Leading up to the 2014 NFL draft, I’m doing a series of re-drafts. Last week, I started with 2007 and I’m continuing on to 2012.
(Note: the re-mocks are in bold and the original draft selections are in italics. I also left the order of the draft as it originally was picked, and did not revert to where teams picked before trades.)
Here’s 2008’s re-draft.
1. Miami Dolphins
Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas
Actual pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
This was a tough decision, because the Dolphins could either go with a quarterback or who (I think) ended up being the best player in this draft. Since I like Miami’s quarterback situation right now with Ryan Tannehill, Jamaal Charles is the first overall pick to Miami. This team did end up winning the division in 2008 with Chad Pennington, who actually was second in the NFL in MVP votes that year. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were on the roster, and they did help propel the Dolphins to the division title via the use of the wildcat, but Charles is better than both. He’s been more consistent throughout his career than other 2008 draftees Ray Rice and Chris Johnson. While Charles just had the best year of his career in 2013, Rice and Johnson had down years and it seems as if their best years are behind them – so I’d go with Charles over both here. Charles is one of the most explosive players in the NFL and he will help a bad Dolphins running game.
2. St. Louis Rams
Jake Long, OT, Michigan
Actual pick: Chris Long, DE, Virginia
The Rams’ offensive line has had issues for a while, and Jake Long ended up on the Rams anyway. There were a ton of quality tackles in this draft, but Long, when healthy, is the best. I feel the same way about this pick as I did with the Dolphins’ pick – I have no issue with the Rams’ quarterback situation in 2014, provided that Sam Bradford makes a successful return from his ACL injury – no quarterback is taken here.
3. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
Actual pick: same
Atlanta got this one right. Ryan is the team’s franchise quarterback and is right on the fence of being considered “elite” with guys like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning.
4. Oakland Raiders
Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware
Actual pick: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
McFadden has been plagued with injuries in his NFL tenure. Spoiler: he’s not selected in the first round of this re-mock. Oakland hasn’t had a franchise quarterback since Rich Gannon. While Flacco is wildly overrated and overpaid, he is still a Super Bowl-winning, franchise quarterback. Flacco will spare the Raiders at least five more years of pain at quarterback, as the team still doesn’t have a franchise quarterback on the roster.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
Actual pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, Louisiana State
Although Jamaal Charles was a third round pick, it would’ve been nice to get him at fifth overall in this re-mock. Johnson was a complete beast for the first few years of his career, rushing for 2,000 yards in 2009. He would give the Chiefs what Charles has given to them over the last five years. While Dorsey wasn’t a bad player for Kansas City, Johnson has more value because of his position.
6. New York Jets
Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers
Actual pick: Vernon Gholston, LB, Ohio State
Rex Ryan is the new coach of the Jets. We know he loves a tough defense and a strong running game, and Rice has given the latter to the Ravens. Rice is definitely an upgrade over Shonn Greene, who ran the Jets to two AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010. The Jets’ actual pick, Vernon Gholston, is widely regarded as a draft bust.
7. New Orleans Saints
Branden Albert, OT, Virginia
Actual pick: Sedrick Ellis, DT, Southern California
While Ellis was not necessarily a draft bust, there are obviously many players who proved to be better. Tackle had been an issue as evident by the Jermon Bushrod situation a few years ago. Albert has established himself as a premier tackle, landing himself a shiny new contract with the Dolphins. Albert would help Drew Brees prosper and break records behind what was once considered a shaky-at-best Saints offensive line.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
Duane Brown, OT, Virginia
Actual pick: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
David Garrard was playing at a somewhat good level — Jacksonville did make the playoffs in 2007. Pass protection was a need for someone who was once regarded as a franchise quarterback. The Texans’ pick of Duane Brown in the bottom of the first was heavily criticized by draft analysts, but Brown turned out to be a very consistent player. He’s worth a top 10 pick in this re-mock.