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POSTED AT 1:34 PM ET, 12/ 4/2008

Week 13: Joe Flacco Up in Class

At Redraft Headquarters, we spend all our time uncovering and then mocking the mistakes made by NFL general managers and their scouts. So when we screw up like we have with Joe Flacco, our policy is to admit it 0- and then offer an excuse as to why our mistake could have happened to anyone.

Flacco (Baltimore, first round, 18th) was terrible for most of the first month of the season. In his first five games, he had a quarterback rating better than 64 once. In his first seven games, he completed more than 18 passes once.

So we ruled out moving him up. And when he started emerging over the past couple months, we refused to budge. We'll fix it this week by Redrafting Flacco to a more fitting position. And we won't spend one second dwelling on the possibility that the Redskins' defense might make Flacco look positively collegiate on Sunday night. No, we won't.

As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.

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BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (1)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 6:02 PM ET, 11/25/2008

Week 12: Dimitroff Star of Draft

The staff at Redraft Headquarters has been tracking NFL rookies for 12 weeks, but even we are occasionally surprised when an unheralded pick suddenly changes a game. That happened again on Sunday when wide receiver Harry Douglas (third round, 84th pick overall) scored his first two touchdowns in the Falcons' 45-28 win over the Panthers.

For the Falcons, it was just one more stunning contribution from a draft pick in what has easily become the best draft of 2008. Quarterback Matt Ryan has locked up rookie of the year honors, linebacker Curtis Lofton is a tackling machine and offensive tackle Sam Baker was starting and playing well before being sidelined because of back surgery.

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POSTED AT 11:14 PM ET, 11/19/2008

In Week 11, Rookie Value Clear

So after 11 weeks of fiddling, we at Redraft Headquarters believe we have the top of the first round about right based on actual performance on the field, not predraft hype. Lots of running backs and wide receivers up high. Three linebackers, although one got hurt. The player with the biggest gripe would be the Redskins' Chris Horton, who got jobbed out of millions of dollars because NFL personnel folks decided he was a seventh-round pick. The biggest busts are all on the defensive line, where enough money is being wasted to bail out a small nation.

The talent at running back was validated again by the Denver Broncos last week. Not only did the third-best Arkansas running back in the draft, fullback Peyton Hillis (seventh round, 227th overall), score two touchdowns for the Broncos, but another Denver rookie fullback, Spencer Larsen (sixth round, 183rd), became the first player in franchise history to start on offense and defense (middle linebacker).

As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.

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BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (0)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 12:18 AM ET, 11/12/2008

Falcons' Ryan Outclassing the Field

The election's over, but we at Redraft Headquarters are still making voting projections. And we're calling the Rookie of the Year race in the NFL for Matt Ryan.

It's not just that Ryan is starting at quarterback as a rookie and performing well. But his play has saved the Atlanta Falcons, who were expected to be devastated for years because of the Michael Vick mess.

Yes, credit needs to go to running back Michael Turner, the best free-agent acquisition in the league, and to a suddenly stout defense, led by monster John Abraham (11 sacks). And there will be those who argue for one of the great running backs in the draft or wide receiver DeSean Jackson or the underrated wide receiver Eddie Royal.

But we think it's going to take a catastrophic injury or a complete collapse to keep Ryan from being named the top rookie.

As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.

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BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (2)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 6:20 PM ET, 11/ 5/2008

No Defense for '08 NFL Draft

Gil Brandt wrote this week that he thinks 2008 might be the best NFL draft class since 1983. We know he wrote this because we re-read the sentence about 15 times to make sure we weren't hallucinating.

We here at Redraft Headquarters have long trusted Brandt's judgment but after weeks of analyzing every first-round pick's performance we just don't agree. Yes, the running back and wide receiver classes have been great, but what about defense?

Other than linebackers Jerod Mayo and Curtis Lofton, we struggle to find any defensive players who make a weekly difference. Four of the first five picks on defense have been major disappointments. Chris Long has been so-so. The defensive backs have been brutal. All these players may develop eventually, but with what first-round picks are paid, shouldn't teams be getting something now for their money?

As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.


Pick Team
1. Miami Dolphins
Redraft: QB Matt Ryan.
Was 17-of-22 for 220 yards in crushing Raiders on Sunday, outplaying JaMarcus Russell and keeping the Falcons in the playoff hunt.
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long.

2. St. Louis
Redraft: OT Jake Long.
Big reason for Dolphins' resurgence, has been solid on left side.
2008 Pick: DT Chris Long. Rams gave up 510 totals yards in 34-13 loss to Cardinals. Five hundred and ten yards. To Arizona. Long had three tackles for a loss. Congrats.

3. Atlanta
Redraft: WR DeSean Jackson.
Just two receptions for 20 yards Sunday in 26-7 victory over Seattle for the Eagles' suddenly human second-round pick (49th overall).
2008 Pick: QB Matt Ryan. Taken by Dolphins in Redraft at No. 1.

4. Oakland
Redraft: RB Matt Forte.
Forte (Chicago, second round, 44th) had 22 carries for 126 yards in 27-23 victory over Lions.
2008 Pick: RB Darren McFadden. Sidelined on Sunday because of turf toe.

5. KC Chiefs
Redraft: WR Eddie Royal.
The former Hokie (Denver, second round, 42nd) had a 95-yard kickoff return that set up his own touchdown catch and six other receptions in loss to Miami.
2008 Pick: DE Glenn Dorsey. Mr. Dorsey, on playing in the NFL: "Everybody's fast, everybody's big, everybody's strong and everybody is one of the best at what they do. That's a big adjustment." It is, when you are no good.

6. NY Jets
Redraft: LB Jerod Mayo.
Leads the Patriots, who took him 10th, with 65 tackles and has played on 84 percent of defensive snaps, according to the Boston Globe. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT'S a first-round pick.
2008 Pick: DE Vernon Gholston. He's a late bloomer. Yeah, that's it. A late bloomer.

7. New Orleans
Redraft: DT Chris Long.
Drops here from No. 2.
2008 Pick: DT Sedrick Ellis. Bye week should have helped in recuperation from knee surgery.

8. Jacksonville
Redraft: LB Curtis Lofton.
The Oklahoma product (Atlanta, second round, 37th) is second among rookies in tackles with 47.
2008 Pick: DE Derrick Harvey. Still no sacks and things might be imploding for 3-5 Jaguars.

9. Cincinnati
Redraft: LB Keith Rivers.
Out for the season because of a broken jaw but played well enough for horrible Bengals team to keep spot.
2008 Pick: Rivers.

10. New England
Redraft: RB Chris Johnson.
Johnson (Tennessee, first round, 24th) carried the Titans on overtime drive that beat Packers Sunday.
2008 Pick: LB Jerod Mayo. Taken by Jets in Redraft at No. 6.

11. Buffalo
Redraft: RB Steve Slaton.
The Mountaineer (Houston, third round, 89th) had 62 yards rushing and eight more catches in 28-21 loss to Vikings Sunday.
2008 Pick: CB Leodis McKelvin. He can't get playing time despite $12.6 million in guaranteed money?

12. Denver
Redraft: T Ryan Clady.
Clady is a keeper but 14 total rushing yards for Broncos in 26-17 loss to Miami?
2008 Pick: Clady.

13. Carolina
Redraft: RB Jonathan Stewart.
Has 362 rushing yards and five touchdowns for 6-2 Panthers.
2008 pick: Stewart.

14. Chicago
Redraft: McFadden.
Drops here from No. 4 to replace Forte, who has zoomed from second round to top of first.
2008 Pick: OT Chris Williams. Made his 2008 debut after back surgery by playing special teams Sunday against Detroit.

15. Kansas City
Redraft: OT Sam Baker.
Falcons traded up for USC star at No. 21 but he is out indefinitely after lower back surgery.
2008 Pick: OG Branden Albert. Overtime loss to Tampa Bay the latest blow to woeful Chiefs.

16. Arizona
Redraft: S Chris Horton.
The product from UCLA (Redskins, seventh round, 249) did not have one of his better games in loss to Steelers.
2008 Pick: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Cardinals are winning but it's not because of him.

17. Detroit
Redraft: CB Brandon Flowers.
The Hokie (Kansas City, second round, 35th) has hamstring issues but had played okay until then.
2008 Pick: OT Gosder Cherilus. A mediocre right tackle on a far-worse-than-mediocre team.

18. Baltimore
Redraft: QB Joe Flacco.
Threw two touchdown passes in comeback victory over Cleveland. Do you believe?
2008 Pick: Flacco.

19. Carolina
Redraft: OT Jeff Otah.
Ankle injury could sideline him again Sunday, but it's only the Raiders.
2008 Pick: Otah.

20. Tampa Bay
Redraft: CB Aqib Talib.
Inconsistent as can be. Sunday, he was beaten for a touchdown because he gave way too much cushion to middling wide receiver Dwayne Bowe of Chiefs.
2008 Pick: Talib.

21. Washington
Redraft: WR Donnie Avery.
The Houston product (St. Louis, second round, 33rd) has 23 catches for 363 yards for Rams and sure would have been nice to have when Santana Moss was hobbled Monday night.
2008 Pick: Traded pick to Atlanta, which took OT Sam Baker.

22. Dallas
Redraft: RB Felix Jones.
Still unsure if he'll be back to face Redskins on Nov. 16 because of hamstring issues.
2008 pick: Jones. He'll move up once he's healthy.

23. Pittsburgh
Redraft: Ellis.
He drops here from No. 7.
2008 Pick: RB Rashard Mendenhall. Out for season because of fractured shoulder.

24. Tennessee
Redraft: CB Antoine Cason.
The 27th pick, by the Chargers, is a nice nickel back, which is about as good as it gets on defense in this draft.
2008 Pick: RB Chris Johnson. Redrafted to New England at No. 10.

25. Dallas
Redraft: CB Dwight Lowery.
The Jets' fourth-round pick (112th) makes a lot of tackles and has recovered two fumbles but has been beaten too often in coverage.
2008 Pick: CB Mike Jenkins. Don't care about his gift interception TD off Eli Manning. Someone explain what he was doing on the Giants' final touchdown. Did you see it? He was in position to make the tackle and did not move. Derrick Ward ran right by him. Then he stumbled and fell over a prone teammate. Summed up the Cowboys' day.

26. Houston
Redraft: OT Duane Brown.
Was beaten by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen on sack that resulted in quarterback Matt Schaub's knee injury.
2008 Pick: Brown.

27. San Diego
Redraft: S Charles Godfrey.
The Iowa product (Carolina, third round, 67th) has started all eight games for the Panthers at free safety.
2008 Pick: CB Antoine Cason. Redrafted to Tennessee at 24.

28. Seattle
Redraft: G Jamey Richard.
The Colts' seventh-round pick (226th overall) has been forced into the starting lineup and has been serviceable at guard and center.
2008 Pick: DE Lawrence Jackson. With Patrick Kerney out, now would be the time for Jackson to prove he belongs. Don't think he can.

29. San Francisco
Redraft: DE Phillip Merling.
The former Clemson star (Miami, second round, 32nd) has tailed off a bit after strong start.
2008 Pick: DT Kentwan Balmer. Has five tackles all season. Five.

30. NY Jets
Redraft: TE John Carlson.
The Notre Dame product (Seattle, second round, 38th) has 22 catches with two touchdowns.
2008 Pick: TE Dustin Keller. Held to two catches for 19 yards by struggling Bills.

31. NY Giants
Redraft: S Tyrell Johnson.
The Arkansas State product (Minnesota, second round, 43rd) will be playing mainly special teams now that Madieu Williams is healthy.
2008 Pick: S Kenny Phillips. Giants are playing so well he isn't needed to do much.

BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (1)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 9:58 AM ET, 10/30/2008

Dorsey, Gholston Proving Unworthy

Remember last spring when everyone was talking about how the 2008 draft was filled with great defensive linemen? On March 8, ESPN's Mel Kiper had five in the top 10 of his mock draft. It's eight weeks into the season and two of them are on their way to being complete busts.

Chiefs and Jets fans have to be outraged by the poor play of Glenn Dorsey and Vernon Gholston, both of whom signed huge contracts and are now out of our Redraft first round. Dorsey has been virtually immobile in Kansas City, which has lost six of seven games. Gholston has been unable to make the transition to a new position in the pros for New York.

As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.

1. Miami
Redraft: QB Matt Ryan.
He went third to the Falcons but should have been No. 1. He lost to Eagles 27-14 on Sunday but who would have thought last spring that a Falcons-Eagles game in Philadelphia would be decided in the final quarter?
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long. Blocking Joey Porter in practice every day is proving to be valuable experience, but Miami needs a quarterback.

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POSTED AT 3:03 PM ET, 10/23/2008

Loss of Rivers Is Latest Blow to Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals' disastrous season had one thing go right: First-round draft pick Keith Rivers, who has started every game at linebacker and is second on the team in tackles. Then Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward crushed Rivers on a block Sunday, breaking his jaw and ending his season.

We here at Redraft Headquarters have to believe that with the season lost, the Bengals, in hindsight, would still have drafted Rivers. After all, he'll be back in 2009 and could be a fixture on the defense. But what do you think? Does a season-ending injury to a first-round pick automatically mean the pick was a failure? Do you have to see how the rehab goes? Does the answer differ if a team is in contention? As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.


1. Miami
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long.
He's playing well but the Dolphins need a quarterback.
Redraft: QB Matt Ryan. Was spotted during bye weekend at Boston College-Virginia Tech game. Hope he didn't pick up any bad habits.

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POSTED AT 10:23 AM ET, 10/15/2008

Falcons' Ryan Gains Redemption

We here at Redraft Headquarters admit we once believed that Matt Ryan was no better than a middle-of-the-first-round gamble. We didn't like his arm strength. Thought he had poor mobility. Thought his heroics in that miracle game against Virginia Tech were primarily due to bad defensive calls.

Today, we're here to atone. Matt Ryan should have been the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. We were wrong. And Miami and St. Louis were wrong to pass on him. There. All better. As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments section below.


1. Miami
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long.
He might be a starter for a dozen years at tackle but quarterbacks make the show go.
Redraft: QB Matt Ryan. What more do you need to see?

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BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (3)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 12:26 AM ET, 10/ 9/2008

The Case for Matt Ryan Grows

With every Atlanta victory the argument grows stronger that quarterback Matt Ryan should have been the No. 1 overall pick in the draft last spring, especially with the Miami Dolphins lacking a clear future at the position. Ryan has the Falcons at 3-2, which seemed like an impossibility after the Michael Vick/Bobby Petrino disasters.
More clear is that it was a horrible idea to spend five of the first 10 picks on defensive linemen. At this admittedly very early juncture, not one of those players has made a contribution befitting his guaranteed salary figure and it is hard to say which defensive lineman has been the biggest disappointment: Glenn Dorsey or Vernon Gholston.
We here at Redraft headquarters are frantically moving up the running backs and wide receivers who should have been the ones getting that first-round loot.
As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments section below.


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BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (3)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 10:16 AM ET, 10/ 2/2008

Where Should Redskins' Horton Go?

As we redo the first round of the NFL draft using on-field performance, there is but one issue at Redraft headquarters this week: How high should Redskins safety Chris Horton go? We admit that the fluky nature of his previous interceptions gave us doubts. But his play Sunday against the Cowboys changed all that. For now, we'll put him 15th overall. But what do you think? As always, your Redrafts are welcome.


1. Miami
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long.
Dolphins had the week off but Long will be tested by the Chargers.
Redraft: Long. He was No. 1 last week.

2. St. Louis
2008 Pick: DT Chris Long.
A 31-14 loss to the Bills gets Coach Scott Linehan fired. Would a better pick here have changed anything?
Redraft: WR Eddie Royal. The former Hokie (Denver, second round, 42nd) is up to 27 catches with a couple touchdowns.

3. Atlanta
2008 Pick: QB Matt Ryan.
Back on the seesaw. Awful numbers Sunday in loss to Panthers (21 for 41, 158 yards) after a good performance a week earlier.
Redraft: Ryan.

4. Oakland
2008 Pick: RB Darren McFadden.
How would you like to work for Al Davis?
Redraft: RB Matt Forte. The stud rookie (Chicago, second round, 44th) was put in his place by the Eagles Sunday (2.3 yards a carry) but still leads all first-year rushers in yards.

5. Kansas City
2008 Pick: DE Glenn Dorsey
. He has only 13 tackles in four starts.
Redraft: QB Joe Flacco. Baltimore's first-round pick (18th) faces a very difficult day against the Titans.

6. New York Jets
2008 Pick: DE Vernon Gholston
. Is 10th among rookie linebackers in tackles. TENTH.
Redraft: McFadden. Drops here from No. 4. He's averaging 5.3 yards a carry.

7. New Orleans
2008 Pick: DT Sedrick Ellis.
One sack Sunday does not make up for previous struggles.
Redraft: WR DeSean Jackson. Redskins next up to try to silence Jackson (Phildelphia, second round, 49th) who has 22 catches, six of more than 20 yards.

8. Jacksonville
2008 Pick: DE Derrick Harvey.
How does the No. 8 pick have only three tackles? And where's the pass rush?
Redraft: Jerod Mayo. The Patriots, who took him at No. 10, had bye week.

9. Cincinnati
2008 Pick: LB Keith Rivers.
Still playing well for a dreadful team.
Redraft: Rivers.

10. New England
2008 Pick: LB Jerod Mayo.
Redrafted to Jaguars at No. 8.
Redraft: Long. Drops here from No. 2 so Belichick can get him right.

11. Buffalo
2008 Pick: CB Leodis McKelvin.
Playing in nickel packages and returning kicks.
Redraft: CB Antoine Cason. The 27th pick, by the Chargers, has been far more productive.

12. Denver
2008 Pick: T Ryan Clady.
We'll assume the Kansas City game was a blip.
Redraft: Clady.

13. Carolina
2008 Pick: RB Jonathan Stewart.
Leads all rookie running backs with four touchdowns.
Redraft: Stewart.

14. Chicago
2008 Pick: OT Chris Williams
. Sidelined because of back surgery.
Redraft: RB Chris Johnson. Tennessee's first-round pick (24th) scored two touchdowns in 30-17 victory over Vikings.

15. Kansas City
2008 Pick: OG Branden Albert.
Chiefs won big Sunday but Albert sat out most of the game with hyperextended elbow.
Redraft: S Chris Horton. You don't think the UCLA ballhawk (Washington, seventh round, 249th) could help that defense?

16. Arizona
2008 Pick: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Cardinals gave up 56 big ones to Jets; Rodgers-Cromartie did have an onsides kick recovery.
Redraft: RB Steve Slaton. The Mountaineer (Houston, third round, 89th) had 116 total yards and a touchdown Sunday in loss to Jaguars.


17. Detroit
2008 Pick: OT Gosder Cherilus.
Matt Millen's final first-round pick. Need we say more?
Redraft: Dorsey. He drops here from No. 5.

18. Baltimore
2008 Pick: QB Joe Flacco.
Redrafted to Chiefs at No. 5.
Redraft: Ellis. He drops here from No. 7 as Ravens take best overall player left on Redraft board.(FRIDAY UPDATE: Ellis is now out two to four weeks because of a knee injury).

19. Carolina
2008 Pick: OT Jeff Otah.
Injured his right ankle in third quarter against Falcons.
Redraft: Otah.

20. Tampa Bay
2008 Pick: CB Aqib Talib.
Injuries have been a factor; we're tired of waiting.
Redraft: Gholston. Drops here from No. 6 on the assumption that predraft hype could not have been completely wrong.

21. Washington
2008 Pick:
Traded pick to Atlanta, which took OT Sam Baker.
Redraft: Trade. After victory over Dallas, we'll give Vinny Cerrato the benefit of the doubt on all those second-round receivers. Besides, a concussion has slowed Baker.

22. Dallas
2008 Pick: RB Felix Jones.
Did zippo against the Redskins.
Redraft: Jones. We had him Redrafted higher last week but not after Sunday.

23. Pittsburgh
2008 Pick: RB Rashard Mendenhall.
Gets a chance to play because Willie Parker was hurt, and then gets his shoulder fractured and is done for the season. Damn.
Redraft: RB Ray Rice. Rutgers product (Baltimore, second round, 55th) was barely used Monday against Steelers even after Willis McGahee got hurt, so this might be a Redraft reach.

24. Tennessee
2008 Pick: RB Chris Johnson.
Redrafted to Chicago at No. 14.
Redraft: Harvey. He drops here from No. 8.

25. Dallas
2008 Pick: CB Mike Jenkins.
After watching Terence Newman flail against Redskins you have to wonder why Jenkins couldn't beat him out.
Redraft: McKelvin. Cowboys take him in Redraft after he drops from No. 11.

26. Houston
2008 Pick: OT Duane Brown.
Said he wants to get fellow rookie Slaton to 1,000 yards.
Redraft: Brown.

27. San Diego
2008 Pick: CB Antoine Cason.
Redrafted to Buffalo at 11.
Redraft: CB Brian Witherspoon. The Stillman College grad (Jacksonville, free agent) has been among the league's top 10 kick returners.

28. Seattle
2008 Pick: DE Lawrence Jackson.
Still waiting for a first-round pick on defensive line to be worthy of his big paycheck.
Redraft: Albert. He drops here from No. 15

29. San Francisco
2008 Pick: DT Kentwan Balmer.
See Jackson above.
Redraft: LB Curtis Lofton. Oklahoma product (Atlanta, second round, 37th) won the starting middle linebacker job and is second in tackles among all rookies.

30. NY Jets
2008 Pick: TE Dustin Keller.
Still don't understand why they took a tight end here. Has six catches.
Redraft: TE John Carlson. The Notre Dame product (Seattle, second round, 38th) has 12 catches for 168 yards.

31. NY Giants
2008 Pick: S Kenny Phillips.
Hasn't been anything special.
Redraft: Phillips.

BY Emilio Garcia Ruiz | Permalink | Comments (3)         Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  

POSTED AT 12:24 PM ET, 09/25/2008

Week 4: Jake Long Back at No. 1

It was a very quiet weekend at Redraft headquarters. Matt Ryan looked good for Atlanta. Steve Slaton scored a touchdown and won the starting running back job for Houston (Ralph Freidgen had to be delighted to see him scoring on someone else). And Joe Flacco played well enough for Baltimore to win. Running backs still rule. Other than that? Not much. As always, we want to know how you would Redraft.

1. Miami
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long
. An interesting analysis of Long's slow start can be found here. In last week's Redraft, we dropped Long to the Patriots at No. 10. And that's who he finally played well against.
Redraft: Long. He's back at No. 1.

2. St. Louis
2008 Pick: DT Chris Long.
Rams moved Long to left end. He was better, but Seattle won 37-13.
Redraft: WR Eddie Royal. The former Hokie (second round, 42nd) leads all rookies with 18 receptions for 194 yards for Denver.

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