Mel Kiper Re-Drafts the 2008 NFL Draft First Round

Andy Lyons

Six years later Mel Kiper thinks Chris Johnson would have been the better selection at the 7th overall spot in the 2008 NFL Draft, instead of Sedrick Ellis.

Over a week ago ESPN's Mel Kiper took a look back at the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft and re-drafted it based on everything we now know six years later.

Before getting started, Kiper lays down some basic rules about the process.

The rules

1. The order is based mainly on what players have accomplished but also considers what else they have left. Health matters.
2. The need of the team at the time is not considered. This is now purely "best player available."
3. Positional value matters -- so a good tackle could edge a star guard, for instance.

If you'll remember the Saints actually had the 10th overall pick in 2008 but traded with the Patriots to move to the 7th spot and take Sedrick Ellis. So who did Kiper pick for the Saints in his imaginary re-draft? Let's face it, anyone is going to be better than Sedrick Ellis so the Saints already win.

7. New Orleans Saints: Chris Johnson, RB

2008 pick: Sedrick Ellis

Before you scoff at Johnson's selection this high given what some might call his recent struggles, consider that he has nearly 1,300 more rushing yards than anyone else in the draft class with 7,965. That's a very good NFL career for a running back. What Johnson did in 2009 was have one of the greatest rushing seasons of all time (2,006 yards), and it set the bar so high that he's faced criticism since. But he's never had fewer than 1,000 rushing yards in a season, and he has 272 career catches. He doesn't get enough credit and would have been fun for a Sean Payton-coached team.

(Johnson's previous slot: No. 24 overall)

Had team need actually been taken into consideration for this project, this pick would be terrible. The Saints were in desperate need of defensive help at the time. I'm pretty sure we as fans would have lost our collective minds if the Saints went with a running back in the first round.

Regardless of team need, the pick would have still turned out terrible for the Saints. Johnson would have been wasted in Sean Payton's offense just as Mark Ingram hasn't been given the opportunity to do what he does best.

Of course if the Saints were going to draft a running back, Matt Forte would have been a more likely pick considering he probably fits in Payton's offense better and he's from Louisiana.

Honestly, this whole process is pretty pointless if we're not taking team needs into consideration. It's really just an ordered list of the best players from the 2008 draft class six years later. The better pick for the Saints specifically at the time would have been Calais Campbell or Chris Long.

What do you guys think?

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