he could be taken. The team could also go with a safety like Kenny Phillips if he falls to this pick.

2nd Round

32. Miami: Chilo Rachal, G - Southern Cal
Rachal fills a huge need for the team at left guard. This pick could also be trade down material, landing the team an extra 3rd rounder.

33. St. Louis: Calais Campbell, DE - Miami
The Rams land a DE who has a shot at winning a starting job. Campbell is also effective against the run, making him a little more enticing than Groves.

34. Atlanta: Chad Henne, QB - Michigan
What?! Henne over Flocco? That's right. Unless it's smokescreen, a couple of teams have let the cat out of the bag about their interest in Henne. There are a couple of reports stating that most teams have Henne ranked as the 3rd QB in this draft.

35. Washington: Malcolm Kelly, WR - Oklahoma
The Chiefs get another 3rd rounder to help their rebuilding efforts, and the Redskins land their West Coast Offense WR who fell into the 2nd round. Kelly ran slow times in his Pro Day, but so did a lot of prospects on that day. He had great results in his positional testing.

36. New York Jets: Lawrence Jackson, DE - Southern Cal
Mangini can use Jackson a lot like he did Vrabel. His numbers are rough, but his technique is sound. Jackson can pick either DE or OLB. He's not a tweener, he just offers more options.

37. Atlanta: Justin King, CB - Penn State
With DeAngelo Hall gone, the team is desparate for corners. Justin King has 1st round talent, but needs a little coaching to put it all together. He could be a diamond in the rough.

38. Baltimore: James Hardy, WR - Indiana
Cam Cameron likes big WRs in his offense. While Derrick Mason is there, he's in the latter years of his career. Hardy is a huge WR who will cause matchup problems, especially when Heap is also moved out wide (like Gates in San Diego)

39. San Francisco: DeSean Jackson, WR - California
How the mighty have fallen. Jackson was once a top WR in this draft, but size and production questions have marred his value. The 49ers have added WRs, but they still lack a game breaker. They can send Jackson out of the slot and let him either do his damage or draw the attention.

40. New Orleans: Trevor Laws, DT - Notre Dame
Laws seems to have moved into 4th among DTs in this draft. The Saints would have liked to add a DT in the first, but couldn't.

41. Buffalo: Mario Manningham, WR - Michigan
While Manningham is a steal at this pick, he has fallen because of alleged marijuana use. The Bills could use another target for their young QB. Look for Manningham to push Josh Reed to start alongside Lee Evans.

42. Denver: Pat Sims, DT - Auburn
The Broncos have Alvin McKinley and Marcus Thomas as the starters. They need a 3rd DT for that important rotation, and someone who can eventually outplay McKinley. Sims has great size and athleticism for a DT.

43. Carolina: Dre Moore, DT - Maryland
Kemoeatu and Lewis are 29 and 30 respectively. The Panthers need to infuse some young talent at the position. For Dre Moore, this would be the perfect situation. Moore has plenty of upside, but the talent is raw. Fox and Trgovac should be able to develop him.

44. Chicago: Andre Caldwell, WR - Florida
We all know how Florida WRs fare in this league, but Caldwell's workout numbers are too much to ignore. Caldwell has tremendous speed to go with his size and projects as a #1 WR once he matures.

45. Detroit: Curtis Lofton, MLB - Oklahoma
Lofton has starting potential and should push Paris Lenon. If Laws, Sims or Moore are available, they could get the call to help at the DT position.

46. Cincinnati: Early Doucet, WR - LSU
With Chris Henry out of the picture, and Chad Johnson being a pain, the Bengals add a receiver that's no stranger to big games. He could push the disappointing Chatman for the #3 job

47. Minnesota: Joe Flacco, QB - Delaware
If the Vikings choose to pass on Brohm in the first round, look for them to take whomever is available between Chad Henne and Joe Flacco. Travaris Jackson is not the answer for this team.

48. Atlanta: Red Bryant, DT - Texas A&M
Another 2nd round DT with a lot of potential. Bryant has great size along with great athletic ability. He could beat out last year's surprise Trey Lewis for the starting spot.

49. Philadelphia: Tracy Porter, CB - Indiana
With Lito Sheppard seemingly out the door, the Eagles bypass the need at DE and take a CB who has first round talent.

50. Arizona: Chris Johnson, RB - East Carolina
The fastest player in the draft lands on a team that could use some speed running out of the backfield. Johnson could end up sharing time with Edgerrin James.

51. Kansas City: Sam Baker, T - Southern Cal
The Chiefs turn out to be winners in their move to trade down while adding more picks. They fill a huge need along the offensive line. Baker is coachable and does well in strong systems, which the Chiefs seem to have in place.

52. New Orleans: Brandon Flowers, CB - Virginia Tech
While they have a slew of corners on their team, McKenzie and Craft are up there in age. Flowers is short in stature, but makes up for it with his aggressive play.

53. Pittsburgh: Patrick Lee, CB - Auburn
The Steelers add a big corner who fits into their scheme. Lee is a lot like Ike Taylor, who I feel is on the brink of being an elite corner once he gets over his inconsistency

54. Tennessee: DeMario Pressley, DT - North Carolina State
There is a Pressley in Tennessee. DeMario was a better prospect coming into NC State than former linemates Mario Williams, Manny Lawson, John McCargo and Tank Tyler. However injuries and inconsistency hurt his production. With the right coaching, he could be a steal.

55. Seattle: Dustin Keller, TE - Purdue
There is debate over who the top TE in the draft is. Based on potential alone, Keller is above Fred Davis. However, the Seahawks could take Davis for more of an immediate impact. I go with Keller because I think he can become something special.

56. Green Bay: Reggie Smith, CB - Oklahoma
In prior drafts I had Reggie Smith going to Green Bay in the 1st round. After his poor forty times at his Pro Day, he is going to drop. However he still fits Green Bay's style at the CB position. Smith can learn a lot from Woodson and Harris.

57. Miami: Carl Nicks, T - Nebraska
Nicks has great size and potential. He needs some coaching, but can project to either tackle. He could be the starting right tackle in a year.

58. Jacksonville: Josh Barrett, S - Arizona State
Barrett can come in and challenge Sensebaugh for the starting SS spot. Barrett is physically similar to Sean Taylor, but lacks the coverage skills that made Taylor so dangerous. Barrett is built like a LB, so he could also spend time closer to the line of scrimmage.

59. Indianapolis: Jamaal Charles, RB - Texas
Another one of my controversial picks. While they could use a LB, I think they would be better served getting someone who can buddy up with Addai and take on about 10-15 carries per game, also allowing Addai to split out wide on some plays. Kenton Keith had one good game, but looks more like a 3rd stringer to me.

60. Green Bay: Fred Davis, TE - Southern Cal
One of the best things a team can do for a young QB is to get him a target that he can rely on underneath when he's in trouble. Davis could get plenty of playing time early on this team.

61. Dallas: Jordy Nelson, WR - Kansas State
T.O. and Glenn are getting old, and Crayton isn't as dependable as a WR as they would like. Nelson is the definition of dependable. Last year's numbers state the case. He tested well, and did very well in his position skills testing.

62. Oakland: Jeremy Zuttah, G - Rutgers
Zuttah had a great combine and shot himself up into the first day. He can settle in at right guard and challenge Cooper Carlisle.

63. New York Giants: DaJuan Morgan, S - North Carolina State
Morgan is not a finished product. He has the raw skills and the attitude to be one of the better safeties in the league. He's shown flashes in coverage and in helping out against the run. He is one of those players who thinks he can do it all on the field, and probably can with the right coaching.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

PHSports 2008 NBA Mock Draft – 1st Round

Greetings one and all to our first of many collaborative NBA Mock Drafts here at PHSports. While sooner than later we’ll dive into the foray of a two-round mock, today’s installation is focusing only on Round 1.

Syracuse fans aren't too devastated from Green's early departure. He might be after he sees his draft stock continue to slip.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

We’re taking a leap of faith as several potential prospects won’t make their official decision to declare their intention to enter the draft until the deadline (April 27th). Even more may not sign an agent and end up returning to their college team before June’s draft.

To avoid too much controversy over staying/going, we’ve decided to take an all-or-nothing approach. We’re assuming quite a bit with who may be leaving or staying…but at least we’ll be consistent.

We (Pay & Clement) have decided to be duel it out as a consensus of head coach, player personnel direction, scout, owner/president, and general manager. We LOVE that type of power. Then again, who wouldn’t?

Without further banter, let’s roll!

Rating the Lopez-twins, both all but assured to go before the end of Round 1, is a bit tricky.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

1) Miami Heat
Selection: Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State
Comments: You can’t overvalue PG in this draft or in the NBA, despite how talented Rose is.

2) Seattle Supersonics
Selection: Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
Comments: The foundation is starting to build.

3) Minnesota Timberwolves
Selection: Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
Comments: Randy Foye may not be an elite PG, but Minnesota needs a big next to Jefferson.

4) Memphis Grizzlies
Selection: OJ Mayo, SG, USC
Comments: We would trade. Are they set at the 1,2, or 3 (assuming they keep Miller)? Gun to the head …

5) New York Knicks
Selection: Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona
Comments: Somewhat unenviable position here. Shocker with the Knicks involved. Could they potential trade and dump a contract or two?

6) Los Angeles Clippers
Selection: Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana
Comments: He can find his own shot and oddly reminds us of Sam Cassell. Even if Gordon isn’t the prototypical PG.

7) Milwaukee Bucks
Selection: DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M
Comments: The new Los Angeles Clippers. Year by year, they compile lottery picks. In the NFL, they’d be screwed. This pick was downright brutal. In the end, he’s 7-feet tall and won’t take up too many shots. Don’t put any stock into this DeAndre, Milwaukee needs a center…and you’re just about it right now.

8) Charlotte Bobcats
Selection: Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
Comments: Remember: it’s Jordan. Will Okafor leave? Either way, they need bigs. Gallinari is yet again a victim of not being a proper fit to the needs and system of a team. Shocked by the pick? He can hit the mid-range jumper, plays great defense, RUNS and played on a winning team (which MJ loves).

9) Indiana Pacers
Selection: DJ Augustin, PG, Texas
Comments: Look at the roster, they need a point guard. One that won’t get shot at either (Pay made the joke, Clement demanded it be posted). Augustin has to overcome that Memphis performance in workouts. Get in the gym and get stronger, young man.

10) Chicago Bulls
Selection: Danilo Gallinari, SF, Armani Milan (Italy)
Comments: It’s finally time to take the best player available. Fortunately for Chicago, he has a boatload of talent.

Now that one European has gone. When will another (i.e. Batum) follow?
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

11) New Jersey Nets
Selection: Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
Comments: They like their 1, 2, and 3. Even if we HATE their 2 (stop chucking!). They have plenty of bodies up front (Boone, Diop, Swift, Krstic and Williams to name a few). Although, several are in a contract year. To be honest, we’re not gaga over Love at #11. No chance.

12) Sacramento Kings
Selection: JaVale McGee, C, Nevada
Comments: Blake Griffin has ruined this draft by staying in school. He has made far too many “second-choices” for teams. We basically flipped a coin between Lopez and McGee.

13) Portland Trailblazers
Selection: Anthony Randolph, SF, LSU
Comments: They need to take the best player available and honestly can take a risk, on talent and NOT character. Fantastic value on this squad.

14) Golden State Warriors
Selection: Nicolas Batum, SG/SF, Le Mans (France)
Comments: B Diddy with a player option is key: but he’s gonna stay (we think). Free agent Monta Ellis is such a major factor. We’re struggling between potential and fit. Clement still loves this guy.

15) Phoenix Suns [from Atlanta]
Selection: Brandon Rush, SF, Kansas
Comments: Likely with Shaq’s contract ($40 million over 2 years), they’re trading this pick. Are they going to build for the future (PG) OR try and stockpile a talented reserve?

16) Philadelphia 76ers
Selection: Robin Lopez, C, Stanford
Comments: Pay and Clement debate if Andre Iguodala is worth a potential $70-million contract. Either way, they’re going to be forced to pay him. Nice work, Billy King. Clement is weary, but Pay’s confidence easily wins out.

17) Washington Wizards
Selection: Darren Collison, PG, UCLA
Comments: Agent Zero: what are you going to do? The same can’t be forgotten about Mr. Consistency Antawn Jamison. Is there a big worth jumping over a PG? Probably not at this point.

18) Toronto Raptors
Selection: Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis
Comments: Swingman, that’s all we decided. Is Clement forcing Russell Westbrook to plummet?

Is the "hate" towards Westbrook as illegitimate as his point guard capabilities?
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

19) Cleveland Cavaliers
Selection: Russell Westbrook, PG/SG, UCLA
Comments: Fortunately, the HATE has ended. Honestly, I don’t mind Westbrook at all. But is he a true PG? We’ll see.

20) Denver Nuggets
Selection: Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas
Comments: Defense and he can get off his own shot (evident in the title game, right?). Suddenly, for the first time, the name Lawson is mentioned.

21) Orlando Magic
Selection: Earl Clark, SF/PF, Louisville
Comments: A lot of cap flexibility and a lot of potential as the playoffs arrive.
Can the Magic be as illogical as I am: not taking Hansbrough due to Redick being an overachieving ACC player. Clark needs to grow, from the waist.

22) New Jersey Nets [from Dallas]
Selection: Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
Comments: Rock solid value at this spot, especially since they can wait on Greene for a season or two. The kid still has a high amount of potential. He was second in the Big East in scoring.

23) Utah Jazz
Selection: Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
Comments: In a word…keep your depth and trade. Wait, that was several words. Another word: project. Especially since Brewer has had a solid year. We’re taking Hibbert over Thabeet, who is an enigma wrapped in a mystery right now.

24) San Antonio Spurs
Selection: Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut
Comments: Pay wants Dorsey. I want Thabeet out of the Big East. Seattle is devastated. Another project center.

25) Seattle Supersonics [from Phoenix]
Selection: Jason Thompson, PF, Rider
Comments: They have their PG of the future. Shocker: they need a BIG. Don’t take Psycho T, that’s an MJ-pick. Hendrix has a lot of upside, but he might suck too. Ryan Anderson is too much of a 3. Can Jeff Green play the 4 and allow Alexander to play the 3? Gotta love when Rider guys go 1st-round.

26) Houston Rockets
Selection: Chase Budinger, SG/SF, Arizona
Comments: There isn’t a 5 here worth taking. Sorry. So they can use depth at the 3, offensively, at least.

27) Memphis Grizzlies [from LA Lakers]
Selection: Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
Comments: You MUST go big. YOU MUST! He is a character guy who can attract fans and haters. Hometown-esque pick of Dorsey? Not so much.

28) New Orleans Hornets
Selection: Joe Alexander, SF, West Virginia
Comments: They need a playmaker off of the bench, not a role player. We’re very interested in Julian Wright and his potential progression. This is a luxury pick. You can have a lot of fun with this. We’re wondering: Alexander or Damion James? We like Weaver a lot too. What a fun pick.

29) Detroit Pistons
Selection: Joey Dorsey, PF/C, Memphis
Comments: What’s the deal with McDyess? So much is set, although they’re getting older. The question is: 4/5? Don’t Amir Johnson & Jason Maxiell need help: Dorsey can rebound, play defense, and go away on offense. CHECK!

30) Boston Celtics
Selection: Damion James, SF, Texas
Comments: Will he come out? Who cares, he’s a potential steal and a stud reserve on this talented roster. If he doesn’t come out, then there’s a boatload of talent here anyways. Notably, Tyler Smith.

Dont' cry Joey. A spot on the Piston roster is perfect for you.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

You know we want YOUR comments...NOW!!!!

Until next mock...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Culmination of March Madness…in April: Championship Night

Tonight is the zenith of the college basketball season. Despite the Women’s Championship Game taking place tomorrow night, in all reality, this is the nexus of the college basketball universe.

Four teams arrived in San Antonio, with UCLA & UNC both bowing out much earlier than their fans, as well as more than a few experts, had anticipated.

Is this THE top moment from the 2008 Final Four? Just maybe...
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Fortunately, an all #1-seed Final Four leaves us with two very enticing details:
1) The National Champion must defeat two fellow #1-seeds.
2) Memphis or Kansas will be a highly deserving champion.

No flukes this season. The best team will walk away national champs. Or, so we hope…

Before we dive head-first into tonight, let’s rewind back to Saturday night (as tough as that is for one of our writers) and give a few thoughts each on the national semifinal matchups.

Memphis defeated UCLA 78-63.

Derrick Rose & Robert Dozier must be chuckling that more than a few "experts" had them out well before title night.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

-Derrick Rose is as poised a freshman leader as Carmelo Anthony was in 2003 (Syracuse plug!).
-Joey Dorsey made up for the “David v. Goliath” debacle with Greg Oden and Ohio State last season.
-Ben Howland and the 3-time Final Four Bruins are slowly becoming the new Buffalo Bills. Last night’s loss had to be their most painful.

Kansas defeated North Carolina 84-68.

Bill Self, finally, got over a real hump (sorry, Davidson) in the tournament.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

-Once Kansas went up 40-12, they were as out of control (with countless justifiable offensive fouls) as I’ve ever seen a team with a 28-point lead.
-Wayne Ellington won’t be a factor in the NBA. Yeah, Clement said it.
-Kansas won’t have their so-called “revenge” on Carolina-born Roy until they win a national championship…no matter who is in the way.

As for tonight, let’s do this!

[38-1] Memphis vs. [36-3] Kansas

Heady play, on both sides of the ball, will be key for Sherron Collins (as well as any other player on the court Monday night).
Credit: Yahoo! Sports


It’s obvious to even the weakest of analysts that both teams have an extreme amount of depth. As painful as the injury to Kansas senior Rodrick Stewart was to watch, it is not as pivotal as the suspension of Memphis’s Andre Allen. While I felt Allen’s chucking would outweigh his defense against the Bruins, I’m not so sure Calipari won’t miss his defensive prowess against the four talented guards of Kansas [Chalmers, Rush, Robinson & Collins]. As for players actually in the game, Memphis will rely on four players doing what they do best: Derrick Rose dominating the ball, CDR making plays in and out of the lane, Joey Dorsey banging and bruising in the paint and Antonio Anderson locking defenders down on the perimeter. Want a wild card? Robert Dozier, despite looking shaky with the ball outside the paint on Saturday night, might need to pull a double-double (and then some) against the big, bruising and athletic Kansas big men.

As for the aforementioned Rock Chalkers, Bill Self has four guards that make plays on both sides of the ball throughout the game. However, more responsible for Kansas’s early 28-point lead was their big men. In fact, it wasn’t even the big men you might first expect (Arthur, Kaun & Jackson). Six first-half points and rebounds from freshman reserve Cole Aldrich were indispensable in spelling foul trouble and tired legs for the Jayhawks. Even more important was his ability to avoid illegal screen calls and emphatically denying several Tar Heel interior attempts. While Kansas will require a total team effort to run ’n’ gun with the Tigers, the Jayhawks need to put Dorsey, Dozier & Taggart where they can hurt Bill Self’s crew the least: on the bench. Forcing Dorsey into tough double-teams on offense and attacking him on his weak-side on defense are vital for Kansas to control the paint and eventually, the closing moments.

Here’s one final nugget to consider. What do Drew Neitzel, DJ Augustin and Darren Collison? All three are small guards and all were dominated by Memphis. Though Kansas’s backcourt quartet is strong physically, Brandon Rush is the only to be taller than 6’1”. Perhaps, Derrick Rose’s fondness for sweets may prevent him from playing at his best.

Coach Calipari's Tigers own a new record for 38 wins in a season. They won't matter without win number 39.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

The first six minutes of this game are likely to be a track meet. Outside of strict officiating, I find it hard to believe the game will reach the first TV timeout before the 14-minute mark. Baskets will be traded and momentum will be established. The problem is: Will either team be able to build an early double-digit lead OR will neither team be able to pull away early and establish what we all want…a shootout from start to finish.

-Avoid foul trouble in the closing four minutes of the first half and opening four minutes of the second half.
-Limit their shots from the three-point line (higher percentage will easily take out more attempts in this matchup).
-Be the best team in college basketball this season. Period.


[Paymon] Memphis wins 76-68
MVP: Chris Douglas-Roberts

[Clement] Kansas wins 90-89 [OT]
MOP: Brandon Rush

Could Memphis center Joey Dorsey be an MOP candidate without scoring a meaningul basket. YES!
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Enjoy tonight!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Final Four Preview and A Week in Review

Tonight, the culmination of over 60 NCAA tournament games ensues as the top four teams in the nation face off in what is a historical first. More importantly, expect absolutely no teams to be just smitten with making it to San Antonio and forget to show up. Of course, here is one item concerning each team:

  • If Memphis is going to play like they did last week in Houston, can they just begin cutting down the nets at halftime of their game and forget the hoopla? During the course of the week, I used the words "Joey Dorsey" and "intelligent player" in the same clause of a sentence. That's saying something.
  • Is the third time a charm for UCLA in the Final Four? The last two times, they had to face the mighty Gators, and this time, they have Kevin Love, who is a proven inside threat.
  • Will National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough succumb to the hype or expect whistles to be blown just because he is who he is? Cynical as that statement may be, an unfulfilled expectation of assistance has been a bitter pill to swallow deep in the tournament for many of the nation's finest.
  • Now that the monkey is officially off of his back, how will Bill Self motivate his Jayhawks to defeat Carolina?

For a second, let's take a small break from the Final Four to discuss the Week in Review.

  • First and foremost, the Lopez twins are leaving Stanford and they ain't comin' back. You probably didn't hear it here first, but wouldn't it be something if the Memphis Grizzlies selected Brook with the first pick and traded up (they have a stash of future 1st-round pick and young, cheap talent) to select Robin?
  • Staying in Palo Alto ... well, sorta. Okay, not so much. After 18 years at Stanford and a failed stint in the NBA, Mike Montgomery is off to Berkeley to coach the Golden Bears. For those just joining us or those of us on the East Coast who could care less about West Coast rivalries, this is huge. Montgomery and Trent Johnson will embrace at half court, but much more love for the former Stanford head coach cannot be guaranteed. It won't be smooth sailing for Montgomery, especially if Ryan Andersen signs with an agent.
  • Indiana filled its coaching vacancy by turning to Marquette head coach Tom Crean (AKA "The Stockbroker" - credit: Matt Carroll). Though I hate it when coaches do not properly inform their teams when leaving, I am happy for Crean who may have plateaued at Marquette after 9 years at the school, where he raised graduation rates and had an impact on the hardwood. Nevertheless, work starts immediately for Crean, who must act quickly to deal with two recently dismissed players and recruits who had commitments in place before Kelvin Sampson's forced resignation.
  • And in other news, Providence continues its head coaching search because Coach L is sticking with the Patriots. In all honesty, 60% of me thought he was a goner.

Ok, let's return to our regularly scheduled programming.

National Semifinal #1: UCLA vs. Memphis

KEY PLAYERS: Let's keep this short and sweet. UCLA absolutely needs to have production on the interior at both ends of the floor. That means Kevin Love must meet or surpass his season averages in scoring and rebounding, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute must disrupt the fluidity of Memphis's inside play. Expect Ben Howland to insert Lorenzo Mata-Real, Alfred Aboya and James Keefe for the sake of using 15 fouls to keep the Tigers honest ... at the charity stripe. As for Memphis, they will need to dictate the tempo. As Derrick Rose dominated DJ Augustin in the South Regional Final, he must do similar to another diminuitive guard, Darren Collison. Meanwhile, as Clement has pointed out regularly, CDR has to slash in order to draw fouls and create easy shots for Dorsey, Dozier and Taggart (almost sounds like "The Law Firm").

MOMENT OF TRUTH: TEMPO. At each of the ten-minute intervals, fans will be able to determine which team will dictate the pace of this game. If it's quick, Memphis has a decided advantage and the bodies minus Andre Allen, but even with that, do not count out UCLA. If it's slow, methodical and unappealing to the eye, Ben Howland probably will have a sheepish grin with good reason. Of course, there's also the 'F' word. Yes, free throws. There you go. No more on that.


  • Have less turnovers (shocker!)
  • Have higher backcourt scoring

PREDICTION: UCLA wins 65-61.

National Semifinal #2: UNC vs. Kansas

KEY PLAYERS: Let's get this one out there. Tyler Hansbrough is very good and will get his points this evening (how many shots will it take though?). He is the best player in this contest, though Kansas's Darrell Arthur may be a stronger professional prospect. The key matchup has to be the war between Mario Chalmers and Ty Lawson. Chalmers has an advantage because he is 100% healthy and will be able to play more minutes if he has to. Additionally, when Chalmers goes out, Sherron Collins will enter the game, and he may be the only player in the NCAA who can outrun both Lawson and Collison. The other matchup of interest will be Brandon Rush versus Wayne Ellington. Though Rush may focus his attention to Danny Green when the latter comes off the bench early in the first half, both Rush and Ellington are dynamic players who can create shots for themselves and can find open teammates. Lastly, the combos of Deon Thompson/Alex Stepheson and Darnell Jackson/Sasha Kaun serve as the X-Factor in this game. Whichever combination can be effective and stay out of early foul trouble may decide this one.

MOMENT OF TRUTH: Since both teams have the propensity to go on sustained runs and can score points in bunches, the player reactions (e.g. body language) and adjustments (e.g. change in defensive assignments) will decide this game. If Carolina goes up early, will Kansas resort to a four-guard lineup and sacrifice physicality and rebounding for speed, shooting and the ability to cause turnovers. Given the few times that Carolina has been down in games with Ty Lawson healthy enough to play, will Roy Williams be able to ensure that the heads of Hansbrough and Green stay in the game if a Kansas lead is sustained for a long period of time?


  • Give kudos to its coaching staff who won the 'X's and 'O's battle.
  • Have more offensive rebounds and second-chance points.

PREDICTION: UNC wins 83-76

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

2008 NFL Draft: Mock Draft 2.0

Welcome to the new revised version of the PHSports Mock Draft. Looking back at the last mock draft, we see that Pro Days and Free Agency have made it slightly more of a mockery. Some of the smokescreens that teams, agents and even beat writers put out there have cleared. However, I will go on record saying that there are more smokescreens out there leading up to this draft than any in recent memory. This should be a fun draft.

1st Round

1. Miami: Jake Long, T - Michigan
I'm sticking with Jake Long at the top pick. Sparano is an offensive line coach, and the Dolphins offensive line is in shambles at the tackle position. This pick allows Mount Vernon Carey to move back to right tackle.

2. St. Louis: Chris Long, DE - Virginia
Back to back Longs in the top 2 picks. While Vernon Gholston's stock is sky-rocketing, the Rams forego the hype and stick with Long.

3. Atlanta: Glenn Dorsey, DT - LSU
Looks like the news about his leg injuries was inflated by a beat writer in St. Louis. Dorsey put up numbers as originally expected in his Pro Day. The Falcons liked last year's late round surprise, Trey Lewis. However, coach Mike Smith knows the value of having a dominant D-Line.

4. Oakland: Vernon Gholston, DE - Ohio State
While word is that Al Davis loves McFadden, the Raiders front office needs to veto and take Gholston, who helps at a needy position for the team. He'll be Burgess's bookend, and they have the potential to be one of the best pass rush tandems in the league.

5. Kansas City: Matt Ryan, QB - Boston College
The Chiefs had more scouts at Ryan's Pro Day than any other team. While they need to address their offensive line, they choose to go with the top QB of the draft.

6. New York Jets: Darren McFadden, RB - Arkansas
I've had a few Jets fans give me grief for this pick, claiming that the team is fine with Jones and Washington. I'm not buying it. McFadden is the type of offensive weapon that will keep the pressure off their "savior" Chad Pennington.

7. New England (from San Francisco): Leodis McKelvin, CB - Troy
Regardless of the Bryant and Webster additions at CB, the team needs some young talent to build on. McKelvin makes the most sense to me, but don't be surprised if the Pats go another direction. This pick is a prime spot for a team to trade up to.

8. Baltimore: Mike Jenkins, CB - South Florida
Jenkins has looked great, and there is debate whether he or McKelvin are the top corner in the draft. The Ravens need to address the aging position on their team.

9. Cincinnati: Sedric Ellis, DT - Southern Cal
Thornton and Peko won't exactly cut it. The Bengals need to address the run defense, or else they'll be run on all over again.

10. New Orleans: Keith Rivers, LB - Southern Cal
While they acquired both Vilma and Morgan, the Saints can't pass up on Rivers to man the outside spot. If Sedric Ellis or Glenn Dorsey are available, they will probably be the pick.

11. Buffalo: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB - Tennessee St.
This WR class is really disappointing. Therefore the Bills choose not to reach, and instead take the top CB off the board. DRC is climbing the draft lists, and settling in nicely as the #3 CB in the draft.

12. Denver: Chris Williams, T - Vanderbilt
With his high-QB like Wonderlic scores and athletic ability at the left tackle position, the Broncos can fit Williams right into their zone-blocking scheme and hope he picks up where Lepsis left off

13. Carolina: Jeff Otah, T - Pittsburgh
With Jordan Gross moving to left tackle, and Travelle Wharton to left guard, there is a nice spot wide open for Otah to step into. This mauler should open holes for DeAngelo Williams

14. Chicago: Ryan Clady, T - Boise State
The team may have actually preferred Williams or Otah, but Clady isn't a shabby consolation prize. In fact, he was rated higher than those two before his horrible Wonderlic scores surfaced. He still might end up in Denver.

15. Detroit: Rashard Mendelhall, RB - Illinois
This is practically a foregone conclusion. With Kevin Jones gone, and Tatum Bell far from an every down back, the Lions tag Mendelhall, who could earn the lion's share of the carries (no pun intended)

16. Arizona: Aqib Talib, CB - Kansas
Before Jonathan Stewart had his foot injury and surgery he would have been my pick here. He may still end up being the pick, but for now I'm going for another needy position. With Antrel Rolle moving to safety, the Cards need some help at CB. Talib can also take on return duties

17. Minnesota: Derrick Harvey, DE - Florida
Udezi has been inefficient, and James's status is uncertain after his injury. Harvey would be a welcome addition. Though he tested slower and heavier than he was expected at the combines, his strength was better and he still has that explosive first step

18. Houston: Branden Albert, G - Virginia
Another pick that could go a variety of directions. Talk of them not taking a RB in the early rounds could be a smokescreen. However with the Chris Brown signing, they can wait a year. Albert is a guard and can fit right in, but he can also play tackle effectively. He's also athletic enough to play in the zone-blocking scheme. The Texans are dreaming of Chris Williams or Ryan Clady being available here.

19. Philadelphia: Malcolm Kelly, WR - Oklahoma
The Eagles have plenty of speed at the WR position, but now they have some size. Kelly hasn't truly worked out for anyone, but he still holds onto the top WR distinction

20. Tampa Bay: Devin Thomas, WR - Michigan State
Thomas is getting a lot of looks, and seems to have jumped his way up the draft charts. He's got it all: Size, Speed, Hands, Return Ability. The Bucs could use him, especially with Galloway's age and the lack of production they have from the rest of their WR corps

21. Washington: Phillip Merling, DE - Clemson
If it wasn't for his weak showing on the bench press reps at the combine, he would have been a top 10 pick. He's a high motor player who the Redskins lack along the defensive line.

22. Dallas (from Cleveland): Felix Jones, RB - Arkansas
Jerry Jones might consider Felix Jones the next best back in the draft after McFadden. Jones has no problem sharing the ball, or even taking a back seat to Marion Barber, as he backed up McFadden in college.

23. Pittsburgh: Limas Sweed, WR - Texas
The Steelers don't have to draft for need here, they can go a number of directions. With some of the drama that took place with Hines Ward, the team could look to Sweed, who without his wrist injury is the best WR in this draft. Also, is there any doubt that Tomlin likes to throw the rock?

24. Tennessee: Mario Manningham, WR - Michigan
The Titans can't let Vince Young throw to the current set of receivers and expect results. While they have a lot of high draftees at WR, they can't pass on what Manningham brings to the table. His latest workouts quieted a few of his critics, but he still isn't where he was before the combine

25. Seattle: Jonathan Stewart, RB - Tennessee
The Seahawks get a steal, and have no problem waiting for him to be 100% after his surgery. They have Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett to lean on until then. Stewart should have no problem fitting into the current offense, as he runs a similar style to Alexander

26. Jacksonville: Lawrence Jackson, DE - Southern Cal
He should have no problem unseating Paul Spicer on passing downs. He could also work in as the starter early on. Calais Campbell could be an option. Both Jackson and Campbell have been wild cards in other mocks I have seen, going from the latter part of the 1st round, down to the mid-section of the 2nd round.

27. San Diego: Kenny Phillips, FS - Miami
The Chargers could surprise and take a RB if someone happens to slip (Jones/Stewart), don't rule it out. Calais Campbell is also a tempting pick here. However the Chargers go with Kenny Phillips, a playmaker who can start alongside Weddle and form a great young tandem

28. Dallas: DeSean Jackson, WR - California
Jones should have no problem making this pick if Jackson is available. He won't pass on a chance to have a Hester-like player on his team who can break long plays in the passing and return games.

29. San Francisco (from Indianapolis): Quentin Groves, DE/LB - Auburn
Groves can play OLB in San Fran's 3-4 defense. He would challenge Tully Banta-Cain, and would probably beat him out for the job before the preseason is over.

30. Green Bay: Reggie Smith, CB - Oklahoma
A Charles Woodson clone, Smith fits right into the Green Bay defense and would has two great mentors to learn from.

New England Selection Forfeited

31. New York Giants: Kentwan Balmer, DT - North Carolina
Robbins is getting up there in years, while Coefield and Alford are more one-dimensional. Balmer is similar to Robbins and can start next to him before taking over in a couple of years.

2nd Round

32. Miami: Dan Connor, LB - Penn State
Connor falls under that category of a "Parcels guy". If he's taken here, he should have no problem getting snaps, regardless of who the team signed.

33. St. Louis: James Hardy, WR - Indiana
The Rams take the giant receiver from Indiana. Hardy is huge and still times well. He could end up being another Vincent Jackson.

34. Atlanta (from Oakland): Antoine Cason, CB - Arizona
With DeAngelo Hall gone, the Falcons now have a hole at CB. Cason started off the college season as the top corner in the nation. He has the instincts and coverage skills. He could be a steal.

35. Kansas City: Ghosder Cherilus, T - Boston College
KC desperately needs help along the offensive line. Cherilus has first round talent, but slips out because he's more suited for the right side. Two or three years down the road, this pick could be considered a steal

36. New York Jets: Calais Campbell, DE - Miami
Despite his poor junior season and poor workouts, Campbell is still on the verge of being a great player. As much as the Jets like Kenyon Coleman, the monsterous Campbell will challenge him for the starting DE spot.

37. Atlanta: Sam Baker, T - Southern Cal
Baker can slide right into the LT spot and start for the Falcons. As a 2nd rounder, he would be a better option than anyone they currently have (unless they move Weiner over to the left side)

38. Baltimore: Brian Brohm, QB - Louisville
While Flacco brings a lot of potential, Brohm brings more of a finished product. The Ravens were a great team with bad QB play. They need a QB who can be a field general, and Brohm is better suited for that style.

39. San Fransisco: Frank Okam, DT - Texas
A huge NT who can take up space, but also has the forward push to get into the backfield on occasion during pass plays.

40. New Orleans: Pat Sims, DT - Auburn
Sims adds youth to an aging defensive line, and shouldn't have a problem cracking the 3-man rotation at DT along with Thomas and Young.

41. Buffalo: Dustin Keller, TE - Purdue
Keller shot himself to the top of the TE ranks at the combines. He timed very well and was also a decent blocker at Purdue. He should have no problem taking playing time from Royal on passing downs.

42. Denver: Red Bryant, DT - Texas A&M
Bryant looked like the total package at the combine. The team needs bodies at the DT position, and Bryant could easily play into the rotation

43. Carolina: Joe Flacco, QB - Delaware
Great size and arm strength to go with a good score (for a QB) on the Wonderlic. The potential is there for a good NFL starter. He brings a lot of stuff to the table that Delhomme doesn't, but how much coaching does he need to get on the field?

44. Chicago: Early Doucet, WR - LSU
Booker and Lloyd as the starters? Hester? The Bears need to walk away from day one of this draft with a real WR.

45. Detroit: Curtis Lofton, MLB - Oklahoma
His stock rose back up to the top of the MLB ranks after his Pro Day. Lofton should have no problem learning from Paris Lenon and eventually taking over in the middle.

46. Cincinnati: Jerod Mayo, MLB - Tennessee
Mayo could either push Ahmad Brooks outside, or play on the weakside himself.

47. Minnesota: Heath Benedict, T - Newberry
Has McKinnie worn out his welcome yet? This would be his worst nightmare. Benedict is athletic and is an overachiever. He's the kind of kid that coaches love, and is the antithesis of McKinnie.

48. Atlanta (from Houston): Xavier Adibi, LB - Virginia Tech
Expect them to take a strong look at Andre Woodson, but to pass. Adibi fills a need position. Expect Mike Smith to make defense a high priority in this draft.

49. Philadelphia: Tracy Porter, CB - Indiana
With Lito Sheppard seemingly out the door, the Eagles bypass the need at DE and take a CB who has first round talent.

50. Arizona: Chris Johnson, RB - East Carolina
The Cards may not replace Edgerrin James with this pick, however, Johnson should have no problem taking a bunch of carries off James's plate. Johnson's speed cannot be overlooked.

51. Washington: Dre Moore, DT - Maryland
Without a big WR available, who wouldn't be a reach, the Skins opt to add some more to their D-Line. Moore is a hometown kid who had a great showing at the combines. He should have no problem working into the rotation.

52. Tampa Bay: Patrick Lee, CB - Auburn
Kiffin likes those big physical corners. Lee brings all of that to the table. He's built somewhat like Ronde Barber.

53. Pittsburgh: Brandon Flowers, CB - Virginia Tech
The Steelers can afford to go a number of directions, as they have a solid roster already. In these situations, you usually take the top corner or DE off the board. Flowers is one of the most decorated, coming out of Virginia Tech, which is saying a lot.

54. Tennessee: Ahtyba Rubin, DT - Iowa State
The Titans are hurting at DT almost as much as they're hurting at WR. At this point, you could even pencil in Rubin as a starter.

55. Seattle: Fred Davis, TE - Southern Cal
Davis probably won't fall this far, but if he does, the Seahawks war room will be the "peace" room. He would probably be a day one starter

56. Green Bay (from Cleveland): Trevor Laws, DT - Notre Dame
He could end up starting, which would be a stark transition from Justin Harrell, last year's 1st rounder.

57. Miami (from San Diego): Justing King, CB - Penn State
Tuna should have no problem gambling on a CB that has the physical talent to be a first rounder. King can also return kicks.

58. Jacksonville: Erin Henderson, LB - Maryland
Henderson can step in and challenge Clint Ingram, while keeping his eye on Mike Peterson's MLB spot in the future

59. Indianapolis: Gary Guyton, LB - Georgia Tech
Guyton was the fastest LB at the draft and has great size. He could be a sleeper pick.

60. Green Bay: Anthony Collins, T - Kansas
The underclassman would serve as an insurance policy, in case Clifton or Tauscher start to break down due to their age and mileage.

61. Dallas: Charles Godfrey, CB - Iowa
Losing both Reeves and Jones, the Cowboys need depth at the CB position. Godfrey could end the season as the 2nd or 3rd corner

62. New England: Cliff Avril, OLB - Purdue
Great spot for Avril to land. He could share time for a while before eventually taking on a starting spot. He's the type of player you would expect to end up in New England

63. New York Giants: Josh Barrett, S - Arizona State
One of the most physically gifted players in the draft. Has Sean Taylor-like size and speed. He could even be converted to a LB.

That's it for now. Please leave your comments. I would love to hear what you think (good, bad or ugly).