Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Chris Long last 2008 first-rounder standing
By Mike Sando
NFC West teams drafted four players in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft.
The St. Louis Rams' Chris Long is the only one employed by an NFC West team.
Kentwan Balmer, chosen 29th overall by the San Francisco 49ers that year, had been holding on with Seattle. The Seahawks released him Wednesday after re-signing running back Vai Taua.
This may or may not be the end for Balmer in the NFC West, but with him gone for now, here's a quick look at what became of that 2008 first-round class in the division:
- Long: The Rams are increasingly getting sufficient return on a sizable investment after making Long the second player chosen overall. Long has become a consistently productive player since moving to the left side of the line. He had 8.5 sacks last season.
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: The Cardinals chose him 16th overall and liked what Rodgers-Cromartie offered. "DRC" went to one Pro Bowl before suffering through a down 2010 season. The Cardinals sent him to Philadelphia in the Kevin Kolb trade.
- Lawrence Jackson: The Seahawks drafted the defensive end 28th overall. Jackson started slowly and didn't fit when the team changed its scheme. Seattle traded Jackson to Detroit, where defensive ends face favorable matchup situations thanks to Ndamukong Suh's presence on the interior. Jackson had six sacks in 2010.
- Balmer: Nolan Nawrocki's pre-draft assessment for Pro Football Weekly ended this way: "Can disappear and fail to make an impact, and his overall career production is discouraging. ... Has some intriguing natural tools, but must first demonstrate that he is not motivated strictly by a contract. Could be satisfied as a career underachiever."
Among the good value picks for NFC West teams in that 2008 draft: Calais Campbell, Red Bryant, Tim Hightower, Josh Morgan, Brandon Keith and Justin Forsett.