By Chris Steuber
NFL Draft Analyst
Posted Jan 24, 2008
Now that all of the underclassmen have declared for the NFL Draft and with the Senior Bowl underway, Scout.com's Chris Steuber has updated his first round projections. Take a look at who your favorite NFL team is likely to pick in April.
The biggest offseason spectacle, the NFL Draft, is still a few months away, but it's always fun to look ahead and try to predict the future. The 2008 draft class is strong in many areas, especially at running back, thanks to the infusion of underclassmen more than fifty underclassmen.
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- DE, Chris Long, Virginia, Sr., 6-3, 278
The Dolphins will most likely try to trade this pick in hopes of adding a few more selections to help their team. If they're unable to trade the pick, Bill Parcells will decide between three players: DE Chris Long, DT Glenn Dorsey and RB Darren McFadden. They're all intriguing, but Long fits Parcells' style best.
- DT, Glenn Dorsey, LSU, Sr., 6-2, 313
The Rams have to upgrade their offensive line, which was horrendous last season. Michigan OT Jake Long is a possibility, but it's a reach to take him at this pick. LSU DT Glenn Dorsey is a better option and gives the Rams another young D-Lineman who they can build their line around.
- QB, Brian Brohm, Louisville, Sr., 6-3, 227
The Falcons are heading in a new direction. They hired former Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith as the new head coach, and now they have to identify a new field general. Even though Bobby Petrino left Atlanta, the next QB of the Falcons should be Louisville's Brian Brohm.
- RB, Darren McFadden, Arkansas, Jr., 6-2, 210
The Raiders have a huge decision to make at this selection. They can draft Michigan OT Jake Long to help protect JaMarcus Russell, select USC DT Sedrick Ellis to replace Warren Sapp, or add the best offensive weapon in the draft in Arkansas RB Darren McFadden. McFadden provides Russell with a playmaker, so he's an easy choice.
- OT, Jake Long, Michigan, Sr., 6-7, 335
The Chiefs are faced with an ideal situation — having the best offensive tackle in the draft, Michigan's Jake Long, fall into their lap. Kansas City struggled throwing the ball this past season, and with Brodie Croyle starting next season as the Chiefs full time starter, he's going to need all the protection he can get.
- DE, Vernon Gholston, Ohio State, Jr., 6-3, 260
The Jets line up in a 3-4 scheme and are always looking for athletes to fit into their defense. Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston projects well as an outside linebacker and gives the Jets a versatile defender.
- from 49ers, CB, Aqib Talib, Kansas, Jr., 6-1, 195
The Patriots find themselves in a great situation. They have a chance to win another Super Bowl and they hold a top-ten pick in the draft. New England has to add youth to its linebacking corps, but with Aqib Talib on the board, adding depth to the secondary is a must.
- QB, Matt Ryan, Boston College, Sr., 6-5, 224
The Ravens have had a disappointing season, and a lot of their problems stem from the instability of the quarterback situation. Steve McNair is past his prime and Kyle Boller hasn't worked out since being selected as a first-round pick in 2003. The Ravens drafted Troy Smith last year, and he played well towards the end of the season. But adding a QB with leadership qualities is a must, and BC's Matt Ryan is a welcome addition.
- DT, Sedrick Ellis, USC, Sr., 6-1, 307
The Bengals desperately need help on defense. The secondary is young and promising, but the front seven needs some work. Luckily for the Bengals, USC's Sedrick Ellis is still available and he'll boost the production of the defense.
- CB, Mike Jenkins, South Florida, Sr., 5-11, 200
The Saints need help in the secondary. And with Aqib Talib off the board, New Orleans has to choose between Kenny Phillips and Mike Jenkins. In the end, adding a potential lockdown corner wins out and Jenkins is the pick.
- WR, Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma, Jr., 6-4, 215
Outside of Lee Evans, the Bills don't have a big-play threat at the receiver position. Buffalo finished the season with the third-worst passing offense in the league. The Bills have a young starting quarterback in Trent Edwards, and supplying him with a player of Malcolm Kelly's abilities will help the Buffalo offense.
- OT, Ryan Clady, Boise State, Jr., 6-6, 320
Any time a team is grooming a young quarterback, it's important to give him the best possible protection to be successful. The Broncos have done a good job with Jay Cutler, but giving him a quality tackle to grow with makes sense. Ryan Clady, a junior from the Boise State Broncos, is a solid pick if he enters the draft.
- QB, Andre Woodson, Kentucky, Sr., 6-4, 224
The Panthers have had a merry-go-round all season long at quarterback. They brought in David Carr to hopefully resurrect his career, but that experiment didn't work. When Jake Delhomme returns next season, he'll most likely be the starter, but drafting Andre Woodson gives Panthers fans a future to look forward to.
- FS, Kenny Phillips, Miami, Jr., 6-2, 210
With the top three quarterbacks off the board, the Bears have a few different areas they can address. They can upgrade their offensive line, but selecting an OT this high is a stretch. Due to concerns about Cedric Benson, drafting a RB is a possibility. But with Miami's versatile defensive back Kenny Phillips available, he's the best player available who can help the Bears immediately.
- CB, Leodis McKelvin, Troy, Sr., 5-10, 186
The Lions are another team that has struggled in the secondary this season. They finished 31st in the league in passing yards allowed (258 YPG) and need a playmaker who can challenge the opposition. Troy's Leodis McKelvin is rising up draft charts, and gives the Lions a versatile weapon on defense and special teams.
- OLB, Keith Rivers, USC, Sr., 6-3, 237
The Cardinals are building a solid foundation on defense. In order for that to continue they have to add playmakers. USC LB Keith Rivers offers versatility and an attacking style that fits well into Arizona's defensive scheme.
- DE, Calais Campbell, Miami, Jr., 6-7, 280
Adding a receiver makes sense for the Vikings, but improving their pass rush is a priority. Miami DE Calais Campbell is an imposing force who should make an immediate impact.
- RB, Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois, Jr., 5-11, 215
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. Illinois star Rashard Mendenhall has the elusiveness and strength the Texans' offense needs.
- DE, Derrick Harvey, Florida, Jr., 6-4, 260
The Eagles have to add depth in the secondary, but with all the top DBs off the board, Philly will look in another direction. Adding DeSean Jackson is a possibility, but in the end the Eagles will select Florida DE Derrick Harvey to replace another former Gator, Jevon Kearse.
- WR, DeSean Jackson, California, Jr., 6-0, 172
The Buccaneers may look to add an offensive tackle with this pick, but with Cal's DeSean Jackson on the board, he's too good to pass up. Joey Galloway is in his mid-thirties, and adding Jackson as his successor gives the Bucs a weapon on offense and special teams.
- DT, Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina, Sr., 6-4, 295
The Redskins got a great year out of DE Andre Carter this season and could use some help on the interior of the line. UNC's Kentwan Balmer is exactly what Washington needs — a solid defender who can rush the passer and stop the run.
- from Browns, WR, Mario Manningham, Michigan, Jr., 6-0, 187
Even though the Cowboys are picking up Terrell Owens' roster bonus next season, that doesn't mean they shouldn't think about the future. T.O. and Terry Glenn are in their thirties, so adding a young playmaker like Mario Manningham will give Dallas a young receiver to build around.
- OT, Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh, Sr., 6-6, 341
The Steelers are solid all around, but giving Ben Roethlisberger more protection up front is key to their success. Adding a player they're familiar with in Jeff Otah, who played at Pitt, gives the Steelers much needed depth and versatility.
- WR, Limas Sweed, Texas, Sr., 6-5, 220
The Titans have to give Vince Young a reliable receiver that he can grow with. Drafting Texas' Limas Sweed, a former teammate of Young's, provides familiarity and the big, reliable target the Titans offense needs.
- RB, Jonathan Stewart, Oregon, Jr., 5-11, 230
The Seahawks drafted Shaun Alexander in 2000 as Ricky Watters' eventual replacement. With Alexander now 30 years old and a bit slower, it may be time to think about his successor. Oregon's Jonathan Stewart is the perfect protégé for Alexander.
- WR, James Hardy, Indiana, Jr., 6-6, 220
The Jaguars have seen Reggie Williams grow as a receiver, but adding another playmaker on offense is a priority. Indiana's James Hardy is a big target with deep threat potential.
- OLB, Dan Connor, Penn State, Sr., 6-3, 230
The Chargers use their linebackers very well, and they already have a solid group. But when a player like Dan Connor is on the board, you can always find a place for him to play on defense.
- OT, Sam Baker, USC, Sr., 6-5, 314
The Cowboys addressed the receiver position with their first selection, so now it's time to give Tony Romo some more protection up front. Surprised that Sam Baker is still available, the Cowboys draft the USC All-American.
- from Colts, WR, Early Doucet, LSU, Sr., 6-0, 213
The Niners have to add playmakers on offense to have any chance at winning. They hired Mike Martz as their offensive coordinator to give the 49ers offense a fresh look. Martz loves wide receivers, and with Alex Smith in place as the team's QB, drafting LSU's Early Doucet gives Smith a true weapon.
- OT, Chris Williams, Vanderbilt, Sr., 6-6, 317
The emergence of Ryan Grant towards the end of the season gives the Packers hope that they've found their running back. As a result, drafting a RB in the first round isn't necessary. The Packers could look at a tight end at this selection, but Chris Williams' play at the Senior Bowl has given him first-round status.
- OLB, Ali Highsmith, LSU, Sr., 6-0, 227
The Giants made it to the Super Bowl, but it's obvious that they have some flaws. They have to add depth and youth at linebacker, and LSU's Ali Highsmith is a quality addition with the last pick in Round 1.
- PATRIOTS SELECTION FORFEITED - (16 - 0)