The League


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.

Pick Team
1. Miami
Redraft: QB Matt Ryan.
At 89.9 his passer rating puts him 11th in the NFL, ahead of Brett Favre and Eli Manning, among others.
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long. He's done fine and Dolphins should be happy they are 5-4, but they may regret not taking Ryan for a long time.

2. St. Louis
Redraft: OT Jake Long.
Looking like a cornerstone.
2008 Pick: DT Chris Long. Rams trailed Jets 40-0 at the half Sunday. They can't stop the run or rush the passer. Chris Long needs to do more.

3. Atlanta
Redraft: WR DeSean Jackson.
Eagles snapped the ball to him in the single wing and he scored on a nine-yard run. What's next for the second-round pick (49th overall)? Magic tricks at halftime?
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 72 yards rushing and seven receptions against Tennessee. Dual threat puts him ahead of Titans' Chris Johnson for top rookie running back honors.
2008 Pick: RB Darren McFadden. Season has been pretty much totaled by Al Davis and turf toe.

5. Kansas City
Redraft: WR Eddie Royal.
The former Hokie (Denver, second round, 42nd) leads all rookies with 52 receptions (he's seventh in the NFL) and has scored four touchdowns.
2008 Pick: DE Glenn Dorsey. Kansas City columnist writes of Dorsey's "mysterious disappearances." We ask: Was he ever there?

6. New York Jets
Redraft: LB Jerod Mayo.
Had a key batted-down pass in victory over Bills and remains leading rookie tackler by wide margin.
2008 Pick: DE Vernon Gholston. Up 47-3 and Jets coaches still didn't give him extended playing time Sunday.

7. New Orleans
Redraft: LB Curtis Lofton.
The Oklahoma product (Atlanta, second round, 37th) had six more tackles in victory over Saints.
2008 Pick: DT Sedrick Ellis. Injured knee looked better in loss to Falcons.

8. Jacksonville
Redraft: RB Chris Johnson.
Johnson (Tennessee, first round, 24th) was held to eight yards rushing on 14 carries in victory over Bears. But Chicago stuffed the box so much that Kerry Collins threw for almost 300 yards.
2008 Pick: DE Derrick Harvey. It took nine games, but he finally got his first sack Sunday. Of course, it was against the Lions.

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 Steve Slaton.
The Mountaineer (Houston, third round, 89th) was shut down by the Ravens defense Sunday but had played well until then.
2008 Pick: LB Jerod Mayo. Taken by Jets in Redraft at No. 6.

11. Buffalo
Redraft: T Ryan Clady.
Starter at left tackle (12th overall pick) for Broncos couldn't have been too bad on Thursday against Cleveland. After all, Jay Cutler threw for 447 yards and Denver racked up 564 yards.
2008 Pick: CB Leodis McKelvin. Had an 85-yard kickoff return but coaches still don't trust him on defense.

12. Denver
Redraft: Chris Long.
Drops here from No. 2 because he still leads all rookies in sacks.
2008 Pick: T Ryan Clady. Taken by Bills in Redraft at No. 11.

13. Carolina
Redraft: RB Jonathan Stewart.
Outshined by DeAngelo Williams' 140 yards Sunday against Raiders.
2008 pick: Stewart.

14. Chicago
Redraft: S Chris Horton.
The UCLA product (Redskins, seventh round, 249) probably gets Tony Romo on Sunday.
2008 Pick: OT Chris Williams. Slowly rounding into shape after back surgery.

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. Showing some signs of life after slow start. Burt first-round money? Not yet.

16. Arizona
Redraft: McFadden.
Drops here from No. 4, but his stock has fallen so much that you might rather have Tim Hightower (whom the Cardinals grabbed in the 5th round, 149th overall)?
2008 Pick: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Started Monday night against Niners and had a ho-hum three tackles, but he only has 17 on the season.

17. Detroit
Redraft: CB Brandon Flowers.
The Hokie (Chiefs, second round, 35th) has been one of the few bright spots in Kansas City.
2008 Pick: OT Gosder Cherilus. Lions offensive line gave up seven sacks and team barely reached 100 yards rushing in home pasting by Jaguars Sunday.

18. Baltimore
Redraft: QB Joe Flacco.
Let's see how he does Sunday against the Giants. If he does well against that defense, then we'll Redraft him higher.
2008 Pick: Flacco.

19. Carolina
Redraft: OT Jeff Otah.
Ankle injury remains a concern but otherwise he's been great.
2008 Pick: Otah.

20. Tampa Bay
Redraft: CB Aqib Talib.
Up and down corner had bye week.
2008 Pick: Talib.

21. Washington
Redraft: WR Donnie Avery.
The Houston product (St. Louis, second round, 33rd) has 25 catches for the Rams, who stink.
2008 Pick: Traded pick to Atlanta, which took OT Sam Baker.

22. Dallas
Redraft: RB Felix Jones.
Hamstring issues might keep him sidelined again on Sunday against Redskins.
2008 Pick: Jones. We're losing patience as other rookie running backs rack up big numbers.

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: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Undrafted rookie from Mississippi had 105 yards rushing and has scored touchdowns in four straight games for Patriots.
2008 Pick: RB Chris Johnson. Taken by New England in Redraft at No. 10.

25. Dallas
Redraft: CB Antoine Cason.
The 27th pick, by the Chargers, was beaten by Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez for a key touchdown Sunday but remains dependable at nickel back.
2008 Pick: CB Mike Jenkins. If I'm Jim Zorn, I find him on Sunday and send the ball his way.

26. Houston
Redraft: OT Duane Brown.
Called for holding in the end zone against Ravens one week after giving up the sack that led to quarterback Matt Schaub's knee injury. Not good.
2008 Pick: Brown.

27. San Diego
Redraft: S Charles Godfrey.
The Iowa product (Carolina, third round, 67th) has started all nine games for the Panthers at free safety.
2008 Pick: CB Antoine Cason. Taken in Redraft by Dallas at No. 25.

28. Seattle
Redraft: G Jamey Richard.
The Colts' seventh-round pick (226th overall) has been forced into the lineup and has been serviceable at guard and center.
2008 Pick: DE Lawrence Jackson. Patrick Kerney is out because of an injury and Jackson responds with one tackle against Miami. One.

29. San Francisco
Redraft: DE Phillip Merling.
The former Clemson star (Miami, second round, 32nd) barely hanging on to this spot.
2008 Pick: DT Kentwan Balmer. A non-factor in Monday night loss to Arizona.

30. NY Jets
Redraft: TE John Carlson.
The Notre Dame product (Seattle, second round, 38th) had five catches Sunday in two-point loss to Miami, but Seneca Wallace's pass glanced off his hands on fourth and 10 with 18 seconds left in Dolphins territory. Still, he's fifth among rookies in receptions with 27.
2008 Pick: TE Dustin Keller. Just killed the Rams, catching six passes for 107 yards and a score. We need to see more. Much more.

31. NY Giants
Redraft: CB Dwight Lowery.
The Jets' fourth-round pick (112th) has a bunch of tackles and two fumble recoveries but arrival of Ty Law could mean team is tired of his coverage issues.
2008 Pick: S Kenny Phillips. Made his first start Sunday and was okay with five tackles against Eagles.

By Emilio Garcia Ruiz  |  November 12, 2008; 12:18 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: No Defense for '08 NFL Draft | Next: In Week 11, Rookie Value Clear


Please email us to report offensive comments.

This is probably the single worst piece of writing and draft evaluation I have ever seen, on all fronts.

Posted by: Me | November 13, 2008 4:02 PM

"If hindsight were foresight, there'd not be a man without a horse nor a family without a full pot."

There's nothing wrong with the casual rewriting of history... and it can't be too unhealthy to appreciate (and learn from) our mistakes. But that being said... and this commentor being a Falcons' fan, I'll still take what's behind door number one; Matt Ryan, thank you :)

Posted by: Dew South | November 15, 2008 7:57 AM

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