2008 NFL Draft - Top 50 Players, No. 26 - 50
Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly
Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly
Posted Apr 22, 2008

From the college football perspective, who are the top 50 players in the draft? Here are prospects 26 through 50.

2008 NFL Draft Position Rankings
Top 50 Players - No. 26 through No. 50

Rankings & Breakdowns
Top 50 Players - 1 to 25 |
Top 50 Players - 26 to 50 | Quarterbacks
Running Backs |
Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles  
Offensive Guards |
Centers | Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles    
Linebackers |
Safeties | Cornerbacks | Punters & Kickers

By Pete Fiutak

26. Leodis McKelvin, CB Troy
He wasn't even the best defensive back on his own team last year; Elbert Mack had the better season. McKelvin has the speed, clocking in a 4.39 40, and he's big and strong enough to make plenty of big hits and not be pushed around by the bigger receivers. Not afraid to step up against the run, he's hardly a prima donna when it comes time to get dirty. He got banged up a bit and he needs to prove he can be consistent against the better receivers, but everything else is there, including the return skills, to be a starter for a long time.
CFN Projection: First Round

Derrick Harvey, DE Florida
While he looks like a pass rusher and has the athleticism and ability to become a top end, he still has to tap into his talent. Very strong and good against the run, he's not going to get moved around by the stronger tackles. The problem is his résumé. While he was good at Florida, he wasn't as dominant as he should've been and was far more hype than production when it was time to become the main man. While he was a good college player, there's a chance he could be much better pro talent after a little more coaching and a little more time in the weight room. There's an upside to him, but it's not quite as limitless as Phillip Merling or Vernon Gholston.
CFN Projection: First Round

Malcolm Kelly, WR Oklahoma
While Kelly has the look of a No. 1 receiver and he should grow into the role, he has a ceiling. A hard one. Without the high-end speed needed to be a star, he'll have to use his great size to be a physical target who outjumps and outmuscles his way for the ball. He's tough, isn't afraid to take a shot or two, and can make some moves in the open field, but he could potentially be shut down cold by the fastest NFL corners. He still needs a little bit of coaching to improve his technique and there's a knee injury that's a bit of a concern, but if someone can light the fire, he'll be the steadiest, surest receiver prospect. He just might not be the most spectacular.
CFN Projection: Late First Round

Ray Rice, RB Rutgers
It all depends on how much of a chance someone is willing to give him. Rice has a lot of tread on the tires. A LOT. On the plus side, he proved he could handle a big workload and was ultra-durable. However, if you're a believer that a back only has so many carries in him, the 935 total touches in three years at Rutgers might mean a short shelf live. Who cares about five years from now? For the next few seasons, Rice could turn into a productive, consistent runner at a high level if he's allowed to pound away. His size, around 5-8, could be a positive as he'll dart in and out of the line behind his big blockers. Much faster than he looked on the field, he has the speed to hit the home run, but that's just gravy. He'll be a consistent positive-yardage machine if he's a featured back for a stretch. He's not the type to get a few carries here and there; he'll need a few series here and there.
CFN Projection:
Late Second Round

James Hardy, WR Indiana
The receiver call of the draft. A total mellonhead at times in his Indiana career, he had a variety of off-the-field issues early in his career, and while he's supposedly a changed man, there will always be that question mark. However, most star NFL receivers haven't exactly been choir boys. Hardy isn't going to blaze past anyone and will have problems when matched up against a physical lock-down corner, but at 6-6 and 215 pounds with tremendous leaping skills and a nose for the end zone, he could be a killer goal line option on jump ball. More than anything else, he made plays. There's no projecting on what his could do, like a Limas Sweed; Hardy produced.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

Devin Thomas, WR Michigan State
One of the biggest boom-or-bust picks of the draft, Thomas only produced for one year after coming to MSU from the JUCO ranks. He has decent size, excellent speed, and great moves in the open field. In a draft full of NFL No. 2 receivers, Thomas is the one who could be a No. 1 if everything works out. He has the make-up, the deep speed, and the toughness to revolve a passing game around. However, and it's a huge however, he needs the right coaching and a lot of breaking in. He might not be ready to star right away, he'll need some polish to his route running and he needs to prove he can handle the responsibility of being the guy, but the sky's the limit.
CFN Projection: Late First To Second Round

Calais Campbell, DE Miami
Potentially the boom or bust pick in the draft, Campbell has freakish size at close to 6-8 and 290 pounds. While he's not fast, he's a good athlete who has functional football speed with the ability to chase down ball-carriers. Ultra-productive, did it all his sophomore year with a whopping 84 tackles and 20.5 tackles for loss, and while his numbers dipped a bit last year, he still had a nice season. However, he's raw. He disappeared at times against the better tackles and he has to learn how to play like the biggest, baddest end around. Don't expect a Pro Bowl rookie season, but by year three he could end up being the best defensive lineman in this draft.
CFN Projection: Late First Round To Early Second Round

Pat Sims, DT Auburn
It'll take some work and a little bit of time, but there's tremendous upside if he can get used to being beaten on and if he actually decides he wants to be a star. With all the skills and excellent 6-2, 310-pound size, he has the look of a starting NFL defensive tackle, but he only started for one season at Auburn and he needs to prove he can be a bit of a warrior. He needs to get stronger both mentally and physically, and if someone lights a fire under him, he could be special.
CFN Projection:
Late Second Round

Dan Connor, OLB Penn State
A typical Penn State linebacker, Connor is a great tackler, is all over the field, and gives all-out effort all the time. It says something that he's the all-time leading tackler at Linebacker U. finishing up his great career with 145 stops and 15 tackles for loss. He even grew into more of a pass rusher making 6.5 sacks, but he's not going to get into the backfield on a regular basis in the NFL. He's not Paul Posluszny and he can't play on the outside, but he'll be a nice starter who'll make a ton of tackles.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Jerod Mayo, OLB/ILB Tennessee
One of the high risers among scouting circles, everyone came late to the party; this guy was one of the SEC's best players for a few years even with his knee problems. While he looks more like a pumped up safety and a thick, blow-'em-up linebacker, he's a great tackler who can play inside and out in any system. He makes a lot of mistakes, but they're usually errors coming from trying too hard. He needs to be on the outside to be a star, and both will happen.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Curtis Lofton, ILB Oklahoma
A tremendous inside presence, the 243-pound playmaker is a consistent big-hitter who's great when the spotlight goes on. The best pure inside linebacker in the draft, Lofton plays better than his athleticism because he always knows what he's doing and has great anticipation. While he might not be able to run down too many speedsters, he takes good enough angles to overcome his lack of raw speed. He's a flat-out baller.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Quentin Groves, OLB/DE Auburn
Groves is a textbook example of how lazy scouts can be. He came back for his senior year and was a bit of a disappointment, which led to him getting downgraded. Lost in the analysis by many was how Groves tried to play through dislocated toes, not just a toe, along with a shoulder. If used right, he's going to be a devastating pro with tremendous speed to be a perfect 3-4 outside linebacker/defensive end. He needs to turn up the intensity and he could get more physical against the run, but he's the type of toy defensive coordinators love to play with.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Lawrence Jackson, DE USC
In this draft, Jackson is a poor man's Vernon Gholston. A little bit bigger than the former Ohio State star but not quite as fast, he's a versatile defender who could project as an outside linebacker in the right system. Unlike Gholston, there's room to beef up with another ten pounds of muscle. A decent pass rusher, but not an elite one quite yet, he needs a fire lit under him to become a top-shelf closer. He was good at USC and was certainly a good producer for four years, but he didn't blossom into the superstar All-American that he should've.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Sam Baker, OT USC
The son of the Arena Football League's commissioner is an athletic big man who was tremendously productive for four years playing at the highest level each and every week. While he's good in pass protection and is great on the move, he's not necessarily a rock against speed rushers and isn't quite as dominant a run blocker as many would like. He's a technician; not a mauler.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Dustin Keller, TE Purdue
Considered around the third or fourth best tight end prospect after the season, Keller blew everyone away at the Combine running a 4.57 and proving to be the most athletic of the bunch. While he's not going to block anyone and he doesn't have prototypical size, coming in at 6-2 and around 245 pounds, he has the potential to be a dangerous receiver with the potential to grow into a plus for r the ground game.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Beau Bell, LB UNLV
It would've been interesting to have seen him at the Combine, but a knee injury suffered at the Senior Bowl kept him under wraps. He needs to get in better overall shape and he needs a lot of work on his overall technique and skills, but once he gets some NFL conditioning the upside is limitless. It can play either inside or out, can rush the passer or hold up against a power running game, and he was great last year against the pass. He's a huge hitter. A HUGE hitter.
CFN Projection: Second Round

42. Gosder Cherilus, OT Boston College
One of the high risers after a good off-season, he's a 6-7, 315-pound athlete who destroys defenders when he gets the chance. He'll bust his tail to get better and will be coachable. The concern will be how well he handles a No. 1 pass rusher if he plays on the left side. More than fine if he spends his career on the right, there are concerns that the Virginia Tech games might have shown the real player he is.

CFN Projection: First Round

Kentwan Balmer, DT/DE North Carolina
Easily the toughest call among the tackles, Balmer went from being a nice inside presence for the Tar Heels to a major producer in his senior season. With his 6-4, 308-pound size and shocking quickness, he has the power to be an anchor who occupies a few blockers at a time, and he has the athleticism to dominate as an end in a 3-4 scheme. Now the question is whether or not he wants it badly enough. He looks the part, but he's the type of prospect who gets scouts fired or promoted depending on how he turns out.
CFN Projection:
First Round

Josh Barrett, SS Arizona State
4.36. Barrett was a decent prospect at 6-2 and 223 pounds with strong run stopping skills, and he showed the versatility to play either safety spot, and then he ripped off a 4.36 40 and his stock jumped through the roof. Now he has to play up to his measurables. He had a weird senior season as he didn't play well at times, disappeared for long stretches in games, and then came up with just enough big moments to leave everyone wanting more. On athleticism alone he'll be a great pickup, but he'll need a kick in the pants from time to time.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Erin Henderson, OLB Maryland
While he's not huge and is a bit lanky at 6-2 and 244 pounds, he plays bigger than he is with excellent toughness and good tackling skills. He's a leader who isn't afraid to tell players what to do, in a good way. Good in pass coverage and quick enough to get into the backfield, he's an active player who came up 17.5 tackles for loss along with 247 tackles in two years. He's not a big hitter and he's not an elite athlete, but he'll be able to handle himself well at either outside spot.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Antoine Cason, CB/FS Arizona
Arguably the best defensive back in the Pac 10 for the last four years, Cason was a consistently great playmaker doing a little of everything well from making 253 career tackles to picking off 15 throws to breaking up 37 passes, including 19 in his senior year alone.  Not a blazer, but with good size, he could end up moving to free safety. He'll find a spot somewhere and will be a longtime starter, but he's not going to be a superstar.
CFN Projection: Third Round

47. Kevin Smith, RB UCF
Would Smith be considered a first rounder if he was Kevin Smith, Florida instead of Kevin Smith, UCF? While his competition will be questioned, playing in Conference USA, he produced against everyone including NC State (217 yards and two touchdowns), Texas (149 yards and two touchdowns), and Mississippi State (119 yards, but on 35 carries). George O'Leary and the Knights weren't afraid to overuse their star getting him a whopping 450 carries and 24 catches last season, and he cranked out 2,567 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns despite having all 11 defenders and the waterboy focused on stopping him. He's a producer, but he'll have a short shelf life if he's asked to be a No. 1 back.

CFN Projection:
Late Second To Early Third Round

48. Chris Johnson, RB East Carolina
4.29. For some reason, while everyone was oohing and ahhing over Darren McFadden's workout, along with the size/speed dynamic of Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Stewart, and rightly so, Johnson ripped off a 4.29 in 40 at the Combine. One of the best all-around backs in America last year rushing for 1,423 yards and 17 touchdowns, catching 37 passes for 528 yards and six touchdowns, and returning 1,009 yards worth of kicks, he can do it all. However, he was held to 29 yards and a touchdown on ten carries against Virginia Tech and ran for 76 yards and a score on 14 carries against West Virginia. The biggest problem is his size at around 5-10 and under 200 yards; he's not built like an every-down runner. However, he's a dream of a third down back who'll have to be a complementary back.

CFN Projection:
Late Second To Early Third Round

Fred Davis, TE USC
While he timed well, he has been underwhelming in post-season workouts and hasn't stood out like many assumed he would considering he was the Mackey Award winner. For all intents and purposes he was the USC passing game last season with a great 63-catch, eight touchdown season and he can be plugged right in and can roll from day one. He's not huge and he's not going to dominate anyone with his blocking skills, but he's a big receiver who could blow up in the right system.
CFN Projection: Second Round

Dre Moore, DT Maryland
A potential lead brick of a tackle, he's a run stopper who beat the tar out of everyone at the Senior Bowl when matched up one on one. He's still a bit of a project and he needs a year or two of NFL coaching, but he's extremely strong and very powerful. Even though he needs polish on his technique, he doesn't miss many tackles.
CFN Projection:
Third Round