Teams with double-digit picks had extreme makeovers at draft

An NFL team rarely fills all of its holes in one draft.

Yet, depending on the number of players selected and retained, a single draft has the potential to provide a club with an extreme makeover.

Eight teams emerged from the 2008 draft in such a position.

As the only clubs with double-digit choice totals, the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins could remake about 20 percent of their respective 53-man rosters. Between them, they wound up with 85 players -- or nearly 35 percent of the 252 players chosen over seven rounds on April 26 and 27.

The Chiefs and Bears led the way with 12 selections apiece. The Chiefs actually entered the draft with 13, but traded a fifth-round pick to the Detroit Lions on Draft Day. The Bears began the draft with 11 choices, but then added a seventh-rounder from the Miami Dolphins on the second day of the draft.

"It's great energy right now," Chiefs coach Herman Edwards said of the infusion of new talent. "We've got to use that to our advantage. That's good for us.

"That's the direction we're headed in."

As long as it is a different direction than the nine-game losing streak that ended the Chiefs' 4-12 season in 2007, Edwards and the rest of the team's decision-makers can call this draft a success. They did pay a steep price to enhance their arsenal of picks -- parting with NFL sack leader Jared Allen to obtain a first and two thirds from the Minnesota Vikings -- but by most accounts they used their choices wisely.

The Chiefs ended up with one of the most dominant players of the college crop, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with with the fifth overall pick, as well as an exceptional offensive lineman (Virginia's Branden Albert, taken in the first round after moving up two spots from the Vikings' pick) and a talented cornerback (Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers, taken in the second round). They cashed in their bounty of third-round picks for depth at running back (Jamaal Charles, Texas), tight end (Brad Cottam, Tennessee), and defensive back (DaJuan Morgan, North Carolina State).

With trade offers for their first-round pick (14th overall), the Bears had an opportunity to add to their pile of choices. Instead, they stayed put and grabbed Vanderbilt's Chris Williams, one of the best offensive tackles in the draft.

"We got phone calls from several people, and they were very, very aggressive, but we really felt strongly about Chris," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "We thought he fit the prototype of what we were looking for intangibly. And we felt (good) obviously (about) his skill level and his position.

"Not many times do you set your course to target a guy and/or guys, and we had a choice of them. But we didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, and we don't want to get cute on draft day. Maybe we could have gotten (Williams) later, but if we didn't, then we wouldn't have felt as good as we do right now."

The Falcons had the second-highest pick total with 11, while the Bengals, Bills, Eagles, Ravens, and Redskins had 10 apiece.

The Falcons made the draft's most dramatic move by selecting Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan with the third overall pick. Although most projections had Ryan going lower, the Falcons identified him as the cornerstone of their efforts to rally from the devastation of the Michael Vick mess.

After landing Ryan, the Falcons took advantage of their surplus of choices to swing a Draft Day deal with the Redskins that allowed them to return to the first round to select USC offensive tackle Sam Baker in the 21st spot.

"A lot of our needs were outlined and written down on paper and on our board for the last three months probably," new Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "We feel we (addressed) a lot of those needs."

The other major first-round surprise came courtesy of the Ravens. With their targeted quarterback (Ryan) gone, the Ravens made deals to move down from eighth to 26th and then back up to 18th to get their next-rated passer, Delaware's Joe Flacco. Critics question whether that was too high a pick for a player who has the monumental task of proving that he can successfully make the transition from a small school to the NFL, but the Ravens are thrilled to have him compete to become the new quarterback for new coach John Harbaugh.

They also feel good about the choices they were able to add through multiple Draft Day trades -- enough to be able to ship a fourth-rounder to the Oakland Raiders for veteran cornerback Fabian Washington and still have 10 picks to address several areas in need of talent and depth.

"We got bigger, we got tougher, we got faster and we got smarter," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "One of the small advantages of changing a coaching staff is to have that minicamp before the draft where you get a chance to look at your football team and then you can realize some needs that you have before you go into the draft, and you can attack them."

Of the other teams with 10 choices, none might feel better than the Bills. They checked off the first two items on their wish list (a cornerback and tall wide receiver) with their first two picks -- Troy's Leodis McKelvin, the top-rated corner in the draft, and Indiana's 6-foot-6 James Hardy, one of the most talented receivers in the college crop and found additional help on both sides of the ball as well as for their well-respected special teams.

"We did what we thought we were going to do," said Tom Modrak, the Bills' vice president of college scouting. "Some of it broke very well. Some of it we wished it would have broken differently. (But) we like where we are. We like what we did."

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