100 DAYS UNTIL FOOTBALL KICKS OFF: Rider's Mock Draft

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100 DAYS UNTIL FOOTBALL KICKS OFF: Rider's Mock Draft

OBJECTIVE: Each day leading up to the start of the 2008 NFL season with the first preaseason game on August 3rd between the Colts & Redskins, we will start a thread with a lead story concerning pro football.  The NFL season never ends, and there are several of you who have already contributed stories on a daily basis.  The purpose of this thread is to give our Forum Members one place where they can get all of the latest news and rumors EVERY day.

YOUR ROLE: We encourage everybody to add to this thread with anything you find that's noteworthy in the NFL.

Tommy Rider's bio: Tommy Rider works in the football industry and talks to many people around the NFL. While he can't name his sources, Tommy has agreed to share with the Pregame community some of the information he obtains during the offseason. Some of the stuff he gets will be exclusive to the Pregame members, who will have the luxury of reading news here before it hits the mainstream media. He will also pass along any "rumors" that come his way. Just remember, if you disagree with any information he provides, it's not coming from him personally, it's coming from other sources, so don't shoot the messenger.

Rider's Mock Draft

I hate mock drafts because no one in the world really knows what is going to happen. So, having said that, I've decided to do one for Pregame. This draft is based on team needs, things I've heard about players and information I've received about the particular team. Enjoy.

1. Miami: Jake Long, OT Michigan - I'm gonna go ahead and guarantee this one.

2. Atlanta: Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU - This is the only trade I'm projecting but I'm pretty sure the Falcons will move up and take Dorsey here. If not, they will select Matt Ryan at No. 3.

3. St. Louis: Chris Long, DE Virginia - The Rams trade down one spot and get the guy they wanted all along to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

4. Oakland: Sedrick Ellis, DT USC - This pick would make too much sense for Oakland, which means they probably won't make it. I think Ellis is the best player in this draft regardless of position.

5. Kansas City: Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio State - Gholston will help the Chiefs cushion the blow of losing Jared Allen.

6. NY Jets: Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas - The Jets are locked in on McFadden at this spot.

7. New England: Derrick Harvey, DE/OLB Florida - Here is where things get tricky. The Pats are in no-man's land here with Gholston off the board. They will try hard to trade this pick but if they keep it, Harvey will help New England strengthen its pass rush. A possible shocker here: Tennessee LB Jerod Mayo.

8. Baltimore: Matt Ryan, QB Boston College - The Ravens will do backflips if Ryan falls to them at this spot.

9. Cincinnati: Branden Albert, OL Virginia - With Willie Anderson getting long in the tooth and Levi Jones constantly injured, Albert would help sure up what was a disappointing Bengals offensive front last season.

10.New Orleans: Keith Rivers, LB USC - The Saints will try to trade up and grab one of the blue-chip defensive tackles but if they are unable to do so, Rivers will be a solid consolation prize.

11. Buffalo: Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy - The Bills defense was torched by the pass last season and McKelvin is the top corner on most teams draft boards.

12. Denver: Rashard Mendenhall, RB Illinois - The Broncos running game isn't what it once was and I'm told Mike Shanahan loves Mendenhall. He would be a heck of a pick for the Broncos at this spot.

13. Carolina: Ryan Clady, OT Boise State - The Panthers O-line was terrible last season, so this should be an easy pick if Clady is still on the board at this point.

14. Chicago: Chris Williams, OT Vanderbilt - The people I talked to in Chicago said Mendenhall or an OT, so I'll go with Williams here, the best offensive tackle still on the board. Sorry Matty. I know there's nothing worse than when your team drafts a fat offensive lineman in the first round.

15. Detroit: Phillip Merling, DE Clemson - The Lions really want Mendenhall but if they can't get him, they will try to strengthen a defense that was much too generous in 2007.

16. Arizona: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Tennessee St. - I'm told with Antrel Rolle moving to safety, this pick will almost certainly be a cornerback. It's just a matter of which player the Cardinals like best. I'll go with Rodgers-Cromartie, who is a little raw but has the athleticism to be a future star.

17. Kansas City: Jeff Otah, OT Pittsburgh - After strengthening their defensive line with Gholston, the Chiefs use this pick they acquired from the Vikings to upgrade offensive tackle. This selection will be either Otah or Chris Williams, depending on who is still available.

18. Houston: Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon - The Texans could go defense here but I'm told Gary Kubiak is intrigued with Stewart and thinks he could be dynamite in the Texans zone-blocking scheme.

19. Philadelphia: Mike Jenkins, CB South Florida - Lito Sheppard will be gone by this point and Jenkins has all the tools the Eagles look for in a cornerback.

20. Tampa Bay: Devin Thomas, Michigan State - The Bucs need some speed at the receiver position and my people in Tampa tell me that Jon Gruden loves Thomas.

21. Washington: Quentin Groves, DE Auburn - The Redskins need someone who can get to the quarterback and the lightning-quick Groves can certainly do that. Groves had more sacks in college than both Vernon Gholston and Chris Long.

22. Dallas: Antoine Cason, CB Arizona - I have Cason rated as the top CB in this draft and he would instantly help a Cowboys secondary that was horrific last season. Even with the signing of Pacman Jones, Dallas still needs more quality corners to play in its nickel and dime packages.

23. Pittsburgh: Kentwan Balmer, DL North Carolina - Balmer reminds me a lot of Richard Seymour coming out of college. I think he would be a great fit for the Steelers as a 3-4 defensive end.

24. Tennessee: Limas Sweed, WR Texas - Most of the people I talk to believe Sweed is the best receiver in the draft and I agree. This would represent great value for the Titans and give Vince Young a much needed go-to guy at receiver.

25. Seattle: Sam Baker, USC - The Seahawks will go either RB or OT here and I'm told they really like Baker, who will help solidify a leaky offensive line.

26. Jacksonville: Calais Campbell, DE Miami - The Jags will take the best pass rusher available at this spot. It's that simple.

27. San Diego: Gosder Cherilus, OT Boston College - I'm told from my people in SD that Cherilus is the guy they are targeting with this pick. That's good enough for me.

28. Dallas: Felix Jones, RB Arkansas - It's not Darren McFadden but Jerry Jones gets his running back from Arkansas. Jones will boost the Cowboys return game and add a nice complement to the bruising Marion Barber.

29. San Francisco: DeSean Jackson, WR Cal - The 49ers get this pick from the Colts and will probably use it to draft a guy who can find the end zone. Jackson may not ever be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL but he'll be dangerous coming out of the slot and returning kicks.

30. Green Bay: Kenny Phillips, S Miami - Green Bay is one of the hardest teams to project but Phillips would be great value in this spot and add youth and athleticism to an already strong secondary.

31. NY Giants: Jerod Mayo, Tennessee - There's a good chance that Mayo will be long gone by now but if he's still on the board this late, the Giants will jump all over the guy I believe to be one of the best defensive players in the draft.

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