UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
More Sports

Draft redux

By now, you know the drill. Our fifth annual December NFL re-draft is an exercise in knowing now what we wish we would have known then. In our re-selected first round, rookie-season production for the most part wins out over projection, and hindsight always proves 20-20. Which is why it was a no-brainer to kick off our draft re-do with Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, who have looked like anything but rookie quarterbacks in 2008.

Here's the way things should have unfolded in New York on April 26: (React to the re-draft here.)

Don Banks' 2008 Revised NFL Draft
1Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins (Original Pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan)
RE-DO PICK: MATT RYAN, QB, BOSTON COLLEGE
Chad Pennington has been superb, and Chad Henne is locked and loaded as the Dolphins quarterback of the future. But Ryan is in the midst of one of the greatest seasons ever by a rookie quarterback, and you don't pass on that given a second chance. Just like Ben Roethlisberger in our inaugural re-draft of 2004, Ryan shoots to the top of the heap.
 
2St. Louis Rams
St. Louis Rams (Original Pick: Chris Long, DE, Virginia)
RE-DO PICK: JOE FLACCO, QB, DELAWARE
You think Flacco lingers to No. 18 on the board this time around? Uh, no. It's a quarterbacks league, and while I'm not sure anyone could win in St. Louis about now, Marc Bulger sure isn't getting it done. The list of teams that wished it had believed in Flacco last spring is getting longer all the time.
 
3Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons (Original Pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College)
RE-DO PICK: JAKE LONG, OT, MICHIGAN
Without the Falcons getting their quarterback in this slot, they would turn to their need at left offensive tackle, where they took USC's Sam Baker after trading back into the first round at No. 21. Long, Ryan Clady and Duane Brown have all excelled at LT this year, but the ex-Wolverine has been a solid pro.
 
4Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders (Original Pick: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas)
RE-DO PICK: CHRIS JOHNSON, RB, EAST CAROLINA
We all know Al Davis loves speed, but in Johnson he gets speed that has actually produced as a rookie. McFadden has just one 100-yard rushing game, and that came in Week 2. Johnson has been a spectacular season-long contributor to Tennessee's overwhelmingly successful running game.
 
5Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs (Original Pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU)
RE-DO PICK: CHRIS LONG, DE, VIRGINIA
The Chiefs have gotten virtually zero impact out of Dorsey, and they sure could have used some defensive line help to offset the loss of the traded Jared Allen. Long has modest statistics, but his four sacks are a good first step in the right direction. Don't forget it took Mario Williams until year two to find his groove.
 
6New York Jets
New York Jets (Original Pick: Vernon Gholston, LB, Ohio State)
RE-DO PICK: DOMINIQUE RODGERS-CROMARTIE, CB, TENNESSEE STATE
If the Jets defense has had a weakness this year, it has been at cornerback. Rodgers-Cromartie has quickly emerged as a play-maker in Arizona, and he's getting more playing time than any other rookie corner. Gholston, meanwhile, has serious bust potential.
 
7New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints (Original Pick: Sedrick Ellis, DE, USC)
RE-DO PICK: MATT FORTE, RB, TULANE
The Saints' Drew Brees-led passing game has had to carry far too much of the load again, and New Orleans sure could have used Forte, the Louisiana native who played collegiately in their backyard. At 6-foot-2, 222 pounds, Forte gives the Saints the size they lack in the backfield, and he catches the ball as well as Reggie Bush.
 
8Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars (Original Pick: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida)
RE-DO PICK: DESEAN JACKSON, WR, CALIFORNIA
Harvey's rookie season was ruined by his long holdout, but Jackson's first-year impact has been impressive in Philly. Stop us if you've heard this before, but the Jaguars need more receivers. Jerry Porter has been hurt most of the year, Troy Williamson has been a zero, and Matt Jones, while productive, just got suspended.
 
9Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (Original Pick: Keith Rivers, LB, USC)
RE-DO PICK: STEVE SLATON, RB, WEST VIRGINIA
Tough call here. Rivers was playing very well until he got his jaw busted by Hines Ward early in Week 7. And the Bengals loved Jerod Mayo, who went No. 10 to New England. But defense hasn't been the problem for a change in Cincy, the offense has. When Cedric Benson is your leading rusher, you need help in the running game. Slaton has been a revelation for Houston.
 
10New England Patriots
New England Patriots (Original Pick: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee)
RE-DO PICK: MAYO
We're not here to fix what ain't broken. The Patriots love everything about their rookie inside linebacker, and he has been their most consistent performer at a position decimated by injuries. If it had the chance, New England would make exactly the same selection all over again.
 
11Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills (Original Pick: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy)
RE-DO PICK: RYAN CLADY, OT, BOISE STATE
The Bills landed themselves a player in McKelvin, who has added impact in the secondary and as a kick returner. But with the whole Jason Peters holdout fiasco still complicating the long-term picture at left offensive tackle, we're giving them Clady, who has been a godsend for Denver's OL.
 
12Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos (Original Pick: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State)
RE-DO PICK: DUANE BROWN, OT, VIRGINIA TECH
We were tempted to select Oregon's Jonathan Stewart for the Broncos, given that they've gone through running backs like Kleenex this season. But Denver doesn't take first-round running backs. With no Clady on the board, we stick with a left tackle in Brown, who has started 12 games for Houston and excelled in run blocking.
 
13Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers (Original Pick: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon)
RE-DO PICK: STEWART
After watching Carolina's two-headed backfield tandem of Stewart and DeAngelo Williams run wild against shell-shocked Tampa Bay on Monday night, how could you say the Panthers' first-round pick was anything but a grand slam? I can't help but notice you never see the first defender bringing down Stewart.
 
14Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears (Original Pick: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt)
RE-DO PICK: DARREN MCFADDEN, RB, ARKANSAS
Everything after September has been a washout for McFadden, but without Forte on the board, the Bears would still have needed a running threat. Receiver Eddie Royal or offensive tackle Jeff Otah would make sense too, because Chris Williams has rarely made it onto the field.
 
15Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs (Branden Albert, OL, Virginia)
RE-DO PICK: JOHN CARLSON, TE, NOTRE DAME
It's hard to quibble with Albert, who has been all the Chiefs could have expected from a rookie left tackle. But Carlson is one of the best young tight ends in the league, and if Kansas City had him, it would have definitely moved veteran Tony Gonzalez at the trade deadline for some more draft picks to aid in its rebuilding project.
 
16Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State)
RE-DO PICK: AQIB TALIB, CB, KANSAS
No rocket science to this one. Rodgers-Cromartie has been a very good first-round pick, but he's gone on our board, so we're giving the Cardinals Talib, who has been solid as a situational cover man for Tampa Bay.
 
17Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions (Original Pick: Gosder Cherilus, OL, BOSTON COLLEGE)
RE-DO PICK: EDDIE ROYAL, WR, VIRGINIA TECH
I know, I know. The idea of the Lions taking a first-round receiver would probably set off some kind of civic disturbance near Ford Field. But after all those top 10 picks at receiver, Detroit last week had to rely on the likes of Keary Colbert and John Standeford to play alongside Calvin Johnson. Royal has been a difference-maker in Denver.
 
18Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens (Original Pick: Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens)
RE-DO PICK: LEODIS MCKELVIN, CB, TROY
You get the feeling that almost everything about the Ravens' great season might have changed if they hadn't drafted Flacco, but with him long gone, we're giving them McKelvin as the logical replacement for Chris McAlister. The veteran cornerback is on IR and likely won't be back in 2009.
 
19Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers (Original Pick: Jeff Otah, OL, Pittsburgh)
RE-DO PICK: OTAH
It may be boring that I've given Carolina both Stewart and Otah, the two first-rounders it actually selected, but how can you argue with success? Otah has played a solid right tackle opposite Jordan Gross, and the Panthers running game has rolled all season long.
 
20Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Original Pick: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas)
RE-DO PICK: KEITH RIVERS, LB, USC
As we noted above, Rivers' rookie season was cut short due to that broken jaw in Week 7, but he was off to a great start and he'd give the Bucs' an ideal replacement for Derrick Brooks when the decorated outside linebacker is ready to hang 'em up.
 
21Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons (Original Pick: Sam Baker, OT, USC)
RE-DO PICK: CURTIS LOFTON, LB, OKLAHOMA
With the Falcons having landed their offensive tackle in Jake Long at No. 3, and no obvious first-round quarterback option to turn to here, we're giving them Lofton, who Atlanta selected in the second. The rookie middle linebacker has been so consistently productive that the Falcons would have taken him earlier if they knew he was this good.
 
22Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys (Original Pick: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas)
RE-DO PICK: CHRIS HORTON, S, UCLA
Between the injured Roy Williams and Ken Hamlin, the Cowboys safety position has been a disaster. Horton, a seventh-round pick of Washington's, made an early impact this season and has three interceptions, 65 tackles, eight passes defensed and a fumble recovery. This would also allow Dallas to conveniently weaken a division rival.
 
23Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers (Original Pick: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois)
RE-DO PICK: KEVIN SMITH, RB, CENTRAL FLORIDA
The Steelers didn't get much out of Mendenhall before Ray Lewis ended his season with a broken shoulder, and with Willie Parker's injury concerns, another running back just makes sense here. Smith has toiled in the hell known as Detroit's season, but he does have 933 yards of combined rushing and receiving with five touchdowns.
 
24Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans (Original Pick: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina)
RE-DO PICK: DUSTIN KELLER, TE, PURDUE
Bo Scaife leads the Titans with 50 catches for 517 yards, but in a Titans offense that loves to throw to the tight end, they could use even more out of the position than he and Alge Crumpler have produced. Keller has been superb for the Jets, but with Johnson gone, we were tempted with the idea of giving Tennessee running back Felix Jones in this slot.
 
25Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys (Original Pick: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida)
RE-DO PICK: DONNIE AVERY, WR, HOUSTON
Maybe if the Cowboys had selected the ex-Houston Cougar Avery, they would have had their No. 2 receiver and could have avoided hugely overpaying for Roy Williams at the trade deadline. Avery, the first receiver taken last April, showed some big-play flashes for the Rams in October.
 
26Houston Texans
Houston Texans (Original Pick: Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech)
RE-DO PICK: KENNY PHILLIPS, S, MIAMI
We could have given the Texans a tackle like Sam Baker to replace the productive Brown, but back surgery took a huge chunk out of Baker's season in Atlanta. The Texans could have used an upgrade at safety, where Eugene Wilson, Will Demps and Nick Ferguson are so-so. Phillips has shown up nicely for the defending champs.
 
27San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers (Original Pick: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona)
RE-DO PICK: DERRICK HARVEY, DE, FLORIDA
OK, we're leaning a little stronger toward projection here than we like to, but Harvey is potentially too good to leave out of our first round altogether. As we said, he ruined his rookie season with that never-ending holdout, but the Chargers are in need of pass rushers with Shawne Merriman injured and facing free agency after 2009.
 
28Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks (Original Pick: Lawrence Jackson, DE, Southern Cal)
RE-DO PICK: JORDY NELSON, WR, KANSAS STATE
The Seahawks were wiped out on the injury front at receiver this season, almost at the level of a Biblical plague. The Packers love Nelson and believe they got first-round value in taking him 36th overall. Without tight end John Carlson remaining on the board, finding someone else to catch the ball fills the most urgent need.
 
29San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers (Original Pick: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina)
RE-DO PICK: GLENN DORSEY, DT, LSU
If you're going to wind up taking a low-impact defensive tackle -- as the 49ers did with Balmer -- you might as well draft the guy who most teams had rated as a top-three pick. Dorsey has been near invisible in Kansas City, but his obvious play-making skills will make themselves known at some point.
 
30New York Jets
New York Jets (Original Pick: Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue)
RE-DO PICK: BRANDEN ALBERT, OL, VIRGINIA
With no Keller around to spend this pick on, we think it makes sense for the Jets to add to their vastly improved offensive line by selecting Albert. Ideally he'd take over for veteran Damien Woody at right tackle at some point, but he can also play guard, where he starred in college.
 
31New York Giants
New York Giants (Original Pick: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami)
RE-DO PICK: SEDRICK ELLIS, DT, USC
With no Michael Strahan or Osi Umenyiora to rely on this season, the Giants haven't had the rotational defensive line depth that meant so much to their Super Bowl season in 2007. Ellis hasn't made the rookie impact many expected him to make this season in New Orleans, but in New York he'd have a bit more time and latitude to develop his NFL game.
Close

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 4 easy steps:

  1. Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Bookmarks.
  3. Select Bookmark manager.
  4. Locate your current Sports Illustrated bookmark, click the Organize menu, then select Edit. You can now easily update the web address of your Sports Illustrated bookmark.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 2 easy steps:

  1. Click the Safari bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. This will open the Bookmarks Bar. In the Bookmarks Bar, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Address field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Click the Firefox bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Show All Bookmarks.
  3. This will open the library window. In the Library window, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Location field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.
Don't Show This Again