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Tuesday Question - The 5 Best Pro Prospects
Arkansas RB Darren McFadden
Arkansas RB Darren McFadden
Posted Apr 22, 2008

Regardless of position, the five best players in this year’s draft are …

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Pete Fiutak     

Q: Regardless of position, the five best players in this year’s draft are …

: I get the final say on the top overall players at Top 50 Players so you can read all the write-ups there.

My top five are: 1) Glenn Dorsey, DT LSU, 2) Vernon Gholston, DE Ohio State, 3) Jake Long, OT Michigan, 4) Chris Long, DE Virginia, 5) Ryan Clady, OT Boise State

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: Regardless of position, the five best players in this year’s draft are …

A: 5. DE Vernon Gholston, Ohio State – With a ceiling as high as any player in the draft, Gholston has Shawne Merriman-like potential with a freakish package of athletic ability.  If a team can get him to play at a high level day-in and day-out, it’ll have a pass rusher that gets to multiple Pro Bowls before he’s through.

4. DE
Chris Long
, Virginia – While not the flashiest of the top players, Long is most likely to still be cashing NFL paychecks a dozen years from now.  On and off the field, he’s already the consummate professional, a fundamentally sound workaholic that any defense and franchise would love to have under contract.

3. OT Jake Long, Michigan – The knock on Long is that he didn’t have the athleticism of a Joe Thomas or an Orlando Pace to be a sure-fire left tackle in the NFL.  Well, he looked plenty athletic in pre-draft workouts, and has the nasty demeanor to be a pillar of consistency for the next decade. 

2. DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU – Everyone is spending too much time worrying about the health of Dorsey’s leg, which, by all indications, will be fine.  Remember last year, when he was a one-man wrecking ball and the best defensive prospect in the country?  The injury aside, nothing has changed since that point.

1. RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas – Forgetting any off-field worries or team needs, McFadden is the one player in this draft most likely to transform the organization that picks him.  He’s capable of being to that team what Adrian Peterson was to Minnesota last year.

John Harris

Q: Regardless of position, the five best players in this year’s draft are …

Darren McFadden, Arkansas – I know how the draft goes in some sense.  A little character baggage (okay, maybe more than a little), a short running back shelf life and a team without a need at the position can force a great player to fall.  That’s the case here.  If Miami didn’t have Ronnie Brown on the roster, D-Mac would go number one.  Quite simply, he’s the best, with the best potential to impact his team immediately.

2. Glenn Dorsey, LSU – I thought, even with his health at 85%, Dorsey was still the best defensive tackle in the draft.  When healthy, I think he’s going to be the most disruptive force inside within two to three years.

3. Chris Long, UVa – Don’t get caught up in the “he’s not athletic hype”.  Just turn on the tape (uh, the Maryland game) and you see all you want from a high level draft selection.  His burst off the edge, combined with a tenacity to get to the quarterback, will make him a more productive Kyle VanDenBosch or Will Smith in a couple of years.

4. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State – Gholston may have a higher ceiling than Dorsey or Long, but his floor could be much lower than the other two as well.  I love his explosive abilities, but he’s got to get after it for a full 60 minutes.  His athletic abilities are without peer in this draft and I think his versatility will be a plus for him down the road.  However, I can’t get the Mike Mamula tag out of my head.  Remember him?  That’s my point.

5. Jake Long, Michigan – Trying…to…get…Ohio State…game…out of…memory.  Of the five left tackles that should go in the first round, Long might be the one better suited to go to the right side.  That doesn’t make him a bad, early pick, but it’s risky to look at a guy who will struggle mightily as a left tackle, especially early in his career.