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    Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    1ST ROUND

    1. Miami Dolphins: Chris Long, OLB, Virginia
    -In my opinion, this really comes down to three possibilities. Deficiencies along the offensive line could cause Miami to think hard about selecting offensive tackle Jake Long. The athleticism and upside of Ohio State’s Vernon Gholston would make him a consideration at this spot as well. But assuming the Dolphins don’t trade out of this spot, I think the guy leading the pack for this pick at present is Virginia defensive end Chris Long, who could play standing up in Miami’s 3-4 defensive scheme.

    2. St. Louis Rams: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
    -The Rams secured a starting offensive lineman in Jacob Bell through free agency. That combined with Orlando Pace’s rehabilitation progress lessens the need for offensive line help. Meanwhile, the Rams only have one starting defensive end in Leonard Little, who turns 34-years-old this season. Gholston has incredible upside and ability to bring game-changing pressure from the edge, and his impressive offseason workouts have caused him to shoot up draft boards. With Chris Long off the board, Gholston could be the pick here.

    3. Atlanta Falcons: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
    -A couple of considerations for Atlanta. Do they take Matt Ryan to be the new face of their franchise? I’m not sure they’re sold on him. Jake Long gets a long, hard look, as the Falcons have virtually nothing at offensive tackle. But it’s a deep tackle draft, so they could potentially find some talent later. New head coach Mike Smith is a defensive minded head coach, so adding an elite player like Glenn Dorsey – assuming his leg checks out as being healthy – would make a lot of sense for the Falcons.

    4. Oakland Raiders: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
    -The Raiders spent a high first round pick on an offensive lineman four years ago in Robert Gallery, but that didn’t quite work out as Gallery is now playing guard for Oakland. It would be very tempting for the Raiders to take Darren McFadden here, giving them a young talented combo at quarterback and wide receiver. But finding someone to protect JaMarcus Russell from the left tackle position is vital for Oakland’s success, making Jake Long a very interesting option for the Raiders here.

    5. Kansas City Chiefs: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
    -The Chiefs probably thought that if Jake Long got by the Rams and Falcons, he was all theirs. Unfortunately their AFC West rivals spoiled the party, so now the Chiefs are left with a decision. They could reach for another offensive tackle – supposedly they’re very interested in Pittsburgh’s Jeff Otah – but Kansas City has other options to consider that are better than sacrificing value for need. One of them is USC defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis, who could help bolster an unimpressive run defense.

    6. New York Jets: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
    -Nice situation for the Jets. While he may not fill the biggest need or be the player they may have hoped would fall to them, running back Darren McFadden is certainly not a poor consolation prize. New York already has a number of bodies in the backfield, but none as talented as McFadden. If Darren can do for New York what Adrian Peterson did for Minnesota last season, then this pick will have been well worth it. Defensive help as well as help along the offensive line can wait until later when the value is better.

    7. New England Patriots (f/SF): Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
    -If we’re putting all the cards out on the table, the Patriots would probably prefer to trade out of this pick. Should McFadden still be on the board, Dallas would be an intriguing trade partner. But he’s not, and I’m not projecting trades this time around. So, stuck with the seventh overall pick, I think the selection that makes the most sense for New England is Leodis McKelvin. The Troy cornerback is widely considered a top ten value, and the Patriots lost both Asante Samuel and Randall Gay to free agency. Their secondary needs the help.

    8. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
    -What an incredible turn of events for Baltimore! The Ravens probably thought they’d be looking at guys like Joe Flacco, Brian Brohm, and Chad Henne in the second and third round. But what a surprise when Matt Ryan drops to them here! The real question is, will Baltimore pass on the Boston College signal caller? After all, it doesn’t appear as if Jonathan Ogden will return in ’08, making someone like Ryan Clady an intriguing option. But I simply can’t see them passing up on Ryan if he were available.

    9. Cincinnati Bengals: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
    -Running back certainly isn’t a huge need for the Bengals, but they haven’t gotten great production out of the position recently and it’s uncertain whether Rudi Johnson will ever be that workhorse tailback again. The depth behind Johnson is generally unimpressive. Cincinnati’s need for a defensive end was met by the free agent signing of Antwan Odom, and no available defensive tackle is worth the selection here. So in the end, the Bengals improve their team by selecting an offensive playmaker.

    10. New Orleans Saints: Keith Rivers, LB, USC
    -The conventional wisdom is that the Saints will select a cornerback at the top of round one, especially with the young Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie still on the board. But the New Orleans secondary is crowded after having just signed Randall Gay to join Mike McKenzie, Jason David, and Usama Young. I’m not convinced the Saints can continue to devote big resources there. In the meantime, while the acquisition of Jonathan Vilma secured the middle linebacker spot, the Saints could still use an upgrade at outside linebacker over Dan Morgan, especially in the long term.

    11. Buffalo Bills: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
    -Surprised that DRC has made it this far – some project him as a top ten pick to the Jets, Patriots, or Ravens – the Bills shouldn’t waste much time getting this pick to the podium. They’ve already met needs along the defensive line by trading for Marcus Stroud, and a hole at strong-side linebacker was filled with the acquisition of Kawicka Mitchell. DRC should be able to challenge immediately for nickel duties before eventually growing into a starting role in Buffalo’s defensive scheme.

    12. Denver Broncos: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
    -The retirement of Matt Lepsis creates a large void at left tackle, one that I’m not convinced Chris Kuper or Ryan Harris could fill. Boise State’s Ryan Clady is largely considered one of this draft’s best left tackle prospects, and he should fit well within Denver’s scheme. The Broncos may view needs along the defense to be of bigger priority, but when a team has a chance to fill a giant hole at left tackle, they shouldn’t pass it up. Especially after drafting a franchise quarterback in the first round last year.

    13. Carolina Panthers: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
    -Defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Philip Merling got some consideration here, as Carolina needs to find another way to get to the quarterback besides using Julius Peppers, who disappointed in ’07. However, Carolina really would like to solve their problems at the left tackle position where they’ve struggled to find a capable long-term answer. Drafting Williams would allow them to do that, and would also allow them to shift Travelle Wharton back inside to guard where he’s probably a better fit.

    14. Chicago Bears: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh
    -Chicago’s offense is in need of a makeover, with the first pieces coming along the offensive line. The Bears elected to release right tackle Fred Miller, and left tackle John Tait isn’t exactly getting any younger. It doesn’t appear Ruben Brown will be back either, so finding a lineman that can contribute immediately would certainly be a plus. Pittsburgh’s Jeff Otah could work in a number of spots on that offensive line while he develops his game for the future. His strength and power should be a welcomed addition to Chicago’s run-oriented offense.

    15. Detroit Lions: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
    -One of the keys to effectively running a Tampa 2 scheme is finding someone capable of disrupting the backfield from the edge. While Detroit finished the season with respectable team numbers in terms of sacks, they lack that true double-digit difference maker from the edge. Derrick Harvey of Florida has proven in his college career he’s capable of being that difference maker, with 20.5 sacks and 31 stops for loss in 36 total games. If he were able to bring that kind of production to the pro level, he’d be quite a force for Rod Marinelli’s unit.

    16. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
    -The Cardinals appear primed to move former first round pick Antrel Rolle to free safety, admitting the Terrence Holt experiment was a bust by cutting him only a year after his acquisition. Moving Rolle to safety though creates a hole at corner as the Cardinals would have to find someone capable of starting opposite of Roderick Hood, who had a career year in ’07. South Florida’s Mike Jenkins could certainly be off the board by now; however, if he isn’t, he’d be an obvious choice for Arizona in the middle of the first round.

    17. Minnesota Vikings: Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson
    -There’s talk that a sports hernia surgery could cause Merling to drop towards the bottom of the first round. That’s certainly a possibility, as Merling will now have missed both the NFL Combine and his own pro day, forcing teams to judge him based solely on his college tape (which isn’t exactly a bad thing). The Vikings are all too familiar with defensive ends that have medical issues, but their need at the position may be too large to allow Merling to pass by them, especially since a better option is not available here.

    18. Houston Texans: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon
    -Like Phillip Merling, recent medical concerns could cause a productive back like Jonathan Stewart to slip on draft day. However, I think there are too many good destinations for him to slip completely out of the first round altogether. One of those options is Houston, a team that hasn’t had a true feature tailback since the days of Dominick Davis. Because the Texans have some capable but unimpressive players already at tailback, they won’t be hurt should Stewart need some addition time to heal following toe surgery.

    19. Philadelphia Eagles: Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
    -And the first receiver is officially off the board! Who had money on Devin Thomas? Because it’s time to pay up! Bigger name receivers such as DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, and Limas Sweed have, in my opinion, failed to lock down the top spot in this receiver class. Jackson could be too small, and both Kelly and Sweed have some injury concerns. Meanwhile, all Thomas has done this offseason is wow scouts with an impressive combination of size, speed, and ability. He could be the #1 receiver the Eagles have been searching for since Terrell Owens.

    20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas
    -Let’s face it. When your team is starting Ike Hilliard opposite Joey Galloway, and then goes out and signs Antonio Bryant, it should be evident that wide receiver is an area of need. Many people consider DeSean Jackson a candidate for this pick, and I’m not quite convinced he isn’t. After all, the Bucs have been doing well with a smaller speedster in Galloway, so perhaps Jackson can carry that torch for the future. But I’ll go a different direction and give Tampa Bay a taller playmaker in Limas Sweed.

    21. Washington Redskins: Brandon Albert, OL, Virginia
    -Defensive end, defensive tackle, and wide receiver are areas the Redskins could address with this pick. But they also have significant needs along the offensive line. Though they acquired left guard Pete Kendall in a trade last year, the fact remains that Kendall will turn 35 this year. On top of that, Randy Thomas has finished two of the last three season on injured reserve. Adding youth to the offensive line would be a step in the right direction, making Brandon Albert, this year’s top guard, a viable option at this spot for Washington.

    22. Dallas Cowboys (f/CLE): Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
    -Being able to take a cornerback like Talib at this spot in the draft would be an ideal scenario for Dallas. After all, some envision Talib as one of the best corners in this class, potentially vying for a top ten selection. Finding him on the board at pick #22 would be very fortunate for a team that not only needs a nickel corner but could upgrade Anthony Henry’s starting job. Talib has all the physical tools teams look for, and is entering the draft on a high note after helping Kansas defeat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl with a 60-yard interception return.

    23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
    -Pittsburgh was probably expecting Brandon Albert to be on the board when they picked, thus allowing them to find a young capable replacement for departing free agent guard Alan Faneca. Unfortunately, the Redskins had other plans, and the Steelers now have to contemplate their next move. They could reach for more offensive line help, or they could take a player once thought of as the best receiver in this class and a potential top fifteen pick. The 6’3” Kelly gives Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger the size he’s been craving in the passing game.

    24. Tennessee Titans: DeSean Jackson, WR, California
    -Reuniting Limas Sweed with Vince Young would have been nice, but it was not meant to be. That doesn’t change the fact that the Titans need to find another playmaker at wide receiver, as Justin Gage is not an ideal top target and Justin McCareins isn’t fooling anyone into thinking he’s an adequate starter. Adding someone with 4.35 speed that can stretch the field and go the distance like Jackson can should be a nice compliment to Gage’s size, and will help franchise quarterback Vince Young develop into an even more capable passer.

    25. Seattle Seahawks: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
    -Tough pick to project, to be honest. The Seahawks signed two running backs in Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett, and while neither of them look to be long-term options, there’s certainly no longer a need to spend a first round pick at the position, especially with the top three candidates off the board. Tight end and offensive line were thoughts, but I’m not sold on the value for either. Ultimately I think a lineman could be the pick, but on the defensive side, where Kentwan Balmer would help add talent to a very questionable interior unit.

    26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Calias Campbell, DE, Miami
    -Many are projecting that Calias Campbell will fall out of the first round after a poor showing at the combine and a less than impressive workout at his pro day. I certainly think that’s a possibility, but I also think Campbell has too much potential to slip very far. Jacksonville has some serious holes to fill at the defensive end position, where Paul Spicer and Reggie Hayward are hardly on the upswing and Bobby McCray left via free agency. An in-state prospect like Campbell could look very intriguing based on his high ceiling.

    27. San Diego Chargers: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
    -It was hard to identify a number of glaring holes on this team, a problem I seem to remember from last season. After cutting loose Shane Olivia, offensive tackle could certainly get some consideration. But one area they could clearly improve on is safety, as Marlon McCree left for Denver after an unimpressive stint in San Diego. The Charges drafted Eric Weddle last year, giving them the possibility of having one of the best young safety combinations should they elect to take Phillips at the bottom of round one.

    28. Dallas Cowboys: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
    -There are so many people who think Jerry Jones is desperate for an Arkansas running back. But most think it’s the other one, the one that would require Jones to sell the farm in order to move up and take him. Sure, that’s an option, especially if McFadden slips to the sixth or seventh pick where a trade up becomes more reasonable. But the Cowboys could also stay put and take a back like Felix Jones, also from Arkansas, who is used to the two-back system and could compliment Marion Barber quite well.

    29. San Francisco ***** (f/IND): Quentin Groves, DE/OLB, Auburn
    -Groves didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his 2007 season, but scouts have really been raving about him recently because of his offseason workouts. While some still view him as a candidate for the defensive line, more than a few teams seem to like him as a pass rushing linebacker in the 3-4 defensive scheme. The ***** thought that’s what they were acquiring when they signed Tully Banta-Cain last season, only to watch him get a measly 3.5 sacks. Groves gives them much higher pass rush potential.

    30. Green Bay Packers: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
    -The Packers could go a number of different ways with this pick. Tight end, safety, running back, offensive line, linebacker… all could be argued for. But this team desperately needs some youth at the cornerback position. Starters Al Harris and Charles Woodson are 33 and 31, respectively. The depth behind them is… unimpressive, and I don’t see anyone among their ranks that look to be future starters once Harris and Woodson move on. Cason proved to be a playmaker at Arizona, and would fill in well in the nickel before eventually becoming a starter down the road.

    31. New York Giants: Reggie Smith, DB, Oklahoma
    -The popular pick seems to be Dan Connor, or at least it was for a long time. But the Giants lost starting safety Gibril Wilson to free agency, and it's hard to believe they wouldn't like to upgrade over Michael Johnson, James Butler, and Sammy Knight. Furthermore, finding a cornerback to start opposite of Aaron Ross should be a priority as well. Fortunately, Reggie Smith offers the versatility to play at either corner or safety, so there’s no doubt the Giants will be able to find somewhere in the secondary to utilize his talents.



    2ND ROUND

    32. Miami Dolphins: Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware
    -Even though they passed on Matt Ryan, the Dolphins may not be sold on John Beck as their franchise quarterback. Delaware’s Joe Flacco is gaining momentum and could be an option.

    33. St. Louis Rams: James Hardy, WR, Indiana
    -Hardy could be one of the first receivers off the board; if he’s somehow available here, the Rams would be wise to add his excellent combination of size and speed to their receiving corps.

    34. Atlanta Falcons (f/OAK): Dan Connor, LB, Penn State
    -Tempting to go with Sam Baker, but Dan Connor is simply too good of value to pass up. Taking Connor would allow the Falcons to shift Keith Brooking back outside.

    35. Kansas City Chiefs: Sam Baker, OT, USC
    -The Chiefs missed out on an offensive lineman in the first round, and are rewarded when one falls to them here. Baker should be a consistent presence for Kansas City’s line.

    36. New York Jets: Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
    -After taking McFadden in the first round, the Jets look to focus on bigger team needs by taking Flowers here, hoping to partner him up with last year’s pick Darrelle Revis.

    37. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
    -They passed on Matt Ryan and missed out on Joe Flacco. Being able to snag Brian Brohm at pick #37 is hardly a disappointment though as some still consider him a first rounder.

    38. Baltimore Ravens: Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
    -The Ravens couldn’t justify selecting a cornerback over Matt Ryan in the first round, so expect them to come back in round two and try to address their secondary.

    39. San Francisco *****: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College
    -When the ***** move Joe Staley to the left side, having a player of Cherilus’ caliber ready to take over the right tackle position will be quite nice.

    40. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Laws, DL, Notre Dame
    -Brian Young and Hollis Thomas are both on the wrong side of 30, and Kendrick Clancy joins them in September. It shouldn’t be long before Laws works himself into the starting line-up.

    41. Buffalo Bills: Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
    -Buffalo would like to add offensive playmakers, and while they’re looking for a tall wide receiver to compliment Lee Evans, the tight end position needs to be addressed as well.

    42. Denver Broncos: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
    -Jerod Mayo could potentially go much higher than this, but if he’s available for Denver in round two, he’d certainly be an upgrade over projected MLB Niko Koutouvides.

    43. Carolina Panthers: Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC
    -The Panthers passed on defensive end help in order to add talent to their offense. While I think a running back is possible here, their need for a defensive end may make Jackson an option.

    44. Chicago Bears: Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
    -The Chicago offense is missing playmakers, specifically at the receiver position after parting ways with Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad.

    45. Detroit Lions: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
    -The Lions’ decision to cut Kevin Jones leaves a hole at running back. Chris Johnson is an explosive runner and could be dangerous on the turf of Ford Field.

    46. Cincinnati Bengals: Pat Sims, DT, Auburn
    -Cincinnati missed out on trading for Shaun Rogers, so they’ll have to look to Auburn’s Pat Sims to help beef up their defensive interior line.

    47. Minnesota Vikings: Carl Nicks, OL, Nebraska
    -Character concerns could cause Nicks to slip beyond this point, but if the Vikings are satisfied with his character, he could easily challenge for a starting spot on the right side of their line.

    48. Atlanta Falcons (f/HOU): Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas
    -Passing on Jake Long and Sam Baker paid off, as the Falcons grab a potential left tackle candidate in Kansas’ Anthony Collins.

    49. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin King, CB, Penn State
    -Just because the Eagles added Asante Samuel doesn’t mean more help isn’t needed. Lito Sheppard is probably on the way out, and Sheldon Brown could be challenged.

    50. Arizona Cardinals: Cliff Avril, OLB, Purdue
    -The Cardinals should focus on adding more components for their 3-4 defense. They signed a potential pass rusher in Travis LaBoy, but could use Avril on the other side.

    51. Washington Redskins: Early Doucet, WR, LSU
    -Doucet isn’t a huge size upgrade over Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El, but he’s a talented receiver who could do well in new head coach Jim Zorn’s offense.

    52. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Charles Godfrey, CB, Iowa
    -The Bucs watched Brian Kelly head north to Detroit, and could look to add someone like Charles Godfrey to become a future starter in their defensive backfield.

    53. Pittsburgh Steelers: Chilo Rachal, OG, USC
    -Pittsburgh missed out on Brandon Albert in the first round, so they still have holes to fill on the offensive line. Chilo Rachal is the next best guard and could be an option here.

    54. Tennessee Titans: Chris Ellis, DE, Virginia Tech
    -Finding a pass rusher to replace Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy should be a draft priority for Tennessee. Chris Ellis looks to be the best one available at this point.

    55. Seattle Seahawks: Fred Davis, TE, USC
    -Fred Davis was once considered a potential first round tight end. The Seahawks elected not to reach for the position in round one, and are rewarded here.

    56. Green Bay Packers (f/CLE): Erin Henderson, LB, Maryland
    -The Packers would like to find some competition for the strong side linebacker position; if Henderson checks out medically, he has the size to work there.

    57. Miami Dolphins (f/SD): Heath Benedict, OT, Newberry
    -Benedict is a small school lineman on the rise, and Miami certainly has a number of holes they need help filling. The Newberry lineman could work at guard or tackle.

    58. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dre Moore, DT, Maryland
    -Trading Marcus Stroud created a hole on the defensive line. The Jaguars like using bigger defensive tackles, and Dre Moore (6’4” 305 lbs) seems to fit the bill.

    59. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Adibi, LB, Virginia Tech
    -Indianapolis’ first pick in the draft could be used a number of ways; finding an athletic outside linebacker to play next to Gary Brackett and Freddie Keiaho is certainly one of them.

    60. Green Bay Packers: Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A&M
    -Donald Lee had a productive season, but there’s no real depth behind him. An athletic talent like Martellus Bennett could develop into another capable weapon for Green Bay.

    61. Dallas Cowboys: Andre Caldwell, WR, Florida
    -Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are both nearing their mid-30s, so it’s time for Dallas to start grooming a replacement to play alongside Patrick Crayton.

    62. New England Patriots: Curtis Lofton, ILB, Oklahoma
    -The Patriots had a long time to wait between their first and second round picks; the age of their linebackers is a big factor, one that could prompt them to take someone like Lofton here.

    63. New York Giants: Tavares Gooden, LB, Miami
    -The Giants replaced Kawika Mitchell with Danny Clark, whose been underwhelming since leaving the Raiders. The versatile Gooden wowed scouts at his pro day with a sub-4.5 forty.


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    Re: Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    Dorsey, Conner, & Brohm................Daaaaaaaaaang. The 'cons make out like gangbusters.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    C. Long, Flacco, & Benedict. Hats off to the fins as well.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    A few points:
    • From what I've read in the SoFla papers, there is still a chance that Dolphins might go with Ryan, if that happens, I have to believe that Chris Long has risen to the top of the Rams depth chart;
    • I share your impression that Gholston has jumped over Jake Long as the Rams' second choice, so if the Dolphins do go with C.Long, I think he's the Rams' guy.
    • It will be tough to decide between a WR and an OL in Round 2. I think the dropoff on the OL may be less significant from Rd2 to Rd3, but I'd have a hard time passing on Baker, Cherilus and Nicks if they are all on the board at pick #33.
    • You have Brandon Albert going in the first round. You're probably right, but if he were to fall to the Rams at the top of Rd.2, he's a guy I'd strongly consider.

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    Re: Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    Just some info from another mock draft I found from waterfootball . com. It seems like Gholoston is rising to the top and had a great workout, and we are likely to see two DEs with the first two picks:

    Quote Originally Posted by waterfootball . com View Post
    2008 Mock Draft: Round One

    1.
    Miami Dolphins: Chris Long, DE/OLB, Virginia
    It's been a while since we've had a draft where the general public was torn on at least five players going first overall. Seriously, wouldn't anyone be shocked if the Dolphins took Chris Long, Vernon Gholston, Jake Long, Matt Ryan or Glenn Dorsey? Might as well go through all five prospects and arrive at a conclusion:

    Will Miami draft Matt Ryan? No. There are rumors that the Dolphins could go quarterback here, but all of those seem to stem from Mike "I want to have Matt Ryan's babies" Mayock, a Boston College guy who allegedly has ties to the Ryan family. Mayock is an outstanding draft analyst, but I disagree with his belief that Ryan will be drafted first. I don't think Parcells is planning to be around for a long time, so I'm not sure if he's willing to have the patience to sit through a young quarterback's developmental process. He'll likely pursue a veteran free agent this or next offseason, and draft a signal caller in the middle rounds. And besides, why would the Dolphins pass on Brady Quinn last year for John Beck, and not give Beck a full season as a starter?

    Also, I don't think Ryan is worthy of being selected with the initial pick. Yes, he's currently the top signal caller in this class as a prospect, but he'd have no chance of going first if he were coming out with, let's say, Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart and Vince Young. Ryan's hype is the product of a quarterbacking class that lacks an elite prospect.

    Will Miami draft Glenn Dorsey? No. See my Chiefs write-up for that. Most mocks have Dorsey in the top five. I don't. I offer an explanation later on.

    Will Miami draft Jake Long? Very possible. Parcells could feel the need to upgrade his offensive line right away. However, I don't think Jake Long is going to be an elite left tackle. If Long were Joe Thomas, I'd be all for Miami using its first-overall choice on him. But he's not. He's not nearly as athletic. He'll be a great right tackle in this league. If the Dolphins really want a right tackle, they can obtain one atop the second round. And besides, you can't talk about Jake Long without mentioning the only guy who beat him...

    Will Miami draft Vernon Gholston? Very possible. In the words of Emmitt Smith, "Vernon Gholston blowed up at his combines." Seriously - Gholston ran in the 4.5s and notched a 42-inch vertical. There's a very good chance Miami takes him first overall. In my last update, I stated that I was seriously thinking about placing Gholston atop my mock, and I had several e-mailers encouraging me to do so. One e-mailer compared Gholston to Lawrence Taylor. Based on his talent, strength, power and quickness, the sky's the limit for Gholston. I can't imagine Parcells not being intrigued by a guy like that.

    Will Miami draft Chris Long? Probably. Sure, Gholston dazzled GMs and scouts at his combine, but Chris Long didn't exactly disappoint anyone. He put up great numbers for a prospect of his size, even though he was frustrated because he knew he could do better. Long is a perfect fit for Miami's dreadful defense, and seems like a Bill Parcells guy.

    The Dolphins need a 3-4 rush linebacker. They'll be able to grab a quarterback, nose tackle and right tackle later in the draft, but they won't be able to obtain a devastating sack-artist like Long or Gholston at selection No. 32. Long played the 3-4 at Virginia and it doesn't exactly hurt that his father is Howie Long. The Tuna has a history of drafting players who have NFL bloodlines (Bobby Carpenter).

    To summarize, Miami has to acquire a 3-4 linebacker here, and Chris Long is currently the top prospect at that position, edging Gholston out by a nose. This could change in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

    2.
    St. Louis Rams: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
    First, I boldly predicted the Rams would go with Vernon Gholston prior to the Combine, stating that Gholston would obviously tear it up in Indianapolis because he's a workout warrior. Last week, I was happy I made that projection, as Gholston ran a 4.64, benched 225 pounds 37 times, and had had vertical and broad jumps of 35.5 inches and 10'5", respectively.

    Now, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind Gholston gets picked second, unless, of course, Miami chooses him first overall. Gholston somehow increased his phenomenal numbers at his Pro Day, recording a 4.58 40 and notching a breath-taking 42-inch vertical.

    Besides the fact that Gholston had an incredible combine and Pro Day, this selection just makes too much sense. St. Louis needs to address its pass rush. Thanks to Leonard Little (who turns 34 in October) missing nine games and James Hall being a bust acquisition, the team didn't have a defensive end with more than two sacks last year. That's just pathetic.

    Furthermore, there are rumors that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett wants to switch to a permanent 3-4 (the Rams played the 3-4 in some situations last year). If that's the case, Gholston would be a perfect fit for the Rams' new scheme because he can slide into the pass-rushing linebacker position. Gholston is relentless and will accumulate countless sacks for St. Louis. Remember, while some experts are projecting Jake Long to fall here, Gholston was the only player who befuddled the Michigan tackle during the entire 2007 campaign.

    Speaking of Long, he is an option. However, I believe St. Louis will pursue one of the next-tier offensive tackles atop the second round.
    I didn't realize, the site also has all the rest of the rounds. Here is an interesting and humorous view of round 2 for the Rams (also from waterfootball)

    33.
    St. Louis Rams: Anthony Collins, OT, Kansas
    Marc Bulger was sacked 37 times in 12 starts this season. He actually broke the same amount of ribs, forcing the Rams to sign Trent Green to a contract worth $9 million. Wow. Way to spend tons of cash on a 38-year-old quarterback coming off two concussions, whose skills have completely diminished. The St. Louis front office would have been better served using that $9 million as toilet paper.

    Where was I? Oh yeah... the line needs to be addressed, as Orlando Pace is too injury-prone, while Alex Barron is really inconsistent.
    Looks like I agree with this guy on Trent Green! And round 3...

    65.
    St. Louis Rams: Eddie Royal, WR, Virginia Tech
    With Isaac Bruce now on San Francisco's roster, the Rams may want to invest in a young receiver to take over for his spot in the starting lineup as soon as possible. It's a shame they couldn't keep Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald around.
    There you go :l.

  6. #6
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    Thumbs down Good job

    Fine mock, Nick.

    I really like your Mendenhall at #9 to Cincy. I had him going #6 in my last mock, but I think you've nailed it.

    If there's one thing I disagree with, it's how low both Mayo and Lofton are. I think both will gone in the Top 40, with one cracking the 1st round.

    Once again, nice job. Love the Rams pick.

  7. #7
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    Re: Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    I don't think Heath Benedict will be there at #57 He died!!

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    Re: Nick's March Post-Combine Post-Free Agency Two-Round Mock

    Looking at when something was posted is usually a good idea...

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