A first look at the NFL Draft

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It&8217;s the most wonderful time of the year. No not Christmas, my birthday or even March Madness just yet.

It&8217;s NFL Mock Draft season. It seems to last longer than the NFL season itself, but slightly less interesting.

After the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and all the Pro Days to come, we will finally get to the draft in April.

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So I feel it is my duty to contribute to the madness and perform my own mock draft.

1. Miami &8212; I want to say Chris Long but Bill Parcells wants every player on his defense to tip the scales in a major way and Long is not huge. So for now I am giving them Matt Ryan. The Boston College QB probably doesn&8217;t deserve go No. 1, but the Dolphins don&8217;t need a running back and I don&8217;t think Parcells will go for an offensive lineman.

2. St. Louis &045; LSU&8217;s Glenn Dorsey is the pick here because it builds on what the Rams started last year with the drafting of Adam Carriker out of Nebraska. I know there are some injury concerns but Dorsey was too dominant for too long not to be good in the NFL.

3. Atlanta &045; For a team that needs everything I am going to give them the draft&8217;s biggest name in running back Darren McFadden.

4. Oakland &045; For a team that needs a lot maybe they should invest in someone to protect last year&8217;s No. 1 pick. I know they feel Robert Gallery hasn&8217;t lived up to his draft position, but I still think they should address the offensive line with Jake Long of Michigan.

5. Kansas City &045; The Chiefs would love to get Jake Long to help rebuild some of that offensive line, but with him gone they can go after a player that will give them more sack threat than just Jared Allen. The Chiefs select Vernon Gholston out of Ohio State.

6. New York Jets &045; Sedrick Ellis is a fast-rising name in this draft and some wonder if he can fit in the Jets system, but I think he is too much of a good talent to have the defensively poor Jets pass up.

7. New England &045; You have to figure the Pats will go with a cornerback in the first round. Mike Jenkins out of South Florida has some off-the-field issues, but Brandon Merriweather wasn&8217;t a saint coming out of Miami last year and New England took a chance.

8. Baltimore &045; Ray Lewis isn&8217;t getting any younger so the Ravens can take USC&8217;s Keith Rivers to fill into a role for them in the coming years.

9. Cincinnati &045; There has to be

a surprise in the first

10 picks and I give it to the Bengals with Rashard Mendenhall. Rudy Johnson is good but they are always looking for the other back so let&8217;s go this way.

10. New Orleans &045; The Saints need help nearly everywhere on defense, but perhaps no more than in the defensive secondary. Aqib Talib has been touted as a shutdown corner by some so let&8217;s start there.

11. Buffalo &045; I have a feeling the Bills would like to take a wide receiver with this pick but it seems a little high to do that. Defensively, they could use help at linebacker. With Rivers off the board they could go for Penn St. tackling machine Dan Connor and team him up with last year&8217;s No. 1 pick.

12. Denver &045; The Broncos need to continue to plug holes on the defensive side of the ball. Kenny Phillips, a safety out of Miami, could eventually replace John Lynch in the lineup.

13. Carolina &045; Looking for offensive line help the Panthers go with the second best prospect of the bunch in Boise State&8217;s Ryan Clady.

14. Chicago &045; I am not sure there is a quarterback that can help them at this point because they need someone to step in right now, but I still think Brian Brohm has first-round talent. He has injury concerns, but the Bears have to do something.

15. Detroit &045; The Lions need help at wide receiver so I am …. just kidding. They better be thinking defense and the secondary would be a good place to start with Leodis McKelvin of Troy.

I am sure the picks will change numerous times between now and the draft but that is what makes it fun. That and the fact that I think Detroit would riot if Matt Millen drafted another wide receiver.

Sport editor Jeff Budlong&8217;s column appears every Wednesday.