Site Editor Matt Loede Compares His Mock Draft to What Happened in Round 1

Matt Ryan a Falcon

Rounds 1 and 2 of a busy Draft Day are in the books. Tons of deals, tons of O-lineman and corners taken, other than that, just another draft – right? It was pretty interesting to say the least to see it go so fast. Here is how it went down, along with my picks and some thoughts as to the picks:

1. Miami
My Pick: OT Jake Long, Michigan
– Not much to say here, he will be a cornerstone to the Dolphins future, which can’t get much worse than it is right now.
The Pick: OT Jake Long, Michigan – Long is going to be a good pro, no doubt about it, and should be as successful as Joe Thomas was last year.

2. St.Louis
My Pick: DE Chris Long, Virginia
– The Rams have to get more pressure on the QB, and Long could be the guy to help that trend a great deal.
The Pick: DE Chris Long, Virginia – This is a good way to get this franchise headed back in the right direction, and Long is a quality guy as well.

3. Atlanta
My Pick: DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU
– A game-changing player on defense, Dorsey is always at full-speed, and will be a big help the Falcons struggling defense.
The Pick: QB Matt Ryan, Boston College – Falcons want to get back on track in a hurry, and feel that a franchise QB is the way to do it. We’ll see.

4. Oakland
My Pick: DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
– I still think they could take RB Darren McFadden, but they already have upgraded Rob Ryan’s defense, and with Gholston that trend will continue.
The Pick: RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas – Al Davis loves big name, playmaking guys on offense, and McFadden fits the bill. We’ll see if he produces like Adrian Peterson did in his rookie year.

5. Kansas City
My Pick: QB Matt Ryan, Boston College
– My first stretch, but the Chiefs have a later pick with the Jared Allen deal, and they realize that they had better get a QB in there, and Ryan’s the pick of the litter.
The Pick: DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU – Chiefs had the best day of anyone, and Dorsey will lead their defense for years to come.

6. NY Jets
My Pick: RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas
– I think the best talent on the board, this game-breaking back will have a huge following with the Jets, and by mid-season will make Thomas Jones and Leon Washington afterthoughts in the running game.
The Pick: DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio State – I still feel the Jets wanted McFadden, but Gholston will help their defense a great deal and make plays as a LB in the 3-4

7. New England (Trade gave the pick to the Saints)
My Pick: OT Ryan Clady, Bosie State
– If there is a deal in the first round, it’s here. If not, the Pats will look to add some muscle to the O-line, a spot that gave them issues down the stretch last season with Clady.
The Pick: DT Sedrick Ellis, USC – Saints love what Ellis brings to the table, and he should upgrade a big need on their D-line right off the bat.

8. Baltimore (Trade gave the pick to the Jaguars)
My Pick: G Branden Albert, Virginia
– The Ravens O-line has been breaking down over the past few seasons, and Albert will show the teams desire to change that. With questions at QB, they need protection and an ability to help out the running game, so Albert makes sense.
The Pick: DE Derrick Harvey, Florida – Jacksonville needed help on the D-line and needed to get it younger, so moving up here is a bit much, but they have that much value in Harvey.

9. Cincinnati
My Pick: DT Sedrick Ellis, USC
– Cincy’s defense has been its weak spot over Marvin Lewis’ tenure, and Ellis is a for-sure pick here to try and upgrade and to try and start to reverse that trend.
The Pick: OLB Keith Rivers, USC – At least I had the USC part right. Rivers is a physical LB that can make plays, a player that the Bengals need a great deal.

10. New Orleans (Pick went to New England)
My Pick: DE Derrick Harvey, Florida
– The Saints need help on defense as well, and while some have them taking a LB or CB, I think D-line is also an area of need, and Harvey is a good fit for them at 10.
The Pick: LB Jerod Mayo, Tennessee – Had Mayo going a lot further down than this, but the Pats know how to draft, and they need to get that defense younger and better, so he makes sense for them here.

11. Buffalo
My Pick: WR Devin Thomas, Michigan State
– The #1 wide out in the draft, Thomas will have an impact for the Bills in his rookie year. Buffalo needs playmakers, and Thomas at 6-2 can make life tough on opposing corners.
The Pick: CB Leodis McKelvin, Troy – The more I thought about this yesterday, the more I thought they should go corner, so this is a good deal for them as they get the #1 guy on the board in terms of CB’s.

12. Denver
My Pick: OT Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
– The Broncos struggled rushing the football last season, which is something you don’t normally see, and with Williams added to the mix, they will try to get back to smash mouth football. Plus he fills a need with Matt Lepsis retiring.
The Pick: OT Ryan Clady, Bosie State – Denver needs to get that O-line back up to snuff, and while Williams was the pick I thought they would go with, Clady was higher on their board.

13. Carolina
My Pick: OT Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
– The Bears would like him at 14, but the Panthers also need help on the O-line, and Otah will fill that need. A smart and physical player that has been steady in workouts.
The Pick: RB Jonathan Stewart, Oregon – Didn’t understand this one at first, but when they went back into the round and got Otah later, it made sense. Stewart gives them another dimension in the running game with DeAngelo Williams.

14. Chicago
My Pick : RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
– Time for the Bears to admit the mistake of letting Thomas Jones go and giving the ball to Cedric Benson full-time. They will do that with the investment pick of Mendenhall, who is quick and has good size and bulk to carry the load for the Bears.
The Pick: OT Chris Willliams, Vanderbilt – Williams reportedly dropped off a lot of boards due to some neck injury that’s been swept under the rug. Here’s hoping for the Bears sake that is not the case.

15. Detroit (Trade gave the pick to the Chiefs)
My Pick: OLB Keith Rivers, USC
– Rivers is a tough player and one that can bring some much needed attitude to the Lions defense. With great speed and burst, Rivers is a player that can step right in and make an impact for the Lions on defense.
The Pick: G Branden Albert, Virginia – Chiefs got back into the round with a deal with the Lions, and start the rebuilding of their O-line with this tough guard who will step in nicely.

16. Arizona
My Pick: CB Leodis McKelvin, Troy
– The Cardinals do have needs elsewhere, but they could use a solid shutdown corner, and McKelvin fills that need. He’s the top corner and also can return kicks if the Cards want to use him in that role.
The Pick: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee St. – A player that can become a solid corner right away, will help the Cards secondary and will have plenty of chances to show off his skills.

17. Kansas City (Pick went to Detroit)
My Pick: DE Phillip Merling, Clemson
– With moving Jared Allen earlier in the week to the Vikings, the Chiefs rebuild that area with Merling, who has great quickness and is a natural pass rusher, which the Chiefs now need.
The Pick: OT Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
– Lions need help on that line, and getting Cherilus to protect Jon Kitna and help that running game was a very solid pick.

18. Houston (Trade gave the pick to the Ravens)
My Pick: CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida
– The Texans need a corner to help their front seven, and Jenkins is just the guy for them at 18. Has good cover skills, but not great in run support.
The Pick: QB Joe Flacco, Delaware – Guess the Ravens love playing with fire. Flacco has a lot of talent, but he could be the next Kyle Boller. A QB that has shown ability, but again, look at who he’s played.

19. Philadelphia (Trade gave the pick to the Panthers)
My Pick: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee St
. – The run on corners continues here with the Eagles, as they nab this special talent to help a secondary that wants to help out free agent stud Asante Samuel.
The Pick: OT Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh – The Panthers got this one right, and they felt getting getting back in the round and getting Otah was a good move, I agree.

20. Tampa Bay
My Pick: WR DeSean Jackson, Cal
– The Bucs need some playmakers on offense, and while Jackson isn’t size-wise the biggest wide out in the draft, he can make plays with his speed and stretch the field for Jeff Garcia and company.
The Pick: CB Aquib Talib, Kansas – Still felt the Bucs should have went offense here, but they felt that Talib was too good to pass on. He’s got a tainted past, here’s hoping the Bucs did enough homework on him.

21. Washington (Trade gave the pick to the Falcons)
My Pick: WR Limas Sweed, Texas
– Jim Zorn wants to run 3 and 4 wide out sets, and Sweed would fit the mold. Sweed didn’t show elite speed at the combines, but makes up for it with excellent size and long arms.
The Pick: OT Sam Baker, USC – The run on lineman continued with the Falcons getting a tackle to protect new QB Matt Ryan. Showed the team really does have a “win now” attitude, which will hopefully translate to fans in the seats at the Dome.

22. Dallas
My Pick: CB Aquib Talib, Kansas
– The Cowboys would love to have a wide out here, but don’t want to spend that high of a pick on one. They will go with Talib, who will start as a reserve and eventually take over a starting spot in 2009.
The Pick: RB Felix Jones, Arkansas – The real no-brainer of the draft, Jones is a good fit for the Cowboys, and should be a solid backup to Marion Jones and a good change of pace back.

23. Pittsburgh
My Pick: OT Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
– Pittsburgh gave the farm to QB Ben Roethlisberger this offseaeson, now they need to give him some studs up front to block for him and to open holes for back Willie Parker. Cherilus fills that role nicely.
The Pick: RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois – The Steelers were thrilled to see Mendenhall fall this far. He’s a great inside runner that will complement Willie Parker. Could be the next Barry Foster, who was a great Steelers power back in the early 90’s.

24. Tennessee
My Pick: WR Malcom Kelly, Oklahoma
– While the Titans haven’t had a playmaking wide out forever, Kelly will give them a young option that can make plays at 6-3, 224. Not the fastest wide out in the draft, but does have long arms to help out Vince Young’s off the target throws.
The Pick: RB Chris Johnson, E Carolina – Don’t like this pick, and still think the Titans could have and should have used it on a wide out. They had better hope Johnson works out.

25. Seattle (Trade gave the pick to the Cowboys)
My Pick: RB Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
– With the Hawks dumping Shaun Alexander this week, the team needs to start looking at options to help out Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett at RB, and Stewart fits the mold. They will also look long and hard at tight ends at this spot.
The Pick: CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida – Cowboys move up and take a solid corner in Jenkins, who will fill a role they need and could be a starter within two seasons.

26. Jacksonville (Pick went to Houston)
My Pick: DT Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina
– The Jags need defensive ends and tackles, and with Marcus Stroud gone to Buffalo, Balmer will fit nicely here for the Jags. He’s the #3 DT on the board, and had a great senior season to put him in this spot for a team that he can thrive on.
The Pick: OT Duane Brown, Virgina Tech – Brown is a big boy that will help them build up their o-line in pass protection. O-line’s been the Texans issue for years, and this pick helps.

27. San Diego
My Pick: CB Brandon Flowers, Virgina Tech
– Corner is an area that the Chargers can use an upgrade in, and Flowers is a good player that can fill that. He is a big hitter and is aggressive, and while sometimes inconsistent, he will get plenty of time to learn in the Chargers system.
The Pick: CB Antonie Cason, Arizona – Close enough, right? Cason was rated higher on their board, and while everyone knew they would take a corner, it was just a matter of which one.

28. Dallas (Pick went to Seattle)
My Pick: RB Felix Jones, Arkansas
– Jones isn’t the back from Arkansas that the Boys want, but they will take him here. The Cowboys need depth at RB and Jones will be a good backup for Marion Barber.
The Pick: DE Lawrence Jackson, USC – The Hawks really should have taken a TE here, but instead, felt that rushing the QB was more of a need. I think in the end this one is a mistake.

29. San Francisco
My Pick: LB Jerod Mayo, Tennessee
– A sure tackler, Mayo will upgrade a Niners defense that needs more players like last years stud Patrick Willis. Mayo is a bit undersized, but makes up for it with his quick and physical play.
The Pick: DT Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina – Defense is the order of the day for Mike Nolan and the Niners, so while I felt they could have used a LB here, they thought front line help on the line was needed more, plus Balmer has a lot of upside.

30. Green Bay (Trade gave the pick to the Jets)
My Pick: CB Antonie Cason, Arizona
– The Pack could use some depth at the corner spot, and Cason could fall to them here at 30. He’s the Jim Thorpe award winner, and while he has just average speed, he’s got good instincts and is productive when he has a shot.
The Pick: TE Dustin Keller, Purdue – This should have been the Hawks pick, but when they passed on Keller, the Jets took charge and jumped back into the round. He’ll have a solid career with the Jets.

31. New York Giants
My Pick: WR Mario Manningham, Michigan
– A big play threat that can help the Giants stretch the field. Manningham can eventually take over for Amani Toomer, and can be a solid #2 receiver opposite Plaxico Burress.
The Pick: S Kenny Phillips, Miami – Phillips is a guy that can make plays for the Giants in the secondary, and after a crash course he will fit in with Tom Coughlin’s defense.


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