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Redrafting the 2008 NFL Draft: Some move up, some move out in a weak crop of talent

The 2008 draft will go down as one of the worst in the past decade, not just for the Steelers, but for the entire league. In an attempt to re-draft the 2008 draft, I struggled mightily to find 32 players worthy of first round consideration. Their were only 2 quarterbacks worthy of going in the first round. The drafts strong suit was clearly at running back and wide receiver. The draft also only produced two quality defensive linemen.

Kevin C. Cox

  1. Miami Dolphins - Actual Selection: Jake Long, OT, Michigan - Jake Long, OT, Michigan - The Dolphins selected Jake Long first overall in hopes that he could become a franchise left tackle and he did exactly that. Some could argue for Matt Ryan here but I believe that Long was the right pick for the Dolphins, who had one of the worst offensive lines in the league at this time. Pick Grade: A
  2. St. Louis Rams - Actual Selection: Chris Long, DE, Virginia - Chris Long, DE, Virginia - The Rams were in desparate need of a pass rusher and selected Chris Long out of Virginia, who has lived up to the hype. Again, some could argue for Matt Ryan here but I believe that Long was the right pick. Pick Grade: A
  3. Atlanta Falcons - Actual Selection: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College - Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College - The Falcons were one of the leagues worst teams but in 2008 but it was due to awful quarterback play, not a depleted roster. They elected to select Matt Ryan here and that was absolutely the right pick. They are now poised to compete for a super bowl this year and have been great since Ryan was selected. Pick Grade: A
  4. Oakland Raiders - Actual Selection: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas - Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers - The Raiders had no running game to speak of in the 2007-2008 season and took star running back Darren McFadden. While McFadden has been very good, he has struggled to stay healthy. Meanwhile, Ray Rice has been the leagues most consistent running back since 2008 and would have been the slightly better pick here. Pick Grade: B
  5. Kansas City Chiefs - Actual Selection: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU - Calais Campbell, DE, Miami - The Chiefs were in desparate need of defensive linemen and took Glenn Dorsey, but Campbell would have been a much better pick. Campbell has quitely become one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the game and could have been a huge addition to the Chiefs defense. Pick Grade: F
  6. New York Jets - Actual Selection: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State - Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware - The Jets were in need of a pass rusher in 2008 but they totally failed on this pick. While Flacco is not an elite quarterback, he is certainly in the top half of the NFL and could have done much better than Sanchez with the Jets two AFC Championship teams in the past three years. Pick Grade: F
  7. New Orleans Saints - Actual Selection: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC - Brandon Carr, CB, Grand Valley State - The Saints needed to improve their dreadful defense and tried to do it by building up their defensive line. However, they would have been better off taking Carr, who has become one of the leagues best corners. Ellis had one decent season but has never lived up to his top ten billing. Pick Grade: D-
  8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Actual Selection: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida - Cliff Avril, DE, Purdue - The Jaguars tried to add a pass rusher in Derrick Harvey and people said it was a reach at the time. That turned out to be true as Harvey never became anything in the NFL. Avril is not great, but has had over 8 sacks in each of his last three years while also forcing on average 3 fumbles a year. Pick Grade: F
  9. Cincinnati Bengals - Actual Selection: Keith Rivers, LB, USC - Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee - The Bengals took Keith Rivers at this spot and he did have a couple decent years. However, he never has been able to stay healthy and they traded him away for a 5th round pick. Mayo, on the other hand, who was taken one pick later, has become one of the games best linebackers and would have been the better choice. Pick Grade: C-
  10. New England Patriots - Actual Selection: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee - Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas - The Ravens made the brilliant selection of Jerod Mayo here and he has been the best player on their defense for a couple years now. However, he is no longer available and they now choose to add a dynamic running back to their offense that fits their scheme perfectly. Pick Grade: A
  11. Buffalo Bills - Actual Selection: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy - Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech - The Bills looked to add a cornerback to their awful secondary but McKelvin has never contributed much. He has been a solid kick returner but drafting Flowers would have given them a true lock down corner. Pick Grade: D
  12. Denver Broncos - Actual Selection: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State - Matt Forte, RB, Tulane - The Broncos took Ryan Clady here and he has become one of the games best right tackles when healthy. However the Broncos would have been better off drafting Matt Forte, who would be the perfect back to play with Peyton Manning. Pick Grade: B-
  13. Carolina Panthers - Actual Selection: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon - Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina - The Panthers made a good choice in taking Stewart and he had a couple great years. However, the past three years, the Panthers have grossly underused him and he was hurt this year. While Stewart was good, Johnson would have been the better choice because of his breakaway speed. Pick Grade: C+
  14. Chicago Bears - Actual Selection: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt - Carl Nicks, OG, Nebraska - The Bears tried to bolster their offensive line with the athletic Chris Williams. However, WIlliams was never able to catch on and he was cut during the season. Nicks, who is the games best guard, would have been the better choice by a long way. Pick Grade: D
  15. Kansas City Chiefs - Actual Selection: Brandon Albert, OT, Virginia - Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech - The Chiefs took Brandon Albert here to bolster their offensive line and he has been a decent tackle for the Chiefs. However, they could have taken Duane Brown, who is one of the games best left tackles. Pick Grade: C
  16. Arizona Cardinals - Actual Selection: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State - Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State - The Cardinals made a good choice in taking DRC as he was a lockdown corner and total ballhawk for them before they traded him to acquire Kevin Kolb, In this scenario however, they elect to take Ryan Clady, who as I said earlier, is one of the best right tackles in the league. The Cardinals offensive line has been horrible for years and he could have helped a lot. Pick Grade: B+
  17. Detroit Lions - Actual Selection: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College - Tyvon Branch, S, Connecticut - The Lions tried to improve their offensive line with the selection of Cherilus but he has been awful. Branch is one of the games best safeties and the Lions safeties are awful. He would have made a huge impact for the Lions. Pick Grade: D-
  18. Baltimore Ravens - Actual Selection: Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware - Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas - The Ravens took Flacco here and then Ray Rice in round 2, two awesome picks. However, both of them are gone so they can take another star running back, Jamaal Charles here. There are no quarterbacks worthy of this spot or else I would give them a QB. Pick Grade: A
  19. Carolina Panthers - Actual Selection: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh - Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Iowa State - The Panthers made a decent choice in Otah, who hade some good seasons before injuries derailed his career. However, they could have had one of the games best run stopping defensive tackles, which the Panthers could desparetly use now. Pick Grade: D+
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Actual Selection: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State - The Bucs took star corner Aqib Talib, who had some great seasons for the Bucs. They recently traded him for a pick because of off the field issues. In this scenario, they still take a corner in ball hawk Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Pick Grade: B
  21. Atlanta Falcons - Actual Selection: Sam Baker, OT, USC - Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas - The Falcons looked for a franchise left tackle in Sam Baker here however what they got was an average NFL left tackle. Baker is by no means elite but he is not bad either. However, in this scenario, Talib is available and he would have been the better option. Pick Grade: B-
  22. Dallas Cowboys - Actual Selection: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas - Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois - The Cowboys tried to get their franchise, game-changing running back here but they picked the wrong one. Jones has never done much in the NFL, although he played alright this year. On the other hand, Mendenhall was one of the games best running backs before tearing his ACL and struggling this year. Pick Grade: C
  23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Actual Selection: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois - Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State - The Steelers took Mendenhall here, who shockingly fell to 23. Mendenhall was the Steelers star running back for 3 years before tearing his ACL. He is a free agent this year and likely won't be resigned. With Mendenhall off the board, the Steelers get a game changing wide receiver in Jordy Nelson. The pick only gets a B though because they could have taken Chris Johnson, who was selected with the very next pick. Pick Grade: B
  24. Tennessee Titans - Actual Selection: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina - Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon - The Titans made the awesome selection of Chris Johnson here. Johnson has been one of the games best running backs since entering the league. However, with him no longer available, the Titans get another quality running back in Jonathan Stewart, who if used properly, could be a star. Pick Grade: A
  25. Dallas Cowboys - Actual Selection: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida - Jeremy Zuttah, G, Rutgers - The Cowboys took the ballhawk Mike Jenkins here and he had a couple good seasons to start his career. Howver, the past two seasons he has been dreadful and replaced. Zuttah has been one of the games best guards for a few years now and would be a starter for the Cowboys. Pick Grade: C+
  26. Houston Texans - Actual Selection: Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech - DeSean Jackson, WR, California - The Texans took their franchise left tackle here but he is not available anymore. Instead, they get a dynamic No. 2 receiver to pair with Andre Johnson. Pick Grade: A
  27. San Diego Chargers - Actual Selection: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona - Antonie Cason, CB, Arizona - The Chargers took Cason here and he has become a solid, consistent corner. He is not a number one corner like they hoped but he can consistently line up on number two receivers. In this awful draft, this really was the best option. Pick Grade: A-
  28. Seattle Seahawks - Actual Selection: Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC - Pierre Garcon, WR, Mount Union - The Seahawks took a pass rusher in Lawrence Jackson here but he disappointed. He was a decent pass rusher but never really became a dominant force. They would have been better off taking the talented Pierre Garcon, who has become a legit No. 1 receiver. Pick Grade: D+
  29. San Francisco 49ers - Actual Selection: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina - Kenny Phillips, S, Miami - The 49ers had probably the worst pick of the first round, taking a player who only lasted three years in the NFL. Instead, they could have taken the athletic Kenny Phillips who had a couple great years before missing most of the last two years because of injury. Pick Grade: F
  30. New York Jets - Actual Selection: Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue - Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue - The Jets took the athletic Dustin Keller here and that pick has been a good one. When Keller got even compitent quarterback play, he had some huge years. He struggled this year though as Mark Sanchez regressed dramatically. Pick Grade: A-
  31. New England Patriots - Pick forfeited due to Spygate
  32. New York Giants - Actual Selection: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami - Peyton Hillis, RB, Arkansas - The Giants made a solid choice in Kenny Phillips here, who had a couple good seasons before getting hurt in each of the past two seasons. In this scenario, they could take the powerful Peyton Hillis who had a couple huge years before disappearing. You know the draft was a bad one when Hillis is in the first round. Pick Grade: B