Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Antonio

Antonio's Articles

NFL Mock Draft
Rounds 1 & 2

Ediitor's Note: Antoniio will update this article on 4/21 before the NFL draft takes place.

Round 1

April 7th Update: There’s been a lot of speculation regarding opening round trades involving some combination of the Cowboys, the Raiders, the Jets, the Patriots, the Dolphins, the Saints and a handful of other teams whose needs may not correspond directly with their draft position. I’m going to stay away from trade projections aside from what’s already been done, but I will discuss some possible scenarios within the context of the individual picks.

1. Dolphins – Chris Long, DE, Virginia

Long still seems the safest bet for the Dolphins as the first pick of the 2008 NFL Draft. During the offseason, Bill Parcells added a prototypical veteran QB in Josh McCown, and with Jason Taylor probably out the door after he wraps up his dancing career, the Dolphins will need a DE/OLB pass rusher with game-changing ability. Long has dominated at every level and possesses all the skills necessary to make the jump to the NFL. He excelled at the NFL Combine and while he’s not the fastest defensive end in his draft class, the ones who are faster aren’t 6-3, 272-pound behemoths. He’s got excellent football instincts, sheds blockers with ease and can make all the plays. While it’s still very possible the Dolphins will trade down and pick up another solid DE or DT later in the first round, they’ve already added DT Jason Ferguson to the unit and I think they’ll want to lock up somebody of Long’s caliber while they have the chance.

2. Rams – Jake Long, OT, Michigan

The Rams offensive line isn’t what it used to be – largely because of a bevy of injuries in ‘07 that effectively destroyed their season. Most of the other pieces are there, so the 6-7, 315-pound Jake Long seems to make the most sense here – even with the addition of former Titan offensive lineman Jacob Bell. With prototypical size for an NFL tackle, he’s every NFL quarterback’s draft-day wet dream – and he will make an immediate impact in all facets of the St. Louis offense. If Orlando Pace is healthy enough to start the season, Jake will start at right tackle – eventually moving over the left side when Pace moves on. If they do pick him up, you’ll probably see the fantasy values of Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger increase a few notches.

3. Falcons – Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

While it’s entirely possible the Falcons trade this pick and go for a QB, there are just too many different possibilities with that scenario to bank on one in particular – and waste the opportunity to grab Dorsey, a great player in his own right. He won every award college had to offer last season, including the Nagurski Award, Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy and Lott Award. The only thing that makes him a question mark is the tibia stress fracture he acknowledged, an injury that he said dates back to the summer of ’06 – but it didn’t impede him last year so there’s no reason to believe it will be much of an issue in the NFL. On his Pro Day workout at LSU, Dorsey (6-2, 297) ran the 40 in 5.13 and 5.12, had a 25.5-inch vertical jump, 8-foot-4-inch long jump, 4.80 short shuttle, and 7.52 cone drill. During position drills, Dorsey apparently looked very good. Even if the Falcons draft Matt Ryan (which I don’t think they will) Dorsey will be a top ten pick.

4. Raiders – Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

Some mock drafts have the Raiders trading this pick to the Cowboys, and some even have it going to the Jets. Unless the Raiders can add a second round pick this year (#36) or next year (undetermined) from the Jets for dropping two spots, or get a future second and the Cowboys’ first pick this season, there’s just no way Al Davis will pass up on snagging an athlete like McFadden with the fourth overall selection. But it just doesn’t make sense for the Jets to trade up and grab Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston – since he’ll probably fall to #6 anyway.

5. Chiefs – Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

I still don’t think the Chiefs will go for Matt Ryan here, although taking Glenn Dorsey is distinct possibility if he falls to #5 and Sedrick Ellis is a beast of a talent. Honestly, I think taking a bookend tackle like Clady is the right move – for a lot of teams in the first round – although there are other lineman available who might fit better into the KC offense. Clady’s a future Pro-Bowler who can start right away and help this struggling unit. The Chiefs may go with Jeff Otah, Chris Williams or even trade down to grab Gosder Cherilus if he slips – but none of them are probably as far along as Clady, who’s rarely outside the top ten in the consensus of mock drafts.

6. Jets – Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

If McFadden doesn’t go to the Raiders, he’ll slip to the Jets, but I’m banking that Al Davis likes the prospect of improving the offense before the defense – which isn’t terrible to begin with. The Jets, on the other hand, need Gholston, a man-child who shredded his competition at the combine, posting a 4.67 in the 40 and a ridiculous 37 reps – 6 more than Derrick Harvey, his closet competitor. Plus, he boasts a 35.5 inch vertical, 10.5 foot broad jump and an exceptional character.

7. Patriots (from 49ers) – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DB, Tennessee State

With so many great DBs in the draft, it’s very possible that the Pats trade this pick for a few slots down and future considerations. I think Rodgers-Cromartie is their guy, unless he’s the Cowboys’s guy (Dallas sent a crew to videotape his entire Pro Day workout) The defense took major hits this offseason, losing both Asante Samuel and Randall Gay to free agency. Rodgers-Cromartie – Antonio’s cousin – blew up at the combine and impressed everybody with his speed and athleticism. He’s 6’1” and has room to develop into a solid NFL safety – another position the Pats need to bolster. While there are a slew of great DBs in this year’s draft, including Leodis McKelvin and Mike Jenkins – the two guys usually considered before Rodgers-Cromartie in most mock drafts – this guy might be the best.

8. Ravens – Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

Sure – they just drafted Troy Smith, but they showed absolutely no confidence in him at the end of last season (which bothered me), when he probably could’ve started the last few weeks since the season was already lost. And yes, the Ravens need to bolster their line and develop an offense that can actually move the football, but Ryan might be a fresh start. After years of dominating the draft, the Ravens will look to grab the player with the most potential at the #8 spot, unless they snag a stud lineman or a top DB. Ryan – who might still get snagged by the Falcons before the Ravens even get to him – could be an interesting selection.

9. Bengals – Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC

This selection is from the no-brainer department of draft picks, unless, of course, Ellis gets taken sooner. Then, I think, the Bengals would be wise to add either a top RB or a studly offensive lineman. Ellis, however, is big, tough and just the kind of combination run/pass stuffer the Bengals need to anchor their weak defensive line. He’s got great footwork and balance and can immediately jump in as a starter for Cincy – and could possibly be a Pro-Bowler within the next couple years.

10. Saints – Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

I still like the Saints taking a DB here, unless one of the top DTs falls to the 10th pick. There’s just so many good corners to choose from. The Saints might snag McKelvin, who’s also a kick return specialist and possible two-way threat, but my feeling is that it’ll be Jenkins, who’s basically a slightly bulkier version of McKelvin and might not require as much cash to sign.

11. Bills – Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy

See above. McKelvin has drawn comparisons to R.W. McQuarters, and while the Bills have glaring needs at DT and LB, I think taking a player with McKelvin’s upside makes the most sense. Lots of draft experts have the Bills selecting Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly here, but I think the top CBs are just too strong to ignore this early in the game, and Kelly’s a reach at #11. There will also be a glut of receivers available in round 2, if the Bills choose to even go that direction.

12. Broncos – Keith Rivers, LB, USC

Rivers is considered by many to be the best in the draft, although Shanahan could take a RB. While the Broncos have other needs (OL, WR) I think it’s imperative they select a linebacker here – all the good ones will be gone by their next selection at Round 2, with the exception of possibly Maryland LB Erin Henderson or Xavier Adibi from Virginia Tech – who could go somewhere in Round 2 or early Round 3. If that’s their thinking, they’ll take Vanderbilt tackle Chris Williams and opt for Henderson or Adibi in Round 2 if they’re still available.

13. Panthers – Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt

This team needs a big tackle that can protect Jake Delhomme’s blind side, and Williams is just the guy to do it. He’s a rangy 6-6, 315 with solid pass-blocking skills, although he’s far from the strongest offensive tackle in the draft. The other standout tackle who could be selected here is Jeff Otah (see below, pick 15).

14. Bears – Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

Mendenhall is a hometown product from nearby Skokie that will go a long way toward forgetting Cedric Benson, who’s just not developing into the player the Bears had envisioned when they selected him with the fourth pick overall in 2005. The Illini back is a physical inside runner with quickness and superb balance. The Bears need a solid running back, and it’s probably going to be him, Felix Jones or Jonathan Stewart.

15. Lions – Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

Otah, with his huge frame (6-6, 332), great instincts and raw talent, could prove to be the best offensive lineman in the draft, although he’ll have to tighten up his physique and improve his speed and strength if he wants to dominate at the next level. I think the Lions need a solid offensive lineman before they start worrying about the skill positions, but they could also opt for a RB like Stewart or Jones here and take a tackle in Round 2.

16. Cardinals – Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon

Turf toe injuries this early in a career are always a concern, but you just can’t ignore what Stewart did at Oregon – even while playing in pain. He’s a complete back with few weaknesses, and has even drawn comparisons to LaDainian Tomlinson. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals – who need a back with a little more punch than the aging Edgerrin James – letting Stewart fall past their hands.

17. Vikings – Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida

With the exception of Gholston, no defensive end turned more heads at the combine than Harvey, whose massive 6-4, 271-pound frame and superior athleticism remind many of Jevon Kearse. He has the required speed to be a dominant edge rusher, and could even switch to OLB with the right personnel and scheme. The Vikes have to consider Philip Merling and Calais Campbell, but neither has Harvey’s speed and we haven’t gotten a really good look at them yet.

18. Texans – Agib Talib, CB, Kansas

The Texans biggest needs are at RB and CB. If the big-name running backs are gone, you can bet the Texans will be selecting a top corner – from which they’ll still have several to choose. Depending on your view of a corner’s best assets, Talib could be a boon or a bust. He’s not that tough, has solid – but not exceptional – speed, is very athletic with a 38-inch vertical leap, and can broad jump almost 11 feet. He’s also a bit of a gambler, but he hasn’t reached his full potential – so I think he’ll be a first-rounder.

19. Eagles – Kenny Phillips, S, Miami

The Eagles could also go a variety of ways with this pick, filling needs at WR, DE and even LB. But Phillips – easily the best safety prospect in the draft, is a banger with solid coverage skills in the mold of Sean Taylor and Brian Dawkins. If they wait until Round 2, he’ll be gone, so they’ll have to grab him now and take a DE or WR they can live with in Round 2.

20. Buccaneers – DeSean Jackson, WR, California

Jackson, who was considered the third-best all-around athlete in the Major League Baseball draft prospect pool in 2005 by Baseball America, is a rare specimen with impressive speed, agility and intensity. While the Bucs could go for a Malcolm Kelly here, take a QB, opt for a top linebacker, or take of the many solid defensive backs that remain, I think they’ll draft Jackson based simply on his intangibles – a la Ted “Family Matters” Ginn.

21. Redskins – Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma

There’s lots of talk about the Redskins reaching for Quentin Groves here, and while his talent is clearly first-round quality, he should be available in Round 2. Maybe the Skins trade down and snag Groves before Round 2 kicks off, but it should be first thing’s first with this offense. The Skins desperately need some consistency with respect to their WRs, and they could take Limas Sweed, but if Kelly slips this far, they might grab him. The Oklahoma product is a complete receiver with size, speed and hands to make the tough catch. So why could he fall this far? He’s already had knee surgery to repair cartilage damage, and he’s had some other minor injuries. Also – the Sooners aren’t quite known for their stellar wide receivers – making some of the other WRs slated for first-round picks maybe a better choice.

22. Cowboys (from Browns) – Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

As a Cowboy fan, it would be nice to think they might draft up for McFadden – but with so many highly touted backs available in the first two rounds, why bother? Jerry Jones loves Arkansas running backs, and if he can’t have their best, how about the other half of the devastating backfield duo? Fayetteville Felix is a relatively unknown commodity – but one who could be as productive at the next level as McFadden, especially with his propensity for big plays and electrifying kick returns. This Jones could definitely be the Yin to Marion Jones’ Yang in the Dallas backfield – and provide a boost they just didn’t get with Julius Teaser.

23. Steelers – Branden Albert, G, Virginia

Albert’s the biggest (6-6, 309), quickest guard in the draft, so it makes sense the Steelers select him to fill the shoes of Alan Faneca, who signed on March 1 with the Jets. I’m sure Albert, who’s from Rochester, NY, will enjoy being close to home and playing for his favorite team. And if the Steelers don’t opt for a RB, CB or WR here, he’s their man.

24. Titans – Limas Sweed, WR, Texas

Limas Sweed might be the best value of any first-round player. With his prototypical size (6-4, 216), speed and athleticism (and ultra-cool sounding name), the guy’s poised for greatness at the next level, something the Titans desperately need at least one of their bevy of young receivers to achieve.

25. Seahawks – Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue

Just about every mock draft I’ve encountered lists Dustin Keller as the Seahawks first-round selection, and after tossing about 10 different names of DLs, OTs and WRs in this slot and adjusting the second round ramifications accordingly, it just didn’t make any sense. Keller could be the blocker/possession receiver that Matt Hasselbeck – and the rest of this unit – needs to open up the offense and allow their talented skill starters to flourish once again.

26. Jaguars – Philip Merling, DE, Clemson

I honestly can’t see Merling going much later than pick 26, and I’ve taken some heat already for pushing him this far down. Another option, if Merling and Harvey were already gone, would be the U’s Calais Campbell. Merling’s value diminished following an extremely limited showing (just 17 reps on the bench press) at the combine that failed to give scouts a true idea of his speed and strength. His uncle and former position coach at Clemson, Chris Rumph, informed the media that Merling had recent surgery to repair a sports hernia. While Merling needs to work on his technique before he’ll succeed as a pro, he’s still a hot commodity than should escape a first-round selection.

27. Chargers – Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College

Cherilus isn’t among the elite tackles in this year’s draft, mainly because he’s not a great pass-blocker and was penalized quite a bit at BC when he switched to left tackle for his senior season. But he’ll make a good fit as the right tackle for the Chargers, who already have Marcus McNeill – a Pro Bowl alternate in 2007 as a rookie. There are some areas where the Chargers need some improvement, but Cherilus is the selection that makes the most sense.

28. Cowboys – Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State

They could easily go CB here, but if the top dogs are gone, they should wait until round 2. Like I’ve said before, Terry Glenn is moments away from being euthanized, and T.O. isn’t necessarily of sound mind. Dallas needs a guy with a dependable future, and Thomas could be the one. He’s not great yet, but he’ll offer a nice complement to Owens in ’08 and could be the #2 WR in Bid D for years to come. If the Cowboys are willing to gamble, you could see them take James Hardy (WR, Indiana) with this pick.

29. 49ers (from Colts) – Dan Connor, LB, Penn State

Connor has drawn comparisons to fellow Penn State product Paul Posluszny and would be a nice fit on this improving defense. Connor might not fall this far, but I think some teams will pass on him because of obvious needs in other areas and draft value quandaries. And I think the 49ers won’t like the value of the remaining lineman at this early point. They could trade up or down for a stud tackle, but if they stay here, Connor will be the best they can do.

30. Packers – Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

Like I said before, you can never have too many good corners. Cason has got great football instincts and can make all the plays to be a shutdown corner at the next level. With the Packers, he’ll have an opportunity to develop at a normal pace and eventually be a Pro-Bowl type player.

31. Giants – Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee

The Giants could really use a top-notch offensive lineman, but they’ll be lucky to get a versatile linebacker like Mayo with this pick. There are flashier linebackers with bigger upsides out there, including Quentin Groves, but Groves is a pass-rushing tweener – and the Giants are stacked with edge rushers. Mayo was effective as an OLB – and on the inside last season at Tennessee, so he could eventually be moved back to the outside in the Giants 4-3. Wherever this fast, instinctive tackler ends up, he’ll have an impact. Other options for this pick include Penn State LB Dan Connor and Maryland’s Erin Henderson. Tavares Gooden, an ILB out of Miami, has been mentioned a lot lately, but he’s really a serious reach in Round 1 and only a marginal Round 2 selection.

Next: Round 2