Pick 1 Miami Dolphins
Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
(2008 pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan)
There’s not much need to dive into this. While Jake Long was a good offensive lineman in the draft, he was a safe pick. Matt Ryan has more than proved his ability at QB and is unquestionably one of the best players in this draft. Miami gets their franchise QB and does not end up going with Chad Henne.
Pick 2 St. Louis Rams
Calais Campbell, DE, Miami (FL)
(2008 pick: Chris Long, DE, Virginia)
The defensive end position was a massive need for the Rams back in the 2008 NFL Draft. In 2007, their defensive ends only totaled a horrendous 5.5 combined sacks. Calais Campbell makes sense. He is still wreaking havoc on offensive lines to this day and has been a consistent pass rusher and run defender for his entire career. While Long was a good pass rusher, Campbell has been the better solution.
Pick 3 Atlanta Falcons
Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State
(2008 pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College)
In this scenario the Falcons don’t get their franchise QB, but what they do get is an offensive lineman who had a very solid career in the NFL. Clady all through his career was notorious for being a guy who did not give up a lot of sacks and by drafting him Atlanta would have filled a large hole on their offensive line. It may be a safer pick, but it’s the right one to make here at this spot.
Pick 4 Oakland Raiders
Jamaal Charles, RB, Texas
(2008 pick: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas)
I definitely think in this spot the Raiders still go with a running back. There are plenty of options on the table with Chris Johnson and McFadden, but I feel in hindsight the correct move is Charles. Charles was originally drafted in the third round and he proved he was one of the steals of the draft. This is the right move to make for the Raiders.
Pick 5 Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
(2008 pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU)
In hindsight, Kansas City sees how much of a bust Dorsey was in the NFL and realizes who they should have actually gone with…CJ2K. Chris Johnson was one of the fastest and most explosive players that the NFL has seen. Looking back, how could the Chiefs pass on such an explosive and fun playmaker?
Pick 6 New York Jets
Desean Jackson, WR, California
(2008 pick: Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State)
It’s no secret that Vernon Gholston was one of the most disappointing draft picks in the history of the NFL. Looking back, it would have made sense for the Jets to have gone with a wide receiver. The Jets had Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles to catch the ball but they didn’t really have a guy to go over the top and make the defense sweat. Jackson has been one of the most explosive receivers in the history of the NFL, he just makes sense here.
Pick 7 New Orleans Saints
Chris Long, DE, Virginia
(2008 pick: Sedrick Ellis, DE, USC)
The Saints needed a pass rusher in 2008, but unfortunately, Ellis would never work out for them. So instead how about going for the guy who had an 11 year NFL career and was a pretty consistent pass rusher? The original second overall draft pick falls during the re-draft but it’s arguably a better situation for him long term.
Pick 8 Jacksonville Jaguars
Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas
(2008 pick: Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida)
The Jaguars had a need on the defensive line, but with the value that is on the board, it doesn’t look too great. So why not go with one of the best defensive players available at this spot, Aqib Talib? Talib has been a consistent, occasionally even elite, corner in the NFL. He has a “punch you in the mouth” mentality that the Jaguars could honestly need and could have been a consistent corner for the defense for years to come.
Pick 9 Cincinnati Bengals
Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
(2008 pick: Keith Rivers, LB, USC)
At this location, there is not a defensive tackle that is worth taking for the Bengals. Wide receiver was one of their biggest needs at this point. Chad Johnson had issues and they lost Chris Henry. The receiver room was looking pretty bleak and they needed someone new. Jordy Nelson was such a strong receiver for so many years in Green Bay; I see him bringing the same type of production to Cincinnati.
Pick 10 New England Patriots
Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
(2008 pick: Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee)
Jerod Mayo would still be a good pick here but let’s be honest…the biggest need for the Patriots going into this draft was the cornerback position. In this offseason they signed some veterans to their cornerback squad but they were not quality players. The Patriots fix that by drafting Mike Jenkins. Jenkins started off his career strong but he did run into injuries later on in his career.
Pick 11 Buffalo Bills
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State
(2008 pick: Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy)
The Bills will still go cornerback here. McKelvin never truly worked out in the pros. Rodgers-Cromartie, on the other hand, was a beast of a corner who had an 11 year career. He was not afraid to get his nose dirty and was hard to throw against if you were an opposing QB.
Pick 12 Denver Broncos
Jake Long, OT, Michigan
(2008 pick: Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State)
Honestly this is just about the same value that the Broncos got with their actual pick. Both Long and Clady dealt with injuries for the majority of their career. Long was still a great offensive lineman when healthy and would be a good value at this pick.
Pick 13 Carolina Panthers
Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech
(2008 pick: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon)
While Jonathan Stewart is a beloved Panthers player, the need for an offensive line was so glaring in 2008. Jeff Otah was never going to be the answer due to constant injuries. So, the Panthers go and get their guy in Duane Brown. Brown is still playing in the league for the Seattle Seahawks. He has only played for two teams in his NFL career. This is the type of consistency the Carolina Panthers could use in their offensive line.
Pick 14 Chicago Bears
Branden Albert, OG, Virginia
(2008 pick: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt)
The Bears desperately needed some help at the offensive line spot going into the 2008 season. Who better to grab than Branden Albert, who was a solid interior offensive lineman for about nine years in the NFL. Albert was known for his versatility during his time with the Chiefs, as he moved around between guard and tackle. This pick would have a lot of value for a team that needed consistent offensive line play.
Pick 15 Kansas City Chiefs
Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware
(2008 pick: Branden Albert, OG, Virginia)
The Chiefs had Tyler Thigpen throwing the football. Let that sink in for a minute. While Flacco gets a lot of flak (see what I did there?) he does have a Super Bowl win under his belt and a pretty good track record from his time with Baltimore. With the weapons that this Chiefs team had at its disposal, it’s hard to believe that Flacco wouldn’t succeed in this offense.
Pick 16 Arizona Cardinals
Brandon Carr, CB, Grand Valley State
(2008 pick: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State)
The Cardinals needed a cornerback at this spot and a good fit here is Brandon Carr. In hindsight, Carr had an amazing career in the NFL. All throughout he was consistent and considered a solid corner in the NFL. This would definitely be the steal of the draft and probably the craziest pick if Arizona would have drafted him in real life.
Pick 17 Detroit Lions
Jerod Mayo, LB, Tennessee
(2008 pick: Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College)
Here at the 17th spot, the Lions had a need on the defensive side of the ball, which makes Jerod Mayo has good value. Throughout his time at New England, he was never the greatest linebacker to ever play the game but he was always solid and performed his role well. There is no doubt he would have been a huge help to the Lions, who were about to go through some major struggles in the next year.
Pick 18 Baltimore Ravens
Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
(2008 pick: Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware)
The Ravens needed a QB but unfortunately for them, where they are sitting is no longer the prime position to be in. Hindsight being 20/20, they probably would have decided to draft Brandon Flowers to shore up the cornerback position. While quarterback and defensive end were huge needs, there is not a lot of value here at this position. Flowers would still be a solid addition to the team for the future and would fill a need for several years with his ability to get his nose dirty and play well off of the ball.
Pick 19 Carolina Panthers
Matt Forte, RB, Tulane
(2008 pick: Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh)
The Panthers learn from their mistake in drafting Jeff Otah and decide not to do that again. They go ahead and get their running back at this spot and pick up Matt Forte. Forte was a problem as both a runner and receiver in his time at Chicago. This would make another strong duo of running backs for the Carolina Panthers.
Pick 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Curtis Lofton, LB, Oklahoma
(2008 pick: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas)
The Buccaneers really needed a cornerback but with most of the good ones gone, they decide to tackle another need by drafting Curtis Lofton, who bounced around the division between the Saints and the Falcons. Here he goes to the Buccaneers and becomes an integral part of their defense like he was for their division rivals.
Pick 21 Atlanta Falcons
Carl Nicks, OT, Nebraska
(2008 pick: Sam Baker, OT, USC)
The Falcons decided that they were going to make sure that the offensive line was not going to be an issue for the next five years. They go ahead and draft Carl Nicks. Unfortunately in reality, Nicks had to retire earlier than he wanted due to health issues; however, his career was so strong when he did play that he was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame. He would be a solid help to Atlanta’s offensive line for a few years.
Pick 22 Dallas Cowboys
Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
(2008 pick: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas)
This one is easy, the Cowboys get the better Arkansas running back by drafting McFadden. He will get to the Cowboys at an earlier point in his career and will have a much better setup than he had in Oakland.
Pick 23 Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois
(2008 pick: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois)
This one I think I will leave the same. Mendenhall didn’t have the greatest career of all the running backs in the draft, but this seems to be the best option for them here. Replacing Jerome Bettis had to be at the top of their priority list going into the draft.
Pick 24 Tennessee Titans
Pierre Garcon, WR, Mount Union
(2008 pick: Chris Johnson, RB, ECU)
This pick might be a bit of a long shot but the Titans were very thin in the receiver department. In a weak wide receiver class, you get pretty good value with Garcon. He had a good career with both the Colts and in Washington and would be a great addition to their receiving core.
Pick 25 Dallas Cowboys
Jeremy Zuttah, C, Rutgers
(2008 pick: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida)
The Dallas Cowboys decide to work on their interior offensive line and draft Zuttah. Zuttah is not an immediate impact player. He was sort of late to the party in the NFL but in the end, he turned out to be a Pro Bowl offensive lineman. Build a solid run game with a solid interior offensive line.
Pick 26 Houston Texans
Eddie Royal, WR, Virginia Tech
(2008 pick: Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech)
The Texans could have definitely used another target to go alongside Andre Johnson. Eddie Royal would turn out to have a fairly average career in the NFL, but he was a quick guy who had big play potential. He would have been a fun fit in Houston.
Pick 27 San Diego Chargers
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
(2008 pick: Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona)
This is another one that I think should stay the same. The Chargers desperately needed some cornerback help, and Cason had a halfway decent career.
Pick 28 Seattle Seahawks
Cliff Avril, DE, Purdue
(2008 pick: Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC)
Avril didn’t really get going in the NFL until his third year. Here he starts with the team he would eventually end up with. The Seahawks get a much better pass rusher than they ended up getting in Lawrence Jackson. This is a solid upgrade.
Pick 29 San Francisco 49ers
Josh Sitton, OG, Central Florida
(2008 pick: Kentwan Balmer, DT, UNC)
Balmer is literally one of the biggest draft busts that have been around. Sitton was a solid offensive lineman for years in the NFL. I would say he is far better than Balmer here. No more to say.
Pick 30 New York Jets
Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A&M
(2008 pick: Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue)
Dustin Keller unfortunately had his career cut short due to injuries, so for the long term Bennett is the better option. Granted, Bennett does have some personal issues and baggage that came with him but he is clearly the best tight end in this draft when it is all said and done.
Pick 31 New York Giants
Thomas DeCoud, S, California
(2008 pick: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami (FL))
You can never have too many defensive backs, especially ones that were as durable and consistent as DeCoud was in the NFL. He only missed six games over the span of six years. You can’t ask much more than that. The Giants wrap up the first round with a solid addition to their defense.
*Only 31 picks because New England forfeited one due to Spygate
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