A look back at the 2008 NFL Draft: Part 1

A Look Back: The 2008 NFL Draft First Round Part I

2008 NFL Draft Invitees

2008 NFL Draft Invitees

Teams are always looking for the best pick in a draft, whether it concerns an actual NFL team or a college kid’s fantasy team. Originally this post was going to include all 32 picks with some extra comments. The post will now be broken down into two parts and will become an annual column for the The Sports Dojo. With that being said, a draft can determine the success a team has in the future. Here’s a look back at the first round selections of the 2008 draft (with other standouts and analysis; and some help from the Dojo Master).

First Round:

  1. Jake Long — Miami Dolphins: Sturdy and reliant seem to be understatements for Long. After being the first overall selection, he went on to start his first 61 games of his career. Also winning pro-bowl nominations in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Over the summer, Long became a free agent and turned down a contract extension to join the St. Louis Rams, who interestingly are the next pick in the draft.

  2. Chris Long — St. Louis Rams: Long’s biggest asset is his agility and athleticism for a big man. One of the more unknown statistics in the league, Long led the league in hurries in 2010 along with being named a Pro Bowl Alternate. He was named to the 2008 All-Rookie team as well, recording 4 sacks in his rookie campaign. This past season, Long finished with 11.5 sacks and was named once again as a Pro Bowl alternate. Look for his reliability and maturity to emerge this season, don’t forget this name.

  3. Matt Ryan — Atlanta Falcons: Ryan’s been a good quarterback, but no super bowl and only one lucky playoff win… unlike quarterback taken at 18… 11-4 postseason record plus a Super Bowl win… no big deal or anything EXCEPT Peyton Manning only has 9 wins to go along with his 11 losses… no big deal… just kind of good is that guy who got drafted at 18. There are a couple of statistics that stand out in Ryan’s career. One of the more impressive ones was pointed out by Grantland’s Bill Barnwell. Ryan is now an incredible 27-10 (72.9 percent) in one-touchdown games during the regular season for Atlanta. The down side to this, he is 1-2 in those games during the playoffs. While his playoff appearances are a low, expect to see big things from him in the future.

  4. Darren McFadden — Oakland Raiders: In five professional seasons, McFadden has shown glimpses of the potential he displayed coming out of Arkansas. Through five seasons, he has only surpassed 1,000 yards rushing once (2010). Another problem has been health issues in his career. McFadden has never played a full season, due to to shoulder and ankle injuries. McFadden has displayed several signs of his value, whether that comes from the run game or catching balls out of the back field. Fantasy wise, you’re always looking for running backs that can catch the ball as well as run.

  5. Glenn Dorsey — Kansas City Chiefs: The big defensive end out of LSU remains a competitive force. With a fresh new look in San Francisco and a two year deal, hopefully the level Dorsey was expected to reach in Kansas City will come about. One of the factors that plagued Dorsey’s early career was the shift to a 3-4 defense in Kansas City. Forcing him to change his natural position, defensive tackle, to what he now currently plays, defensive end.

  6. Vernon Gholston — New York Jets: Unfortunately in every draft, there are the occasional busts. Gholston may just be one of them. After being drafted by the Jets, Gholston saw limited time in his rookie position as the perfect outside linebacker the Jets defense was looking for. After three years, Gholston failed to record a sack and was henceforth released by the team. He bounced to the Chicago Bears during the summer of 2011, but after just one month, was prompted released again. After being picked up by the St. Louis Rams during the 2012 offseason, one week into the signing, he was again released. Simply not the career you expect from the sixth overall pick, unfortunately, it happens.

  7. Sedrick Ellis — New Orleans Saints: He started at least ten games each of his five seasons with the Saints, including a Super Bowl win in 2009. Ellis also recorded at least 30 tackles in each of his five seasons. For one reason or the other, Ellis left the Saints following the 2012 season. In June 2013, Ellis signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, after two months, he decided to let the Bears organization know of his plans to retire from the NFL.

  8. Derrick Harvey — Jacksonville Jaguars: Being the last 2008 first-round pick to sign a contract didn’t bode well for the rest of his career. Harvey was waived by the Jaguars following the 2010 season and picked up by the Denver Broncos for the 2011 season. He had zero sacks to go along with two tackles, which inevitably ended with his release. In March of 2012, the Cincinnati Bengals signed Harvey but in August, he was yet again released.

  9. Keith Rivers — Cincinnati Bengals: Victim of the creation of the “Hines Ward Rule” which caused a season-ending injury, the incident would henceforth make it illegal for blockers to land a blindside block using their helmet, forearm or shoulder, to strike at the head or neck area of a defender. Rivers has had success with the Bengals but was traded to the New York Giants for a 5th-Round pick in the 2012 draft.

  10. Jerod Mayo —  New England Patriots: In a rookie year in which he eclipsed the 100 tackles mark, Mayo was named defensive captain for the Pats in 2010. A year in which he tallied a stellar 175-tackle total and a Pro Bowl nomination. His work ethic is the best in the game. On draft day, instead of being in New York under the spotlight with the other top ten picks, he was at home in Virginia raking leaves. One can only hope he leads the career of another famous and now retired linebacker… Ray Lewis.

  11. Leodis McKelvin — Buffalo Bills: This seems to happen more and more in the NFL. Crazy, super-athletic cornerbacks that have a knack for returning kickoffs or performing other position duties. McKelvin has made some electrifying plays courtesy of his speed and change of direction. The Bills recently re-signed McKelvin to a four-year $20 million deal in March. His 40-yard draft at the combine was an impressive 4.39, a full second slower than another player at the same position coming up on this list.

  12. Ryan Clady — Denver Broncos: If there is one pick that has paid its dividends, its Ryan Clady. As an offensive tackle, he placed third in the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award votings. The only offensive linemen to receive any votes. Clady set a new NFL record for most consecutive games without letting up a full sack (20 games). To go along with the 2008 season and to the delight of Peyton Manning, Clady allowed just one sack the entire 2012 season. This prompted the Denver Broncos to use their franchise tag (worth $9.823 million) on Clady this offseason and in July, they agreed to a five-year, $52.5 million deal.

  13. Jonathan Stewart — Carolina Panthers: Another player that make people feel like their potential hasn’t been reached. Stewart has always fluctuated his carries with fellow counterpart DeAngelo Williams as well as other running backs for his tenure in Carolina. During the 2009 season, both Williams (former first round pick in 2006) and Stewart rushed for over 1,000 yards, becoming the 6th rushing duo to accomplish the feat. Stewart and Williams also created buzz when they dubbed their one-two punch ‘smash and dash’. This combined with a 300 yard performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers forced Chris Johnson to claim his name to the nickname first. Stewart and Williams ultimately let this fans decide their new name, ultimately going with ‘Double Trouble’. Look for these two to make some noise. Fantasy wise having two running backs receiving equal reps during the game never helps your team.

  14. Chris Williams — Chicago Bears: The last of five SEC players to be selected in the top 15, Williams has shown promise as an offensive tackle. He’s been matched up against the likes of Jared Allen and didn’t allow a sack. Injuries to his hamstrings and back have hurt his playing time and during the 2012 season, he was released by the Bears. Interestingly enough, the team that claimed him mid way through the season and resigned him to a one year deal in 2013…yes, you got it…the St. Louis Rams (now have three players out of the top 15).

  15. Branden Albert — Kansas City Chiefs: The first offensive guard taken in the draft, Albert showed durability during his first five seasons in the NFL. While he struggled in his sophomore season, allowing nine sacks (5th most in the league) and committing 10 penalties. Albert started all sixteen games in 2010 and the Chiefs decided to place the franchise tag on him in 2013. Over the past two seasons, Albert has allowed fewer sacks and fewer combined quarterback hits than both Ryan Clady (12th overall pick) and Jake Long (1st overall pick).

    Notice some of the smaller themes from the top fifteen picks. Whether than be remaining with the team that drafted them, leaving for another team, or even retiring. Success in the NFL correlates with how much work a player puts in. Clearly there are some players who wanted to win and become successful more than others. Keep these ideas in mind and stay tuned for the release of Part II later in the week.

Joe’s god given ability to untangle any knot has shown that he’s a valuable asset to The Sports Dojo Team. Not to be confused with Daniel ‘Smilin Wanderer’ Dicce, Joe ‘Wicked Pupil’ Meola has been known across Philadelphia as one of the most prolific culinarians. @brosephmeola

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *