2008 NFL Draft Winners & Losers
This was an exciting draft, and one of the strangest ever to watch. From the really weird order in which wide receivers were judged (and drafted) to Green Bay and Miami, two teams with really young quarterbacks taking a rookie quarterback high in the second round, this was a draft to remember. So when the dust settles, who are the winners and losers?
#1: Kansas City Chiefs – While the other winners and losers may be interchangeable, the Chiefs are winners by a long shot. Watching them this draft has been like a how-to video on the right way to draft. Their first three rounds were exceptional: DT Glenn Dorsey fell to them at #5, then they grabbed the best guard in the draft, OG Brandon Albert. CB Brandon Flowers was a perfect value pick that filled a need in the second round, and TE Brad Cottam, RB Jamaal Charles, and S DaJuan Morgan were all excellent third round picks that give the Chiefs very highly sought after prospects on both sides of the ball at great value. Expect all to contribute immediately. The later round picks were solid, as well, with some very intriguing prospects who give great depth and some potential future gems. Based on the first day alone, the Chiefs would get an A+, and the grade stands for both days.
#2: Washington Redskins – It’s been a long time since this team has been listed in an NFL draft winner’s list, but they earned it. This is the right way to build the team, and this time we saw focus. The Skins wanted offensive weapons for QB Jason Campbell, and ended up with two top wide receivers, as well as one of the best tight ends on the board. WR Malcolm Kelly, WR Devin Thomas, and TE Fred Davis will provide weapons on the offense for years to come, while later picks were spread between offense, defense, and special teams with a variety of great value picks.
#3: Baltimore Ravens – The new coaching staff got off on the right book. They traded down and stocked up on picks, before trading up to get the guy they wanted all along, QB Joe Flacco. RB Ray Rice was also a fantastic pick, and the next several picks were great value, getting high intensity defenders and future special teams stars. Ten picks means more bodies to build depth, and that was in addition to getting CB Fabian Washington from the Raiders for a mere 4th round pick.
#4: Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota traded away most of their early picks for DE Jared Allen, but when you add that to the value of their picks, the Vikings have to be the favorites to win the NFC North. Tyrell Johnson was generally considered the best safety in the entire draft, and a great value in the middle of the second round. QB John David Booty was a great value in the 5th round, and fits into what the Vikings want out of a quarterback. The rest of the picks were all very good values who will make the roster. DT Letoy Guion may see time as an inside pass rush specialist while WR Jaymar Johnson could be an explosive 3rd or 4th wide receiver.
#5: Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins did very well with this draft. OT Jake Long was a great pick and will anchor the offensive lines for years to come while instantly improving the run and pass blocking. DE Phillip Merling is an excellent pick at the top of the second round, and QB Chad Henne was also a coup. The other six picks are all good prospects, most of whom should make the roster. The Dolphins also traded a pick for two Dallas Cowboys back ups who will add depth.
#1: Jacksonville Jaguars – They paid way too much to move up to the top of the first, and then they really reached for DE Derrick Harvey, who keeps getting touted as a pass rush specialist, but who would disappear for games on end. DE Quentin Groves was a better pick in the second, but the amount they paid was too much, as well, and he can only be a pass rush specialist. The remaining picks were uninspiring, and all had major red flags of one kind or another. If the Jags hit the Super Bowl, it won’t be because of this draft class.
#2: Houston Texans – The Texans have done a great job rebuilding under Coach Gary Kubiak, but this draft was somewhat of a head scratcher. OT Duane Brown was definitely a major reach. CB Molden has upside, but from a small school with simple schemes so there are a lot of questions on his ability to play at an NFL level. RB Slaton is way too easily arm tackled. Some of the later picks could make solid back ups, but in a draft with a lot of talent, the Texans didn’t seem to really gain their share of it.
#3: Tennessee Titans – The AFC South is the toughest division in the NFL, but if they all keep ending up on this last that isn’t going to last long. The Titans should have had one major goal: get Vince Young help. So when not a single wide receiver is drafted by the time you have your first pick you…pick arguably the fourth or fifth best running back in the draft? That was even a major reach at that point. Jason Jones has some potential at defensive end, and some receivers were taken late, but you generally don’t find game breakers by drafting receivers in the 4th round. This was a really weak effort overall.
#4: Denver Broncos – It’s been a while since the Broncos have had a good draft, and the pressure is definitely building on Coach Shannahan. Clady has a chance to be a good O-lineman, but he needs to hit the weight room and wasn’t the best prospect on the board. WR Eddie Royal was a huge reach, especially with the other receivers on the board. A couple of the 6th and 7th round picks make decent prospects, but this was really a terrible use of early round draft picks.
#5: Chicago Bears – This draft wasn’t exactly a disaster, but it was strongly underwhelming. The Bears did get an okay first road pick with OT Chris Williams in the first round, who should push for playing time right away, but RB Matt Forte was a reach and made at a spot where the Bears could still get a quality WR, TE, QB, or OL, all of which are greater needs. WR Bennett is an overachiever who could become a very solid slot receiver. Most of the later picks are very developmental projects with limited upside. With all the picks the Bears had, and their needs, far more could have been done with this draft.