Well, this is it. The last installment of The Hazean’s early NFL mock draft series.
I want to give everyone enough time to digest these early mock drafts before the real draft at the end of April. That way you guys have time to forget about how bad these mock drafts have been each and every time, or how your team never got the right player. Hey, I tried.
But I also want to clear the way for The Hazean’s second-annual mock draft, which will be coming your way the week of the NFL draft. We have assembled a group of fine participants for the mock, which will get started in early April. Make sure to spend some time visiting their blogs/sites.
In the meantime, enjoy this, the final installment, of The Hazean’s early mock draft series. Hit the jump for the final third of the 2008 draft.
21. Washington Redskins: Desean Jackson, WR, California
MM: Despite being on the small side, the Redskins cannot ignore Jackson’s world-class speed which he put on display at the combine. It remains to be seen if Jackson can overcome his size at the next level.
22. Dallas Cowboys: Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
MM: Jerry Jones gets the other Arkansas runningback in this draft in Jones. While not as physically gifted and naturally talented as McFadden, Jones is no slouch. He will become the lightning to Marion Barber’s thunder in the Dallas rushing attack and should help in the return game as well.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers: Branden Albert, G, Virginia
MM: The Steelers lost guard Alan Faneca this offseason but easily could replace him with Albert, a versatile guard from Virginia. Improving the offensive line should be a priority for Pittsburgh in the draft after last year’s inconsistent performances.
24. Tennessee Titans: Early Doucet, WR, LSU
MM: The Titans added tight end Alge Crumpler via free agency and can continue adding playmakers to offense with the addition of Doucet. Vince Young surely would rejoice.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina [previous: Fred Davis, TE, USC]
MM: Balmer falls because of character and work ethic concerns, but Seattle gets a high-potential prospect. His stock slowly has been rising and is seen by many as the best defensive tackle in this draft outside Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quentin Groves, DE, Auburn
MM: The Jags’ defensive line took some hits this offseason, but the draft is a good way to replenish the resources. Groves is a fast pass-rusher who is versatile enough to be used in a number of situations and positions.
27. San Diego Chargers: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami [previous: Dominique Cromartie-Rodgers, CB, Tennessee State]
MM: Drayton Florence and Marlon McCree are gone, but the Chargers can rebuild the still good secondary through the draft. Phillips is the highest-rated pure safety in the draft and his talent should come in handy for the San Diego defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan
MM: The Cowboys might have taken a cornerback here if one of the big four was still on the board, but may not do so with Aqib Talib, Mike Jenkins, Leodis McKelvin and Dominique Cromartie-Rodgers off the board. Manningham ran very well at his Pro Day in Michigan and likely jumped back into the first round.
29. San Francisco 49ers: James Hardy, WR, Indiana
MM: The 49ers need to address the wide receiving corps via the draft. Enter Hardy, a tall, fast receiver from Indiana. Mike Martz has a history of finding and developing talent at the wide receiver position (Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis, Shaun McDonald) which should benefit both Hardy and the 49ers’ offense.
30. Green Bay Packers: Reggie Smith, S, Oklahoma [previous: Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas]
MM: The Packers’ defense is young overall, but the secondary could use an infusion on youth. Enter Smith, a talented, versatile safety from Oklahoma. Smith’s versatility should allow him to play multiple positions in the defensive backfield for the Packers.
31. New York Giants: Dan Connor, LB, Penn State
MM: Losing Kawika Mitchell in free agency may hurt the Giants defense a little next season. Connor is rated as one of the top linebackers in this draft and could help fill the void left by Mitchell’s departure.
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