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Draft King Analysis

April 28, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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Dan Connor
Penn State LB Dan Connor slid to the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. (Icon SMI)
The 2008 NFL Draft is history, and there are a whole host of opinions and evaluations out there on the internet. I've never been high on giving grades immediately after the draft; typically it takes at least three years to get even a preliminary evaluation on a draft, and more fairly it takes five years to truly gain a long-term look at how a draft turned out.

Credit ESPN with lining up several exclusive live video shots, clearly feeling the pressure of sharing the coverage with the NFL Network. One downer for me as a viewer was seeing a player, be it in an exclusive shot or not, receiving "the call" that reveals that he is about to be drafted. Seeing the reaction is nice, but having the suspense ruined I know agitated several people that I heard from.

Some players dropped much further than I expected. Some examples:

-Auburn DE Quentin Groves to Arizona in round 2 (#52)
-Penn State LB Dan Connor to Carolina in round 3 (#74)
-West Virginia FB Owen Schmitt to Seattle in round 5 (#163)
-Vanderbilt OLB Jonathan Goff to the New York Giants in round 5 (#165)
-Boston College CB DeJuan Tribble to San Diego in round 6 (#192)
-Kentucky QB Andre Woodson to the New York Giants in round 6 (#198)
-Michigan RB Mike Hart to Indianapolis in round 6 (#202)
-Arkansas FB Peyton Hillis to Denver in round 7 (#227)

Of the above list, Woodson free-falling to the sixth round was the most shocking of all. Note that the Giants now have two former Kentucky QBs, Woodson and Jared Lorenzen. Tribble is a player that went where I thought he belonged (due to his 5'9" stature), though there was a time during the 2007 season when he was being billed as a potential first round pick. I never saw that myself, but my role with this site is more to analyze the information that scouts provide than to do evaluation and scouting myself, though I do try to apply common sense to my projections and the information I hunt down.

Peyton Hillis
Peyton Hillis could prove to be a great bargain for Denver. (Icon SMI)
I will say this: Denver got a major steal (in my opinion) in Peyton Hillis in the seventh round. He can block, run, and catch the ball effectively. When I saw Mississippi State do everything they could to shut down Darren McFadden in the first half of their 2007 game in Little Rock, Arkansas was able to exploit the M-State defense with several runs and passes to Hillis.

As always, there were a few surprises in the draft, at least from my perspective. The Arizona Cardinals didn't jump in on the running back sweepstakes until the blue chip guys were gone in round five, which isn't how I anticipated them playing it. Then again, perhaps they planned to snag a running back in round two but then couldn't pass up on Auburn DE Quentin Groves.

Dallas made an interesting move in selecting two running backs: Arkansas RB Felix Jones in round three and then Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice in round four. With incumbent RB Marion Barber being a restricted free agent, and thus eligible for unrestricted free agency in the next off-season, perhaps Dallas was thinking ahead for the possibility of life without Barber.

Living in the Nashville area, I tend to hear more about the Titans from friends and acquaintances than other teams. The selection of speedy East Carolina RB Chris Johnson at #24 overall raised eyebrows, since Tennessee used a third round pick last year on University of Arizona RB Chris Henry and seemed to have need at both wide receiver and DE/OLB.

Johnson could prove to be a great pickup for the Titans, and there is no questioning his world-class speed. It is strange to bring him in with Henry still on the roster, though.

Note to Bears RB Cedric Benson: the time is now to perform. Chicago used a second round pick on under-appreciated Tulane RB Joe Forte, who could eventually take over the starting running back spot for the Bears if Benson isn't able to regain the form he showed in college at Texas.

It struck me as very interesting that Miami drafted Michigan QB Chad Henne in the second round. Considering that some saw Henne as a late first round talent, and the fact that Bill Parcells obviously likes him due to the fact that he drafted Henne, the future for him could be interesting.

Brian Brohm going to Green Bay is a tough end for Brohm in the draft process. I found myself stuck on Brohm significantly higher than I should have for the mock on here, which is something I try not to do but which happens from time to time. Brohm was slated way too high, and Tennessee LB Jerod Mayo (#10 overall) should have been in the list. Live and learn, I suppose, but it's reason for me to keep that in mind for next year.

The countdown is on for the 2009 NFL Mock Draft. Look tomorrow for the first mailbag entry regarding that here on the site.


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