Steuber's 2008 NFL Mock Draft

With free agency slowing down and team needs now in focus, the draft forecast is much clearer. Scout.com's NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber updates his first-round projections and has a few surprises in his top ten, as well as a major trade later in the round.

Free agency has really altered the look of the first round and has changed teams' focus as April approaches. A lot of money has exchanged hands on the open market and now it's time for some of the nation’s top prospects to cash in on their NFL millions. But where will they end up?

The No. 1 pick has stayed the same, but the second selection has changed. One QB is in the top three, while another has fallen dramatically down the board. But in a move reminiscent to last year's draft, when the Cleveland Browns traded into the first round to select Brady Quinn, a team trades into the first round to steal a top-rated signal-caller.

This year’s draft features over 50 underclassmen, and I project 14 of them to be selected in the first round. There are 31 picks in the first round this year due to the Patriots forfeiting their own selection in light of the Spygate scandal.

My current mock draft also features 16 offensive players versus 15 defensive players being taking in round one. I project the most popular position in the first round to be defensive end. If you have any questions about my mock draft, email me by clicking on this link.


Pick

Team

Pos.

Player

College

Class

Ht.

Wt.

1

(1 - 15)

DE

Chris Long

Virginia

Sr.

6-3

272

The Dolphins acquired two defensive tackles this offseason - Randy Starks and Jason Ferguson – to add stability up front. But with the talk of Miami and DE Jason Taylor going their separate ways, the addition of a young DE makes sense. If Miami doesn't trade out of the top spot, look for them to select Chris Long as their defensive playmaker.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

2

(3 - 13)

DE

Vernon Gholston

Ohio State

Jr.

6-3

266

The Rams have had a quiet offseason so far and haven't made much noise. The only interesting development was the release of last year's free agent pickup DE James Hall. St. Louis has to upgrade their O-Line and the signing of Jacob Bell and the return of Orlando Pace will help. With Jake Long available he will be enticing, but Vernon Gholston gives the Rams the explosive defender they need to apply pressure on the QB.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Jake Long

3

(4 - 12)

QB

Matt Ryan

Boston College

Sr.

6-4

228

The signing of Michael Turner in Atlanta almost guarantees that the Falcons won't draft Darren McFadden. If the Falcons don't select McFadden, they will look at Sedrick Ellis and Glenn Dorsey to help their defensive line. They will also consider Jake Long, who is still available and would provide the Falcons with a quality OT. But the obvious choice is a QB. It comes down to Matt Ryan and Brian Brohm. I favor Brohm, but Ryan has received all the attention and will be over-drafted by Atlanta.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Darren McFadden

4

(4 - 12)

OT

Jake Long

Michigan

Sr.

6-7

315

The retirement of Warren Sapp leaves the door open for the Raiders to select Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis. But resigning Tommy Kelly allows Oakland to look in a different direction. JaMarcus Russell will start the season as the new starter and giving him protection upfront will help his progression. The selection of Jake Long is the best move for Russell and the Raiders.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Sedrick Ellis

5

(4 - 12)

DT

Sedrick Ellis

USC

Sr.

6-0

309

The Chiefs are in a prime spot with the fifth pick and may entertain trade offers, especially with Darren McFadden on the board. The Chiefs have made some interesting cuts on the defensive side of the ball, and their most glaring need is at cornerback. But defensive tackle is also a concern, and with Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis on the board the Chiefs will decide between the two. K.C. goes with Ellis.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Matt Ryan

6

(4 - 12)

RB

Darren McFadden

Arkansas

Jr.

6-1

211

The Jets have been busy in free agency and have added speed and strength to their defense. This is a great situation for the Jets as they can select the best available player. Adding a wide receiver is ideal, but drafting a WR at this selection is a major reach. Even though adding a RB isn’t a top priority, Darren McFadden is a unique player who’s too talented to pass up.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Vernon Gholston

7


from 49ers
(5 - 11)

CB

Leodis McKelvin

Troy

Sr.

5-10

186

Losing Asante Samuel and Randall Gay this offseason makes cornerback the No. 1 priority for the Patriots. Troy's Leodis McKelvin plays a similar style to Samuel and also provides New England with a quality return man on special teams.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Aqib Talib

8

(5 - 11)

CB

Aqib Talib

Kansas

Jr.

6-1

205

The Ravens have to identify a franchise quarterback and add some stability behind center, but adding a playmaker in the secondary is exactly what the Ravens need. With the Ravens passing on Brian Brohm, he will free fall in the first round. The Ravens choose Aqib Talib over Brohm.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Brian Brohm

9

(7 - 9)

DT

Glenn Dorsey

LSU

Sr.

6-1

297

The Bengals desperately need help on defense, especially at linebacker and defensive tackle. Cincinnati lost Justin Smith during free agency, but they added former Titans DE Antwan Odom. With Glenn Dorsey on the board, this is an easy pick for Cincy.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

10

(7 - 9)

LB

Keith Rivers

USC

Sr.

6-2

241

The Saints added help in the secondary with the addition of Randall Gay and added a solid linebacker in Jonathan Vilma. There are a few options on the board for New Orleans, but with USC's Keith Rivers available, he adds experience and solid play to the Saints defense.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Leodis McKelvin

11

(7 - 9)

WR

Malcolm Kelly

Oklahoma

Jr.

6-4

224

There is talk that the Bills are interested in signing a free agent WR, but if that doesn't pan out, the Bills have to find a big target to pair with Lee Evans. Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly makes the most sense and gives Trent Edwards another option on offense.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

12

(7 - 9)

OT

Ryan Clady

Boise State

Jr.

6-6

320

The Broncos have done a good job with Jay Cutler’s development, but giving him a quality tackle to grow with makes sense. Ryan Clady may move up in the draft as we make our way towards April, but I still believe he will be available for Denver.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

13

(7 - 9)

DE

Derrick Harvey

Florida

Jr.

6-4

271

The Panthers will look to upgrade the offensive and defensive line in the first round. Carolina signed Tyler Brayton to add depth up front, but the Panthers have to add a pure pass rusher to help Julius Peppers rebound from a difficult year. Florida's Derrick Harvey fits Carolina's need.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

14

(7 - 9)

RB

Rashard Mendenhall

Illinois

Jr.

5-10

225

After losing Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad this offseason, the Bears turned to one of their former players, Marty Booker, to help the offense. It's possible that Chicago drafts a WR at this selection, but there is a lot of talent at the RB position available. With concerns surrounding Cedric Benson, drafting local product Rashard Mendenhall will help the Bears woeful running game.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Kenny Phillips

15

(7 - 9)

OT

Chris Williams

Vanderbilt

Sr.

6-6

317

The Lions have done a good job revamping their secondary in free agency and will concentrate on another area in the draft. It's almost certain they won't draft a wide receiver, but they should look to address an area on offense. Adding a quality OT will go a long way in helping the offense be more efficient, and Vanderbilt’s Chris Williams is exactly what they need.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Mike Jenkins

16

(8 - 8)

CB

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Tennessee State

Sr.

6-1

180

The Cardinals haven't been able to do much in free agency due to the massive contract Larry Fitzgerald possesses. But they did manage to sign Travis LaBoy away from Tennessee after they lost Calvin Pace to the Jets. The secondary is a concern and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is storming up draft boards.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Keith Rivers

17

(8 - 8)

DE

Phillip Merling

Clemson

Jr.

6-4

270

The Vikings were able to get sign Bernard Berrian this offseason to help the progression of Tarvaris Jackson. But the most glaring need resides at defensive end. Clemson's Phillip Merling is one of the best all around DEs in the draft and is a perfect fit for the Vikings.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Calais Campbell

18

(8 - 8)

RB

Jonathan Stewart

Oregon

Jr.

5-10

235

The Texans were one of twelve teams that finished the season averaging less than 100 yards a game, and for Houston to compete in their division they have to have an effective rushing attack. Oregon's Jonathan Stewart is the best RB on the board, and even though Houston has Ahman Green, Stewart adds a physical presence on a Texans team that faces a tough AFC South.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

19

(8 - 8)

FS

Kenny Phillips

Miami

Jr.

6-2

208

The Eagles got one of the best free agents on the market this offseason, cornerback Asante Samuel. They also got a solid pass rusher in Chris Clemons. There is still a need for a playmaking wide receiver and a safety. DeSean Jackson is a possibility at this pick, but Miami's Kenny Phillips fits well in the Eagles defense.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Lawrence Jackson

20

(9 - 7)

WR

DeSean Jackson

California

Jr.

5-9

169

The Buccaneers have to address the receiver position with this pick, and it's possible that they look to add a cornerback. Cal's DeSean Jackson doesn’t have ideal height, but he’s a burner who adds versatility to a team. His speed is a valuable weapon that will allow the Bucs to overlook his size.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same

21

(9 - 7)

WR

Limas Sweed

Texas

Sr.

6-4

215

The Redskins could use a safety, especially with the loss of Sean Taylor. But with Kenny Phillips off the board there isn't another safety worthy of a first-round pick. So the Redskins will address another area of need — wide receiver. Texas' Limas Sweed is a big target who will compliment Santana Moss perfectly.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Kenny Phillips

22

from Cowboys thru Browns (10 - 6)

QB

Brian Brohm

Louisville

Sr.

6-3

230

**********PROJECTED TRADE WITH DALLAS**********

In a move reminiscent of what the Cleveland Browns did last year to get Brady Quinn, the Miami Dolphins target Brian Brohm and sneak back into the first round to draft him. Bill Parcells uses his ties with the Cowboys and trades his second- (33rd overall) and third- (65th overall) round picks to move up and steal Brohm as his future signal caller.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Limas Sweed

23

(10 - 6)

OT

Jeff Otah

Pittsburgh

Sr.

6-6

339

Losing Alan Faneca is a tough pill to swallow, but the Steelers will have to move on and find depth on the O-Line. The Steelers may reach for a guard at this spot and select Virginia's Branden Albert, but Pitt's Jeff Otah is a better value and provides versatility up front.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Chris Williams

24

(10 - 6)

DE

Quentin Groves

Auburn

Sr.

6-3

259

The Titans have to find a wide receiver who can help Vince Young develop as a QB. But after losing Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy, depth at DE is a must. There is a chance the Titans sign ex-Titan Jevon Kearse to add depth, but adding a young pass rusher like Quentin Groves gives the Titans a future star.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: James Hardy

25

(10 - 6)

DT

Kentwan Balmer

North Carolina

Sr.

6-4

308

The Seahawks may look to draft a young TE this year, but after signing Jeb Putzier as a free agent they can wait until the second or third round. Adding depth at DT is more important. And with Kentwan Balmer available, the Seahawks get a solid run defender.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Dustin Keller

26

(11 - 5)

DE

Calais Campbell

Miami

Jr.

6-8

290

The loss of Bobby McCray and Marcus Stroud are huge losses on defense and will force the Jaguars to upgrade in the draft. There are a couple of possibilities for Jacksonville at this spot — Miami's Calais Campbell and USC's Lawrence Jackson. Campbell's potential wins out over the steady Jackson.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Quintin Groves

27

(11 - 5)

CB

Mike Jenkins

South Florida

Sr.

5-11

200

The Chargers are in a situation to draft the best available player, and they can go in many directions. San Diego may look to add depth at cornerback after losing Drayton Florence in free agency. They could also draft a young RB to backup LaDainian Tomlinson. But with Mike Jenkins still on the board, this is an easy selection for the Chargers.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Chris Johnson

28

(13 - 3)

RB

Jamaal Charles

Texas

Jr.

5-11

200

The Cowboys will look to add a weapon on offense with this pick after trading away their first pick to Miami. There are two promising RBs and WRs on the board, and Dallas will decide which one fits best. In a surprise move, the Cowboys pass up Felix Jones for Jamaal Charles.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Felix Jones

29


from Colts
(13 - 3)

WR

James Hardy

Indiana

Jr.

6-5

217

The Niners have been one of the more active teams in free agency and added some nice veterans — RB DeShaun Foster, WR Isaac Bruce and DE Justin Smith. Even though they added Bruce, he’s not the same receiver he was five years ago. With that said, the need for a tall receiver with big play potential is a priority. Indiana's James Hardy fits well in the Niners offense.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Devin Thomas

30

(13 - 3)

CB

Antoine Cason

Arizona

Sr.

6-0

191

The Packers are another team that can draft the best player available. They have a solid nucleus all around, but adding a young corner makes sense. Charles Woodson and Al Harris are getting older, so drafting a young CB will be beneficial down the road. Arizona's Antoine Cason is a polished corner with excellent skills and will have the opportunity to learn from two of the best.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

31

PATRIOTS SELECTION FORFEITED - (16 - 0)

 

32

(10 - 6)

OLB

Dan Connor

Penn State

Sr.

6-3

233

The Giants desperately need to add depth at linebacker and defensive tackle. Adding Penn State LB Dan Connor or Notre Dame DT Trevor Laws are two options for the Giants. But in the end it will be Connor.

Previous Mock Draft Selection: Same



A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.


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