DR. Z's MOCK DRAFT

Who's going Long in the Top 10? Can the Falcons afford not to pick a quarterback? SI senior writer Paul Zimmerman has all the answers in his forecast for first-round selections this Saturday. Bonus picks: seven gems who'll be taken in the later rounds
April 27, 2008

 

1

MiamiDolphins

VERNONGHOLSTON
DE, Ohio State

His workouts havebeen off the charts. He runs a 4.65 40, and his bench press of 37 reps tiedJake Long's mark for the best at the combine. Bill Parcells has been very quietabout this super pass rusher, which is his trademark when he really likes aplayer.

2

St. LouisRams

JAKE LONG
T, Michigan

The Rams wouldhave been happy with either of the Longs, Jake or Chris, but fortifying theoffensive line is a greater need with veteran tackle Orlando Pace nearing theend of his career. Jake will apprentice at right tackle, with an eventual shiftto the left.

3

AtlantaFalcons

MATT RYAN
QB, Boston College

The Falcons'scouts love Glenn Dorsey, the disruptive defensive tackle from LSU; thecoaching staff would like to start the new regime with a hot young quarterbackin place. Here's a debate that will rage in the Atlanta front office right upto draft day.

4

OaklandRaiders

DARRENMCFADDEN
RB, Arkansas

Al Davis revertsto his roots and goes for the player most capable of providing the quickstrike. McFadden's 4.33 speed qualifies him, but he's got baggage and afumbling problem—23 over three college seasons, most in the nation.

5

Kansas CityChiefs

RYAN CLADY
T, Boise State

Offensive linehelp is a necessity for K.C.'s ravaged unit. Clady is a complete tackle and thebest on the board after Jake Long is taken. But a potential trade of sackleader Jared Allen brings the D-line's needs to the forefront. Nobody said itwas easy.

6

New York Jets

CHRIS LONG
DE, Virginia

The Jets' runningattack was a middling 19th in the league last year, so McFadden has been anoption for weeks. If he's gone, the choice will be easy: Take the guy who'llgive you a dozen years of high-motor, high-production football.

7

New EnglandPatriots

GLENN DORSEY
DT, LSU

They're a base3--4 defensive team, but Bill Belichick likes to throw in a lot of 4--3 onpressure downs. And with the dynamic, disruptive Dorsey lining up next toAll-Pro Richard Seymour, the Pats will have enough pressure to make livesmiserable.

8

BaltimoreRavens

KEITH RIVERS
LB, USC

Do you fortify analready powerful defense with the most gifted, nifty-footed linebacker on theboard, or try to trade up for Matt Ryan—or hope the BC quarterback falls to youat No. 8? If Dorsey is still there, he'd be too good to pass up as well.

9

CincinnatiBengals

SEDRICK ELLIS
DT, USC

Cincy hasn't seenthis kind of player on its interior defensive line since the days of TimKrumrie. Speed is Ellis's best attribute; he has a great burst off the ball.He'll make everyone better on what was a disappointing unit last year.

10

New OrleansSaints

MIKE JENKINS
CB, South Florida

Could use KeithRivers, but he'll likely be gone. The top corner is available if the Saintswant him. The decision will be between the explosive Jenkins and Troy's kineticLeodis McKelvin, who coach Sean Payton says represents the safer choice.

11

Buffalo Bills

DEVIN THOMAS
WR, Michigan State

Surprising thatthe best wideout is still left, but it's a great fit for the Bills, who needsomeone to complement Lee Evans on the other flank. The defensive coaches couldwin the argument, though, and then the pick will be a cornerback.

12

DenverBroncos

RASHARDMENDENHALL
RB, Illinois

Mike Shanahancollects running backs, and this rugged, 225-pound north-south slasher fits thecoach's preference for quick, decisive thrusts. Oregon's Jonathan Stewart wouldalso have been a good fit for the Broncos if not for his recent toesurgery.

13

CarolinaPanthers

DERRICK HARVEY
DE, Florida

The Panthers arelooking for an active pass rusher to take Mike Rucker's spot on the right sideof the line. Harvey, a 6'5" 270-pounder with 4.85 speed, would be a nicebookend to Julius Peppers. He had 8 1/2 sacks and 17 tackles for losses as ajunior last year.

14

Chicago Bears

JEFF OTAH
T, Pittsburgh

Dynamic runblocker, a reincarnation of ... that's right—Jimbo Covert, another tackle outof Pittsburgh and first-round pick by Chicago, who cleared the way for a lot ofthose Walter Payton yards. At 6'6" and 340, Otah's a bit bigger thanCovert.

15

Detroit Lions

BRANDEN ALBERT
G, Virginia

At 6'7", 315,he slides over to tackle, with the power and athleticism to handle the move.(Albert started two games there last season.) Harvey's a possibility if theLions decide to go defense, Mendenhall if they're looking for a runner—ifeither is available.

16

ArizonaCardinals

DOMINIQUERODGERS-CROMARTIE
CB, Tennessee State

Sensationalcombine workouts and a big-time Senior Bowl, but he was strangely unproductivein some games for the 5--6 Tigers. Explanation? "He was probablybored," says Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt.

17

MinnesotaVikings

LEODISMCKELVIN
CB, Troy

A natural covercorner who rated highest at the position on a lot of boards. Brad Childress isan offensive coach, but he must shore up a defense that finished last in theNFL against the pass. And don't forget: McKelvin also gives him a fine returnman.

18

HoustonTexans

CHRIS WILLIAMS
T, Vanderbilt

Houston'squarterbacks are perennially under pressure, and the Texans are finallyaddressing the problem at the ground level. Williams is the consensus No. 4tackle in the draft, a tall, smooth, athletic type with fine pass-blockinginstincts.

19

PhiladelphiaEagles

AQIB TALIB
CB, Kansas

He's higher onPhiladelphia's board than on other teams'. A size-and-speed guy (6'1", 202and 4.44 in the 40), he plays with a kind of arrogance that makes him liked ordisliked by the scouts. There's no middle ground.

20

Tampa BayBuccaneers

JAMES HARDY
WR, Indiana

How much longercan Joey Galloway carry the receiving load for the Bucs? Hardy, with hisoutstanding size (6'5", 217) and athleticism, is a perfect complement. He'snot a burner, but that's no problem—the 36-year-old Galloway can still leave'em behind when he has to.

21

WashingtonRedskins

PHILLIPMERLING
DE, Clemson

An unusual pickfor the Skins, who are generally attracted by the flashy athlete. Merling is anunspectacular, fundamentally sound wingman who isn't highly rated as a passrusher but will give new coach Jim Zorn an honest day's work.

22

DallasCowboys

FELIX JONES
RB, Arkansas

Every draftnikwith a pencil is predicting Jerry Jones will turn to his alma mater, though an8.7 yards per carry leads me to believe this guy could be long gone. Dallascould also package its two picks to move up for McFadden, or take Oregon'sJonathan Stewart.

23

PittsburghSteelers

GOSDERCHERILUS
T, Boston College

O.K., it's a namethat belongs on the back of a Pittsburgh uniform. But more than that, the6'7", 315-pound Cherilus is the kind of pick the Steelers love to make—atough, hardworking, drive-blocking offensive lineman. I love this kind of picktoo.

24

TennesseeTitans

LIMAS SWEED
WR, Texas

Stewart, theOregon running back, will get a long look. "Eddie George came back from thesame toe injury [Stewart had]," Jeff Fisher says. But in the end the Titanswill go with the safer pick, the 6'4", 219 Sweed, a serious target on theshort fade to the end zone.

25

SeattleSeahawks

KENNY PHILLIPS
S, Miami

The Seahawkscould go a lot of different ways with their pick, including tight end, butthere's just something about the history of safeties from the U. Phillips hassolid measurables (6'1 1/2", 213; 4.43 in the 40) and good coverageskills.

26

JacksonvilleJaguars

KENTWAN BALMER
DT, North Carolina

If there's onedefensive tackle left on the board, Jack Del Rio's going to grab him. Balmer'sa hard worker, but can he fill in for Marcus Stroud, who was traded in March tothe Bills in a cap move? Possibly, but not for a year or two.

27

San DiegoChargers

JONATHANSTEWART
RB, Oregon

If not for Marchturf-toe surgery, he'd be long gone by now. It's a gamble, but Norv Turner canafford to wait because Stewart will be used in the Michael Turner role, as abackup for LT. If Stewart regains his form, the Chargers have pulled off thesteal of the draft.

28

DallasCowboys

BRANDONFLOWERS
CB, Virginia Tech

And that shouldempty the cornerback storehouse. Extreme toughness is Flowers's trademark,which offsets a less-than-dynamic 40 time (4.55). But guaranteed, he'll makehis presence felt on the field, either in the base defense or in thenickel.

29

San Francisco49ers

DESEAN JACKSON
WR, California

Mike Nolan thinksthere's quality and depth at wideout even this late in the round, and theshockingly fast (4.29) Jackson could be his home run guy. The only knockagainst him is his size (5'11", 178), which might limit Jackson to duty asa combined wideout-returner.

30

Green BayPackers

MALCOLM KELLY
WR, Oklahoma

Here's a big guy(6'4", 219) whose unimpressive 40 time of 4.54 will cause him to drop deepinto the first round. But Kelly could be a valuable possession receiver, andwhat better gift for new starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers?

31

New YorkGiants

DUSTIN KELLER
TE, Purdue

I was all set tohand them Dan Connor, the Penn State LB, but Jeremy Shockey began to make noiseabout wanting a trade. I think the Giants have had it with him and are readyfor a speed-and-agility guy, though Keller might have trouble blocking NFL'backers.

OPEN THE SI VAULT

THROUGH THE YEARS

Check out classic SI stories from past NFL drafts,including cover pieces on Terry Bradshaw (above) in 1970, Jim Plunkett in 1971,Tony Mandarich in 1989 and Vince Young in 2006.

SI.COM/VAULT

Late Sleepers

Keep an eye on these potential post--Round 1steals

CHRIS JOHNSON, RB, East Carolina

Ran a 4.24 in the 40 at the combine. Are you kiddingme? Secretariat timed out slower than that. Led the nation in all-purpose yards(227.7 per game) and set an NCAA bowl record with 408 in the Hawaii Bowl.

TREVOR LAWS, DT, Notre Dame

George Connor, Ziggy Czarobski, FrankVarrichione—great run-stopping Fighting Irish tackles of the past. O.K., soLaws is not a speed rusher, but just try to run on him.

DEXTER JACKSON, WR, Appalachian State

A little guy who flies. Averaged 30.7 yards on threereceptions in the shocking upset of Michigan. Season's average was a dazzling22.9 per catch.

JOHN SULLIVAN, C, Notre Dame

What, another Golden Domer? Why not? He was anotheranonymous lineman on a bad team until the Senior Bowl, which he turned into apersonal showcase.

TASHARD CHOICE, RB, Georgia Tech

Workhorse-type, a plugger, the scouts said. Then the6'1" 211-pounder dazzled NFL observers at the Senior Bowl, showing greatacceleration and burst.

ARMAN SHIELDS, WR, Richmond

Tall, rangy receiver who wowed 'em at the combine,with a 4.37 40, a 37 1/2-inch vertical leap and a 10'8" broad jump. Sentthe scouts back to their notebooks.

BRANDON KEITH, T, Northern Iowa

A fast-stepping 349-pounder who they say has the speedof a 320-pounder. Agile enough for Dancing with the Stars, but Jason Taylorbeat him to it.

PHOTOSCOTT TERNA/CSMRASHARD MENDENHALL RB, Illinois PHOTOTOM DIPACE PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER PHOTODEHOOG/TDP PHOTOBRIAN LOSNESS/US PRESSWIRE PHOTOGRAY QUETTI/CSM PHOTOCHRIS GRAYTHEN/GETTY IMAGES PHOTOJOHN PYLE/CSM PHOTOJOHN PYLE/CSM PHOTOPAUL ABELL/US PRESSWIRE PHOTOANDY MANIS/AP PHOTOPETER READ MILLER PHOTODEHOOG/TDP PHOTOCOURTESY UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH PHOTOJIM DAVES/UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA PHOTOBRAD SCHLOSS/ICON SMI. SLEEPERS PHOTODAVE MARTIN/AP PHOTONEIL BRAKE/VANDERBILT ATHLETICS PHOTOSTEVE MITCHELL/US PRESSWIRE PHOTODARRON CUMMINGS/AP PHOTOREX BROWN/GETTY IMAGES PHOTOBOB ROSATO PHOTOROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME PHOTODARREN CARROLL PHOTOERIC ESPADA/CSM PHOTOJEFFREY A. CAMARATI PHOTOPETER READ MILLER PHOTORICH KANE/ICON SMI PHOTOPETER READ MILLER PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH PHOTOTOM SZCZERBOWSKI/US PRESSWIRE PHOTOCLIFF WELCH/ICON SMI PHOTOTODD ROSENBERG PHOTOKEITH CLINE/ASU PHOTOKIRBY LEE/WIREIMAGE.COM PHOTOLYNN BASS/ICON SMI PHOTOCOURTESY RICHMOND UNIVERSITY PHOTOTODD ROSENBERG PHOTOJOHN CORDES/ICON SMI (MENDENHALL LARGE) PHOTODAN BUDNIK THIRTY ONE PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)