The League


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.

All of which is somewhat fitting since the general manager is a rookie, as well. Thomas Dimitroff was hired away from the Patriots, where he was director of college scouting, and has been virtually flawless in running the Falcons, lest you forget his brilliant free-agent signing of Michael Turner.

What about the rest of the league? Well, take a look. As always, your Redrafts are welcome in the comments below.

1. Miami
Redraft: QB Matt Ryan.
Atlanta's remaining schedule should make a playoff berth difficult, but the rookie of the year race is over.
2008 Pick: OT Jake Long. I don't care how good Chad Pennington looks, that arm won't hold up and the 'Fins need a quarterback.

2. St. Louis
Redraft: OT Jake Long.
Drops here from No. 1
2008 Pick: DT Chris Long. Another Sunday, another day off for the Rams' defense.

3. Atlanta
Redraft: WR DeSean Jackson.
While Eagles were imploding in Baltimore, Jackson (second round, 42nd overall) quietly picked up five more receptions.
2008 Pick: QB Matt Ryan. Taken by Dolphins in Redraft at No. 1.

4. Oakland
Redraft: RB Matt Forte.
Chicago's stud (second round, 44th) passes Tennessee's Chris Johnson in rookie rushing race and has 12 more receptions than the Titan.
2008 Pick: RB Darren McFadden. A couple short touchdowns Sunday can't save ruined season.

5. Kansas City
Redraft: WR Eddie Royal.
The former Hokie (Denver, second round, 42nd) only caught two passes in loss to Oakland, but he is still tied for 10th in the league.
2008 Pick: DE Glenn Dorsey. Most talked-about stat in Kansas City these days: Somehow the entire defense has only six sacks. Our hero has contributed one. The NFL record for futility is 13. Something to shoot for, we suppose.

6. New York Jets
Redraft: LB Jerod Mayo.
The 10th overall pick (New England) is now seventh in the league in tackles.
2008 Pick: DE Vernon Gholston. The Jets are 8-3 despite completely blowing this pick.

7. New Orleans
Redraft: LB Curtis Lofton.
The Oklahoma product (Atlanta, second round, 37th) is tied for the Falcons' lead in total tackles.
2008 Pick: DT Sedrick Ellis. Played his best game Monday night, showing no signs of knee injury that slowed development. But we could have lived without his version of the Pee-Wee Herman dance after a sack, since it was only the second one of his career.

8. Jacksonville
Redraft: RB Chris Johnson.
That's three middling statistical games in a row (and now a lost fumble) for Johnson (Tennessee, first round, 24th).
2008 Pick: DE Derrick Harvey. At least we know when the Jaguars' season went south: on draft day.

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) just keeps gaining yards, with 73 more on the ground in 16-6 win over Cleveland.
2008 Pick: LB Jerod Mayo. Taken by Jets in Redraft at No. 6.

11. Buffalo
Redraft: T Ryan Clady.
Boise State beast (Denver, first round, 12th) is 11 for 11 in starting games for the Broncos.
2008 Pick: CB Leodis McKelvin. After two interceptions against Chiefs he said, "I was just behind two guys playing great at the start of the season. I was just sitting back. I knew my time would come." Translation: he couldn't beat out the players he was drafted to replace and might finally be coming around.

12. Denver
Redraft: RB Jonathan Stewart.
The Panther (first round, 13th) had only 15 yards rushing Sunday in loss to Falcons, but had been great earlier -- including 130 rushing yards the week before.
2008 Pick: T Ryan Clady. Taken by Bills in Redraft at No. 11.

13. Carolina
Redraft: Ellis.
He drops here from No. 7. And if Monday night is any indication, he might be higher soon.
2008 pick: RB Jonathan Stewart. Taken by Broncos in Redraft at No. 12.

14. Chicago
Redraft: OT Jeff Otah.
False-start penalty on goal line Sunday doesn't detract from a great season for Carolina's first-round pick.
2008 Pick: OT Chris Williams. Played left tackle on final three plays Sunday as part of slow return from back surgery.

15. Kansas City
Redraft: S Chris Horton.
The draft's biggest bargain (Redskins, seventh round, 249) wasn't much of a factor in victory over Seattle.
2008 Pick: OG Branden Albert. Chiefs used one of the picks they got in Jared Allen trade on Albert. Allen has eight sacks for Vikings; Albert has done what exactly?

16. Arizona
Redraft: McFadden.
Drops here from No. 4.
2008 Pick: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Might not be the most important rookie on the Cardinals.

17. Detroit
Redraft: QB Joe Flacco.
We move him up one slot while warily waiting to see what Greg Blache and the Redskins do to him in a couple weeks.
2008 Pick: OT Gosder Cherilus. Just one more reason to feel sorry for Detroit.

18. Baltimore
Redraft: McKelvin.
Drops here from No. 11 -- as if that defense needs any more help.
2008 Pick: Flacco. Taken by Lions in Redraft at No. 13

19. Carolina
Redraft: OT Sam Baker.
Has been out since surgery for a herniated disc on Oct. 30 and won't return for a few more games for Falcons (21st overall).
2008 Pick: Otah. Taken by Bears in Redraft at No. 14.

20. Tampa Bay
Redraft: CB Aqib Talib.
Had a fabulous block on Clifton Smith's 70-yard punt return for a score Sunday.
2008 Pick: Talib.

21. Washington
Redraft: WR Donnie Avery.
The Houston product (St. Louis, second round, 33rd) has 35 receptions and has made seven starts for Rams.
2008 Pick: Traded pick to Atlanta, which took OT Sam Baker.

22. Dallas
Redraft: RB Felix Jones.
Done for the season because of toe injury.
2008 pick: Jones. We'll leave him here because he looked great before getting hurt.

23. Pittsburgh
Redraft: RB Kevin Smith.
Central Florida standout (Detroit, third round, 64th) is the only thing worth saving for the Lions.
2008 Pick: RB Rashard Mendenhall. Out for season because of fractured shoulder.

24. Tennessee
Redraft: RB Tim Hightower.
The yardage isn't as grand as some other rookie running backs but NINE touchdowns for Arizona get the Episcopal High grad (Arizona, fifth round, 149th) into Round One.
2008 Pick: RB Chris Johnson. Taken by Jaguars in Redraft at No. 8.

25. Dallas
Redraft: Rodgers-Cromartie.
Drops here from No. 16.
2008 Pick: CB Mike Jenkins. Now he has an injured hamstring to go with erratic play.

26. Houston
Redraft: OT Duane Brown.
Has started every game, more than most first-rounders can say.
2008 Pick: Brown.

27. San Diego
Redraft: G-C Jamey Richard.
Good news: The Colts' seventh-round pick (226th) got the call when center Jeff Saturday was hurt Sunday night. Bad news: Peyton Manning could be seen scolding him on national television for snap count issues. Richard might be starting as long as a month while Saturday's calf heals.
2008 Pick: CB Antoine Cason. Chargers defense is a mess.

28. Seattle
Redraft: Chris Long.
Drops here from No. 2.
2008 Pick: DE Lawrence Jackson. You watched the Redskins game. Do you remember him doing anything?

29. San Francisco
Redraft: DT Marcus Harrison.
Arkansas product (Chicago, third round, 90th) should take advantage of Tommie Harris's struggles and steal a starting job.
2008 Pick: DT Kentwan Balmer. Did nothing in 35-22 loss to Cowboys.

30. New York Jets
Redraft: TE Dustin Keller.
Has definitely found his stride after a very slow start. How could we have doubted him or the Jets?
2008 Pick: Keller.

31. New York Giants
Redraft: S Kenny Phillips.
We've tried a bunch of different players in this slot because Phillips has only started twice but each one has fallen off. With Giants looking unbeatable, we'll leave Phillips and see how he fares against Jason Campbell.
2008 Pick: Phillips.

By Emilio Garcia Ruiz  |  November 25, 2008; 6:02 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: In Week 11, Rookie Value Clear | Next: Week 13: Joe Flacco Up in Class


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This redraft stuff is weird. Your method seems to be to pick the player who's performed the best during his rookie season and arbitrarily assign him to some other club. You might take into consideration whether that club needs help on offense or defense, but that's about as deep as it goes.

I guess you already know it makes no sense. Good copy, sure. Good football, nope.

An example: you've given Donnie Avery to the Skins. If Donnie Avery played for Washington, he'd be sitting behind Moss and Randle El. On the Rams, things are way different.

You really think that in Oakland, Matt Forte would be playing as well as he is in Chicago? And will ultimately turn out better than Darren McFadden?

Pass over some of whatever you're smokin', guys.

DeSean Jackson would be a kick returner in Atlanta. Eddie Royal excels in Denver where they need speed more than anything.

In the NFL it's the scheme that enhances the player -- or stifles him, in some cases. Like Oakland.

It works for vets, too. Kurt Warner isn't actually a better player than a few years ago in New York.

Posted by: samson151 | November 29, 2008 8:59 PM

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