As part of our build up to the NFL draft, we’re going to be taking a look at some old draft classes – we’ve decided to start with the class of 2008.
We’ll be going through the top ten picks from each year and looking at their NFL career as well as a little bit about what they’re doing today.
First Pick – Jake Long – OT – Miami Dolphins
Jake Long is a four time Pro-Bowler and All-Pro offensive tackle who entered the NFL as the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, selected by the Miami Dolphins.
He had a pretty successful time in Florida too, earning selection to the Pro Bowl and numerous All-Rookie teams in his first season.
After he left Miami in 2012, he went to the St Louis Rams for two seasons before heading to the Falcons for a year and then ending his career with the Vikings in 2016.
Since his retirement, Long has fallen off the grid a little. He doesn’t seem to do much in the way of public activity and isn’t massively active on social media.
You can follow his Twitter account here.
Second Pick – Chris Long – DE – St Louis Rams
Chris Long is a two-time Super Bowl champion defensive end. He was selected second in the 2008 draft by the St Louis Rams, where he would spend the first seven years of his NFL career.
In 2016, he moved to the New England Patriots and won the first Super Bowl of his career in SB51 – the famous 28-3 comeback win against the Falcons.
The following year, he moved to the Philadelphia Eagles for whom he would find himself at the Super Bowl again – this time against the Patriots. Just as he had a year previous, Long went home with a ring.
He retired following a two-year stint with the Eagles and nowadays he is the host of a podcast named Green Light Podcast. You can listen to that here. As well as that, he has his own charity, The Chris Long Foundation, which you can visit here.
Third Pick – Matt Ryan – QB – Atlanta Falcons
You won’t have to look very far to see where Matt Ryan is – he’s still quarterbacking the Atlanta Falcons, preparing to enter his 13th season in the NFL.
He’s had quite a career so far having been selected to the Pro Bowl four times. In 2016, he was named a first team All-Pro and won both the league MVP and NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards.
His 51,186 career passing yards mean he has the tenth most in NFL history. This next season, he will surpass the great John Elway whom he is just 289 yards behind.
Ryan is one of just three QBs in the top ten passing yardage leaders to never win Super Bowl – the other two being the legendary Dan Marino and the new Colts QB Philip Rivers.
He came very close at SB51 as the Falcons raced to a 28-3 lead, only to lose to the Patriots in overtime. At 34, Ryan still has 6-10 years left in him by current standards – so he most definitely has time to get a ring and reach that truly elite level of QB.
Fourth Pick – Darren McFadden – RB – Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden was the first running back of five to be taken in the first round of the 2008 draft as he was selected with the fourth overall pick by the Raiders.
He spent the first six years of his career with the Raiders, before departing in 2014. He would then join the Dallas Cowboys where he would stay until 2017. Two days after being released in 2017, he announced his retirement after ten seasons.
During his NFL career, McFadden ran for 5,421 yards – the 113th most in NFL history. His career very much peaked in college wherein he won a series of awards, was the Heisman runner up on two occasions and eventually inducted into the CFB hall of fame.
In Februart this year, after a 13 month legal battle having been charged with drunk-driving and resisting arrest, McFadden was found guilty and sentenced to four days in jail.
Fifth Pick – Glenn Dorsey – DT – Kansas City Chiefs
The fifth overall pick of the 2008 NFL draft saw the All-American, top collegiate defensive player of the year for 2007, nose tackle Glenn Dorsey join the Chiefs.
Dorsey enjoyed a pretty average career in his time in the NFL – spending the majority if it with the Chiefs before moving to California to joint the 49ers in 2013. On November 25th 2015, Dorsey ruptured his ACL and was placed on IR.
He never managed to properly recover from the injury and retired. This wasn’t his first injury concern either – there’d been a lot of worry pre-draft surrounding a stress fracture he suffered in 2006.
These days, Dorsey keeps himself to himself, but still does his fair share of charity work. He’s a strong advocate of the animal rights charity PETA.
Sixth Pick – Vernon Gholston – DE – New York Jets
Vernon Gholston is a former DE out of Ohio State. He was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 by the New York Jets.
Despite being a defensive end, Gholston was expected to play at OLB for the jets in a 3-4 defence. His rookie season didn’t go too well as he spent a lot of time on the sidelines, mostly playing on special teams.
His second season wasn’t much better as he played a minor role for Rex Ryan. After the 2009, he converted back to his natural DE position.
Gholston was released in 2011 after three seasons with the Jets. He signed for both the Bears and the Rams after that but never played for either. In his time in the NFL, he played in 45 games without ever recording a sack.
He is, at this point in time, widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in the history of the NFL draft.
Seventh Pick – Sedrick Ellis – DT – New Orleans Saints
Sedrick Ellis was initially the second choice DT for the Saints. They reportedly offered the Chiefs a series of picks for their spot at number five so they could select Glenn Dorsey.
In the end, the Chiefs declined and the Saints instead opted to pick Ellis. He played five seasons for the New Orleans Saints and was part of the team that won Super Bowl 44 against the Indianapolis Colts.
After his contract with the Saints came to an end, Ellis signed a one year deal with the Bears. A month later, he failed to show up for camp and subsequently informed the Bears that he had decided to retire from the NFL.
He seems to live life off the grid these days. His social media accounts have been dormant for a number of years and he’s rarely seen. Guess he just got sick of living life in the public eye…
Eighth Pick – Derrick Harvey – DE – Jacksonville Jaguars
Derrick Harvey was the first defensive end ever taken in the first round of the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it’s one they probably regret.
He was the last first round pick to sign his contract having held out for 38 days – beating the Jags franchise record which had been held by Byron Leftwich – who had held out for 19 days.
He played for the Jags for three seasons, missing just one game in that time. In 2011, he was waived and joined the Denver Broncos – where he would play just five games in his one and only season.
He did then join the Bengals but was released before the season even started in 2012 and subsequently retired. He’s been pretty unheard from since.
Ninth Pick – Keith Rivers – LB – Cincinnati Bengals
Keith Rivers was selected ninth at the 2008 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals and was the first of only two linebackers taken in the first round.
He started his rookie season well, racking up ten tackles against the Baltimore Ravens followed by eight in week two against the New York Giants. His rookie year was abruptly ended after seven games when he suffered a broken jaw.
Despite that, he still recorded 37 tackles, one interception, and a forced fumble. In the end, Rivers never quite lived up to his draft pedigree, starting just 33 games for the Bengals over four campaigns before he was traded to New York for a fifth-round pick in 2012.
He spent two years with the Giants and a year with the Bills before retiring in 2015. He had quite the list of injuries that ultimately derailed a promising career – they included, including plantar fasciitis, wrist and ankle surgeries, calf issues and a car accident.
Tenth pick – Jerod Mayo – LB – New England Patriots
Jerod Mayo is potentially the most successful defensive player on this list. He spent his entire career with the New England Patriots, playing as a middle linebacker.
Over the course of his career, he developed a reputation for being a very hard worker and a true student of the game. That was reflected in his play as he earned two Pro-Bowl selections, was a first team All-Pro in 2010 and was almost unanimously awarded the 2008 defensive rookie of the year award.
To add to that, he also won a Super Bowl ring from Super Bowl 49 wherein the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.
These days he can still be found in Foxborough, now acting as the inside linebackers coach for Bill Belichick’s team. Something that is of little surprise given his love for the game and worker-like mentality.
Other notable picks from the 2008 NFL Draft
Ryan Clady – Selected by the Broncos at 12, OT Clady would go on to become both a Super Bowl champion and Pro-Bowler.
Jonathan Stewart – The 13th pick of the draft saw running back Jonathan Stewart join the Panthers. He would go on to become a Pro-Bowler in 2015.
Branden Albert – Selected by the Chiefs at 15, Albert became a two time Pro-Bowl offensive tackle.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – Selected at 16 by the Cardinals, CB Rodgers-Cromartie bounced around six NFL teams and earned two Pro-Bowl selections.
Joe Flacco – Picked at number 18, QB Joe Flacco won himself a Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl MVP award for his performance at SB47.
Aqib Talib – Selected by the Bucs at 20, CB Talib built his career in Denver where he was a key part of the ‘No Fly Zone’ that helped the Broncos win SB50.
Chris Johnson – Selected at 24 by the Titans, running back Johnson was selected to the Pro-Bowl in each of his first three seasons.
Mike Jenkins – Selected at 25 by the Cowboys, cornerback Jenkins earned a Pro-Bowl selection in his second season.
Duane Brown – Selected by the Texans at 26, OT Brown became a four time NFL Pro-Bowler.
Brandon Flowers – Former Chiefs cornerback Flowers was taken 35th overall and went on to become Pro-Bowler in 2013.
Jordy Nelson – Former Green Bay Packer was selected as the 36th overall pick. He went on to become a Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl winner.
Over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll have plenty more NFL Draft content for you so keep an eye on our NFL page which you can find here or be sure to follow us on Facebook for all the latest news and analysis.