1. Jake Long, Miami Dolphins – 5 years, $57.5 million ($30 million guaranteed). Everything the Dolphins were looking for out of Jake Long – reliable, tough, 16 game starts his rookie year. Pennington appreciates the protection. A great safe pick at the top spot for the next 10 years.
2. Chris Long, St. Louis Rams – 6 years, $56.5 million ($29 million guaranteed). Long showed great work ethic his rookie season (40 tackles, 4 sacks and a forced fumble) and will continue to develop. A great pedigree helps….
3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – 6 years, $72 million ($34 million guaranteed). Questioned last April, Ryan did nothing other than turn around a team, franchise and city to 11-5 and a playoff berth….oh, and a rookie of the year trophy.
4. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders – 6 years, $60 million ($26 million guaranteed). Showed flashes of extreme ability in Oakland, but struggled to stay on the field with injuries. 499 yards and 4 scores his rookie campaign. Having an underdeveloped quarterback and a mired franchise can’t help the former Razorback.
5. Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs – 5 years, $51 million ($23 million guaranteed). Didn’t make the instant impact Kansas City was hoping for (46 tackles, 1 sack), but the team is young and Dorsey has plenty of time.
6. Vernon Gholston, N.Y. Jets – 5 years, $50 million ($21 million guaranteed). The first considered “bust” of the draft. There is hope that Rex Ryan will turn him into the next Suggs, but as of now that $21 million guaranteed is a big big number.
7. Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans Saints – 5 years, $49 million ($19.5 million guaranteed). Showed more than Dorsey in year one with good push, 30 tackles and 4 sacks as a freshman.
8. Derrick Harvey, Jacksonville Jaguars – 5 years, $33.4 million ($17.177 million guaranteed). Harvey was the biggest riser in the NFL draft wih his combine performance. After a holdout, Harvey sputtered with 19 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the year.
9. Keith Rivers, Cincinnati Bengals – 6 years, $23 million ($15.6 million guaranteed). 37 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble for Rivers in a lost season for Cincinnati.
10. Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots – 5 years, $18.9 million ($13.8 million guaranteed). Another great pick by the Patriots. 128 tackles for a stud at linebacker. The Patriots reload every year and desperately needed to get younger at linebacker – mission accomplished.