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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

April 21, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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With the 2008 NFL Draft less than one week away, look for a flurry of activity, rumors, and speculation that will lead up to the big event.

It's looking like the projection I put up late last week of Jake Long going #1 and Chris Long going #2 may very well take place. Tom Curran of reports that a deal between Miami and Jake Long is nearly in place, and he cites an anonymous source that indicates that Chris Long would go to the Rams with the #2 pick if Jake Long goes to Miami at the top spot.

Jerod Mayo
Jerod Mayo is an athletic inside linebacker. (Icon SMI)

One player making a late run is University of Tennessee ILB Jerod Mayo. It's a weak year for the ILB position (with top ILB prospects James Laurinaitis and Rey Maualuga both returning to school for 2008) and Mayo is a solid talent who could easily end up as a selection toward the end of round one. The 4.54 40 he ran at the combine set his stock upward, and the only major knock against him is his capacity to shed blocks. If he proves able to do that in the NFL, he could develop into a great inside linebacker at the pro level.

With so many strong running backs in this draft, it will be most curious to see were Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart ends up. He looked like a strong candidate to be in the mix for the second running back taken (behind Arkansas RB Darren McFadden), but then he opted to have surgery on a turf toe injury he sustained in November 2007. He should be healthy by the time training camp starts, and he has a rare mix of size and speed, but the surgery could ensure that he will end up going below the likes of Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall and Arkansas RB Felix Jones.

If he does manage to slip out of round one, Stewart would be a huge steal in round two.

Looking ahead to round two, it's notable that Atlanta has three picks in that round, two of which are high (#34 and #37 overall). If the Falcons decide to go with Glenn Dorsey in the first round (an outside possibility), they could look to a second-tier QB who perhaps they are higher on in that range. One thing to consider is that there probably isn't going to be a good value pick at #34 or #37 at DT, which is a need spot for the Falcons (along with finding a replacement CB for DeAngelo Hall).

If Atlanta goes with Dorsey and then a QB like Delaware's Joe Flacco, don't be surprised. Though, with all of the talk late in the season by Falcons owner Arthur Blank about spotlighting a franchise QB, I still think Matt Ryan to Atlanta at #3 makes the most sense.

Likewise, if Baltimore goes with a CB in round one (they are rumored to have strong interest in Troy CB Leodis McKelvin) rather than go for Louisville QB Brian Brohm, they would be in a position to go for a QB with the #38 spot. It would be interesting to see Baltimore try to leapfrog both of the Atlanta picks above theirs if they want Flacco or another QB.


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