- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008


Jake Long, OT, Michigan

Key stat: Signed to a five-year, $57 million contract Tuesday.

Why the Dolphins drafted him: Bill Parcells’ first objective is building an offensive line to open holes for Ronnie Brown and protect young QB John Beck.


Chris Long, DE, Virginia

Key stat: Totaled 14 sacks and 75 tackles for Cavaliers.

Why the Rams drafted him: St. Louis gave up the second-most points in the NFL last year and needed to address a woeful pass rush that totaled 31 sacks.


Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

Key stat: Averaged 321.9 yards passing a game last season.

Why the Falcons drafted him: Atlanta needed to address quarterback and by picking Ryan, it officially turns the page on the Michael Vick Error.


Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

Key stat: Averaged 5.8 yards a carry in nation’s toughest conference.

Why the Raiders drafted him: Oakland has used free agency to add to its defense, and now it has a versatile, productive back to help QB JaMarcus Russell.


Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU

Key stat: Seven sacks and 69 tackles last season.

Why the Chiefs drafted him: The draft’s highest-rated player was still on the board for a rebuilding defense that traded DE Jared Allen earlier this week.

6. N.Y. JETS

Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State

Key stat: Posted 14 sacks and 15½ tackles for loss in 2007.

Why the Jets drafted him: New York has rebuilt its defensive line, signing DE Calvin Pace, trading for DT Kris Jenkins and now Gholston.


Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC

Key stat: Finished college career with 19½ sacks.

Why the Saints drafted him: New Orleans traded up three spots with New England to pick a potential anchor for a defense that ranked last in yards allowed a snap.


Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida

Key stat: Three sacks in 2007 national title game.

Why the Jaguars drafted him: Jacksonville gave up three picks to move up from No. 26 and reach for Harvey. It’s now Gregg Williams’ job to make Harvey more consistent.


Keith Rivers, LB, USC

Key stat: Made 163 tackles last two seasons.

Why the Bengals drafted him: Cincinnati’s defense has been awful since Marvin Lewis arrived. Rivers will bolster a unit that ranked 27th in yards allowed last season.


Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee

Key stat: Credited with 140 tackles last year.

Why the Patriots drafted him: New England linebackers Mike Vrabel (32), Tedy Bruschi (34) and Junior Seau (39) are older, creating a need for youth on defense.


Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy

Key stat: Three interceptions and 19 pass breakups final two seasons.

Why the Bills drafted him: Buffalo’s defense needed a solid cover corner because previous picks and free agent signings have not panned out.


Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State

Key stat: First Boise State player selected in the first round.

Why the Broncos drafted him: Veteran LT Matt Lepsis retired after last season and there weren’t any in-house candidates worthy of a starting spot.


Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon

Key stat: Upped rushing yardage from 981 to 1,722 last season.

Why the Panthers drafted him: Carolina had the NFL’s fourth-worst offense last season and DeShaun Foster went to San Francisco. Stewart is also a decent receiver.


Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt

Key stat: Allowed only one sack in each of final two college seasons.

Why the Bears drafted him: Chicago wants to move veteran John Tait to RT, replacing Fred Miller. Scouts view him as a better pass protector than run blocker at this point.


Branden Albert, OL, Virginia

Key stat: Started only two games at left tackle

Why the Chiefs drafted him: They swapped spots with Detroit to start rebuilding its offensive line. With the run on tackles, Kansas City had to move up or risk coming up empty.


D. Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tenn. St.

Key stat: Intercepted 10 passes in 44 college games.

Why the Cardinals drafted him: Arizona opted against a running back and instead upgraded at the corner spot. Its holdovers are Rod Hood and Eric Green … with little depth, either.


Gosder Cherlius, OT, Boston College

Key stat: Started all 53 games of college career.

Why the Lions drafted him: Detroit reached for Cherlius because RT Damien Woody signed with the New York Jets in free agency.


Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware

Key stat: Threw 23 touchdowns and only five INTs last year.

Why the Ravens drafted him: The Ravens traded next year’s first-rounder to Philadelphia to draft their quarterback of the future.


Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

Key stat: First player of day with junior college background to get drafted.

Why the Panthers drafted him: Carolina needed to fill a hole at left tackle, and Otah was still available to replace Travelle Wharton.


Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

Key stat: Returned five INTs for 195 yards last year.

Why the Bucs drafted him: Tampa Bay needed to address cornerback with Brian Kelly released and Ronde Barber aging.


Sam Baker, OT, USC

Key stat: Started each of his 52 games with the Trojans.

Why the Falcons drafted him: The Falcons, unwilling to sign a LT in free agency, opted for a rookie after giving up two of its second-round picks to the Redskins to get back into the first round.


Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

Key stat: Averaged 8.7 yards a carry last year.

Why the Cowboys drafted him: Jerry Jones realizes that a two-headed running back system is now required and Jones — a No. 2 back at Arkansas — will team with Marion Barber.


Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

Key stat: Increased rushing yards from 640 to 1,681 last season.

Why the Steelers drafted him: Pittsburgh probably went with the Best-Player-Available scenario and tabbed Mendenhall as a No. 2 back behind Willie Parker.


Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina

Key stat: Scored 23 touchdowns for the Pirates.

Why the Titans drafted him: The run on runners continued here. Tennessee only has three running backs on its roster and LenDale White can’t do it by himself.


Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

Key stat: Only six interceptions in 51 college games.

Why the Cowboys drafted him: Cornerbacks Anthony Henry and Terrence Newman missed a combined 11 games last year and a Plan B is required with Pacman Jones.


Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech

Key stat: Three-year starter for the Hokies.

Why the Texans drafted him: Houston was originally slated to pick No. 18. Age (Ephraim Salaam) and injury (Charles Spencer) created a need for a left tackle.


Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

Key stat: Intercepted five passes and broke up 19 last season.

Why the Chargers drafted him: San Diego drafted Antonio Cromartie in last year’s second round and now should be set at cornerback for several years.


Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC

Key stat: Two double-digit sack seasons with Trojans.

Why the Seahawks drafted him: A surprising pick considering Seattle is set at defensive end with Patrick Kersey and Darryl Tapp. Posted 30½ career sacks.


Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina

Key stat: Was only full-time starter as senior.

Why the 49ers drafted him: San Francisco needed a nose tackle to anchor its 3-4 defense … except that most project him as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme.

30. N.Y. JETS

Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue

Key stat: Made 68 catches (seven TDs) as senior.

Why the Jets drafted him: The consensus top-ranked tight end in the draft, the Jets give Kellen Clements a catch-first, block-second weapon. The Jets also added Bubba Franks in free agency.


Kenny Phillips, S, Miami

Key stat: Made 241 tackles in three college seasons.

Why the Giants drafted him: The Giants upgrade a position that the likes of James Butler, Michael Johnson and Craig Dahl held down last year.

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