I’m going to come out and boldly predict that the Miami Dolphins (Bill Parcells) will draft Sedrick Ellis (6’1″ 309lbs, benched 225lbs 34 times) with the first overall selection. I say this because of my evaluation of Howie’s kid. Chris Long put up a 40-yard dash equal to a fast defensive end (4.75), but chose not to be tested at the bench press. You need to have the strength to take on 2 blockers at DE in a 3-4, so not benching tells me he doesn’t have the upper body strength to play there; so rule that out.
Shawn Merriman, and DeMarcus Ware all ran around 4.6-4.5 in the 40-yard dash when they made the move from college defensive end to outside-linebackers in a 3-4. Hall of Famers son or not, we’re talking about the 1st selection; is Long going to be better than Ware or Merriman? I just don’t think so, at least not at OLB. Assuming Long’s bench is sub-par, then he’ll end up scoring worst than Vernon Gholston, Merriman, and Ware in every pre-draft scouting drill. For example, Long beat Gholston at the 20-yard shuttle, but Ware ran a faster shuttle than Long. How can Long not destroy every number put up by similar prospects and still get drafted #1? I know Chris Long would do well as an outside-linebacker, but I just think he’d be an even better defensive end in a 4 down linemen front. I don’t doubt C.Long, just his worth to the Dolphins, and at the #1 spot. Neither Merriman nor Ware were picked in the top 10 of the 2005 draft.
Parcells is the key because he doesn’t like players who can’t tear apart the weight room.
Bill Parcells on the sidelines with the giants back in the day giving a pep talk to his guys on the bench mentioned “this is why you go through the training camp, this is why you lift all that weight!”
Just one of many times Parcells has mentioned what he wants in a player.
If Parcells doesn’t think anyone on the defensive side of the ball is worthy of being selected he could go with Matt Ryan, but since Parcells is an ex-defensive coordiantor, I’m going to go with Ellis for now.
Keep in mind, there are many workout warriors that have never panned out in the league, but never have I seen a player make an immediate impact without scoring high on the pre-draft tests. Yes there are guys that eventually become great starters through vigours work and determination in the weight room and on the practice field (i.e. the Chiefs’ Jared Allen and Brian Waters), but when your talking about the first 10 selections, your talking about guys with no physical limitations.
I gave other options for each selection, but this is what I feel will happen, at least right now. I did have Mario Williams as the best player in the draft even before the NFL Combine 2 years ago, so maybe I got it right again.
A couple of the names have a link to game footage attached to them that I think shows my reasoning.
|Team||NFL Draft First Round|
|1. Miami Dolphins - DT Sedrick Ellis, USC Unless Chris Long bench presses well on his Pro-Day (March 18th), I don’t see him going to the Dolphins. Parcells knows how hard it is to find a great nose tackle. One of the first things he did when he went to both the Cowboys and the Dolphins was trade for Jason Ferguson. Parcells drafted Ferguson two teams ago when he coached the New York Jets, so if that doesn’t tell you how old Ferguson is, then keep in mind that he’s coming off a couple torn bicep tendons. During the Bowl season Ellis heard that all the attention was going to Glenn Dorsey, so instead of complaining about it, he grabbed as much footage that he could find on Dorsey, and ended up humbly stating that he found ways to improve his game. And I think it showed at the Rose Bowl. Other Options: QB Matt Ryan at #1, and DT Frank Okam in round 2 or 3.|
|2. St. Louis Rams – T Jake Long, Michigan Similarly to the same reason as the Ellis pick, I believe the St.Louis Rams will take Jake Long with the 2nd selection. But not just due to need, because they could use Chris Long, but because Jake has so few flaws. Jake Long could benefit from time spent learning the NFL game from the easier (right) tackle position; as future Hall of Famer Orlando Pace finishes off his career. Once Pace retires Long can then make the transition to the left side. Other Options: None that I see, unless Jake Long is gone.|
|3. Atlanta Falcons – QB Matt Ryan, Boston College I originally thought that the Atlanta Falcons would take Darren McFadden with the 3rd pick, but with the signing of Michael Turner, I no longer think that’s a possibility. I think the Falcons will take Matt Ryan with their pick now, and believe we’ll start hearing rumors about Atlanta wanting Ryan once he workouts on March 18th. Note: the Falcons released Warrick Dunn, who then went to Dallas with great interest, but left without a contract. That tells me Jerry Jones’ is leaving a spot open for the possibility of moving up to get McFadden. Other Options: Trade with Dallas. Ellis, No need for C.Long after drafting Jamaal Anderson last year.|
|4. Oakland Raiders – DE Chris Long, Virginia The Oakland Raider scenarios are abundant, and the worst part is there’re probably a few I’m not thinking about. The Raiders could be looking at trading their 4th overall selection with the Cowboys (in return for their two first round picks), and I wouldn’t be against the idea, but I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. I just don’t think they’re going to be able to justify passing up on Chris Long if he’s there. Chris has character the Raiders lack, and Raider blood in his veins. With the loss of Chris Clemons and the move to tackle for Tommy Kelly, the Raiders are suddenly in need of a starter at defensive end. Other Options: Trade with Dallas, Ellis, McFadden, or Glenn Dorsey (March 26th Pro-Day)|
| ||5. Dallas Cowboys (From Chiefs) - RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas I think the Cowboys will send their 1st round picks to the K.C. Chiefs in order to draft McFadden. The Cowboys selection of McFadden is obvious. After all the players that the Colts, Patriots, and Giants have lost this off-season, the Cowboys suddenly become the best team in football. Other Options: Chiefs keep pick and take Dorsey, Ellis, or Matt Ryan.|
|6. New York Jets - OLB Vernon Gholston, Ohio State The Jets have done unbelievably well this off-season, but the addition of Vernon Gholston reminds me of when the Chargers drafted Shawne Merriman. The next season the Chargers went for a good defense to one of the best. With Kris Jenkins at the nose, and Gholston beside Eric Barton, Devon Harris, and the newly acquired Calvin Pace, the Jets have no reason to not be a Top 10 defense. Other Options: Ellis, Dorsey, McFadden, Ryan|
|7. New England Patriots (From 49ers) – CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State He comes from a weak conference (Ohio Valley), but way too talented for anyone in need to pass up. I doubted him even after a great Senior Bowl, but after the Combine he became my #1 corner. In the 4 or 5 years that they’ve been televising the Combine I’ve never seen a defensive back move so smoothly through every drill; like he was born to play corner. My sleeper for this pick is Shawn Crable of Michigan. It might be a little high, but I think Crable’s the best linebacking prospect (that wasn’t a defensive end in college) in this draft. He should man the middle of some team for many years. Other Options: Gholston, McKelvin|
|8. Baltimore Ravens – DE Philip Merling, Clemson This might be a reach because Merling did not work out at the Combine, but I just love the way he plays. I think he’ll put up the right numbers at his Pro-Day (March 14th) to secure this spot. The Ravens could go with Calais Campbell, but I doubt it anymore. Like Chris Long, Campbell did not bench at the Combine, and like Parcells’ Dolphins, the Ravens mostly run a 3-4 defense; which needs power from that position. Campbell only ran a pedestrian 5.03 40 at both the Combine and his Pro-Day. Campbell chose not to let his 16 reps embarrass (for his position) him at the Combine, and instead lifted before scouts and teammates at Miami’s February 29th Pro-Day. A preview of Chris Long’s bench? By draft time I might have Campbell in the 2nd round, it just depends on how many more guys continue to workout at a higher level. Other Options: Cromartie, Lawrence Jackson, Derrick Harvey|
|9. Cincinnati Bengals – DE Derrick Harvey, Florida I think the Bengals are going to replace Justin Smith with a younger, but just as talented defensive end. Harvey has great size, power, and speed (6’4” 291lbs, 4.80 40, and 31 reps at 225). Strong against the run and the pass make him a fit at defensive end in any scheme. It doesn’t hurt that he tackles everything he sees. I think he’ll start Week 1 and make an impact right away. Other Options: Dorsey, Jackson, Merling|
|10. New Orleans Saints – Mike Jenkins, South Florida I’ve got 2 cornerbacks (Leodis McKelvin and Jenkins) tied for 2nd after Cromartie, so I could easily see the Saints taking either player; but the guy I like the most is Jenkins. His 4.40 speed and 18 reps at the bench confirm what I saw from him this season: great strength at the line of scrimmage (aka, great man-to-man defense), plus great instincts to read and react (zone-coverage). The only slight is that some people think he takes plays off, but I’d take that question surrounding Jenkins over the poor level of competition that McKelvin went up against. Other Options: McKelvin, Dorsey, Dan Conner TBD by Pro-day (March 18th)|