Editor’s Note: Doug Kyed, our intrepid staff writer, will be doing some extra work for the final twenty days before the 2011 NFL Draft, taking a look at the last twenty NFL Drafts.
Today he looks at the 2008 NFL Draft Class.
2008 features one of the most amazing single position draft classes ever. 13 of the 32 leading rushers in 2010 came from this class and those same 13 players were also each the leading rushers on their respective teams.
That list is: Tim Hightower, Ray Rice, Jonathan Stewart, Matt Forte, Peyton Hillis, Felix Jones, Jamaal Charles, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Tolbert, Chris Johnson and Ryan Torain. The class also featured Kevin Smith, Steve Slaton, Tashard Choice, Mike Hart, Justin Forsett, Danny Woodhead and fullbacks Jacob Hester, Jerome Felton and Owen Schmitt. Wow.
My Top Ten for the 2008 NFL Draft class:
Jake Long: Rd. 1 Pick 1 – Miami Dolphins
Matt Ryan: Rd. 1 Pick 3 – Atlanta Falcons
Jerod Mayo: Rd. 1 Pick 10 – New England Patriots
Ryan Clady: Rd. 1 Pick 12 – Denver Broncos
Aqib Talib: Rd. 1 Pick 20 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Johnson: Rd. 1 Pick 24 – Tennessee Titans
Brandon Flowers: Rd. 2 Pick 35 – Kansas City Chiefs
DeSean Jackson: Rd. 2 Pick 49 – Philadelphia Eagles
Ray Rice: Rd. 2 Pick 55 – Baltimore Ravens
Jamaal Charles: Rd. 3 Pick 73 – Kansas City Chiefs
Other Significant Players – Darren McFadden, Glenn Dorsey, Leodis McKelvin, Jonathan Stewart, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Joe Flacco, Jeff Otah, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Jenkins, Tracy Porter, Matt Forte, Jermichael Finley, Steve Johnson, Peyton Hillis, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
My Top Player: I think Jamaal Charles has been the better player since he took on a starting role, but Johnson has had the better career thus far.
Consensus Top Player: Chris Johnson
No Hall of Famers
Possible Future HOF: Long, Ryan, Mayo, Johnson, Jackson, Charles
Best Value: Peyton Hillis
Biggest Bust: Vernon Gholston
Best Patriots Pick: The best player is Mayo, but picking up Green-Ellis and Guyton as undrafted free agents has been huge.
Worst Patriots Pick: Terrence Wheatley, Shawn Crable and Kevin O’Connell all didn’t work out for the Pats and were all second or third round picks. I’ll go with Wheatley since he was the highest pick and a productive defensive back in Terrell Thomas was taken with the next pick.
Best Team Class: Miami (Long, Phillip Merling, Chad Henne, Kendall Langford, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter), Kansas City (Dorsey, Branden Albert, Flowers, Charles, Brandon Carr, Barry Richardson), Denver (Clady, Eddie Royal, Torain, Spencer Larsen, Hillis, Garrett Hartley), Carolina (Stewart, Otah, Charles Godfrey, Dan Connor, Nick Hayden, Geoff Schwartz, Mackenzy Bernadeau) and Baltimore (Flacco, Rice, Tom Zbikowski) all had solid drafts. I’m giving it to the Chiefs who hit big on six of their 12 picks.
Overall Grade: Solid draft so far, B.