Tuesday, April 22, 2008

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)

QB
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.

RB
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.

WR
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.

TE
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.

C/G
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.

T
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.

DT
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.

DE
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.

LB
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.

CB
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.

S
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.

2 comments:

J-HOVA said...

Glad to see Josh Johnson in your top 5. He will be a good choice for a team that is looking to develop a QB.

LSU Tiger Alum said...

I didn't notice fullbacks in your list. Did you include them in the overall running back rankings? Just wondering where you would rank Jacob Hester if you considered Fullbacks in a separate ranking?