Draft analysis: the highs and lows

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff

Made his first pick a quarterback. For his sake, let's hope this decision turns out well. Bad QB decisions get you fired.

Cardinals CB Antrel Rolle

Was the sixth pick in the draft just three years ago. Now, Arizona plans to move him to safety and spent its first-round pick on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Can you say bust?

Raiders RB Justin Fargas

Rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. His reward? The Raiders drafted the dynamic Darren McFadden, who will absolutely be in the lineup on opening day. Anyone smell a trade coming?

Bucs CB Phillip Buchanon

Has been inconsistent as a Buccaneer, and now he'll have a heralded first-round pick breathing down his neck: Aqib Talib. Buchanon is entering the final year of his contract and needs to show up.

Top of the heap

Bottom of the barrel

Best players still available

Justin King

CB, Penn State

Physical shutdown corner despite 5-foot-11, 192-pound frame.

Andre Caldwell

WR, Florida

Over past two seasons, caught 113 passes and 13 TDs.

Dan Connor

LB, Penn State

The latest product of Linebacker U.

Dre Moore

DT, Maryland

A 300-pounder with explosive quickness.

Mario Manningham

WR, Michigan

Deep threat with knack for highlight-reel plays.

Four on the hot seat

Impact rookies

Brilliant moves

Head scratchers

They needed a big day

Four biggest losers

New England

Moved down and still addressed its biggest need with LB Jerod Mayo.

Jacksonville

Bold move to trade up and pick Derrick Harvey, right, filling a void.

Kansas City

Took touted DT Glenn Dorsey, resisting urge to take DE to replace Jared Allen.

Baltimore

In bad need of a QB, moved up to take Joe Flacco, right.

Atlanta

After picking QB Matt Ryan, moved up for LT to protect him.

Jake Long

OT, Dolphins

He'll become a cornerstone on the O-line for Miami.

Matt Ryan

QB, Falcons

A need position, and the character antithesis to Mike Vick.

Jonathan Stewart

RB, Panthers

Big, fast and tough, just like the Carolina M.O.

Mike Jenkins

CB, Cowboys

Should be able to step right into the starting lineup.

Darren McFadden

RB, Raiders

Can count on him selling lots of jerseys.

Cal's DeSean Jackson

He plummeted, going to Philadelphia with the 49th pick, likely losing millions by dropping out of the first round. On the other hand, the Eagles lucked out and got their man later than expected.

The Ravens

They lost out on their franchise quarterback when, on Saturday morning, signs started pointing to the Falcons taking Matt Ryan. Baltimore expected "Matty Ice" to fall but later settled for Joe Flacco.

Malcolm Kelly

There was a time when Kelly was perhaps the most desirable receiver in the draft. But he fell to the Redskins at 51st in the second round.

Jason Taylor

The Dolphins defensive end has been hoping to be traded to a team with better prospects for success. Unfortunately, Saturday was his best shot yet to have that dream come true. Instead, it was squashed – for the moment.

Receivers, anyone?

With Houston's Donnie Avery going to St. Louis at No. 33 overall, it was the longest wait for receivers since the 1966 draft. The last time receivers went 0-for-the-first-round was 1990.

Too fast for another back

Hard to figure the Titans taking East Carolina RB Chris Johnson at No. 24 in what will be seen as a reach. Guess they got nervous when running backs went with the previous two picks.

Another TE? The Jets?

The Jets trade up for … Dustin Keller? They yielded second- and fifth-round picks to move up six spots for a tight end few labeled worthy of first-round consideration.

Shuffle on the O-line

Gosder Cherelius was a legitimate offensive tackle prospect, but who thought he would come off the board before Pitt's Jeff Otah?

Miami's pleasant surprise

Clemson's Phillip Merling sliding to Miami with the first pick of the second round was a mild surprise. He was pegged as a sure-thing first-rounder and even staged a last-minute workout last weekend attended by the Redskins' entire front office.

Dolphins

A new era began Saturday, and considering they got three potential starters, they're off to a good start. Jake Long, Phillip Merling and Chad Henne could be keys to getting out of the cellar.

Falcons

This draft could transform them if they play their cards right. They got a starting quarterback in Matt Ryan and someone to protect him in tackle Sam Baker later in the first round. With eight picks today, they're just getting started.

Redskins

In stark contrast to the recent past, they barely made a peep in free agency. They made up for it with an aggressive approach, dealing their way into Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly.

Panthers

Fell back from the pack in 2007, but got two players who will help them claw their way back: speedy running back Jonathan Stewart and massive offensive tackle Jeff Otah.

Bills

Got a freakish prospect in cornerback Leodis McKelvin, then receiver James Hardy in the second round. Both give this stagnant team some athleticism and much-needed electricity.

Draft analysis: the highs and lows 04/26/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 7:35am]

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