It’s commonly said that analysts should wait three years before making a decision on how an NFL Draft prospect has progressed. So that’s exactly what we decided to do. The 2008 NFL Draft produced some serious star power, but also had it’s share of busts and disappointments. What’s interesting is taking a look at the teams that picked in the first half of the draft that have turned things around and are now picking at the end of the first round. Here’s a look back at the 1st round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
1. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins selected Offensive Tackle Jake Long with the first overall pick, and when we look back the Dolphins made a great choice. Long was selected to the pro bowl his first two seasons. Jake has already proven to be an All-Pro left tackle in the NFL in just three short years, a great protector of the QB’s blindside for the next 10 years.
2. St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams selected DE Chris Long, the workout warrior out of Virginia. Chris showed promise his first season with 4 sacks, and increased his total each of the last two seasons with 5 and 8.5. Although the sacks are there the jury is still out on Chris (son of HOF Howie Long) on whether he can live up to the standards the 2nd overall pick brings.
3. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons selected QB Matt Ryan. Without a doubt one of the best picks in the draft. Matt lead his team to 11 wins his rookie season and with that a playoff berth and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Many analysts weren’t high on Matt coming out of Boston College, where he earned his “Matty Ice” nickname with numerous come from behind wins. Matt has become a top QB in the NFL, leading his team to the playoffs once again in 2010 with the best record in the NFC at 13-3 and a Pro Bowl selection.
4. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders selected Darren McFadden. McFadden had a bit of a slow start to his career, running behind a poor offensive line and still a backup. His first two seasons, Darren had less than 1,000 combined yards and only 5 TD’s. Coming out of Arkansas, many thought he would have any easy transition into the NFL. He showed that explosiveness this past season surpassing 1,100 yards rushing and 7 TD’s, along with over 500 yards receiving and 3 more TD’s. Darren looks to be a starter in the NFL for many years to come.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs selected DT Glenn Dorsey out of LSU. Dorsey was the most dominant defensive player coming out of college in many scout’s eyes. Thus far Dorsey’s off the ball explosion he showed at LSU hasn’t transferred over as consistently as the Chiefs would hope, his first two years accumulating just 2.0 sacks. But this year with Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crenell, Glenn had over 50 tackles at the Nose Tackle position combined with 2 sacks. If he can stay in shape I can see him becoming the next Casey Hampton in the Chiefs 3-4 system.
6. New York Jets
The New York Jets selected DE Vernon Gholston out of Ohio State. Vernon might be the biggest bust in the entire 2008 Draft. He has started only 5 games in his 3 years, racking up zero sacks. Rex Ryan moved him from outside linebacker to his more familiar Defensive End position hoping to ignite a spark. But Gholston hasn’t been able to stay on the field, especially with Shaun Ellis and Jason Taylor playing so well this season. Unless Vernon has a strong training camp I see it hard for the Jets to keep a roster spot open for him this season.
7. St. Louis Rams
The New Orleans Saints selected Sedrick Ellis DT out of USC. Ellis was born to play DT. His size and strength are tops in the NFL, benching 225lbs 42 times at his USC pro day, the transition into the NFL was very smooth for Ellis. He started 13 games his rookie season gathering 4 sacks along the way. In 2009 Ellis started 10 games and had 2 sacks, and started in the Superbowl and had 3 tackles for the Champion Saints. This season Sedrick started all 16 games and lead the Saints defense with 6 sacks. He is sure to be a force inside for years to come.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Derrick Harvey DE from Florida. Harvey has been very disappointing thus far in his career. The Jaguars gave him every opportunity to prove himself by giving him the starting job his rookie year but only had 5.5 sacks combined his first two seasons. He eventually lost his starting job this season, with coaches questioning his effort. This past season Harvey only had 12 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. Coming out of Florida many questioned his effort and consistency, if Jacksonville isn’t the place for Harvey I can guarantee another coach will give him a shot, his 6’5 270lb body and long arms are rare in this business, maybe a change of scenery might benefit Derrick in the long run.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals selected Keith Rivers LB from USC. Rivers has been a solid Linebacker for the Bengals defense. His rookie year was cut short when WR Hines Ward broke his jaw during a hard block, in the first seven games he had 37 tackles, 1 int, and 1 FF. The last two seasons he has started 26 games and accounted for 149 tackles. Keith looks to be a part of the rebuilding process the Bengals defense is going through and figures to be a fixture at linebacker.
10. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots selected Jerod Mayo out of Tennessee. Mayo was the AP Defensive Rookie of the year in 2008, starting all 16 games and recording 128 tackles. He sprained his MCL in the 2009 season opener missing 4 games but still had over 100 tackles. Coming into the 2010 season Jerod was named a Team Captain; starting all 16 games he had over 175 total tackles earning a spot on the Pro Bowl roster. The Patriots look to build off of Mayo and other young defensive players to be a strong force in the future.
11. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills selected Leodis McKelvin CB from Troy. McKelvin had a strong rookie season, starting 6 games while playing in all 16. He had 2 int’s taking one back for a touchdown. McKelvin is also known for his return skills, he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Three games into his 2nd season Leodis broke his leg ending his season, but he came back strong starting 14 games this past season while intercepting two more passes along with 62 total tackles. McKelvin has a big upside and looks to be a strong cover corner for the Bills.
12. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos selected Ryan Clady OT from Boise State. Ryan Clady quite possibly had the best rookie season a left tackle ever had, only allowing 1/2 a sack and committing only 3 penalties in 16 games. Clady started all 16 games his second season and was a starter for the 2009 Pro-Bowl as well as earning first team All-Pro. In April 2010 he injured his patella tendon playing basketball but recovered to start all 16 games once again. Clady’s massive 6’6 325 lb. frame is ideal for left tackle and looks to be a mainstay in the Broncos lineup for years to come.
13. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers selected Jonathan Stewart RB from Oregon. Stewart was put into an ideal position being paired up with RB DeAngelo Williams his rookie year. In 2008 Stewart rushed for 836 yards and 10 touchdowns, mostly redzone scores. Then in 2009 Stewart had 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns when he and Williams had a more even amount of carries. In 2010 Stewart’s numbers came down to just 770 yards and 2 TD’s running behind a poor offensive line and usually 8-9 men in the box on defense who tempted rookie QB Clausen to throw. I project Stewart to be a tough durable running back for the Panthers in the coming years, and with a healthy Williams they are a tough duo to run down.
14. Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears selected Chris Williams OT from Vanderbilt. Williams has had a rocky first three years plagued with injuries. In 2008’s training camp Williams suffered a herniated disc causing him to be out until November, where he came back to play special teams. In 2009 Williams played right tackle because the team signed veteran Orlando Pace for left tackle. Williams started the 2010 season as left tackle, but injured his hamstring and missed 3 games. When he came back he moved to left guard. The jury is still out on Williams, barring injury he looks to become a sturdy offensive tackle, his 6’6 325lb. frame gives him a real chance to stand up against the tough DE’s in the NFC.
15. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs selected Branden Albert OT from Virginia. Albert had a pretty solid rookie season playing left tackle (a change from guard at Virginia) allowing 4.5 sacks and only committing one penalty. But Albert’s second season was disappointing to many, allowing 9 sacks and 10 penalties. So entering his third season many question marks loomed over his head. The 2010 season had a bunch of highs and lows for Branden, this inconsistency makes many wonder if he can be a starting LT or is he best suited for RT. This decision will probably be made for us in this year’s draft by whether or not the Chiefs draft a LT high in the draft.
16. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals selected Dominique Rodger-Cromartie CB from Tennessee State. Cromartie really shined at the Combine, posting a 4.29 40 yard dash and a 38 inch vertical leap. His athletic ability was too tempting for the Cardinals to pass up. In 2008 Cromartie had 4 int’s with one being a 99 yd return for a TD against the Rams. Then in the 2008 playoffs he had 2 interceptions one against the Falcons and the Panthers. He followed that stellar season with an even better one, amassing 6 int’s taking another back for a touchdown, earning him a spot on the Pro-Bowl roster. Starting all 16 games in 2010 he had 3 interceptions (2 for touchdowns) and 17 pass deflections. Cromartie looks to be a standout cornerback for the foreseeable future.