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)

Steals

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.

Reaches

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

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3 comments:

Clement said...

Armin, amazing work this draft. While I have been lazy the past month (only blog-wise), I need to RANT.

Good thing you're on vacation and won't see this anytime soon.

Top 5 Drafts:
1) KC is an obvious choice. But not too obvious. Dorsey will have to do it alone for now. It's not a knock on him, but I don't know many DTs that dominate without more help.
2) Dallas did the right thing. Two solid 1st-round picks. I'm still bugged this team feels it can draft a backup with the 22nd pick though. Romo just beats up on bad opponents.
3) Washington had a 50/50 AT BEST. Why two wideouts? Why a tight end so early? Why not an interrior pass rusher or secondary help instead of Malcolm "Slow" Kelley. I can't remember two wideouts breaking out on a team anytime recently (a winning team).
4) Spot on with Carolina.
5) Tampa and Aqib? Sounds right, but is it? This team can go 10-6 or 3-13 honestly in that division.

Worst 5:
1) Why Chris Johnson, Tennessee? WHY?
2) If Gholston was a Pat, he'd be a steal. He will be told to do one thing, rush the QB. It was the best possible pick at 6. Nobody was offering a good deal. As for Keller, we need a Dallas Clark-clone. Especially for Clemens. But he isn't one. I wasn't thrilled after Gholston, I'd rather have picked up a CB there. I wish Jenkins had slide somehow. Keller doesn't have to be Gonzo. That's unfair to ask for the 30th pick, trade up or not, he wasn't a top 10 pick.
4) Cincy is stupid and I am tired of hearing about them.
5) Ditto with the Birds. I like Ryan, but not on this team. Not at all.

Dorsey at 5 isn't a STEAL STEAL, but it's rock solid. I love Albert's potential. Sweed won't be spectacular in Pittsburgh. Flowers is a beast, wrong team. Connor worries me. Demps...I can't say much about. Good eye, Armin.

Reaches
Why Tennessee? WHY? Keller is a REACH. But if he can be athletic in the slot, we don't need him to block anyone. Stewart was a joke that high (I said it). Brown will be fine. Avery...I could care less. This wideout crop SUCKED. I said it. Even Thomas (good value in Round 2) was a joke to be projected as high as 11. Buffalo was genius to avoid that blunder.

All I got. Lata!

Fannation.com said...

Fannation comments, concerns, questions, and props...

1) I completely agree with Chris Johnson, the Titans, and the Jets, I disagree, however, with the Falcons having one of the worst. Also, I disagree with the Bucs and the Panthers (should have taken Mendenhall).

2) So.... Buffalo landing the #1 CB in the draft is not considered a steal???

3) i actually think that the colts had a pretty good draft
got mike hart really helped their aging offensive line also helped their defense...

4) Who passes on a DL with three picks in the top 51?? A team that only had Quentin Groves and Calais Campbell to choose from... Why didnt they pick either one of them?? Well other than, neither fit our system, both also have character and work ethic issues. Skins made all the right picks based on Value, System, Talent and Work Ethic. Need never comes first in drafting....you should know that. Everyone should by now.

5) Well, I'm with you on Dorsey being a steal, but the chiefs had to trade up a bit to get Albert and theres still questions wether Albert can play OT so he def wasnt a steal for the Cheifs, if anything it might end up being a bust for them.

You could def. say Jonathan Stewart was a reach, but saying that because you think they need a Stephen Davis type is wrong...Im sure they may have wanted that type of back but the fact is there wasnt that type of back that was elite enough to go in 1st round. It came down to Stewart or MEndenhall and Stewart is more established than Mendenhall plus adds to the return team.

...great work as always Armin...

Although its Dwayne Brown and not Dwayne Jones. Fortunately, it was fixed.

chief fan said...

The falcons are building for 2 years (post prison-raped Vick). Development draft for them.

Dorsey was definitly the steal of the draft. A position they sorely needed. And they got better all around.

The Titans keep getting worse through the draft. Isn't that the opposite of what common knowledges says?

Well written article, thanks for the read.