Steelers Fever First-Round Draft Projections

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Sunday, March 30, 2008
By Jake Gundrum
Guest Columnist


Miami Dolphins1. Miami Dolphins - DE Chris Long, Virginia
The Dolphins need help around all the field but with future Hall of Famer Jason Taylor uncertain about his future it would be a good option drafting the 6-4 280 pounder Chris Long after his great senior season having 14 sacks which won him the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Saint Louis rams2. Saint Louis Rams - DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU
As a senior Dorsey committed 64 tackles [39 solo] 11.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Just what the Rams need some serious help with, it's awful run defense and Lar'oi Glover is getting older and Clifford Ryan still unproven it would be a perfect fit for the Rams.

Atlanta Falcons3. Atlanta Falcons - QB Matt Ryan, Boston College
This would make the most sense in the world if the Falcons take Ryan, he's a 6-5 220 pound quarterback with a laser arm and Atlanta's quarterbacks right now are an 8th year Chris Redman and a 3rd year D.J Shockley and I can guarantee neither of them are the answer.

Oakland Raiders4. Oakland Raiders - RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas
This would be a great pick for Oakland, McFadden ran for 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman, 1,647 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore, 1,830 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior and a 4.33 at the combine. With him and Justin Fargas as a 1-2 punch they'll be dangerous in the backfield.

Kansas City Chiefs5. Kansas City Chiefs - QB Brian Brohm, Louisville
Brian Brohm is a very good choice here for Kansas City, right now their QB competition is Brodie Croyle a 3rd year veteran and Damon Huard a 12th year veteran. Drafting the 6-4 225 pounder would be an instant upgrade. Brohm has a cannon for an arm and also had a decent combine running a 4.83 on the 40 yard dash. This would be an excellent pick.

New York Jets6. New York Jets - DT Sedrick Ellis, USC
Ellis is 6-1 300 pounds and will be an upgrade to this New York Jets defense. He had 58 tackles 12.5 for loss and 8.5 sacks last year with the Trojans, Sedrick also ran a 5.24 at the combine.

New England Patriots7. New England Patriots [From San Francisco 49ers] - DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
Vernon is a big guy at 6-4 264 pounds and also plays big, last year Gholston recorded 86 tackles 30.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks last year which lead Ohio State to the national championship game last year. This would be a very nice addition to the New England defense, they could also go with Aqib Talib with Asante Samuel out the door.

Baltimore Ravens8. Baltimore Ravens - OT Ryan Clady, Boise State
Clady is 6-6 and 317 pounds he is very athletic, he has the highest pro ceiling and he's a great blocker which Baltimore needs a lot of help with. Drafting him would be the right move -- he has a lot of potential.

Cincinnati Bengals9. Cincinnati Bengals - ILB Dan Connor, Penn State
Connor is 6-3 and 233 pounds, on his senior season he had 145 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 1 int. helping Penn State to only an average of 93.8 rush yards per game, a section where the Bengals are terrible at.

New Orleans Saints10. New Orleans Saints - CB Leodis Mckelvin, Troy
Troy-Mckelvin is a small guy at 5-11 187 pounds but one of the best coverage guys in the draft, a category were the Saints were at the bottom of the league, and he's a very good return guy, last year he averaged 25.8 yards per kickoff -- he also ran a 4.38 at the combine helping his value, he made 66 tackles last year and even played some WR it would be a good pick here.

Buffalo Bills11. Buffalo Bills - WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma
Kelly is 6-4 and 217 pounds, he caught 62 passes for 993 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior and Buffalo needs a second guy to compliment Lee Evans and Malcolm would be the perfect guy.

Denver Broncos12. Denver Broncos - LB Keith Rivers, USC
Rivers is 6-3 and 235 pounds, on his senior season with the Trojans he compiled 78 tackles and 5 for loss even though Keith isn't great at one particular thing he's good at a lot of things which is just what kind of consistency NFL wants, he also ran high 4.5s and low 4.6 on the 40 yard dash.

Carolina Panthers13. Carolina Panthers - DE Derrick Harvey, Florida
The Panthers only had a total of 23 sacks last season and with Mike Rucker leaning towards retirement and Julius Peppers had a down season last year it be a good choice taking the 6-4 262 pounds DE. In Harvey's junior year he had 49 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks, he also is a great pass rusher.

Chicago Bears14. Chicago Bears - OT Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
Williams is an outstanding pass blocker which that's what the Bears will need as long as they have Grossman in their backfield. Chris is a monster listing at 6-6 320 pounds, last year the commodores rushed for 150 yards per game and the biggest area where he could improve is his speed.

Detroit Lions15. Detroit Lions - OT Sam Baker, USC
Sam has amazing feet for a player that's 6-5 and 305 pounds -- Baker has long arms, huge hands and his pass blocking is outstanding which Kitna will need a lot of to throw to his electrifying receivers.

Arizona Cardinals16. Arizona Cardinals - DE Calais Campell, Miami
This is a wild card pick, At 6-8 and 280 pounds with one of the best DE's in the country it'd be hard to pass on him. Even though his junior season was a little bit of a let down he recorded 6 sacks but I guarantee he'll get better.

Minnesota Vikings17. Minnesota Vikings - WR Desean Jackson, California
The Vikings signed former Bears WR Bernard Berrian which will be a major upgrade for this offense. But now the problem is whose going to be their 2nd guy? Jackson is 6-0 and only 166 pounds but sure can play wide receiver, last year grabbing 60 receptions 681 yards and 5 TD's due to early season injury and his quarterback getting injured. But Jackson ran 4.35 at the 40-yard dash, even though they still have Sidney Rice.

Houston Texans18. Houston Texans - RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
The Texans need a running back badly and with Jonathan Stewart out 4-6 months it'd be a good option to get Rashard. He had 1,681 yards rushing last year averaged 6.4 yards per carry, 17 rushing touchdowns and caught 2 touchdown passes. Mendenhall is 5-11 and 224 pounds.

Philadelphia Eagles19. Philadelphia Eagles - WR Early Doucet, LSU
Doucet isn't going to be a great receiver in the NFL but a adequate one. The Eagles are in need of a wide receiver and even though Doucet is more of a late 1st round early 2nd the Eagles cant afford to pass him up. Doucet is 6-1 and 210 pounds and he had a better year as a sophomore than a junior having 59 catches for 772 yards and 8 touchdowns, also Philly could go with Mario Manningham.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - WR Mario Manningham, Michigan
Mario Manningham is 6-0 and 178 pounds, as a junior he caught 72 passes for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games last season. Tampa also needs a replacement for Joey Galloway because he only has about 2 seasons left in him. Mario ran a 4.59 at the combine and like I said it's very possible Philly could take Manningham and Tampa take Doucet.

Washington Redskins21. Washington Redskins - DE Phillip Merling, Clemson
During Merling's junior season he recorded 17 tackles for loss and 7 sacks, and even when he doesn't get to the quarterback he consistently applies pressure to the opposing offense. Merling has adequate size at 6-5 and 280 pounds which will force offenses to double team him.

Dallas Cowboys22. Dallas Cowboys [From Cleveland Browns] - CB Aqib Talib, Kansas
Dallas would take Aqib off the board, no question about it, Dallas needs help in the secondary a lot. Talib is 6-2 and 205 pounds last season he recorded 5 interceptions, [one for a TD], 66 tackles, and 13 pass breakups to finish his junior career and forgo his senior season.

Pittsburgh Steelers23. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State
In his very good senior season Cromartie registered 2 ints, 11 passes broken up, 37 tackles, and he established himself with elite speed running, a 4.33 at the combine, Cromartie is 6-1 and 181 pounds and rarely ever misses games. Aggressive with exceptional ability and an excellent kick returner.

Tennessee Titans24. Tennessee Titans - RB Felix Jones, Arkansas
I'm not sure Lendale White is going to be their franchise back, and even so it'd be a nice 1-2 punch with White and Jones. Last season Felix rushed for 1199 yards, 11 touchdowns. On just 133 carries Jones is also 6-0 and 201 pounds.

Seattle Seahawks25. Seattle Seahawks - DT Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina
Seattle could go a few ways with this pick but they need an upgrade on their Defensive line and Balmer would be a nice addition. Balmer is 6-5 and 295 pounds, last year he tallied 59 tackles [9.5 for loss] and 3.5 sacks. He'd be a decent end in a 3-4 defense or a tackle at a 4-3 defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars26. Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
The Jaguars could use a little more help with their excellent run game with Maurice Jones Drew, and Fred Taylor, also good pass protection for David Garrard. Cherilus is a beast at 6-7 and 319 pounds and started all games [51] when he was with the eagles. Gosder's an electrifying run and pass blocker, and gave former quarterback Matt Ryan loads of time last year.

San Diego Chargers27. San Diego Chargers - FS Kenny Phillips, Miami
San Diego has little needs but could use help at safety since they released Marlon Mcree. Phillips is 6-2 and 210 pounds and ran a 4.54 at the combine, Kenny is extremely aggressive and quick and will be a good fit for this Chargers defense.

Dallas Cowboys28. Dallas Cowboys - WR Devin Thomas, Michigan State
Devin Thomas is one of the most underrated players in the draft. Drafting him would be a good option to add another weapon to Tony Romo since pretty much all of last year Terry Glenn was injured with a knee problem. And he'd be a nice compliment to Patrick Crayton and Terrell Owens. Last season Thomas had 79 catches for 1260 yards and 8 touchdowns [averaged 96.9 yards per game]. Thomas is 6-2 and 218 pounds, he ran a 4.40 at the combine.

San Francisco 49ers29. San Francisco 49ers [From Indianapolis Colts] - WR Limas Sweed, Texas
After releasing Darrell Jackson, Arnaz Battle is going to be their no.1 WR which is a terrible no.1 receiver. Sweed is 6-5 and 219 pounds and last year unfortunately he broke his wrist, which limited him to 6 games and 19 catches for 306 yards, and 3 touchdowns. But his career with the Longhorns he had 124 catches for 1915 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Green Bay Packers30. Green Bay Packers - WR James Hardy, Indiana
Having Brett Favre retire was a big upset to everyone including me, but now they have Aaron Rodgers and adding another weapon to him wouldn't be a bad move at all. Hardy is 6-7 and 220 pounds, in his entire career he had 191 grabs, 2,740 yards, and 36 touchdowns. NFL scouts love his soft hands and his great red zone potential. Hardy ran a 4.47 at the combine showing he has decent speed.

New York Giants31. New York Giants - CB Mike Jenkins, South Florida
Jenkins is 5-10 and 197 pounds, in his senior season he had 12 pass breakups and 3 pickoffs despite teams not throwing the ball his way. Mike ran a 4.38 at the combine showing he can stay with the elite receivers in the NFL.

New England Patriots32. New England Patriots - Forfeited due to spy gate scandal.