This is a new feature here at NFL Mocks. Every week we will be breaking down the Big Board and its players. Let’s get started…
1. OT Jake Long, Michigan – I’m not sure that we absolutely, positively feel that Long is the best player in this draft, but I do think we all agree that he is the surest bet. We also believe that his cumulative average when it comes to the draft boards of NFL teams is most likely the highest of any player. Additionally, we have almost no doubt that Long will be one of the first three players picked. We can’t say that about any other player, at least with confidence anyway.
2. RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas – In a lot of drafts Run DMC would be running the big board. Not this year. He has the most upside of any prospect, but character and running-style concerns bring him down to Earth a bit. The other issue is that most of the teams in the top five already have a star running back.
3. QB Matt Ryan, Boston College – He’s a prototypical pro quarterback who possess the intangibles and leadership abilities guys like Brian Brohm and Chad Henne do not. There has been some debate over Matty Ice amongst our staff, but we have deducted that he is the best QB prospect by a pretty wide margin. Some pundits think he’s easily worthy of a top five pick, others do not. Ryan could either move up or down at this point. Keep and eye on him. Where he goes could be the key to round one and beyond.
4. DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio St. – The Ghoul, as we like to call him, looks like he could haunt offensives for the next decade with his pass-rushing prowess. Athletically, he’s from another planet. That’s why he currently edges out Chris Long on our board. He could end up going as early as No. 1. We’re dead serious.
5. DE Chris Long, Virginia – Great prospect, great resume, great motor, but the Howie hype alone is not enough to rank him over Gholston. He may be more proven, and he could end up being the better player, but he is not a better prospect than Gholston.
6. DT Sedrick Ellis, USC - Just as good as Glenn Dorsey, and without the injury concerns. We also love the fact that the kid wanted to play and dominate at the Senior Bowl. That shows the kind of burning desire that fuels his fire. He’s going to be a Pro Bowl DT. Guaranteed.
7. DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU – He’s tough as hell and injuries have never really sidelined him, but these injury concerns have caused us to bump down his stock a tad. Without the injury issues he’d be right there with Ellis.
8. CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, Tenn. St. – Nobody’s stock has risen more during the past few months than DRC’s. We feel he’s the best corner in this draft, and that secures him a firm spot in our top ten.
9. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois – Our staff is split down the middle on Mendenhall and Jonathan Stewart, but Mendenhall gets the call because of Stewart’s toe injury. Regardless, Mendenhall is going to be quite the weapon for some team’s rushing attack in ’08.
10. OT Ryan Clady, Boise St. - Off-the-charts athletic ability and upside got him here, despite him being an underclassmen. But Clady’s 13 on the Wonderlic will likely make this his last week holding a spot on the big board. Especially with a guy like Chris Williams scoring 32 on the highly regarded intelligence test.