View Full Version : NFL Draft Scouts Inc.'s pick-by-pick first-round analysis

04-26-2008, 07:56 PM
Didn't see these posted... More of the same, but who cares? :D


Inside the first round
1. Miami Dolphins
The pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
What he brings: Jake Long's not the best overall player on the board, but the Dolphins needed a left tackle. Some people say he's a better fit on the right side, but we disagree. He's fundamentally sound enough in pass protection to be a capable blindside protector from day one, and while he's certainly not as athletic as Joe Thomas -- Cleveland's first-round pick a year ago -- Long is a better run-blocker than Thomas was coming out of college. Long can play a similar role to the one Jumbo Elliot played for Bill Parcells with the Giants in the 1980s. A lot has been made of Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston beating Long for a sack last season, but Gholston did not dominate the matchup and freshman QB Ryan Mallet held the ball far too long. Long has simply been a model of consistency during his college career.
How he fits: This was easily the safest pick the Dolphins could make. They get a franchise left tackle who stabilizes the offensive line for years. The Dolphins can now move LT Vernon Carey to the right side and insert offseason addition Justin Smiley at right guard. Carey is a versatile player who fits better on the right side than left side in our opinion. Also, the Dolphins have a good young center in Samson Satele. By taking Long, this offensive line, which gave up 25 sacks over the final six games of last season, instantly improves. On top of that, he's already signed and under contract.

2. St. Louis Rams
The pick: Chris Long, DE, Virginia
Chris Long doesn't have elite size or as much upside as the aforementioned Gholston, but he's a tough run defender and a relentless pass-rusher, who has good but not great speed. He also does an excellent job of using his hands to control blockers. He's capable of stepping in and making an immediate impact because he's so fundamentally sound, as you would expect from the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long.
How he fits: Even though there was some debate over Long and LSU DT Glenn Dorsey, Long makes a lot of sense. He allows the Rams to keep last year's first-rounder, Adam Carriker, on the inside. Long is a versatile pass-rusher who defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can use in his schemes as a DE or DT in sub packages. The Rams will be able to pressure four and drop seven on the back end, while incorporating a lot of zone-blitz pressures. With Long pressuring from the right side, teams won't be able to set protection schemes toward LDE Leonard Little, and Long's presence also allows speedy DE James Hall to get on the field as a defensive tackle, which gives them four effective rushers in sub. 3. Atlanta Falcons
The pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
What he brings: Matt Ryan doesn't have the arm strength of a JaMarcus Russell, and he isn't a dynamic open-field runner, but he is clearly the most NFL-ready quarterback in this year's draft class. He has better-than-average arm strength, he's accurate and he understands the game. A lot has been made of the amount of interceptions he threw during his senior season at Boston College, but it's important to remember that he didn't have a strong receiving corps and that BC put the ball in the air far more often in 2007 than in years past.
How he fits: Teams can't win in this league without a quarterback, which is clearly what Atlanta was thinking when it took Ryan at No. 3. This team needed a franchise QB and hopefully Ryan can bring this team back to respectability. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is going to build schemes around RBs Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, which will take pressure off the quarterback. Ryan played in a pro system at Boston College and he has the ability to make all the throws. Ryan has a chance to win the starting job right away based upon the Falcons' current roster. This team has some pieces in place, but the offensive line is still a major concern.

4. Oakland Raiders
The pick: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
What he brings: Although's we think defensive line is a bigger need, and Glenn Dorsey is still out there, this is still a very good pick for Oakland. It appears the Raiders have good depth at running back, but McFadden gives them the big-play threat they lack at the position. He's quick around the corner and he shows rare speed when he gets into the open field. Obviously, McFadden has been compared to Adrian Peterson a lot. Critics are correct to point out that McFadden isn't as powerful of a runner as Peterson is. But this weakness has been overstated; McFadden is still a tough runner who can pick up yards after contact.
How he fits: Raiders owner Al Davis doesn't shy away from big, fast, explosive athletes, which is why McFadden was taken at No. 4. He is a good fit for this offense based on his explosive running style and he can score every time he has the ball in his hands. Even though the running game was a bright spot in Oakland last year, McFadden makes the Raiders even better and will help take pressure off young QB JaMarcus Russell. By taking McFadden, the Raiders have to make a decision with RBs Dominic Rhodes or LaMont Jordan in the near future and they could even move either running back in the later rounds. First and foremost, the Raiders need to get McFadden signed and avoid the kind of prolonged holdout Russell went through last season.

5. Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
What he brings: The thought was that Kansas City would address the defensive end and offensive tackle positions with its two first-round picks. However, the Chiefs need help at defensive tackle and they have to be excited that Glenn Dorsey fell. Dorsey lacks elite size, but he is on the shorter side and his ability to get under offensive linemen allows him to control the point of attack. It's also noteworthy that he plays with an excellent motor for a big guy. Chances are his stock dropped some because of concerns stemming from a leg injury. But it doesn't look like the injury is a serious concern -- it caused him to miss one half of one game in college -- and he should be healthy for training camp.
How he fits: The Chiefs finished the season with the 28th-ranked defense against the run. Dorsey improves the interior of this defense dramatically, especially against the AFC West teams that like to hit you in the mouth with the running game. The Chiefs are very excited to be able to draft this dominating defensive tackle. He will allow the Chiefs to use their upfield, attacking schemes against the run, which will also take pressure off the back end. The Chiefs have taken some major hits in the offseason and hopefully this pick will get the team and its fans back on track. But this team still has a long ways to go in our opinion.

6. New York Jets
The pick: Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio State
What he brings: No prospect at this or any other position in the draft has more upside than Gholston. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive end ran a 4.67 40-yard dash, and showed excellent upper-body strength at the NFL scouting combine. He's also athletic enough to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. However, he is a boom-or-bust prospect, especially this early. He's just not as consistent on film as a player with his talents should be.
How he fits: This is an interesting pick because the Jets signed Calvin Pace this offseason. The perfect fit for New York went No. 4, but Gholston is a tremendous pass-rusher who is very explosive. The Jets had trouble creating pressure last season and Gholston will help create pressure off the edge. His motor does not run consistently and he is a true boom-or-bust candidate based on our projections. Head coach Eric Mangini loves versatile athletes who allow the Jets to create mismatches, and Gholston does that. He comes in with the ability to rush the passer, but he is going to have to learn how to play on his feet as a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. At Ohio State he traditionally played in a three-point stance and the transition may take some time.

7. New Orleans Saints (from S.F. through N.E.)
The pick: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
What he brings: Sedrick Ellis isn't ranked quite as high as Dorsey on our board. But make no mistake about it: Ellis is an excellent pick here. New Orleans is ecstatic it was able to move up to get him. He doesn't have elite size or top-end speed, but he's more quick than fast and he excels at getting into gaps to disrupt plays in the backfield. He also shows rare athletic ability for a player of his size. This allows him to make plays while scraping down the line of scrimmage. Although Ellis doesn't have great closing speed, he has the ability to drive interior blockers into the quarterback.
How he fits: The Saints have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and they needed to get better on defense. The key for any defense is being strong up the middle, and Ellis gives them the interior force they have lacked in recent years. DTs Brian Young and Hollis Thomas are getting up there in years, and the Saints needed to get better and younger at the position. Ellis brings them a powerful rusher, which helps them in sub and will help them put pressure on the quarterback. He's also a disruptive player versus the run. He is relentless, has a great motor and loves to play football. Ellis will make an impact right away.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
What he brings: Jacksonville is yet another team drafting for need in the first round. Harvey isn't as explosive or dangerous off the edge as former college teammate Jarvis Moss, whom Denver took with the 17th pick last year. On the other hand, Harvey is a more complete player than Moss. He has the power to hold his ground against the run and the quickness to make plays in the backfield, and he shows good athletic ability for a 271-pounder. In addition, he has very long arms and he times his jumps well. So Harvey can disrupt pass plays even when he doesn't get to the quarterback, which is important because he doesn't have great closing speed.
How he fits: The one thing the Jaguars lacked on defense last year was the ability to rush the passer. With the inside push DT John Henderson gives, the Jags get a lot of one-on-one matchups on the outside with their defensive ends. He gives the Jags a pass-rush threat in sub along with Paul Spicer and Reggie Hayward. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is very aggressive and loves to attack offensive schemes, and Harvey allows the Jags more flexibility within rush and pressure schemes. The Jags are a team on the rise and felt Harvey is the missing piece to get them deeper into the playoffs.

9. Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
What he brings: Rivers doesn't have as much potential as some of the other linebackers in this class, but he's clearly the most complete player in this year's outside linebacker class. Also, he is the kind of player a team wants in its locker room representing the organization. He doesn't have elite top-end speed and he isn't much of a playmaker, but Rivers reads his keys quickly, gets to the ball and doesn't miss open-field tackles. He's going to be better in zone coverage than in man coverage, but he isn't going to get caught out of position very often.
How he fits: Head coach Marvin Lewis is making a statement by adding a good character player in Rivers. He is a very athletic linebacker with playmaking skills and will upgrade a weakness on the Bengals' defense. This team had to get better versus the run. Rivers provides Lewis the ability to be flexible and play a 3-4 or 4-3. He is best suited as a weakside linebacker in a 4-3, but he has the flexibility to play outside or inside in a 3-4 scheme. If LB Odell Thurman returns to form, the combination of Thurman, Rivers and Ahmad Brooks makes this defense much improved.

10. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
The pick: Jerod Mayo, OLB, Tennessee
What he brings: Mayo isn't quite as instinctive as Rivers, and he has to improve his cover skills. But Mayo has more upside than Rivers. He has very good top-end speed for his size, and although he lacks ideal strength, he explodes into hits. In addition, he's versatile enough to line up on the inside or the outside, depending on how a team wants to use him.
How he fits: He is a perfect fit in the Patriots' defense. He is a flexible player who allows Bill Belichick to use him a lot of ways. He fills a specific need and gives them another special playmaker. The Pats have obviously gotten older at linebacker and Mayo gives them a young, ascending player. The key for Mayo is his ability to understand the complexities of the Pats' schemes and all the adjustments within it. He has an outstanding combo of size, speed and athleticism. He has a great motor and can make plays sideline to sideline, which improves the overall speed of the New England defense.

11. Buffalo Bills
The pick: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
What he brings: McKelvin doesn't have elite ball skills and he isn't tough against the run, but he has great speed (4.38), changes directions quickly and flashes great instincts. In addition, he's a dangerous open-field runner who can contribute in the return game and is always a threat to turn an interception into points. If he can adjust to the speed of the pro game, McKelvin can make an immediate impact.
How he fits: The Bills had to improve at corner based on their inability to match up on the perimeter versus explosive passing attacks. The Bills are a heavy Cover 2 team, which makes McKelvin an interesting pick based on his finesse style. The Bills like to be physical on the outside and he is more of a cover guy than run-support player. However, he is a definite upgrade over Jabari Greer and Ashton Youboty. This was definitely a value pick for Buffalo.

12. Denver Broncos
The pick: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
What he brings: This pick comes as somewhat of a surprise because Virginia's Branden Albert and Vanderbilt's Chris Williams are still on the board. That said, Clady has the potential to develop into an outstanding starter in Denver's scheme; he moves extremely well for his size, so he's an ideal player for a zone-blocking system. Also, he should develop into a good run-blocker. The one concern is that he's raw and needs to work on playing with a wider base.
How he fits: The Broncos love athletic offensive linemen, which makes Clady a solid pick. He has excellent initial quickness and overall ability for his size. Clady will seal off the back side, create space on the front side and be very effective blocking on the second level when zone-blocking. This will help the run game with combo of Travis Henry and Selvin Young. We expect him to compete for the left tackle spot with Ryan Harris, which could push Harris to the right side to compete with Erik Pears.

13. Carolina Panthers
The pick: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
What he brings: Carolina still has a need at offensive tackle, so it wouldn't have surprised us if the Panthers had taken one here. However, their second most pressing need, in our opinion, is running back. Stewart's stock dropped because of a toe injury that required surgery; it is one of a few nagging injuries he's endured during his career. His stock has really bounced back recently because he will likely be ready for training camp. He's a power back who can pick up the tough yards between the tackles and has the burst to go the distance when he gets into the open field.
How he fits: This is a great pick by Carolina based on John Fox's run-heavy philosophy. This will also give QB Jake Delhomme more spacing in the passing game. With concerns about whether DeAngelo Williams can be the guy at RB, Stewart can carry the ball on first and second down. Williams can then become a change-of-pace back. On top of that, he has the ability to return kickoffs and improve the Panthers' return game. He is an explosive player and displays a second gear when going through the hole. He reminds us of former Panthers running back Stephen Davis.

14. Chicago Bears
The pick: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
What he brings: Our first reaction is surprise because the Bears didn't take Branden Albert, whom we think is a higher-rated prospect, or Jeff Otah, who is a good fit for the Bears' scheme. In addition, Williams is a far better pass-blocker than run-blocker, and there are questions about whether or not he's tough enough to improve in that area. On the other hand, the Bears can move John Tait to right tackle and play Williams on the left side, where he has the athletic ability and initial quickness to hold up in pass protection.
How he fits: With the lack of production from Cedric Benson, the Bears felt they needed to improve the offensive line. With the aging John Tait able to move to the right side, Williams will have a chance to be the team's left tackle for years to come. Also, with the lack of playmakers on the outside, Chicago has to run the ball, and Williams helps the Bears do this. His run blocking will need to improve in order to become more complete at the NFL level.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (from Detroit)
The pick: Branden Albert, G/OT, Virginia
What he brings: Albert lined up at guard for most of his college career, which is a concern because the Chiefs will likely play him at tackle. However, he has great athletic ability for his size and solid footwork, and he moves well in open space. But he does struggle to adjust when tracking moving targets on the second level. Also, Albert plays with an attitude and brings a nasty streak to the field, and he does a great job of finishing. All that being said, a Chiefs team that had several needs coming into the draft has done an excellent job of improving its lines on both sides of the ball.
How he fits: This is an offense that struggled mightily last season, and the line has fallen from the elite in recent years. Albert will help them get back to respectability. Coach Herm Edwards' philosophy is to run the ball first, and RB Larry Johnson is one of the best in the league. Next year the Chiefs must run the ball to take pressure off QB Brodie Croyle, and it's obvious the Chiefs are building inside-out. Albert is very versatile and can play guard or tackle while he develops. The Chiefs only have one established player on offensive line in Brian Waters, and Albert will replace either RG Adrian Jones or RT Herb Taylor. Albert is also a big-body guy who will allow offensive coordinator Chan Gailey to use some zone blocking schemes to create more space for Johnson. He will start right away.

16. Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
What he brings: Rodgers-Cromartie isn't as strong against the run as teams would like and he needs to add some weight to his frame. On the flip side, he quieted concerns about facing small-school competition with an excellent showing during Senior Bowl week and an outstanding performance at the combine. There's little question about his upside; he's fast enough to run with any receiver and he can cut on a dime. In addition, he can line up at free safety and he has the range to play a center fielder type role.
How he fits: Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast runs one of the most complex pressure schemes with the way he uses different matchups when aligning versus multiple sets. Rodgers-Cromartie gives the Cardinals a corner who can play in those types of coverage schemes. CB Eric Green is an above-average No. 2, while Rod Hood is best suited as a slot corner in sub. Rodgers-Cromartie allows them to match up versus bigger receivers in man-to-man schemes, which will help them in the NFC West.

17. Detroit Lions (from Kansas City)
The pick: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
What he brings: We understand the pick in the sense that Detroit needs an offensive tackle. Still, we are surprised to see Cherilus come off the board before Pittsburgh's Jeff Otah. Although they are both expected to be effective run-blockers at the NFL level, Cherilus is more of a developmental prospect in our opinion. The greatest concern with him is that he needs to learn to keep his pad level low and get under defensive ends. On the other hand, he's capable of becoming an excellent starter on the right side if he progresses as expected.
How he fits: With Jim Colletto replacing Mike Martz as the new offensive coordinator, the Lions have obviously put a heavy emphasis on their power running schemes. It all starts up front with the offensive line, which Colletto coaches. They are certainly not sold on Jonathan Scott or George Foster at right tackle, so Cherilus will be able to take over. The Lions finished 31st in the league in run offense, which was a huge concern in the offseason.

18. Baltimore Ravens (from Houston)
The pick: Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware
What he brings: Baltimore fills its greatest need here. Flacco certainly has the makings of a franchise quarterback. He's tall enough to scan the field from the pocket, flashes good pocket presence and has the strongest arm of any quarterback in this year's class. However, he isn't nearly as polished as Matt Ryan and he played against a lower level of competition at Delaware. Keeping that in mind, he's going to have a steeper learning curve, so it's going to take time for him to realize his potential.
How he fits: He is a prototypical pocket passer who should fit in well with Cam Cameron's passing offense. He easily has the ability to attack all levels in the passing game. He is their franchise quarterback of the future, even though he may not start right away. We are not sold on Kyle Boller or Troy Smith, however, and Flacco will compete right away. This team has some good pieces in place on the offensive side of the ball, including RB Willis McGahee, TE Todd Heap and WRs Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason. However, the Ravens' defense is ready to win now and the offense is still not there based on the quarterback questions.

19. Carolina Panthers (from Philadelphia)
The pick: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
What he brings: Trading back up to get Otah makes sense for the Panthers. The other five tackles who were projected to go in the first round all have been selected. Otah lacks ideal athletic ability and needs running back or tight end help at times in pass protection. Still, he has excellent size and is a fierce competitor who excels at driving defenders off the ball.
How he fits: This pick allows the Panthers to keep Jordan Gross at LT and move Travelle Wharton inside to LG. Otah will move to LT and will be an upgrade at the position. The Panthers are clearly trying to upgrade the running game for next year with the additions of Otah and RB Jonathan Stewart. This team has to be able to get the ball to WR Steve Smith and Otah will help give QB Jake Delhomme time to throw. The key to this offense is going to be Delhomme's health, and Otah will help protect the veteran quarterback.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
What he brings: Talib takes too many chances and gets caught out of position far too often for a player with his skills (see: struggles against Jordy Nelson of Kansas State). There are also concerns about his character stemming from three failed drug tests. On the flip side, he has good size and can be physical in coverage. Although he could improve in this area, he's an adequate open-field tackler who provides above-average run support skills for a corner. It's also worth noting that he has good ball skills and can make big plays.
How he fits: The Bucs have some concerns about Philip Buchanon because he is a better fit as a third or fourth corner, and they have also been aggressive in the offseason addressing their needs on defense, especially with the addition of Eugene Wilson. Talib is a good Cover 2 corner who can be physical on the outside based on the way the Bucs run their schemes. By being physical he disrupts the timing of the passing game and allows the defensive line to pressure with only four.

21. Atlanta Falcons (from Washington)
The pick: Sam Baker, OT, USC
What he brings: Injuries hindered Baker during his senior season at USC and his stocked dropped considerably leading up to the draft. In addition, he isn't a physical run-blocker who is going to consistently drive defenders off the ball. Six tackles have been drafted thus far, and Baker had been a top-three tackle prospects before his senior season. In addition, the Falcons' greatest offensive need is at tackle. Although Baker doesn't dominate the point of attack as much as you would like for a first-round offensive tackle, he moves well, gets into position quickly and can sustain his blocks once he's locked onto the defender.
How he fits: There is no doubt the Falcons had to address their offensive line and Baker is an instant upgrade over Renardo Foster, who is a young player coming off a major injury. This team has to find a way to run the football and they must get better up front. They spent a lot of money in free agency on RB Michael Turner and the addition of Baker will help give the Falcons a push up front and allow Turner to be productive. Baker is a finesse guy who will work well within the structure of offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey's zone-running schemes.

22. Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
What he brings: Jerry Jones may not have gotten Darren McFadden, but he did get an Arkansas running back. Felix Jones is not a power back who is going to consistently push the pile in short-yardage situations, and the fact that he shared carries with McFadden in college and lacks elite size raise concerns about his ability to carry a heavy workload. However, he is a big play waiting to happen; he's quick around the corner, shifty enough to make the first defender miss and turns on the jets in the open field.
How he fits: With the loss of Julius Jones the Cowboys needed to find a change-of-pace back opposite Marion Barber. Felix Jones gives them an explosive playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field. He is also an explosive returner in the kicking game. Dallas is a dynamic offensive team and he provides offensive coordinator Jason Garrett another weapon to utilize alongside Barber, TE Jason Witten and WR Terrell Owens.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers
The pick: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
What he brings: Mendenhall isn't going to make many people miss and he's a two-down back at this point; he catches the ball fairly well, but he needs to work on catching the ball away from his frame. Also, he doesn't pick up the blitz consistently. He does have great size and is a tough interior runner who can pick up yards between the tackles, though, and Mendenhall has the second gear to go the distance when he gets a seam.
How he fits: Even though the Steelers had needs on both lines they took the best player on the board with Mendenhall. With the heavy investment they've made in QB Ben Roethlisberger, Mendenhall gives the Steelers another explosive playmaker opposite RB Willie Parker. With the combo of these two backs, the offensive line will look better and more space will open up on the back end in the passing game. The Steelers can get back to relying on the run to set up the pass.

24. Tennessee Titans
The pick: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
What he brings: This is a reach in our opinion. At 197 pounds, there are concerns about Johnson's ability to take the kind of pounding NFL running backs endure. He's also not great between the tackles and has had fumble issues. His biggest strengths are his speed and versatility; Johnson can line up in the backfield or motion out to the slot. His rare speed (4.24) makes him a home run threat regardless of where he lines up. Johnson can also make an impact in the kickoff return game.
How he fits: The Titans have invested second-round picks on LenDale White and Chris Henry the past two years, so this makes no sense. Head coach Jeff Fisher places a heavy emphasis on the running game to protect QB Vince Young, but Young would have been helped by getting a true No. 1 receiver. This pick might be a result of Mike Heimerdinger's new offensive scheme because Johnson does give them an upgrade in the return game and he is flexible on offense. Johnson reminds us a lot of Henry, which makes this pick even more perplexing.

25. Dallas Cowboys (from Seattle)
The pick: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
What he brings: Jenkins doesn't have a great deal of upper-body strength and struggles to reroute receivers at the line of scrimmage. You'd also like to see him capitalize on more opportunities to make big plays. That said, he has the potential to develop excellent man-to-man cover skills because he opens his hips well and is a quick, fast athlete. There's also a lot to like about his versatility; he can line up at safety and can make an impact as a kick returner.
How he fits: Jenkins is a great pick because of his versatility. Wade Phillips can use him as a safety or a corner and he helps Dallas mask the deficiencies of S Roy Williams in pass coverage. CB Terence Newman's contract is up next year, S Ken Hamlin has not signed his tender, there are concerns about Anthony Henry as a starting corner and Pacman Jones is yet to be reinstated. This is a good, young defense that had concerns on the back end, and Jenkins eases some of those concerns.

26. Houston Texans (from JAX through BAL)
The pick: Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech
What he brings: Houston clearly placed an emphasis on need over value. Brown is a reach because he's not a great drive-blocker and he can get pushed into the backfield by bull rushes. On the flip side, he's a former tight end who has the quick feet, athletic ability and initial burst to develop into an outstanding pass-blocker and an effective starter on the left side. It's also worth pointing out that he was the best tackle left on the board (seventh rated overall).
How he fits: Brown is better than either Ephraim Salaam or Jordan Black at left tackle. This was a need for them because the Texans struggled to produce in the running game last year. The Texans are set at right tackle with Eric Winston and improved the interior with the trade for Chris Myers. The Texans play in a tough division and in order for this team to get better, they need to bolster the offensive line and Brown does that.

27. San Diego Chargers
The pick: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
What he brings: San Diego needs a right tackle, but the value isn't there after the run of offensive tackles. The Chargers obviously thought Cason was the best athlete on the board, but we thought his inability to open his hips quickly and his inconsistencies in press coverage would cause him to slip into the second round. However, he ran better than expected at the combine and clearly has the speed to run with receivers downfield. He's also instinctive, locates the ball quickly and fills hard in run support.
How he fits: The Chargers didn't have a lot of needs, but this pick makes a lot of sense. They now have a corner who can replace the departed Drayton Florence and match up in multiple sets in sub. Cason can come in and be a solid No. 3 or No. 4 based on the development of CB Paul Oliver. The Chargers don't run a very complicated scheme on the back end, which should allow him to come in and contribute right away in sub and on special teams. The Chargers already have two quality corners in Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer, so Cason can be brought along slowly while they develop a role for him.

28. Seattle Seahawks (from Dallas)
The pick: Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
What he brings: This is one of the most surprising picks in what has already been a surprising first round. We thought the Seahawks would address their needs with this pick, and they need help at tight end and wide receiver. Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling was still on the board, too, and we think he would have been a better fit than Jackson. All that being said, Jackson has good quickness for a 271-pounder and has the upper-body strength to become a good run-stopper. However, he doesn't have the closing speed you'd like to see in a first-round end and he struggles to hold his ground when the opposition double-teams him.
How he fits: This pick was a surprise because the team already has Patrick Kerney and Darryl Tapp at end. The Seahawks felt their team didn't have a lot of needs, however, and Jackson gives them a backup rotational end who can contribute in sub. Defensive coordinator John Marshall loves to use his defensive linemen as upfield, one-gap rushers who can disrupt blocking patterns. It's obvious it was an organizational pick because the Seahawks could have addressed wide receiver or tight end.

29. San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
What he brings: There are concerns that Balmer is a one-year wonder, and he's a developmental prospect who needs to learn to play with better leverage. Still, he has good size and the frame to get even bigger. He's also athletic for his size, so if he bulks up and learns to play with better leverage, he should develop into an excellent nose tackle.
How he fits: We think this a great pick based on the 49ers' inability to stop the run. Balmer should strengthen the interior of the defense as a nose tackle and will be an upgrade over Aubrayo Franklin. Balmer has the quickest and most explosive hands in the draft. The key for him will be his ability to learn the proper technique while maintaining his pad level and learning to play in a 3-4 system. He can contribute immediately as a first- and second-down player, but doesn't have the ability to help as a pass-rusher.

30. New York Jets (from Green Bay)
The pick: Dustin Keller, TE, Notre Dame
What he brings: No tight end in this year's class projected as a first-round pick in our opinion, making this pick a reach. One of the biggest knocks on Keller is that he's probably never going to develop into an excellent in-line blocker. Also, he doesn't have the frame to add a lot of bulk without sacrificing his greatest strength: his speed. However, Keller certainly has the athletic ability, versatility and burst to make an immediate impact as a receiver. He will be a tough matchup for opposing defenses; his size can cause enormous problems for defensive backs and most linebackers are going to have problems turning to run with him.
How he fits: The Jets are a team lacking playmakers, but Keller gives offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer a lot of versatility with his personnel groupings and matchups. He has good hands and gives them a threat in the passing game, unlike Chris Baker or Bubba Franks. Look for Schottenheimer to move him around and detach him in the formation. The Jets have spent heavily on offensive line and defense in the offseason, and now Keller will help them put points on the board.

31. New York Giants
The pick: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
What he brings: We thought the Giants would address the safety position here, but we thought they would take Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson. However, the fact that Johnson played at such a small school may have given the edge to Phillips in the eyes of the Giants' personnel department. At this point, Phillips is a better athlete than football player; he gets caught out of position too often and takes too many false steps. He has a great deal of upside based on his 4.48 40-yard dash, which is impressive for a 212-pounder. He also changes directions very well, plays with great intensity and is big enough to line up in the box once he proves his ability to shed blocks.
How he fits: Phillips was the safest pick and makes the most sense because of the loss of Gibril Wilson in the offseason. Sammy Knight is best used as a box safety and SS James Butler's contract is up next year. The Giants have the most explosive pass-rushing unit in the NFL and Phillips will stabilize the back end. This addresses a major need on their team.

Hammock Parties
04-26-2008, 07:57 PM
I'm seriously getting a woody thinking about Larry running behind Albert and Waters to the left. We're going to overpower people.

04-26-2008, 08:07 PM
These guys got it wrong.

Albert will play LT.