- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

1. Miami: Jake Long, OT, Michigan

The Dolphins’ decision to sign Long on Tuesday guaranteed that everybody would go, at worst, 1-for-31 in their mock drafts.

2. St. Louis: Chris Long, DE, Virginia

The Rams likely would have taken the other Long if he was on the board, but they choose this pass rusher to compliment an aging Leonard Little.

3. Atlanta: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

In our opinion, the surest thing in the draft. Even though he battled injuries and double teams, he was still productive. The Falcons wait a round to take a quarterback.

4. Oakland: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

The Raiders drafted QB JaMarcus Russell No. 1 last year and even though Lamont Jordan is on the roster, it’s time to get Russell a franchise-type helper.

5. Kansas City: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

The Chiefs traded Jared Allen to the Vikings on Wednesday, giving them an additional first-round pick and creating a need for a pass rusher.

6. NY Jets: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy

The free agent signing of Alan Faneca helped the offensive line and the Jets aren’t about to draft a quarterback in the first round. Enter McKelvin to play opposite Darrelle Revis.

7. New England: Branden Albert, OL, Virginia

Many expect the Patriots to trade down if the offer is even remotely close to even. If not, Albert has skyrocketed up teams’ draft boards and could replace Matt Light at LT.

8. Baltimore: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

The Ravens will be biting their fingernails during the opening hour, deciding whether to trade up or sit tight. If Ryan is available, their patience will be rewarded.

9. Cincinnati: Sedrick Ellis, DL, USC

One school of thought has the Bengals taking an offensive skilled player because no matter what they do, their defense still stinks. But common sense will prevail.

10. New Orleans: Keith Rivers, LB, USC

It’s the worst-kept secret among the 32 NFL war rooms — if Rivers is on the board, the Saints will pick him and put him alongside newly-acquired Jonathan Vilma.

11. Buffalo: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt

Don’t rule out a trade, specifically with the Chiefs, who have 14 picks and also need to address their offensive tackle situation. Williams gets nod over Jeff Otah.

12. Denver: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

Although their backs always rush for 1,000 yards, they can’t seem to stay healthy. Mendenhall fits Denver’s zone blocking scheme perfectly.

13. Carolina: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

Jordan Gross was locked up via the franchise tag and now the Panthers will gladly take Clady, who could start early this season and whom some rank above Jake Long.

14. Chicago: Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State

The Bears are terrible on offense. They won’t draft a running back or a quarterback, so wide receiver is the best option since Bernard Berrian is now on the Vikings.

15. Detroit: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State

The Lions need help everywhere, but especially on defense and especially in the secondary. Cromartie can also help in the return game. He’ll be the first non-BCS school player drafted.

16. Arizona: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee

The Hampton native has a ton of ability and fills a need for the Cardinals. He’ll join fellow Hampton Roads players Darryl Blackstock and Elton Brown in the desert.

17. Kansas City (from Minnesota): Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

The Chiefs addressed the defensive line position with their first pick and now start to patch up a spotty offensive line. K.C. finally admits it is in total rebuilding mode.

18. Houston: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon

Being able to draft Stewart without having to move up would be an ideal situation for the Texans, who have offensive talent but need consistency in the backfield.

19. Philadelphia: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami (Fla.)

Brian Dawkins is in the autumn of his career. But if Virginia OL Branden Albert slides, the Birds may dangle CB Lito Sheppard to trade up.

20. Tampa Bay: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

The Bucs go into their backyard to take Jenkins. Brian Kelly is gone and Ronde Barber is north of 30 so the idea is to draft for the future.

21. Washington: Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson

After Merling’s workout yesterday in South Carolina (a month after he underwent sports hernia surgery), this is a no brainer if he’s on the board. Can also play DT.

22. Dallas: DeSean Jackson, WR, California

The Cowboys take a small receiver who can also return kicks. This likely means the end of injury-ridden Terry Glenn in Big D.

23. Pittsburgh: Gosder Cherilus, OL, Boston College

Our official Reach Of The First Round. Cherilus is a college tackle that the Steelers should draft and convert to guard to replace Alan Faneca since run blocking is a priority.

24. Tennessee: Limas Sweed, WR, Texas

For Vince Young to succeed and not consistently run for his life despite good protection, he needs some weapons. So they’ll take a wideout from Young’s Longhorns.

25. Seattle: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

The Seahawks cut ties with former star/finished veteran Shaun Alexander earlier this week. Jones will step right in and be a productive replacement.

26. Jacksonville: Quentin Groves, DE/LB, Auburn

The Jags traded Marcus Stroud, so the defensive line needs to be addressed. Maybe Groves can give Gregg Williams what he lacked in Washington: A consistent pass rush.

27. San Diego: Dan Connor, LB, Penn State

Linebacker is an aging position for the Chargers, and Connor is a versatile player who can give Ted Cottrell some options.

28. Dallas: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina

Don’t rule out the Cowboys trading up for a chance at Arkansas’ Jones (they don’t have enough ammo to get McFadden). Johnson led the nation with 227.8 all-purpose yards/game.

29. Indianapolis: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina

Although the Tar Heels have been horrid defensively for years, the Colts take a chance here with a player they hope can bolster their run defense.

30. Green Bay: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

If the NFC Championship Game debacle proved anything, it’s that Al Harris is nothing more than an nickel cornerback. It’s time to put Al on the bench for first and second downs.

31. NY Giants: Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan

A reach because of Manningham’s admission he smoked marijuana during his college years. Not a reach because of Amani Toomer’s age and Plaxico Burress’ injury history.

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