2012 NFL Draft Redo

1. Indianapolis Colts – QB Andrew Luck (Stanford)

This is a no brainer. This draft class has produced several dominant players, including quarterback Russell Wilson, but the Colts wouldn’t hesitate for a second drafting Luck again. Luck hasn’t led them to the Super Bowl yet, but that’s largely as a result of GM Ryan Grigson failing to surround him with enough talent. Perhaps things will be better under new GM Chris Ballard, after Grigson was let go this off-season.

2. Washington Redskins – QB Russell Wilson (Wisconsin)

The Redskins traded 3 first round picks, including the 6th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, to move up 4 spots to 2 to select Robert Griffin, a move that looked good in the beginning, when RG3 won Offensive Rookie of the Year, but that quickly went downhill after RG3 tore his ACL in a playoff loss to the Seahawks and was never the same. Turns out, the quarterback the Redskins should have drafted would have been available at 6…and at 60. Russell Wilson, a 3rd round pick of the Seahawks, has made all 80 starts in 5 seasons in the league and has made the playoffs in all 5 seasons. While the Colts would still take Luck over him, there’s an argument to be made that Wilson is better than Luck, so he’s a no brainer choice for the Redskins at 2.

3. Cleveland Browns – MLB Luke Kuechly (Boston College)

The Browns have needed a quarterback for forever and Kirk Cousins would make some sense here because he has developed into one of the better starting quarterbacks in the league, but he didn’t really develop into that player until his 4th year in the league, after 3 years backing up RG3 in Washington. If the Browns took Cousins at 3, they’d probably rush him into action too early and mess up his career, so I’m going to give them a much safer option. Kuechly is one of the best linebackers in the league and the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. Even the Browns couldn’t mess up his career.

4. Minnesota Vikings – S Harrison Smith (Notre Dame)

The Vikings had a pair of first round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, trading up into the bottom of the first round on draft day. Matt Kalil was selected 4th overall, but he never lived up to a promising rookie year thanks to injuries. However, their other first round pick, safety Harrison Smith, has developed into one of the best safeties in the league. If the Vikings were doing this over again, they’d keep Smith before they kept Kalil, who signed with the Panthers as a free agent this off-season.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Kirk Cousins (Michigan State)

The Jaguars took a quarterback in the first round in 2011, Blaine Gabbert, but he never came close to developing into a starting quarterback. Cousins took a little bit to develop into the quarterback he is now, but considering the Jaguars are still searching for a competent quarterback 5 years later, even after using another first round pick on a quarterback in 2014 (Blake Bortles), they’d welcome Kirk Cousins with open arms, even if he had to sit behind Gabbert for a couple years.

6. Dallas Cowboys – DT Fletcher Cox (Mississippi State)

Originally the 12th pick in the draft by the Eagles, Fletcher Cox has developed into one of the best defensive players in the league and would undoubtedly go higher in a re-draft. Cox would have provided a massive upgrade at defensive tackle for the Cowboys both then and now and, by drafting him, the Cowboys also keep him away from division rival Philadelphia, where he has been a dominant interior defender for several seasons.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Olivier Vernon (Miami)

Olivier Vernon isn’t a household name, but he’s one of the best defensive linemen in football and worth every penny of the 5-year, 85 million dollar deal the Giants gave him after the 2015 season. The 2012 Buccaneers only had one edge rusher with more than 3 sacks and that was Michael Bennett, but the Buccaneers strangely let go to the Seahawks on a cheap one-year deal the following off-season. Vernon would give them a big upgrade at a position where they’ve needed help for years and would still be their best edge rusher today.

8. Miami Dolphins – QB Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M)

This is a tough one. Ryan Tannehill has been unspectacular in 5 seasons in Miami and there are other good players left on the board, but the quarterback position is so valuable and Tannehill has been a capable starter for the Dolphins at that position since they drafted him 8th overall. They committed to him long-term with a 4-year, 77 million dollar extension two off-seasons ago and would probably pick him again at 8 if they had to do it all over again.

9. Carolina Panthers – MLB Bobby Wagner (Utah State)

The Panthers lose out on Luke Kuechly in this re-mock, but Bobby Wagner isn’t much of a downgrade, so the Panthers grab him here. Wagner, originally a second round pick by the Seahawks in 2012, is considered by some to be the second best middle linebacker in the league behind Luke Kuechly and would ensure the Panthers’ defense not miss much of a beat, even without Kuechly.

10. Buffalo Bills – WR TY Hilton (Florida International)

Steve Johnson had thousand yard years for the Bills in 2011 and 2012, but they lacked a capable #2 receiver behind him. Johnson was eventually replaced by Sammy Watkins, the 4th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but the Bills have lacked a capable complement to Watkins throughout Watkins’ career. TY Hilton has developed into one of the best wide receivers in the league and would give the Bills’ receiving corps an instant boost. He and Watkins would be arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL.

11. Kansas City Chiefs – DE Mike Daniels (Iowa)

Dontari Poe was a solid pick by the Chiefs here, but Mike Daniels would have been better. Poe has a rare combination of size, quickness, and stamina, but Daniels is a much better pass rusher and one of the best defensive linemen in the entire NFL. He also has never had any serious injuries, while Poe had to accept a one-year deal in Atlanta as a free agent this off-season because of concern about his back.

12. Philadelphia Eagles – MLB Dont’a Hightower (Alabama)

The Eagles don’t get Fletcher Cox in the re-draft, but they still get a great defensive player. The 2011 Eagles were the so called “dream team” Eagles that finished 8-8, largely because of poor linebacker play. The Eagles focused on upgrading the linebacking corps the following off-season, trading for veteran middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans and drafting outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the 2nd round. Hightower can play both linebacker spots and is an upgrade over Kendricks and a long-term replacement inside for Ryans, whose last full season as a starter for the Eagles was 2013.

13. Arizona Cardinals – OLB Chandler Jones (Syracuse)

The Cardinals ultimately ended up with Chandler Jones, trading a 2nd round pick to the Patriots for him before the final year of his contract last off-season and re-signing him to a 5-year, 82.5 million dollar deal this off-season. Jones had 11 sacks for the Cardinals in his first season in Arizona in 2016 and has had double digit sacks in three of the past 4 seasons. He filled a big need for the Cardinals when he arrived and would have filled that need sooner if they had taken him in 2012. The 2012 Cardinals didn’t have a single edge rusher with more than 4 sacks.

14. Los Angeles Rams – OT Cordy Glenn (Georgia)

The Rams ended up with the 2nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but didn’t end up picking until 14, after trades down with the Redskins and Cowboys. The trade with the Redskins moved them down from 2 to 6 for the 39th pick in 2012 and what became the 22nd pick in 2013 and the 2nd pick in 2014. The Rams traded down again from 6 to 14 with the Cowboys for the 45th pick, which they traded down for the 50th pick and the 150th pick. In 2012, the Rams used the 14th, 39th, 50th, and 150th picks to select defensive tackle Michael Brockers, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, running back Isaiah Pead, and guard Rokevious Watkins. In 2013, the Rams traded down again from 22nd to 30th with the Falcons, picking up the 92nd pick in the process. The Rams used the 30th pick on linebacker Alec Ogletree and the 92nd pick on wide receiver Stedman Bailey and then in 2014 used the Redskins’ #2 overall pick on Greg Robinson.

Ultimately, they got 7 players for one pick and were the obvious winners of the trade, given that the Redskins used that #2 overall pick on Robert Griffin. However, the trade could have been a lot better for the Rams if they used those picks more wisely. Janoris Jenkins was a solid cornerback for the Rams, while Michael Brockers and Alec Ogletree are capable starters, but they didn’t get a franchise changing player out of it. The biggest bust was Greg Robinson, the #2 overall pick in 2014, who has struggled mightily in 3 seasons in the league. He was drafted to fix the left tackle position, which has been a problem for the Rams for years. If they had drafted a left tackle like Cordy Glenn in 2012, it would have saved them from making the mistake they did with Robinson in 2014.

15. Seattle Seahawks – G Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State)

As seems to always be the case, the Seahawks lose out big-time in this re-draft, because second and third round picks Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson are long gone at this point. Luckily, this was a very deep draft. Bruce Irvin was a solid pick here at 15, but the Seahawks could do better. Offensive line was a problem for the Seahawks back then and it’s even worse now. Kelechi Osemele can play both tackle positions and both guard positions and has developed into one of the best left guards in the league, signing a 5-year, 58.5 million dollar deal with the Raiders last off-season, after spending the first 4 seasons of his career with the Ravens, who selected him in the 2nd round in 2012.

16. New York Jets – DE Malik Jackson (Tennessee)

The Jets would go on to select 3-4 defensive ends in the first round in 2013 and 2014 in Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams, but in 2012 they needed a starter opposite 2011 first round pick Muhammad Wilkerson at the 3-4 defensive end position. Wilkerson, Richardson, and Williams have all become great players and are arguably the Jets’ 3 best players, but they all play the same position so it’s tough to get all 3 on the field at the same time and they’ve all struggled out of position. In this scenario, the Jets take Jackson in 2012 to start next to Wilkerson and hopefully focus on other positions in 2013 and 2014.

17. Cincinnati Bengals – G Kevin Zeitler (Wisconsin)

The Bengals had two first round picks in 2012 because of the Carson Palmer trade and they selected cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick at 17 and guard Kevin Zeitler at 27. This off-season, both were free agents and the Bengals re-signed Dre Kirkpatrick to a 5-year, 52.5 million dollar deal, while letting Kevin Zeitler take a 5-year, 60 million dollar deal with instate “rival” Cleveland. That suggests the Bengals might see Kirkpatrick as more valuable going forward, but it’s hard to argue he was more valuable than Zeitler over the past few years, considering Kirkpatrick didn’t become a starter until his 4th year in the league. In fact, Zeitler has more than double the amount of starts Kirkpatrick has made in his career, 71 vs. 34. Kirkpatrick has been inconsistent too, while Zeitler has consistently been one of the best guards in the league throughout his career. Choosing Kirkpatrick over Zeitler this off-season didn’t make much sense to me and I highly doubt they would have done it in 17 if they had to go back and do it all again. Zeitler is arguably the best player available too.

18. San Diego Chargers – CB Casey Hayward (Vanderbilt)

The Chargers ended up with Casey Hayward anyway, signing him to a 3-year, 15.3 million dollar deal last off-season, after he was buried on the depth chart with the Packers to start his career. The 2012 2nd round pick flashed in limited action with the Packers and proved to be a steal for the Chargers in 2016, as he was one of the best cornerbacks in the league and led the league with 7 interceptions. In this re-draft, they select Hayward and don’t leave him buried on the depth chart like the Packers did.

19. Chicago Bears – WR Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina)

The Bears ended up with Alshon Jeffery in the second round in 2012, but they need to use a first rounder to keep him in this re-draft. That’s not much of an issue for them, as they originally drafted Shea McClellin here with the 19th pick and he proved to be a massive bust. Jeffery wasn’t perfect in 5 years with the Bears, but, at his best, he was one of the best receivers in the league. He signed with the Eagles in free agency this off-season and he will be missed.

20. Tennessee Titans – DE Whitney Mercilus (Illinois)

In 2012, the Titans were aiming to select Shea McClellin at 20, to fill their need for an edge rusher opposite Derrick Morgan, but the Bears selected him one pick earlier and the Titans had to settle for Kendall Wright. That ended up being a good thing, as Wright was, by default, the better player in the NFL, but the Titans can do better in a re-draft. In this scenario, they take Whitney Mercilus, who has developed into one of the better edge rushers in the league for division rival Houston.

21. New England Patriots – DE Melvin Ingram (South Carolina)

The Patriots miss out on Chandler Jones in this re-draft, but they do get the opportunity to select Melvin Ingram instead. Ingram’s career got off to a rough start because of injuries, which is why he goes 8 spots lower than Jones in this re-draft, but he’s developed into one of the best edge rushers in the league over the past 2 seasons and is arguably a better player than Jones is right now because he’s a better run stopper and can drop into coverage.

22. Cleveland Browns – OT Mitchell Schwartz (California)

The Browns picked at 4 and 22 in 2012 and ended up with Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden. The one saving grace of the Browns’ 2012 draft was 2nd round pick Mitchell Schwartz, who has become one of the best right tackles in the league. They have to take him a round earlier in this re-draft, but it’s worth it. Unfortunately, the Browns decided to let him take a reasonable 5-year, 33 million dollar deal with the Chiefs last off-season and have yet to find a good replacement.

23. Detroit Lions – CB Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama)

Cornerback was a big problem for the Lions in 2012. They ultimately upgraded the position by selecting Darius Slay in the 2nd round in 2013 and developing him into one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. However, Slay and Jenkins would have made a strong cornerback duo on a team that still to this day hasn’t found a good #2 cornerback.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – G David DeCastro (Stanford)

The Steelers stick with their original pick here at 24. DeCastro hasn’t been quite as good for the Steelers as Zeitler was for the Bengals and his career got off to a rough start thanks to a knee injury, but he’s still one of the better guards in the league. He’s made 63 starts over the past 4 seasons and was re-signed to a 5-year, 50 million dollar extension last off-season. The Steelers are clearly happy with this selection.

25. New England Patriots – MLB Brandon Marshall (Nevada)

The Patriots originally drafted defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower in the first round in 2012. In this re-draft, they can’t get either player, but it’s a deep enough draft that they can find good replacements for both. A fifth round pick in 2012, Marshall didn’t play much in his first 2 seasons in the league, but has become one of the best linebackers in the league since and has made 39 starts over the past 3 seasons. The Broncos kept him on a 4-year, 32 million dollar extension last off-season. Losing Hightower definitely isn’t great for the Patriots, but keeping Marshall away from a hated rival almost makes it worth it.

26. Houston Texans – G Brandon Brooks (Miami-OH)

The Texans originally got Brooks in the 3rd round in 2012, but have to use their first round pick to keep him in this re-draft. Brooks became a starter for the Texans in 2013 and instantly became one of the best guards in the league. He made 44 starts for the Texans in 3 seasons before signing a 5-year, 40 million dollar deal with the Eagles in free agency, with whom he has continued to play at a high level.

27. Cincinnati Bengals – OLB Vontaze Burfict (Arizona State)

Dre Kirkpatrick is definitely an option for the Bengals here at 27, but I’d argue Vontaze Burfict has been more valuable to their defense in 5 seasons with the Bengals than Kirkpatrick. Like Zeitler, he has made significantly more starts (56 vs. 34) than Kirkpatrick and he’s been the better player too. A former undrafted free agent, Burfict was re-signed to a 4-year, 20 million dollar extension after just 2 seasons in the league, which has proven to be a steal thus far for the Bengals. He’s set to hit free agency next off-season, so we’ll see how much of a pay increase the notoriously stingy Bengals are willing to give him.

28. Green Bay Packers – DE Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati)

The Packers drafted Nick Perry here at 28 in 2012, but the real prize from their 2012 draft class was Mike Daniels, a 4th round pick who has developed into one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in football. Daniels went 11 to Kansas City in this re-draft, so the Packers take his replacement here at 28. Wolfe took a few years to develop, but he too has become one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league and could fill Daniels’ hole well. Part of the reason Wolfe took so long to develop could have been that he was playing out of position as a 4-3 end early in his career. The 2012 2nd round pick is much better in a 3-4.

29. Minnesota Vikings – CB Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina)

It was a big debate between Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne for the Vikings in 2012, but they ultimately selected left tackle Matt Kalil at 4 and then safety Harrison Smith at 29 and then addressed cornerback in the first round in 2013 (Xavier Rhodes) and 2015 (Trae Waynes). In this re-draft, they take Smith at 4 and then take a cornerback at 29. Josh Norman, a 5th round pick originally, took a few years to develop, but has become one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Even before his 2015 breakout season, he was still a solid cornerback. He’s made 54 starts in 5 seasons in the league, including 42 in the past 3 seasons.

30. San Francisco 49ers – DT Damon Harrison (Hampton)

Harrison didn’t even get drafted originally because of his weight and the fact that he played at Hampton, but he’s become arguably the best pure nose tackle in the league. “Snacks” has gotten his weight under control after weighing over 400 pounds at one point. The 360-pounder is still a monster in the middle of the defense, while having the stamina to still play about 60-70% of the snaps and the quickness to play in a 4-3 defense, which he did last season with the Giants. The ex-Jet signed with the Giants on a 5-year, 46.2 million dollar deal last off-season. He would have filled a big need for the 49ers at nose tackle.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OLB Lavonte David (Nebraska)

Here’s another team keeping a player they drafted in a later round. Lavonte David was the Buccaneers’ 2nd round pick in 2012 and has developed into one of the better 4-3 outside linebackers in the league and a much more valuable player than Tampa Bay’s first round pick, running back Doug Martin.

32. New York Giants – RB Lamar Miller (Miami)

The Giants drafted David Wilson in the first round in 2012, but his career was unfortunately cut short by a neck injury. The Giants were right to address the running back position though, as they’ve struggled to run the ball in recent years. Lamar Miller could give them the feature back they were expecting Wilson to develop into and an upgrade on any running back they’ve had in the past few seasons.

2011 NFL Draft Redo

1. Carolina Panthers – QB Cam Newton (Auburn)

The 2011 NFL Draft was one of the most talented in recent memory, but I don’t think there’s any question that the Panthers would make the same choice again if they had to do it all over again. Cam Newton won the 2015 NFL MVP and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl and has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league over the past few seasons. The Panthers need more help around him, but he’s definitely someone that can lead them to where they want to go and that’s all you can ask for out of the #1 pick.

2. Denver Broncos – OLB Von Miller (Texas A&M)

This is how quickly things change in the NFL: The Panthers and Broncos went from picking #1 and #2 in the 2011 NFL Draft to facing off against each other in Super Bowl 50 during the 2015 season. The Broncos’ turnaround was initially led by Peyton Manning, who the Broncos signed a year after drafting Von Miller #2 overall, but Manning struggled mightily throughout the 2015 season and the Broncos still were able to win the whole thing, beating Carolina in Super Bowl 50, thanks to their defense. Von Miller was the leader of that defense and was given Super Bowl 50 MVP. One of the best defensive players in the entire league, Miller was one vote shy of winning Defensive Player of the Year this past season.

3. Buffalo Bills – DE JJ Watt (Wisconsin)

This is how talented the 2011 NFL Draft was: JJ Watt is a 3-time Defensive Player of the Year and goes 3rd overall. Watt would have made sense for either the Panthers or the Broncos in this re-draft, but both teams are so satisfied with their original picks that I don’t think they’d change anything. Instead, Watt falls to the Bills at 3, who waste no time turning in their selection. Marcell Dareus, their original pick, has been a great player for them, but Watt is on another level. Despite missing most of the 2016 season with a back injury, Watt is still on a Hall of Fame track.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – WR AJ Green (Georgia)

The Bengals have plenty of good options here, including wide receiver Julio Jones, who I think is a little bit better than AJ Green. However, like the Panthers and Broncos, the Bengals are so satisfied with Green that I don’t think they’d change anything for continuity reasons. Green is one of the best wide receivers in the game.

5. Arizona Cardinals – CB Patrick Peterson (LSU)

Another team sticks with their original pick, as the Cardinals select Patrick Peterson again. You could make an argument that Richard Sherman is a better cornerback than him, but that argument would likely fall on deaf ears in the Cardinals’ front office, given how valuable Peterson has been for them in his career.

6. Atlanta Falcons – WR Julio Jones (Alabama)

I promise this will get more interesting, but I have a hard time seeing the Falcons pass on Julio Jones if they had to do it all over again. The Browns, who traded out of this pick for the picks to draft Phil Taylor, Brandon Weeden, Greg Little, and Owen Marecic, would probably like a do over, but that’s not how these re-drafts work.

7. San Francisco 49ers – OLB Justin Houston (Georgia)

Here is where teams start regretting their picks a little bit. Aldon Smith was one of the best young defensive players in the league to start his career, with 33.5 sacks in 2 seasons, but legal issues and substance abuse issues limited him to 10.5 sacks in 18 games in 2014 and 2015 combined. The 49ers cut ties with him the following off-season and he remains suspended indefinitely as a member of the Oakland Raiders as of this writing. Justin Houston’s career is the kind of career Smith could have had if he stayed out of trouble. Houston is one of the best edge rushers in the league, with 50.5 sacks from 2012-2015, before missing most of the 2016 season with a torn ACL.

8. Tennessee Titans – QB Andy Dalton (TCU)

Here is where teams REALLY start regretting their picks. In one of the most talented top-11s in an NFL draft ever (Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus, AJ Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, Tyron Smith, JJ Watt), the Titans reached on a quarterback and ended up with a dud, Jake Locker, who lasted 4 seasons in the NFL and went 9-14 in 23 starts with the Titans. There are more talented players available, but the quarterback position reigns supreme and Dalton would have given the Titans an instant stabilizer at quarterback. He’s gone 56-35-2 in 93 starts with the Bengals, who drafted him in the 2nd round originally.

9. Dallas Cowboys – OT Tyron Smith (USC)

I mentioned Tyron Smith under the last write up. Considering he’s developed into one of the best left tackles in the entire league, I’d say the Cowboys are pretty happy with him. They locked him up on a 8-year, 97.6 million dollar extension in 2014, after just three years in the league, and he’s been worth every penny so far.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Richard Sherman (Stanford)

Like the Titans, the Jaguars reached on a quarterback and wound up missing out on some incredible players. Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars’ original pick here, went just 5-22 in 3 seasons with the Jaguars before being sent to the 49ers for a 6th round pick. The Jaguars miss out on Andy Dalton, but they still have plenty of good options to choose from to build around the quarterback position. Richard Sherman is arguably the best available player. The 2011 5th round pick is one of the biggest steals in recent memory. A converted wide receiver who played cornerback for just one season at Stanford, Sherman has developed into one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He’s arguably better than Patrick Peterson, the 5th pick in this draft.

11. Houston Texans – CB Chris Harris (Kansas)

Here is another cornerback that’s arguably better than Peterson as well. Harris, Peterson, and Sherman, three of the best cornerbacks in the league, being in the same draft just highlights the depth of this draft. The Texans miss out on JJ Watt, but they get a dominant cornerback to help soften the blow. Originally undrafted, Harris developed from a slot cornerback to a dominant #1 cornerback in just a few short years in Denver.

12. Minnesota Vikings – DT Jurrell Casey (USC)

The Vikings needed an upgrade at defensive tackle next to Kevin Williams, an aging veteran who left the Vikings after the 2013 season. They actually drafted Sharrif Floyd in the first round in 2013, but this fills the need a year earlier and with a better player. Jurrell Casey isn’t the biggest name, but the former 4th round pick has developed into one of the best defensive linemen in the league in relatively obscurity in Tennessee.

13. Detroit Lions – DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama)

The Lions originally drafted a defensive tackle here, taking Nick Fairley, but his career in Detroit was a mixed bag and he was often criticized for his effort, leading to the Lions letting him go after just 4 seasons with the team. Marcell Dareus is an upgrade for a team that needed one next to Ndamukong Suh, the team’s first round pick in 2010. Dareus and Suh would have been arguably the best defensive tackle duo in the NFL, which is likely what they had in mind when they drafted Fairley.

14. St. Louis Rams – DE Robert Quinn (North Carolina)

Here is another team satisfied with their original pick. Quinn hasn’t been quite the same player in the past 2 seasons thanks to injury, but he had 40 sacks in 3 year stretch from 2012-2014 and is still just 27 so he should still be in the prime of his career if he can get healthy. The Rams locked him up on a 4-year, 66.575 million dollar extension after 3 seasons in the league and he is under contract through 2019.

15. Miami Dolphins – DE Cameron Jordan (California)

The Dolphins selected center Mike Pouncey here originally. He hasn’t been a bad player for them, but hip injuries have limited him in recent years. Cameron Jordan fills a much more important need for them, as they needed another pass rusher outside of Cameron Wake. Jason Taylor was their 2nd leading sacker in 2011, in his age 37 season, his final in the league. In 2012, no one had more than 4.5 sacks outside of Wake. Jordan can rush the passer from the inside and the outside and has 45.5 sacks in the past 5 seasons for the Saints.

16. Washington Redskins – OLB Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue)

The Redskins originally drafted Ryan Kerrigan here in 2011 and he hasn’t disappointed, totalling 58.5 sacks in 6 seasons. He’s had at least 7.5 sacks in all 6 seasons in the league and hasn’t missed a game. The Redskins wisely locked him up on a 5-year, 57.5 million dollar extension two off-seasons ago.

17. New England Patriots – OT Nate Solder (Colorado)

Yet another satisfied drafter. Nate Solder has replaced long-time Brady blindside protector Matt Light well. Solder spent his rookie year on the right side before taking over for Light and has made 79 starts in 6 seasons in the league, consistently playing at a high level. He’s graded out above average on Pro Football Focus 5 times in 6 seasons.

18. San Diego Chargers – DE Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)

The Chargers originally drafted Corey Liuget here, a solid player who wasn’t a bad pick. However, this draft is deep enough for them to get an upgrade here. Cameron Heyward has developed into an above average starting 5-technique defensive end for the Steelers and would be the Chargers’ best interior defensive lineman even today.

19. New York Giants – RB DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma)

The Giants averaged just 3.47 YPC in 2011 and ended up using a first round pick on running back David Wilson in 2012. Wilson never ended up becoming the feature back they drafted him to be because of a neck injury. DeMarco Murray could be that guy. Not only does picking him here save them from making a mistake with Wilson in the following draft, it keeps him away from division rival Dallas, who got him in the 3rd round. Murray has had some injury issues, but has rushed for 6515 yards and 43 touchdowns on 1420 career carries (4.59 YPC) in 6 seasons in the league.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Doug Baldwin (Stanford)

The Buccaneers leading receivers in 2011 were Mike Williams (771), Kellen Winslow (763), Preston Parker (554), and Arrelious Benn (441). Despite going undrafted and signing with a run first team quarterbacked by Tarvaris Jackson, Doug Baldwin had more receiving yards (788) than any of them. Baldwin has 368 catches for 4954 yards and 34 touchdowns in 6 seasons for the Seahawks, despite playing for one of the run heaviest teams in the league. He’s been especially good in the past 2 seasons, going for 78/1069/14 and 94/1128/7, while being one of the most efficient receivers in the league on a per route and a per target basis.

21. Cleveland Browns – QB Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech)

Tyrod Taylor didn’t make a start until his 5th year in the league, after the 6th round pick spent the first 4 years of his career on the bench behind Joe Flacco with the Ravens. However, the Browns have been so desperate for quarterbacks in recent years that they can afford to wait on him to take a couple years to develop. Taylor has been a surprisingly competent quarterback over the past 2 seasons with the Bills.

22. Indianapolis Colts – OT Anthony Castonzo (Boston College)

Like the Patriots, the Colts took a left tackle in the first round and are pretty satisfied with him. Solder has definitely outplayed Castonzo at times, but Castonzo is a more consistent player with 89 starts (all at left tackle) in 6 seasons in the league. The Colts gave him a 4-year, 42 million dollar extension 2 off-seasons ago and would definitely make this selection again if they had to do it all over again.

23. Philadelphia Eagles – OLB KJ Wright (Mississippi State)

The 2011 Eagles were the so called “dream team” Eagles and they were done in primarily by poor linebacker play. Jamar Chaney and Brian Rolle led the team in tackles from the linebacker spot, which shows you how bad things were. KJ Wright was just a 4th round pick of the Seahawks in the 2011 NFL Draft originally, but he has grown into one of the best and most consistent three down 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL.

24. New Orleans Saints – DE Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State)

The Saints can’t draft Cameron Jordan, their original pick, because he’s gone at this point, so they draft Pernell McPhee instead. Like Jordan, McPhee can line up inside and outside and has experience in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense. McPhee has never put up big sack numbers, but that’s mostly because he was buried on the depth chart in Baltimore and has dealt with limiting injuries in Chicago, since signing a 5-year, 38.75 million dollar deal two off-seasons ago. Throughout his career, he’s been one of the most efficient pass rushers in the NFL on a pressures per pass rush snap basis.

25. Seattle Seahawks – WR Randall Cobb (Kentucky)

The Seahawks leading receiver in 2011 was undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin, who has already been drafted at this point. The Seahawks take Randall Cobb here as a replacement for Doug Baldwin. Cobb has had some big years in Green Bay, though he has had issues with injuries, especially in recent years.

26. Kansas City Chiefs – C Rodney Hudson (Florida State)

The Chiefs originally drafted Rodney Hudson in the second round, but they have to use their first round pick to keep him in this re-draft. Considering they originally whiffed with Jonathan Baldwin here, the Chiefs probably won’t mind. A collegiate guard, Hudson became one of the best centers in the league with the Chiefs and has continued that high level of play with the Raiders over the past 2 seasons. Hudson’s 5-year, 44.5 million dollar deal was the most expensive in NFL history for a center at the time it was signed, but he has been worth it. The Chiefs probably regret not bringing him back.

27. Baltimore Ravens – CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado)

One final team sticks with their original pick. Jimmy Smith took a couple years to develop and also has dealt with some injuries, but, at his best, he’s a legitimate #1 cornerback. The Ravens gave him a 4-year, 41.1 million dollar extension two off-seasons ago and would probably like to keep him in a re-draft.

28. New Orleans Saints – DT Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)

The future Saints will thank the 2011 Saints for using both first round picks on defensive players in this re-draft, given how bad their defense has been in recent years. Even though they were unable to keep Cameron Jordan in this re-mock, Pernell McPhee and Muhammad Wilkerson are a nice haul. Wilkerson probably would have gone 10-15 spots higher a year ago, as he struggled mightily in the first year of a 5-year, 86 million dollar deal last off-season. Part of that was that he was coming off of a broken leg and part of that was that he was playing out of position frequently, but there were also effort concerns with him, very concerning considering the Jets just guaranteed him 36.75 million. For the first 5 seasons of his career though, he was one of the better interior defensive linemen in the league.

29. Chicago Bears – G Clint Boling (Georgia)

The 2011 Bears needed help at pretty much every offensive line position and originally grabbed Gabe Carimi here, to upgrade one of the two tackle positions. However, Carimi was a massive bust who lasted just 2 seasons with Bears. Boling, on the other hand, was a 4th round pick who has become one of the better guards in the league. He didn’t play much as a rookie, but has made 74 starts in the past 5 seasons for the Bengals and has graded out above average on Pro Football Focus in all 5 seasons. Jay Cutler would have loved to have had him.

30. New York Jets – OLB Aldon Smith (Missouri)

The Jets have had such a need at the edge rusher position for years and, given where they’re drafting, I think they would be willing to draft Aldon Smith even knowing how much trouble he was going to get into. Smith burst into the league with 33.5 sacks in his first 2 seasons in the league, but has just 14 sacks in 27 games since thanks to suspensions and remains suspended indefinitely by the league, after missing all of last season. The Raiders still own his rights though and the fact that they haven’t given up on him, despite his issues, just shows how good he is when he’s right.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)

The Steelers were pretty much old at every position in the secondary in 2011 and Prince Amukamara is arguably the best available player left on the board. He would have been a future replacement for Ike Taylor in Pittsburgh. He’s been a solid cover cornerback whenever he’s been healthy, though he has missed 27 games in 6 seasons in the league thanks to injury.

32. Green Bay Packers – RB Mark Ingram (Alabama)

The 2010 Packers won the Super Bowl with James Starks as their starting running back down the stretch and the 2011 Packers averaged just 3.94 yards per carry with James Starks and Ryan Grant splitting carries. Given the players left on the board, Mark Ingram might be their best choice at this point. Ingram has rushed for 4238 yards and 32 touchdowns on 953 carries (4.45 YPC) in 6 seasons with the Saints and would have stabilized the running back position for the Packers.

2010 NFL Draft Redo

1. St. Louis Rams- DT Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)

The argument before the 2010 NFL Draft was Sam Bradford or Ndamukong Suh. While Suh has clearly been the right answer of those two, Suh actually hasn’t even been the best defensive tackle in this draft class. Both Suh and McCoy have been top-4 defensive tackles on Pro Football Focus in each of the last 3 seasons, but McCoy has actually ranked higher in all 3 seasons, ranking 2nd, 1st, and 3rd, while Suh has ranked 4th, 2nd, and 4th.

McCoy had injury problems early in his career, missing 13 games over those 2 seasons, but he still was impressive when healthy and Suh took a couple of years to become the player he is today, ranking outside the top-30 on Pro Football Focus in each of his first 2 seasons in the league. Over the past 3 seasons, McCoy has missed just 3 games. The Rams would take either of those two players, but McCoy is the slightly better player in my opinion. The Rams have had issues at defensive tackle for a while, spending a lot of money on Kendall Langford in free agency and drafting both Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald in the first round over the past few seasons. The Rams seem to have struck gold with Donald, but imagine him and McCoy on the same line.

2. Detroit Lions- DT Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska)

While McCoy might be a little bit better than Suh, the Lions don’t have any real complaints about Suh (other that he’s gone now). He’s one of the best defensive tackles in the league, joining McCoy as one of two defensive tackles to grade out in the top-4 on Pro Football Focus in each of the last 3 seasons. It took him a couple years to get to that point. Despite big sack numbers, he wasn’t anywhere near the complete player he is today early in his career, struggling mightily against the run and not getting nearly the amount of hits and hurries per season he’s had recently. I don’t hold that too much against him though, considering the player he’s become.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Antonio Brown (Central Michigan)

Calvin Johnson had some injury issues this year, so Antonio Brown took over the mantle of top wide receiver in football and he might actually be better than Johnson if Johnson was healthy. Over the past 2 seasons, Brown has ranked 2nd and 1st in receiving yards, 3rd and 1st on Pro Football Focus among wide receivers, and 7th and 8th in yards per route run. The Buccaneers had a significant wide receiver need going into the 2009 NFL Draft as the only wide receiver they had with more than 366 yards in 2009 was Antonio Bryant, who never played another snap in the NFL. They used 2nd and 4th round picks on 2010 on Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams, but neither of them had any sort of staying power with the team, forcing the team to give Vincent Jackson a big contract and use a high pick on Mike Evans to finally fix their issue at the position. This fixes the problem a lot faster.

4. Washington Redskins- OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)

The Redskins drafted Trent Williams 4th overall in 2010 to solidify the blindside position on the offensive line and, after a rough rookie year, he’s done that, grading out above average on Pro Football Focus in 4 straight seasons, including 3 straight seasons in the top-18 and a #1 overall finish at the position in 2013. This is a strong draft class so the Redskins certainly have other options, but I generally default to original pick as a tie breaker.

5. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)

The Chiefs didn’t get a single touchdown from their wide receivers in 2014. You can blame that partially on bad luck and partially on Alex Smith’s hesitance to throw to wide receivers down the field outside the numbers, but there’s no way that would be the case if the Chiefs had drafted Demaryius Thomas 5th overall in 2010. Demaryius Thomas has put up absurd numbers over the past 3 seasons, playing all 48 games, catching 297 passes for 4483 yards and 35 touchdowns. Playing with Peyton Manning at quarterback and being a target monster has definitely helped him, but he’s graded out 2nd, 5th, and 5th among wide receivers on Pro Football Focus in his own right in 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively. No other wide receiver has graded out in the top-5 in all 3 of those seasons. Along with Calvin Johnson and draft-mate Antonio Brown, you can make a case for him as the best wide receiver in football.

6. Seattle Seahawks- S Earl Thomas (Texas)

The Seahawks struck gold with Earl Thomas with the 14th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but they have to draft him earlier in this re-draft to keep him. That’s fine with the Seahawks, who originally drafted Russell Okung at this spot and he’s struggled through injuries thus far in his 5 year NFL career. Earl Thomas and Devin McCourty are the two best pure free safeties in the NFL and both went in this draft. It’s arguable which one is better, but if you asked the Seahawks, you can bet they’d say Thomas.

7. Cleveland Browns- CB Joe Haden (Florida)

This is another case of a team keeping the player they originally drafted. Haden was one of two cornerbacks to grade out in the top-20 at their position on Pro Football Focus in every season from 2010-2013, which got him a 5-year, 68 million dollar extension last off-season. He graded out 5th in 2010, 10th in 2011, 20th in 2012, and 17th in 2013. By those standards, he had the worst season of his career in 2014, when he graded out 28th, but he’s still one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. There might be better players available at this point, but Haden is in the conversation as one of the best available and he’s re-drafted by the Browns for continuity’s sake.

8. Oakland Raiders- TE Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

Rob Gronkowski has had issues with injuries throughout his career, but he’s come out fine on the other side of all those injuries and, when healthy, he’s arguably the most valuable offensive skill position player in the NFL who isn’t a quarterback. Gronk has caught 294 passes for 4231 yards and 49 touchdowns in his last 57 games and he averages 2.41 yards per route run in his 5 year career. For comparison, Jimmy Graham averages just 2.08 yards per route run over that same time period and Gronkowski is a significantly better blocker.

It helps to play with Tom Brady, but for Tom Brady, it also really, really helps to play with Gronk. In games where Gronk plays over the past 4 years (since Gronk’s 2011 breakout year), Tom Brady completes 65.1% of his passes for an average of 7.80 YPA, 114 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions, including playoffs. When he doesn’t over the past 4 years, Brady completes 58.1% of his passes for an average of 6.84 YPA, 30 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. That’s a significant drop off in production and there’s enough sample size on both sides to confidently attribute a lot of the difference in Brady’s production to the big tight end.

9. Buffalo Bills- TE Jimmy Graham (Miami)

Any debate between Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham should have been put to bed when the Saints traded Graham to Seattle earlier this month. The Patriots would never trade Rob Gronkowski in the prime of his career. He’s too valuable to them. Gronkowski is a better pass catcher, a significantly better blocker, while Graham only having the edge in durability over Gronkowski. Still, he’s a valuable pass catching threat that would really help the Bills, who needed an upgrade at tight end up until they overpaid Charles Clay this off-season. Graham is a significantly better player.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars- S Devin McCourty (Rutgers)

I mentioned that it’s arguable between Earl Thomas and Devin McCourty who is the better free safety. Thomas goes early in this re-draft because the Seahawks wanted to keep their guy, but I actually think McCourty is the better overall player. He entered the NFL as a cornerback, moved to safety in the middle of the 2012 season and has pretty much been dominant wherever he’s been. He’s graded out above average in all 5 seasons he’s been in the league since the Patriots drafted him in the 1st round in 2010 and, with the exception of 2011, he’s been an elite player in every season.

In 2010, he was Pro Football Focus’ 7th ranked cornerback. In 2012, his composite grade across cornerback and safety would have been 5th among cornerbacks and 4th among safeties. And in the last two seasons, he’s been Pro Football Focus’ 1st and 8th ranked safety respectively. The Jaguars tried to sign him away from the Patriots in the legal tampering period this off-season and you can bet they would have loved to have drafted him instead of Tyson Alualu here in this spot 5 years ago.

11. San Francisco 49ers- WR Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State)

The 49ers drafted Michael Crabtree 10th overall in 2009 and he led their team in receiving yards by a wide receiver in every season from 2009-2012. However, he only went over 1000 yards once in 6 seasons in San Francisco and the 49ers definitely could have used another talented wide receiver to go with him. Bryant only falls to 11 because of how loaded this draft is at the top. Dez Bryant has always been productive, with 381 career catches for 5424 yards and 56 touchdowns in 75 career games in 5 seasons, since being drafted in the first round in 2010.

He’s been especially good over the past 3 seasons, as he’s had 3 straight seasons of at least 80 catches for 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns. He hasn’t missed a game in those 3 seasons and has caught 273 passes for 3935 yards and 41 touchdowns in that time period. Last season, he was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd ranked wide receiver and he was franchise tagged by the Cowboys as a result. You can bet the 49ers would love to have a player like this.

12. San Diego Chargers- MLB NaVorro Bowman (Penn State)

It might be easy to forget because he just missed the entire season with a torn ACL, but Bowman is one of the best linebackers in the NFL when healthy, grading out 1st, 6th, and 1st among middle linebackers on Pro Football Focus in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. The injury certainly hurts his long-term projection, but he’s only going into his age 27 season and he has a solid chance of continuing his dominant level of play into the future. He would have gone higher here if not for the injury and could be a value pick at 12 for a San Diego team that used a 3rd round pick on Donald Butler in the original 2010 draft.

13. Philadelphia Eagles- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Central Florida)

The Eagles drafted Brandon Graham here originally. It wasn’t that Graham was a bad player, but the Eagles never really utilized him properly in terms of giving him enough playing time. In this redo, they land a dominant edge rusher who they would have had no problem getting on to the field. Aside from an injury plagued 2013 season, JPP has been one of the best 4-3 defensive ends in the league over the past 4 seasons, grading out 6th in 2011, 3rd in 2012, and 7th in 2014, earning him the franchise tag this off-season. Brandon Graham, meanwhile, had to settle for a 4-year, 26 million dollar deal back in Philadelphia.

14. Seattle Seahawks- S Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech)

There might be better players available, but I think the Seahawks would like to keep their defense together at all costs in this re-draft and they do that here by taking Kam Chancellor, originally a 5th round pick, to stay paired with Earl Thomas, who they had to draft 6th to keep, rather than being able to take him here. The cost is left tackle Russell Okung, but he’s missed 21 games with injury in 5 seasons and, while he was Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked offensive tackle in 2012, that’s the only season of his career where he’s graded out above average. Chancellor, meanwhile, has made 62 of 64 possible starts in the past 4 seasons, while grading out 5th, 20th, 12th, and 20th among safeties.

15. New York Giants- DT Geno Atkins (Georgia)

Here’s another guy that would have been much higher if not for injury. Atkins looked like one of the best defensive players in football following the 2012 season, grading out 7th among defensive tackles as a rookie in 2010, despite playing just 356 snaps as a reserve, and then finishing #1 in both 2011 and 2012 as he became a starter. Atkins, who agreed to a 5-year, 55 million dollar extension before the 2013 season, looked on his way to a similar year in 2013, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 4th ranked defensive tackle through 8 games before tearing his ACL in the 9th game of the season. He finished 10th on the season on 458 snaps.

In 2014, he didn’t seem like the same player, grading out just 20th at his position, but that’s still solid and he’s only going into his age 27 season so he could still become the dominant interior defensive linemen he once was again. He could prove to be a value pick for the Giants at 15 and help them make up for the loss of Jason Pierre-Paul.

16. Tennessee Titans- DE Greg Hardy (Mississippi)

Unlike guys like Bowman, Gronkowski, and Atkins, Hardy’s career was derailed by off-the-field issues, rather than injuries. Hardy broke out as one of the top 4-3 defensive ends in the game in 2012 and 2013, grading out 6th and 2nd respectively at his position in those two seasons, earning him the franchise tag for the 2014 season. However, Hardy was arrested for and convicted of domestic violence that off-season and, while the NFL could not suspend him as he was appealing the verdict, Hardy lasted just one game into 2014 before public pressure forced the Panthers to suspend him with pay for the rest of the season. The Panthers essentially paid him 13.1 million for 1 game in 2014.

Hardy got the charges dropped on a technicality and is expected to return to the field in 2015, though he could face a short suspension first, after signing a heavily incentive laden deal with the Dallas Cowboys. The Titans take him here as a higher upside defensive end, rather than the safer Derrick Morgan. Hardy, only 27, is one of the best defensive players in football when healthy and has minimal injury history.

17. San Francisco 49ers- G Mike Iupati (Idaho)

Here’s another team that sticks with their original pick. Iupati has graded out in the top-14 at his position on Pro Football Focus in 4 of the 5 seasons he’s been in the league, with the exception coming in an injury plagued 2013, when he still graded out above average. Despite that injury plagued 2013 season, he’s missed just 4 games in 5 seasons, all coming in 2013. The Cardinals rewarded him with a 5-year, 40 million dollar deal this off-season, poaching him from division rival San Francisco.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers- OLB Junior Galette (Stillman)

Maurkice Pouncey, who the Steelers originally drafted in the spot, is overrated, so let’s give the Steelers a different player. I was originally going to give them Jason Worilds here, their original 2nd round pick and a player who turned into a valuable starter for the Steelers in 2013 and 2014, but his decision to make an early retirement after 5 seasons in the league puts a damper on his long-term value, so let’s give the Steelers the next best edge rusher available.

That’s Junior Galette, who originally went undrafted, but has turned into one of the better edge rushers in the game over the past 2 seasons, grading out 12th among 3-4 outside linebackers in 2013 and 4th among 4-3 defensive ends in 2014. He’s not a late bloomer either as he graded out above average as a pass rusher in reserve roles in both 2011 and 2012. Like Worilds, Galette would provide valuable depth behind an aging James Harrison and an injury prone LaMarr Woodley early in his career and start for them in 2013, 2014, and beyond.

19. Atlanta Falcons- DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida)

The Falcons have been searching for pass rush help for years, really since missing on Jamaal Anderson 8th overall in 2007, and have especially needed it over the past 2 seasons with John Abraham gone, as they’ve combined for just 54 sacks, fewest in the NFL over that time period. Dunlap would add to their pass rush and he’s also a great player against the run. A very consistent player, Dunlap has graded out 21st, 4th, 8th, 9th, and 15th among 4-3 defensive ends in 5 seasons in the league.

20. Houston Texans- CB Alterraun Verner (UCLA)

The Texans drafted Kareem Jackson originally here and they do like him, as evidenced by the 4-year, 34 million dollar deal they gave him to keep him long-term this off-season, after he graded out 11th among on Pro Football Focus cornerbacks in 2014. However, he’s not as consistent as Verner, who has graded out 21st, 11th, 25th, 13th, and 7th in 2010 through 2014 respectively. Much of that is because he’s arguably the best run stopping cornerback in football, but he holds up in coverage as well and his run play is still valuable. Jackson, meanwhile, has graded above average in just 2 of 5 seasons and still commanded a more expensive deal in free agency, as Verner signed a 4-year, 26 million dollar deal with the Buccaneers last off-season.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- DT Jared Odrick (Penn State)

The Bengals, who are seemingly always drafted 21st, originally used this pick on Jermaine Gresham, who never lived up to the expectations and, as of this writing, is still unsigned as a free agent in his first trip to the open market. The Bengals miss out on Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, who they drafted in the 2nd and 4th rounds respectively, but they still add to their defensive line here.

Odrick’s career started off on the wrong foot as he was limited to 22 snaps as a rookie in 2010 by injury, struggled in his first year as a starter in 2011 as a 3-4 defensive end, and then struggled even more in 2012 as a 4-3 defensive end, grading out 59th out of 62 eligible at his position that year. However, the Dolphins moved him back to his natural position of 4-3 defensive tackle in 2013 and the results have been great. He was 16th at his position in 2013 and then 19th in 2014, earning him a 5-year, 42.5 million dollar deal from the Jaguars this off-season. With full hindsight, the Bengals draft him here and leave him at his natural position of 4-3 defensive tackle.

22. Denver Broncos- S TJ Ward (Oregon)

The Broncos had a big need at safety going into 2010 as Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins were their starters and they were going into their age 32 and age 37 seasons respectively. The Broncos used a 2nd round pick on Rahim Moore in 2011, but they only filled one of their holes at safety. They didn’t fill the other one until they signed TJ Ward in free agency before the 2014 season. Here they get him earlier. Ward, a 2010 2nd round pick, has graded out 32nd, 14th, 6th, 4th, and 32nd respectively among safeties in 5 seasons in the league.

23. Green Bay Packers- OLB Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech)

The Packers struck gold with Clay Matthews in the 1st round in 2009, but were seeking an edge rushing complement for him for years until they signed Julius Peppers last off-season. Peppers played well in 2014, but he’s going into his age 35 season in 2015 so even he’s not a long-term solution. The Packers find a long-term solution here and someone who will prevent them from wasting a first round pick on Nick Perry in 2012.

Derrick Morgan’s career got off to a slow start as he was limited to 112 snaps by a torn ACL as a rookie in 2010 and struggled in his return from that injury in 2011, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 64th ranked 4-3 defensive end out of 67 eligible. However, he’s graded out above average in each of the past three seasons, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 5th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2012, 11th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2013, and 8th ranked 3-4 outside linebacker in 2014. Most importantly, he’s missed just 2 games over the past 4 seasons and doesn’t have any significant injuries on his record other than that torn ACL.

24. Dallas Cowboys- MLB Sean Lee (Penn State)

Lee, a 2nd round pick by the Cowboys in 2010, was really hard to place in this re-draft because he’s missed 34 games in 5 seasons in the league, including 31 in the last 3 seasons and all of 2014. The Cowboys are still expecting big things from him in 2015, but he’ll already be in his age 29 season and he’s coming off of a torn ACL, so that might be overly optimistic. However, when on the field, he’s absolutely one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He was Pro Football Focus’ 14th ranked middle linebacker in 15 games in 2011, 8th in just 6 games in 2012, and 7th in 11 games in 2013. Through 9 games (before the injury) in 2013, he was #1 at his position and he was 4th at his position through 5 games in 2012 before the injury.

25. Denver Broncos- WR Emmanuel Sanders (Southern Methodist)

I gave the Broncos someone they signed in free agency last off-season with the 22nd overall pick and I do that again here at 25. Sanders was nothing special for the first 4 seasons of his career in Pittsburgh, which is why he’s still available here, but that all changed when he went to Denver and met Peyton Manning. In 2014, Sanders finished 5th in the league in receiving yards (1409), 12th in touchdowns (9), and 4th in catches (101) and it wasn’t just Manning. Sanders graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 5th ranked wide receiver in his own right, including 3rd in pass catching grade. For a team that wasn’t able to keep Demaryius Thomas in this re-draft, he’s a very important addition here at 25.

26. Arizona Cardinals- OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU)

The Cardinals have spent a lot of mid round picks trying to fix their edge rush since 2010, starting with O’Brien Schofield (4th round) in 2010. He was followed by Sam Acho (4th round) in 2011, Alex Okafor (4th round) in 2013, and Kareem Martin (3rd round) in 2014. Here’s a premium pick who is actually a long-term solution.

Hughes is a late bloomer, which is why he’s available this late. He was a bust in Indianapolis as a first round pick in 2010, playing a combined 240 snaps in 2010 and 2011 and then struggling in his first serious action in 2012, grading out 25th out of 34 eligible 3-4 outside linebackers. However, after the Bills acquired him after that season for basically nothing, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013 and their 14th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2014, before re-signing for 45 million over 5 years this off-season.

27. New England Patriots- DT LaMarr Houston (Texas)

The Patriots miss out on Devin McCourty in the re-draft, but this draft is deep enough that they’re still able to add a valuable piece to their defense. The Patriots have been looking for an interior complement to Vince Wilfork really since they traded Richard Seymour and now that Wilfork is also gone, that need has become even bigger and they are banking on 2014 1st round pick Dominique Easley staying healthy. Houston fills the need earlier and gives them a versatile player that can play inside and outside in both a 3-4 and a 4-3, something Belichick will love. Before a season that ended early with a torn ACL in 2014, Houston graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 20th ranked, 11th ranked, and 13th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively.

28. Miami Dolphins- S Reshad Jones (Georgia)

The Dolphins drafted Jones in the 4th round in 2010 originally, but he’s been a solid player for them, so they use their 1st round pick here to keep him. Jones has made 56 starts for the Dolphins over the past 2 seasons and, while he’s been inconsistent, grading out below average in 2 of those seasons, he’s graded out above average in 2 of the last 3 seasons, including 3rd in 2012 and 3rd in 2014.

29. New York Jets- WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)

The common narrative is that Golden Tate didn’t have a breakout year until 2014, the first season of a 5-year, 31 million dollar deal with the Detroit Lions, when he finished 7th in receiving yards with 1331 yards (7th in the NFL), after never previously topping 1000 yards. However, when Tate signed that deal, I thought it was a steal for Detroit because Eric Decker got 36.25 million over that same length of time last off-season.

That’s because, while Decker put up bigger receiving numbers, Tate was actually comparable on a per route basis in 2011, 2012, and 2013, despite generally having worse quarterback play (Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson vs. Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Peyton Manning). Decker averaged 1.28, 1.80, and 2.03 yards per route run in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively, as opposed to 1.33, 1.80, and 2.01 for Tate, whose numbers were kept down by a run heavy offense in Seattle. In fact, Tate’s 2.13 yards per route run average in 2014 was barely a career high.

Tate graded out 16th among wide receivers in pass catching grade in 2014, but he actually did that exact same thing in 2012 and 2013. He should see his production decrease in 2015 with Calvin Johnson healthy for a full season, but he’s still arguably the best #2 receiver in the league and he’s a good value here for a Jets team that has had all sorts of issues with their wide receivers in recent years.

30. Detroit Lions- DE Everson Griffen (USC)

When Everson Griffin got a 5-year, 42.5 million dollar deal from the Vikings last off-season, it was a head-scratcher as Griffen had made just 1 career start. I didn’t like the move other as, while he had 14 sacks in 2012 and 2013 despite being a reserve, he actually played as much as some starters in terms of pass rush snaps with 423 pass rush snaps played in 2012 and 449 pass rush snaps played in 2013.

He only ranked 29th out of 62 eligible in pass rush efficiency among 4-3 defensive ends in 2012 and only ranked 21st out of 52 eligible in pass rush efficiency among 4-3 defensive ends in 2013. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 36th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2012 and 19th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2013. While it was an overly speculative deal, Griffen responded well, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 16 starts. He’s definitely an above average starter, albeit a late bloomer, and would be a good fit for the Lions here as Kyle Vanden Bosch was on the decline, going into his age 32 season in 2010.

31. Indianapolis Colts- OT Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale)

The Colts drafted Anthony Castonzo in the 1st round in 2011 and he’s been solid on the left side, but here they get help earlier and add someone who could be a bookend for Castonzo long-term, which would save them from giving Gosder Cherilus a 5-year, 34.5 million dollar deal, as they did two off-seasons ago. Aside from an injury plagued 2013 season, Veldheer has been one of the better left tackles in the league over the past 4 seasons, grading out 16th in 2011, 15th in 2012, and 9th in 2014. The Cardinals gave him a 5-year, 35 million dollar deal last season after his injury plagued 2013 season and he’ll continue making that deal look like a steal as long as he stays healthy. He’s an excellent value at this point, further evidence of how deep this draft was.

32. New Orleans Saints- DE Brandon Graham (Michigan)

Graham was a first round pick by the Eagles in 2010, but he was limited to 491 snaps in his first 2 seasons combined by injuries. However, he played well when on the field in those 2 seasons and he had somewhat of a breakout year in 2012. He didn’t get a ton of playing time (435 snaps), which is why it’s hard to call it a true breakout year, but he still graded out 2nd among 4-3 defensive ends that season, despite the limited playing time.

The Eagles moved to a 3-4 in 2013, which Graham wasn’t seen as a good fit for, so he only saw 331 snaps, but he still graded out 15th at his position, making it two straight years where no one played fewer snaps than him and graded out better at his position. In 2014, he was still the 3rd outside linebacker, but he played ahead of 1st round pick Marcus Smith all year, set a career high in snaps played with 524 snaps and graded out 3rd among 3-4 outside linebackers. For the third straight year, no one graded out better at his position on fewer snaps.

Scheme versatile, Graham was a great value for the Eagles on a 4-year, 26 million dollar deal this off-season and I think his most productive years are still ahead of him as I expect him to get more playing time going forward. He’ll fill a need for a Saints team that needed young pass rushers (they drafted Cameron Jordan in the 1st round in the following year) and I think they would have utilized him better earlier in his career than Philadelphia did, with full hindsight.

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2009 NFL Draft Redo

1. Detroit Lions- QB Matt Stafford (Georgia)

If the Lions had to do it all over again, I don’t think they’d change anything here. After some early career injury problems, Stafford has played all 48 games in the past 3 seasons, completing 60.7% of passes for an average of 7.24 YPA, 90 touchdowns, and 52 interceptions. The Lions still have a lot to build around him, but the quarterback position is the most important one and a franchise quarterback is always worth the #1 pick. That’s what Stafford has been.

2. St. Louis Rams- OT Eugene Monroe (Virginia)

The Rams took Jason Smith here #2 overall and he ended up being one of the being busts of the draft. They had the position right though. Orlando Pace was heading into the final year of his career, which he played in Chicago, so the Rams desperately needed a replacement. Monroe went 8th overall originally, but he could easily go even earlier the 2nd time around considering he’s blossomed into one of the best left tackles in the game. He’s graded out 6th, 15th, and 16th among eligible offensive tackles on Pro Football Focus in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively.

3. Kansas City Chiefs- OLB Clay Matthews (USC)

The Chiefs took Tyson Jackson here originally. Adding to the front 7 was the right call considering the Chiefs had just 10 sacks the entire season the year before, the fewest by an NFL team ever. However, Jackson never really developed into much more than a strong run stuffer. Tamba Hali, who led the 2008 Chiefs with 3 sacks, eventually developed into one of the better edge rushers in the NFL and the Chiefs drafted Justin Houston in the 3rd round in 2011 to give them a feared duo of edge rushers. However, adding Matthews would have given them that even sooner.

4. Seattle Seahawks- DE Brian Orakpo (Texas)

The Seahawks have a great pass rush now, but that wasn’t always the case. In 2008, the Seahawks’ top-3 defensive ends were Patrick Kerney, who was going into his age 33 season, Lawrence Jackson, a massive bust as a 1st rounder in 2008, and Darryl Tapp, a decent veteran who they would eventually trade to the Eagles for Chris Clemons. Clemons’ addition would give them a feared edge rusher later, but pairing him with Brian Orakpo would have given them one of the NFL’s best pass rushes very quickly.

5. New York Jets- RB LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh)

The Jets knew they needed to address the running back position in 2009, as they drafted Shonn Greene in the 3rd round. Thomas Jones was heading into his age 31 season in 2009. Greene wasn’t terrible, but having LeSean McCoy would have been much better. In 5 seasons, McCoy has 7600 yards from scrimmage and 49 touchdowns, while Greene has 4239 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns, about half of McCoy’s production. The Jets are unfortunately unable to address the quarterback position here because Stafford was the only good one to come out of this draft, but drafting McCoy 5th would have been much better than using this pick on Mark Sanchez and taking Greene in the 3rd.

6. Cincinnati Bengals- DE Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech)

The Bengals eventually took Michael Johnson in the 3rd round, but they have to take him earlier here to keep him around. Johnson was Pro Football Focus’ 13th ranked 4-3 defensive end in 2012, earning the franchise tag, and then was Pro Football Focus’ 4th ranked 4-3 defensive end this season. He’ll get a good amount of money on his next contract. The other option here would be for the Bengals to just draft Andre Smith again as he’s been very good for them at right tackle in recent years, but I think Johnson has been the more important player for them.

7. Oakland Raiders- S Jairus Byrd (Oregon)

Safeties rarely go in the top-10, but that’s because if they don’t become Pro-Bowl caliber players, they’re almost automatically busts. Getting a just solid starter at safety out of a top-10 pick is a failure. However, with complete hindsight, we know that Byrd has become one of the best safeties in the league and even one of the best defensive players at any position. Byrd was Pro Football Focus’ 3rd ranked safety in 2011 and 2nd ranked in 2012. He ranked 8th in 2013, which wasn’t as good, but he missed a few games with injury to start the year so that had something to do with it. Upon his return, he was just as good as he was before the injury. The Bills now have a choice between franchise tagging him for the 2nd straight year or letting him hit the open market, where he could become the highest paid safety in the NFL. Either way, he’ll get paid. As for the Raiders, they needed all the talent they could get at this point. Drafting Darrius Heyward-Bey here didn’t help. The Raiders would eventually take Michael Mitchell in the 2nd round, but he never developed into the starting safety they wanted him to be.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars- CB Lardarius Webb (Nicholls State)

The Jaguars felt the need for a cornerback in 2009, drafting Derek Cox in the 3rd round. He flashed at times, but wasn’t nearly the player they wanted him to be.  Lardarius Webb is much better. Webb was Pro Football Focus’ 4th ranked cornerback in 2011 and has been an above average player in all 5 seasons of his career, though he was derailed by a torn ACL in 2012. He wasn’t quite as good as he was in 2011 this year, grading out 21st, but there’s a very good chance he could once again be a top-10 cornerback again in 2014, another year removed from that injury.

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9. Green Bay Packers- RB Arian Foster (Tennessee)

The Packers have been searching for a talented running back to complement their talented passing game for years, finally finding Eddie Lacy in 2013. Arian Foster could have solved the problem a lot faster. He’s had some injury problems of late, but he’s still totaled 6777 yards from scrimmage and 52 touchdowns in 5 seasons. Imagine him and Aaron Rodgers in the same backfield.

10. San Francisco 49ers- WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech)

This is one where the pick doesn’t change. Michael Crabtree took a little bit to come around, but he had his first 1000+ yard season in 2012, catching 85 passes for 1105 yards and 9 touchdowns. He missed 11 games and was limited in the others after tearing an Achilles in 2013, but he showed enough down the stretch to suggest he should make a full recovery for 2014. Colin Kaepernick loves throwing to him and he’s the 49ers’ #1 receiver. They don’t let him get away here.

11. Buffalo Bills- OLB Brian Cushing (USC)

The Bills needed another linebacker other than Paul Posluszny going into the 2009 season. Cushing would be a great fit because he’s scheme versatile and the Bills have run both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense over the past 5 years. Cushing has had a lot of issues with injuries, but he was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd ranked 4-3 outside linebacker in 2009 (when he won Defensive Rookie of the year) and 3rd ranked middle linebacker in 2011. He’d be an obvious upgrade over Keith Ellison and Kawika Mitchell, who were their other starting linebackers at the time.

12. Denver Broncos- DT Henry Melton (Texas)

It’s amazing that the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl considering how bad Josh McDaniels messed things up in just 2 years there. It’s a huge credit to Peyton Manning and the new front office and coaching staff. The Broncos desperately needed front 7 help in 2009, but drafted just one front 7 player, outside linebacker Robert Ayers who never fit the scheme and has been a bust. They took Knowshon Moreno here and even to today he hasn’t proven to be worth a first round pick. Henry Melton would have been a much better pick to fix the defensive tackle position, their biggest need. He was Pro Football Focus’ 16th ranked defensive tackle in 2011 and 7th ranked in 2012, before tearing his ACL in 2013 after being franchise tagged.

13. Washington Redskins- OT Andre Smith (Alabama)

The Redskins would take Trent Williams 4th overall in 2010 and he’s been a fantastic player for them, but they needed help at both offensive tackle positions and Andre Smith could be a strong right tackle for them. The right tackle position is still a problem to this day, as the Redskins’ trade for Jammal Brown never panned out. Smith struggled to start his career, but he was Pro Football Focus’ 28th ranked offensive tackle in 2011, 4th ranked in 2012, and 20th ranked in 2013.

14. New Orleans Saints- DE Michael Bennett (Texas A&M)

Not enough people know about Michael Bennett. Bennett has been Pro Football Focus’ 7th, 7th, and 5th ranked 4-3 defensive end from 2011-2013 respectively. He has the versatility to play both inside and outside and can both rush the passer and stop the run at a high rate. He would have been a very valuable complement for Will Smith in New Orleans and helped a pass rush that was, for years, much in need, really up until this season.

15. Houston Texans- CB Vontae Davis (Illinois)

The Texans used to have serious secondary problems. They drafted Kareem Jackson in the 1st round in 2010, but Davis would have solved the problem even quicker and could have formed a very formidable duo with Jackson in a couple of years. That would have allowed the Texans to avoid paying Johnathan Joseph a massive sum of money to be their other starting cornerback. Davis has been inconsistent in his career, struggling with injuries at times and getting traded to the Colts for a 2nd and 6th round pick, but he is coming off of a fantastic contract year. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 3rd ranked cornerback this season and was also 12th in 2010.

16. San Diego Chargers- S Glover Quin (New Mexico)

The Chargers have been in need of safety help for years. They’ve never really replaced Rodney Harrison. Eric Weddle is a fantastic player, but they need another safety opposite him. Glover Quin struggled early in his career, but has turned it around big time since moving to safety. He was a solid starter in Houston at safety for 2 years and then signed a 5-year deal last off-season with the Lions, where he had arguably the best season of his career in 2013, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 11th ranked safety.

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17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Mike Wallace (Mississippi)

The Buccaneers desperately need wide receiver help in the 2009 draft. Antonio Bryant was their leading receiver in 2008 and no one else had more than 484 yards. As good as Bryant was that season, he was out of the league in 2 years for a variety of reasons. They added Kellen Winslow before the 2009 season and he led the team in receiving yardage in 2009, but they needed help on the outside. They’d eventually use 2nd and 4th round picks of Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams in 2010, but this would have been a better way to go.

18. Denver Broncos- CB Jason McCourty (Rutgers)

As I mentioned the Broncos really messed up the 2009 draft. Even though they had 2 first round picks and 5 picks in the first two rounds, Knowshon Moreno is the only player of substance they drafted. I addressed the front 7 with the 12th pick, but they also had a need in the secondary. The Broncos traded a future first round pick for Alphonso Smith, but that didn’t work out as Smith never developed into a starter and that future first round pick turned into Earl Thomas, one of the best safeties in the game. McCourty solves the problem a lot better. He’s been a top-10 cornerback on Pro Football Focus in each of the last 3 seasons, though much of his positive grade comes against the run.

19. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Jeremy Maclin (Missouri)

Jeremy Maclin never turned into the 1000+ yard receiver the Eagles were hoping he would, but he still had 258 catches for 3453 yards and 26 touchdowns from 2009-2012, before tearing his ACL and missing the entire 2013 season. Still, he’s expected to make a full recovery and the Eagles still have interest in bringing him back on a one year deal. I have to think that, if given the chance, they’d take Maclin once again in this situation.

20. Detroit Lions- CB Keenan Lewis (Oregon State)

The Lions went 0-16 the year prior to the 2009 NFL Draft so they really had needs at every position. Cornerback was a big one as they allowed 8.8 yards per pass attempt in 2008, not only the most in the NFL that season, but most seasons. Keenan Lewis has graded out above average in back-to-back seasons since becoming a starter in 2012, grading out 40th and 26th on Pro Football Focus. He’s probably the best available left here.

21. Cleveland Browns- C Alex Mack (California)

Here’s another team that stays with their original pick. The Browns drafted Alex Mack in the first round in 2009. It was a risky proposition, even though he was widely considered one of the top center prospects of the decade, because they would need him to emerge as a perennial Pro-Bowler. If he was just an average starter, he would have been a bust because center isn’t that valuable of a position. However, he’s been top-10 on Pro Football Focus among centers in all 5 seasons, so he’s been well worth this pick.

22. Minnesota Vikings- WR Percy Harvin (Florida)

Percy Harvin’s tenure in Minnesota was up and down. He never went over 1000 receiving yards despite getting the lion’s share of the targets and he also missed 10 games in 4 seasons, but he was an explosive all-purpose weapon, returning kicks and carrying the ball, in addition to his work as a receiver, despite working with terrible quarterbacks for the most part. In his final 25 games with the team, he averaged 83.4 yards from scrimmage per game and also got the Vikings a 1st round pick in return when they traded him to the Seahawks. I think they’d do it all over again in this situation.

23. Baltimore Ravens- OT Phil Loadholt (Oklahoma)

The Ravens originally drafted Michael Oher here and he started for 5 seasons for them on the offensive line, playing both left tackle and right tackle. However, he was very inconsistent and had a terrible year in 2013, grading out 68th out of 76 eligible offensive tackles on a terrible Baltimore offense. Phil Loadholt would have been a better fit. He’s broken out as a great right tackle over the past few years, grading out 24th, 22nd, and 10th on Pro Football Focus among offensive tackles from 2011-2013 respectively.

24. Atlanta Falcons- DE Paul Kruger (Utah)

The Falcons have been struggling for pass rush for years. They’ve been looking for a complement for John Abraham for years, using a 4th round pick in 2009, a 5th round pick in 2012, and a 4th and 5th round pick on defensive ends, as well as giving a large contract to Ray Edwards that was a huge failure. Paul Kruger would solve that problem, a problem that was especially bad over the past season with John Abraham gone.

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25. Miami Dolphins- G Louis Vasquez (Texas Tech)

The Dolphins have had needs on the offensive line for years. Louis Vasquez is too good to pass on here. He’s graded out above average in all 5 seasons on Pro Football Focus that he’s been in the league and would be a real asset on the offensive line. He maxed out at 3rd overall among guards on Pro Football Focus in 2013. If they had him, they never would have needed to bring in Richie Incognito.

26. Green Bay Packers- DT BJ Raji (Boston College)

The Packers originally drafted BJ Raji 9th overall. He hasn’t been quite that good because he’s been very inconsistent, but he was an integral part of their Super Bowl team so they’d probably want to hang on to him here with their 2nd pick in the first round. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 3rd worst ranked 3-4 defensive end in 2013 and last ranked defensive tackle in 2011, but he was also their 7th ranked 3-4 defensive end in 2012 and 28th ranked defensive tackle in 2010.

27. Indianapolis Colts- G Andy Levitre (Oregon State)

The Colts have needed offensive line help dating back to the Peyton Manning days and grab one of this draft class’ many talented interior offensive linemen here. Andy Levitre has graded out above average on Pro Football Focus in 4 straight seasons as a starter, grading out 6th, 9th, and 13th in 2011-2013 respectively. He became one of the league’s highest paid interior linemen before the 2013 season, when he signed a 6 year, 46.8 million dollar deal with the Titans, leaving Buffalo.

28. Buffalo Bills- OT Sebastian Vollmer (Houston)

The Bills acquired this pick from the Eagles for Jason Peters, but they didn’t replace the left tackle, opting instead for center Eric Wood, who has been just alright. Vollmer would be an upgrade on the blindside over the terrible Demetress Bell, who took over for Peters. Bell was eventually replaced by Cordy Glenn, who has done a solid job over the past 2 seasons, but Vollmer and Glenn would form quite a tandem today if they had drafted both of them.

29. New York Giants- WR Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina)

Hakeem Nicks has had a bunch of injury problems in his tenure in New York, missing 10 games and being limited in countless others, but he’s overall had a solid 5 years, catching 311 passes for 4622 yards and 27 touchdowns. The Giants are probably moving on from him this off-season, but I think, given their current choices, they’d do it all again with Nicks, who had 2 seasons of 1000+ yards and was an integral part of their Super Bowl team.

30. Tennessee Titans- C Max Unger (Oregon)

The Titans take another one of this draft class’ talented interior linemen. They’ve had issues at the center position since Kevin Mawae retired following the 2009 season. Unger could play guard for a season until then and then move to center, where he’s been one of the NFL’s best over the past few years. He had some issues with injuries in 2013, but he was Pro Football Focus’ 3rd ranked center in 2012.

31. Arizona Cardinals- G Alex Boone (Ohio State)

Alex Boone took an interesting road to the 49ers’ starting lineup. He went undrafted in 2009 because of concerns about his alcohol abuse, after he was arrested for DUI, jumping on car hoods, yanking on a tow truck cable, and trying to break a window. The 49ers snatched him up as an undrafted free agent and he got his life clean, moving into the starting lineup in 2012. He was Pro Football Focus’ 3rd ranked guard that season and even though he struggled through injuries in 2013, he’s still worth a pick here, especially for an Arizona team that has been hurting for offensive line help for years.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers- DE Desmond Bryant (Harvard)

The Steelers originally used this draft pick on Ziggy Hood, a collegiate defensive tackle converted to 5-technique defensive end in Pittsburgh. Hood struggled through weight problems though and was largely a bust. Here they do the same thing with Bryant, a much better player. Bryant was very good on the defensive line for the Raiders in 2011 and 2012, playing both defensive end and defensive tackle, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 6th ranked defensive tackle in 2012. He wasn’t quite as good in 2013, struggling through injuries, but he’s still worth this pick.

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2008 NFL Draft Redo

1. Miami Dolphins- QB Joe Flacco (Delaware)

There was nothing wrong with taking Jake Long #1 overall in 2008. However, the Dolphins made the playoffs in just one of his five seasons so far and that was the one year Chad Pennington explicably finished as the runner up in MVP*. Long might not have been the wrong choice, but in a re-draft like this using full hindsight, you’re always going to take a franchise quarterback before you take anything else if one is available. Flacco and Ryan is a debate, but I have to lean with the former after his recent Super Bowl victory.

*=How weird was 2008? Brett Favre came out of retirement in July and was traded to the Jets and was on the cover of Madden as a retired Packer. Favre pushed Pennington out of New York and he was signed by division rival Miami. Even though he hadn’t done anything noteworthy since 2004, Pennington game managed the Dolphins to the greatest single season turnaround in NFL history, going from 1 win in 2007 to 11 wins in 2008. Pennington was, of course, helped by the wildcat, a phenomenon that led to new Head Coach Tony Sparano being billed as an offensive genius and to Pat White getting selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft and never throwing a pass in one season with the Dolphins.

The Dolphins’ 11 wins won the Dolphins the AFC East over Brett Favre, who led the NFL in turnovers, and the Jets, and Matt Cassel and the Patriots, who had gone 16-0 the year before, but lost Tom Brady to a torn ACL week 1. Still, the Patriots somehow won 11 games, but failed to make the playoffs at all, the first time in the wild card era a team had won 11 games and not made the playoffs. The following year, with Brady healthy, they would win just 10 games and win the entire division.

Meanwhile, back to 2008, Pennington’s Dolphins would get bounced at home in the first round of the playoffs by rookie Joe Flacco and the Ravens 27-9, a game in which Pennington threw 4 interceptions, more than half of the 7 he had thrown all season. Flacco would beat the Titans the following week to become the first quarterback in NFL history to win two playoff games in his rookie year. The following week, the Ravens lost to the Steelers, but Joe Flacco could still hold his head high knowing he had guided the Ravens to the AFC Championship as a rookie before losing to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Steelers. Except for the fact that, you know, Joe Flacco completed just 44% of his passes that post-season and threw 3 interceptions to 1 touchdown. And yes, this was 2008, not 1968.

Pennington’s efforts earned him a 2nd place finish in MVP. He would go on to attempt just 76 passes the rest of his career. Pennington finished 2nd in MVP voting despite throwing for just 3653 yards and 19 touchdowns. And again I repeat, this was 2008 not 1968. Though a down year for quarterback production across the board, possibly due to the fact that the league was missing one of its premier signal callers with injury, Pennington finished just 12th in the NFL in passing touchdowns and 9th in passing yards. Drew Brees, meanwhile, threw for 5000+ yards for just the 2nd time in NFL history, to go with 34 touchdowns, but because he missed the playoffs due to a terrible defense, Brees, my MVP pick that year, did not get a single 1st place MVP vote.

Peyton Manning won the MVP that year with 27 touchdowns and passing 4002 yards. Those 4002 yards to this day are still the 3rd fewest yards he’s ever thrown for in a season in his 14 year NFL career and those 27 touchdowns were tied for the 4th lowest he’s ever thrown in a season. 2008 was also just the 3rd season since Peyton Manning’s rookie year that the Colts didn’t win the division and the 2nd time since we switched to 4 team divisions.

The AFC South was won that year by the Titans, who somehow inexplicably won 13 games despite a Vince Young suicide scare and Kerry Collins subsequently starting 15 games at quarterback. The 36 year old Collins threw for just 12 touchdowns and 2676 passing yards on that 13-3 team and once again I repeat this was 2008 and not 1968. And if that’s not enough for you, the Cardinals made and almost won the Super Bowl, losing to the Steelers and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, who would be traded to the Jets for a 5th round pick 14 months later. Also, it was the last season this website didn’t exist and I wrote all of my thoughts on something that looked like this. 2008 was weird.

2. St. Louis Rams- QB Matt Ryan (Boston College)

Again, nothing wrong with Chris Long here, but the Rams haven’t made the playoffs once in his five seasons with the team. In hindsight, the Rams would take whichever of this draft’s two franchise quarterbacks the Dolphins pass on.

3. Atlanta Falcons- OT Duane Brown (Virginia Tech)

The Falcons miss out on both franchise quarterbacks, but left tackles do have a ton of value as well and the Falcons needed one as well in 2008, taking Sam Baker with the 21st overall pick. Brown gets the nod over Jake Long. While Brown was extended for 6 years, 53.4 million last season (which I thought was a bargain), Long’s recent injury history has led to the Dolphins making the decision to let him test the open market. Brown is arguably the NFL’s best all-around left tackle, as no other player has ranked in ProFootballFocus’ top-5 offensive tackles in both 2011 and 2012. Only Joe Thomas has ranked in the top-7 both years.

4. Oakland Raiders- OT Jake Long (Michigan)

Quarterbacks, left tackles, and defensive ends are by far the most popular position atop drafts because of their high position value and that remains the case in this one. Long picked a bad time to start having injury issues, as he heads into free agency, but remember he did make the Pro-Bowl in his first 4 seasons before 2012. The Raiders, who allowed 41 sacks in 2007, take him here to shore up their left tackle position.

5. Kansas City Chiefs- DE Chris Long (Virginia)

Continuing with the quarterback/offensive tackle/defensive end trend, the Chiefs take Chris Long here. They had recently traded Jared Allen and would go on to record an unfathomably terrible 10 sacks the following season. They ran a 4-3 at the time before switching to a 3-4 and while there are questions about how Long would fit in a 3-4, I think you have to take him here in hindsight.

6. New York Jets- 3-4 DE Calais Campbell (Miami)

Sticking with high positional value players, Campbell is a 3-4 end rather than a 4-3 end, but he still makes a huge impact on the game. He’s not a big sack number guy, but he always gets consistent pressure from an interior position and is great against the run. The Jets had the right idea taking a front 7 player for their 3-4 defense in 2008, after ranking 25th in sacks and 20th against the run in 2007, but Vernon Gholston obviously didn’t pan out as he never managed a single sack in his 3-year NFL career, all with the Jets.

7. New Orleans Saints- CB Brandon Flowers (Virginia Tech)

In 2008, the Saints went 8-8 despite Drew Brees throwing for 5,000 yards. In 2012, the Saints went 7-9 despite Drew Brees throwing for 5,000 yards. Seeing some sort of trend? Their defense hasn’t always been horrendous (there’s a reason they won the Super Bowl in 2009), but they’ve always needed secondary help and they definitely could have used a shutdown cornerback like Brandon Flowers all along. He would have immediately helped what was the league’s worst pass defense in 2007.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars- OT Ryan Clady (Boise State)

Back to left tackles, the Jaguars would take a fine left tackle by the name of Eugene Monroe in the 1st round in 2009. Let’s give them one a year earlier. Clady hasn’t always been as consistent and well- rounded as Duane Brown and Jake Long, but he’s submitted some excellent seasons and should command a fair price in an extension this off-season after being franchise tagged.

9. Cincinnati Bengals- RB Ray Rice (Rutgers)

In 2007, the Bengals were 28th in the NFL in YPC with Rudi Johnson and Kenny Watson splitting carries and then in 2008 they were 30th as Chris Perry and Cedric Benson split carries. Benson would have better seasons, but neither he nor BenJarvus Green-Ellis, their 2012 starting running back, have ever been anything more than plodders. I bet the Bengals would have preferred to have stolen Ray Rice away from division rival Baltimore in the 2008 NFL Draft instead.

10. New England Patriots- CB Brandon Carr (Grand Valley State)

Jerod Mayo was a fine pick here, but from 2008 to 2012 the Patriots used 1st or 2nd round picks on 6 defensive backs, Terrence Wheatley, Patrick Chung, Darius Butler, Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling, and Tavon Wilson and only got one 2012 starter out of it. Let’s save them the embarrassment and help Tom Brady win a 4th ring by giving the Patriots an actual shutdown cornerback.

11. Buffalo Bills- DE Cliff Avril (Purdue)

From 2007-2011, the Bills had 138 sacks, an average of about 27 and a half per season. They managed to get into the middle of the pack with 36 in 2012 after signing Mario Williams, but he only shored up one defensive end spot. They would have loved to have gotten a pass rusher like Cliff Avril out of the 2008 NFL Draft. In 5 seasons, Avril has 39.5 sacks, including 28 in the last 3 seasons.

12. Denver Broncos- OLB Jerod Mayo (Tennessee)

The Broncos were 2nd to last in the NFL against the run in 2007, 30th in 2008, 27th in 2009, and 29th in 2010. They definitely could have used a tackling machine like Jerod Mayo.

13. Carolina Panthers- WR Jordy Nelson (Kansas State)

The Panthers have been searching for a complement for Steve Smith for years. Dwayne Jarrett, Brandon LaFell, Armanti Edwards, David Gettis, Kealoha Pilares, Joe Adams, none of these guys have really worked out. LaFell is the best of the bunch and he’s marginal at best. Nelson would have not only given them a complement, but an eventual heir apparent, a huge need now as Smith will turn 34 in May.

14. Chicago Bears- RB Matt Forte (Tulane)

The Bears actually took Forte in the 2nd round, but they won’t get him there in a re-draft. I don’t think they would mind using their first round pick to lock him up, especially since they used this pick originally on mega-bust Chris Williams.

15. Kansas City Chiefs- OT Branden Albert (Virginia)

It’s interesting how the Chiefs’ first pick, Glenn Dorsey, completely busted, but still 4 of the top-16 players in this re-draft (we’ll get to the 4th in a minute) were drafted by the Chiefs. How did Romeo Crennel screw this up so badly that they managed to go 2-14 last season? Anyway, Branden Albert gets overshadowed by some of the other tackles in this class and he struggled in his first 2-3 years in the league, but over the last 2 years he’s blossomed into a legitimate left tackle and those are hard to come by. Given the way this draft has gone, I think the Chiefs would do it all over again with Albert if they had to.

16. Arizona Cardinals- RB Jamaal Charles (Texas)

Here’s the 4th Chief. I can’t shake the feeling that Jamaal Charles is a top-5 back in the NFL in terms of talent. Yes, he’s had injury issues and has never been trusted by a Head Coach to carry the load, but remember who he’s had as Head Coaches, Herm Edwards, Todd Haley, and Romeo Crennel. Haley gave him fewer carries in 2010 than Thomas Jones even though Charles almost set the single season record for yards for carries. He was averaging a good 2.5 yards per carry more than Jones. Last year, Charles got 5 carries in a loss to the Raiders and when asked why after the game, Romeo Crennel’s answer was “I don’t know.”

Sure, he’s had just 784 carries in 5 seasons, but his career 5.8 YPC is MOST ALL-TIME of back with more than 500 career carries. After him, it’s Marion Motley, a fullback, linebacker, and kick returner who I think wore a leather helmet (1946-1955), Bo Jackson, one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen, and some dude named Spec Sanders who also served as his team’s punter (1946-1950). Why do his coaches never give him the ball?! You might not think things will get better with Andy Reid coming in, but while Andy Reid hates to run the football, when he does, he’s faithful to one back and his playbook has enough passes to backs that Charles should be able to surpass his career high of 320 touches in a season.

Anyway, enough about Charles and more about why the Cardinals would pick him. In 2007, the Cardinals were led in carries by a 84-year-old 29-year-old Edgerrin James, who averaged 3.8 yards per carry and then, after they somehow made the Super Bowl with James splitting carries with Tim Hightower in 2008, the Cardinals wasted a 1st round pick on Beanie Wells in 2009. Charles saves that whole mess from happening and gives them the franchise back they haven’t had in seemingly forever.

17. Detroit Lions- G Carl Nicks (Nebraska)

The Lions used this original pick on an offensive lineman, Gosder Cherilus, who wasn’t any good until his contract year in 2012. In this re-draft, they use it on a better offensive lineman, albeit at a less important position. Guards rarely go this high, but that’s because, unless they turn out to be Pro-Bowlers, they’re not worth the pick. In hindsight though, we know Nicks has made a pair of Pro-Bowls, gotten a massive contract from the Buccaneers, and is all-around one of the best interior lineman in the NFL. He makes a lot of sense here to a Lions team that allowed the 9th most sacks in the NFL in 2007.

18. Baltimore Ravens- RB Chris Johnson (East Carolina)

The Ravens miss out on Ray Rice, but they’ll still have to upgrade their running back position as Willis McGahee was nearing the end of his time as a feature back in Baltimore. Chris Johnson is tough to slot. His 2009 was one of the greatest seasons by a running back ever, but everything else has been a mixed bag. Sure, he hasn’t had great blocking always, but then again, he’s still a running back and running backs don’t have a high positional value because of their interchangibility and their short shelf life. I think he makes sense for the Ravens.

19. Carolina Panthers- S Tyron Branch (Connecticut)

The Panthers have had issues in the secondary recently, especially at safety. Drafting Branch in the first round in 2008 would have helped solve those issues as Branch has been one of the league’s best, getting franchised last off-season and eventually signing a 5-year, 35 million dollar deal.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR DeSean Jackson (California)

I remember I originally mocked Jackson to the Buccaneer in 2008. It made a lot of sense. Starting receivers Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard were heading into their age 37 and 32 seasons respectively in 2008 and no one else on the 2007 Buccaneers had more than 385 receiving yards. In 2008, the only receiver who had more than 484 receiving yards was Antonio Bryant, who fell off the face of the earth and caught just 36 passes the rest of his career. They could have used a borderline #1 receiver like DeSean Jackson.

21. Atlanta Falcons- WR Steve Johnson (Kentucky)

The Falcons eventually solved the wide receiver position opposite Roddy White in 2011 with Julio Jones, but remember all those years they were pretending Michael Jenkins was a caliber starting receiver? Jenkins never surpassed 777 receiving yards in his career and only twice surpassed 532 receiving yards. Johnson took a little bit to develop, but he would have solved their wide receiver problem faster than Jones would have and saved the Falcons some extra picks in 2011 and 2012.

22. Dallas Cowboys- WR Pierre Garcon (Mount Union)

The Cowboys would trade a 2009 1st round pick and 2009 3rd round pick to the Lions during the 2008 season for Roy Williams, which was remembered as the only time Matt Millen ever won a trade (damn 2008 was weird). Using the 22nd pick in 2008 on a receiver like Pierre Garcon would have saved them from that embarrassment and the embarrassment of using this pick on Felix Jones.

23. Pittsburgh Steelers- C John Sullivan (Notre Dame)

The Steelers have used two 1st round picks and two 2nd round picks in the last 3 drafts on offensive linemen, but before that they had a real problem upfront. Sullivan would have shored up the center spot for them. He’s not a well-known player because he’s a center, but he’s the only player who has been a top-3 center on ProFootballFocus in each of the last 2 seasons and he’s one of the best centers in the NFL behind Nick Mangold.

24. Tennessee Titans- RB Darren McFadden (Arkansas)

McFadden was also tough to place. He’s electric when healthy, but when does that ever happen? Plus, this year, even before he got hurt, it looked like injuries had permanently sapped most of his explosiveness, though that may have just been the Raiders’ terrible zone blocking scheme. Anyway, the Titans take a chance on him here to replace Chris Johnson, their original pick at this spot.

25. Dallas Cowboys- MLB Curtis Lofton (Oklahoma)

Akin Ayodele and Bradie James started at middle linebacker for the Cowboys in 2007. They brought Zach Thomas over from Miami in the off-season for the 2008 season, but he was heading into his age 35 season anyway and would retire afterwards. Let’s give them a young middle linebacker for their 3-4 defense.

26. Houston Texans- S Kenny Phillips (Miami)

Before the days of Wade Phillips, the Texans had a truly horrific defense, especially in the secondary. Someone like Kenny Phillips, as injury prone as he is, would have been much welcomed.

27. San Diego Chargers- OT Sam Baker (USC)

AJ Smith only once used a pick higher than the 3rd round on an offensive lineman in his tenure in San Diego, which spanned over 9 drafts. It really showed towards the end of his tenure and now offensive line is easily their biggest need. Baker has been up and down so far in his career, but still deserves to go in the 1st round in a re-draft. He could have played right tackle for the Chargers, always a huge need, and played on the left side when needed, which has been pretty frequently over the past 2 seasons.

28. Seattle Seahawks- DE Red Bryant (Texas A&M)

I don’t think Red Bryant would have as much value to anyone else as he does to the Seahawks because of his very specific role on their defensive line, but I don’t think the Seahawks would mind using a 1st round pick to lock him up here in this re-draft, especially after originally using this pick on Lawrence Jackson, who played just 2 seasons with the Seahawks before Pete Carroll dealt him to the Lions for a mid-round pick before the 2010 season.

29. San Francisco 49ers- C Brian La Puente (California)

Brian La Puente would have gone closer to where Sullivan went if he had more than one good season, but he was actually ProFootballFocus’ 2nd rated center this year for the Saints. The 49ers could have used a center like that before settling on veteran Jonathan Goodwin recently. The 49ers probably would have given La Puente playing time sooner and that could have really been good for him.

30. New York Jets- TE Dustin Keller (Purdue)

I hate not changing a pick, but this is the only time I’m doing it and I don’t know a better fit here than giving Dustin Keller back to the Jets. He was their leading receiver in 2011 and they really missed him as he battled injuries in 2012. Unfortunately because of their miserable cap situation, his tenure with the Jets is likely done.

31. New York Giants- S Thomas DeCoud (California)

The Giants originally used this pick on Kenny Phillips. DeCoud isn’t as good as Phillips, but he would have been more reliable and Phillips isn’t available anyway. Don’t let DeCoud’s 6 interceptions in 2012 fool you. He had just 8 in his first 4 seasons and is among the worst tackling safeties in the NFL. Still, he’s good enough here to go to the Giants at a position of need.

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2007 NFL Draft Redo

1. Oakland Raiders- WR Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech)

Hmm…Calvin Johnson or JaMarcus Russell? Calvin Johnson or JaMarcus Russell? The Raiders obviously would have liked to have been able to get a franchise quarterback here because that was a huge need and such an important position, but there simply wasn’t one available. Look at the list of quarterbacks drafted in 2007. JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Kevin Kolb, John Beck, Drew Stanton, Trent Edwards, Isaiah Stanback, Jeff Rowe, Troy Smith, Jordan Palmer, Tyler Thigpen and Matt Moore went undrafted. Yikes! I’m sure the Raiders wouldn’t mind Megatron though, the best available player.

2. Detroit Lions- OT Joe Thomas (Wisconsin)

The Lions miss out on Megatron, but Joe Thomas is not a bad consolation prize. He’s been one of the best offensive linemen in the league since he was drafted and would have been a huge help for a Lions team that surrendered 63 sacks in 2006, 2nd most in the NFL.

3. Cleveland Browns- RB Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma)

Like the Lions, the Browns miss out on a stud player, but Adrian Peterson is not a bad replacement. Reuben Droughns averaged 3.4 YPC as their starting running back in 2006 and while they added Jamal Lewis in free agency, he was at the tail end of his career and you can’t really pass on Peterson here.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- CB Darrelle Revis (Pittsburgh)

The Buccaneers had the league’s 23rd ranked pass defense in 2006. Think Darrelle Revis would have cleaned that up? Revis is part of a 2007 NFL Draft class loaded on elite talent.

5. Arizona Cardinals- MLB Patrick Willis (Mississippi)

How loaded is the 2007 NFL Draft class on talent? Patrick Willis goes 5th. Willis is one of the league’s top 2 or 3 middle linebackers, if he isn’t the best and only goes below the other 4 because he doesn’t play a premium position. I don’t think the Cardinals would really care that much about that at this point as they steal an elite player from a division rival.

6. Washington Redskins- DE LaMarr Woodley (Michigan)

The Redskins had a league worst 19 sacks in 2006. There are some questions about how LaMarr Woodley would do in a 4-3 (he’s spent his entire career in Pittsburgh’s 3-4) and about how he would do without so many talented players around him, but the Redskins have to take that risk at this point. Besides, they would eventually switch to a 3-4 defense a few seasons later.

7. Minnesota Vikings- WR Dwayne Bowe (LSU)

No Adrian Peterson available for the Vikings, but they get a legitimate #1 receiver, which they really needed. Their top 3 leading receivers in 2006 were Travis Taylor, who left as a free agent, 3rd down back Mewelde Moore, and rookie receiver Troy Williamson, who would never have a better season than his mediocre rookie year. It’s no surprise that the Vikings were lead in receiving in 2007 by Bobby Wade and Sidney Rice, a 2nd round rookie. Bowe would have been better for the Vikings in the 1st than Rice would have been in the 2nd.

8. Atlanta Falcons- DE Charles Johnson (Georgia)

Right position, but wrong player. The Falcons needed another pass rusher, but the problem is that Jamaal Anderson, who they used this pick on, couldn’t get to the quarterback. Instead they grab Charles Johnson and steal him from a division rival. Johnson would have gone higher if he weren’t a late bloomer.

9. Miami Dolphins- S Eric Weddle (Utah)

The Ted Ginn pick is one of the worst picks I’ve ever seen. Not just because Ginn didn’t do anything of note for the Dolphins, but it was so predictable that he would never do anything of note. Teams reach for guys fairly often in the top-10 and get a ton of criticism, but the Ginn case was one where every word of criticism turned out to be right. Instead, they take Eric Weddle here, arguably the league’s best safety now with Reed and Polamalu aging. No defensive back has allowed a lower QB rating in the last 4 seasons than the 25.8 that Weddle allowed last year, as he allowed 40.7% completion, 4.1 YPA, and 1 touchdown to 7 interceptions. I told you this class was loaded on elite talent. Unfortunately, it drops off a cliff pretty soon.

10. Houston Texans- CB Leon Hall (Michigan)

Houston had the league’s 24th rated pass defense in 2006, a trend that would continue really up until this last offseason, when the Texans signed Johnathan Joseph. Adding Hall would have definitely helped the problem sooner.

11. San Francisco 49ers- MLB Lawrence Timmons (Florida State)

The 49ers lose out on Patrick Willis, but Lawrence Timmons, ProFootballFocus’ #1 middle linebacker in 2010, isn’t a bad consolation prize for a team who had a need at that position.

12. Buffalo Bills- G Marshal Yanda (Iowa)

The Bills allowed 47 sacks in 2006. Marshal Yanda, one of the league’s best guards, would have definitely helped. He can also play right tackle. On top of being an upgrade in pass protection, Yanda would have helped a running game that ranked 28th in 2006.

13. St. Louis Rams- MLB Jon Beason (Miami)

The Rams haven’t had good linebacker play in a while. Will Witherspoon was very solid in 2006, but their next 4 leading tackles were two safeties, a cornerback, and a defensive end, before you get to Brandon Chillar, who had just 57 tackles. He left after the 2007 season to sign in Green Bay anyway.

14. New York Jets- MLB David Harris (Michigan)

David Harris has become a big part of the Jets strong defense since they drafted him in the 2nd round. Unfortunately, they miss out on Darrelle Revis here, but they are able to lock up their talented middle linebacker with a 1st rounder.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- C Ryan Kalil (USC)

Interior offensive linemen rarely go this high, but that’s because, if they don’t become Pro Bowlers, they’re pretty much disappointments as top-20 picks. If a center drafted in the top-20 becomes just a solid starter, it’s a disappointment because you can find solid starting centers much later. At other positions like cornerback, wide receiver, left tackle etc, it’s not as big of a deal if they’re just solid. That being said, Ryan Kalil is a 3-time Pro Bowler and really has been one of the league’s best interior offensive linemen over the past few years so there’s no doubt he deserves to go this high looking back in hindsight. The Steelers have needed offensive line help for years. Kalil would solidify their pass protection and anchor their running game.

16. Green Bay Packers- DT Ray McDonald (Florida)

McDonald would have gone higher if he hadn’t been a late bloomer, but McDonald broke out as an elite 3-4 defensive end last year, ranking 3rd at his position on ProFootballFocus. His collegiate position was defensive tackle, where he’d be originally for the Packers, though they eventually switched to a 3-4 so he’d play end in that scheme. He’s definitely better than Justin Harrell, their original pick.

17. Denver Broncos- MLB Paul Posluszny (Penn State)

Al Wilson, the Broncos’ middle linebacker and leading tackler in 2006, retired following the season. Posluszny can be his replacement and fits the range as part of a very talented middle linebacker class.

18. Cincinnati Bengals- RB Marshawn Lynch (California)

Rudi Johnson averaged just 3.8 YPC as the feature back in 2006. He averaged just 2.9 YPC the following season and was benched for Kenny Watson in 2007, who managed just 13 career carries after 2007. Lynch has had an inconsistent career, but would have really helped their running back problems.

19. Tennessee Titans- S Michael Griffin (Texas)

This pick stays the same. Michael Griffin hasn’t been the best safety in the league or anything, but he’s been an above average starter on their defense and recently received a 5 year, 35 million dollar extension this offseason after being slapped with the franchise tag.

20. New York Giants- RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Marshall)

Bradshaw was a 7th round pick of the Giants’ in 2007 and has been worth way more than his draft slot. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to get him there in a redo, but they use their 1st rounder to keep him. This isn’t a huge loss because Aaron Ross, their original pick here, was not very good.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars- WR Sidney Rice (South Carolina)

The Jaguars leading receivers in 2007 were Reggie Williams, Dennis Northcutt, and Ernest Wilford. They’ve had wide receiver problems for a while. Sidney Rice only has one season of more than 32 catches for 484 yards in 5 years, but he’s worth the risk here. In 2009, he caught 83 passes for 1312 yards and 8 touchdowns, but has been plagued by injuries since.

22. Cleveland Browns- OT Joe Staley (Central Michigan)

The Browns lose out on Joe Thomas at #3, so they grab a replacement left tackle here instead. Staley is obviously not on Thomas’ level, but he’s a solid left tackle and a good value here at 22 for a Browns team that surrendered 54 sacks in 2006.

23. Kansas City Chiefs- OT Jared Gaither (Maryland)

The Chiefs allowed 41 sacks in 2006. Gaither would have gone higher if not for his injury issues, but in 2008 and 2009 he was one of the best offensive tackles in the league and, still young, he still has a chance to turn his career around. The Chiefs had Gaither for a half season in 2011, before giving up on the injury riddled player, who rebounded by playing very well for the Chargers for 5 games and landing a large contract. Of course now he’s hurt again.

24. New England Patriots – MLB Desmond Bishop (California)

Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau were heading into the twilights of their careers at this point. Bruschi, heading into his age 34 season, had two more years left, while Seau, heading into his age 38 season, had 3 more left and only one as a starter. Bishop was a late bloomer. Otherwise, he would have gone higher. However, he’s a perfect fit in New England, where he would have had time to develop behind established starters.

25. Carolina Panthers- G Ben Grubbs (Auburn)

The Panthers miss out on Ryan Kalil in the 2nd round, but Grubbs is another good interior offensive lineman for a team that needed help there and he fits the range. He’s also a typical John Fox pick as the conservative Fox loves to build in the trenches and on the ground.

26. Dallas Cowboys- RLB Anthony Spencer (Purdue)

Believe it or not, Spencer has proven to be worth this pick. Spencer takes a lot of heat for never exceeding 6 sacks in a season despite being a 1st round pick in 2007 and having DeMarcus Ware opposite him, taking away the defensive pressure. However, that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Spencer also had 9 quarterback hits and 35 quarterback pressures last year and leads all edge rushers in tackles over the last 3 seasons. For his efforts last year, he was a top-10 player at his position on ProFootballFocus and only James Harrison graded out better against the run. I don’t know if he was worth the franchise tag this offseason, but he’s a valuable member of the Cowboys’ defense.

27. New Orleans Saints- DT Brandon Mebane (California)

The Saints ranked 31st against the run in 2006, so defensive tackle was an obvious need. Brandon Mebane is a solid player who fits the range and would fill the hole. This draft class is really starting to fall off a cliff.

28. San Francisco 49ers- OT Jermon Bushrod (Towson)

The 49ers originally used this pick on Joe Staley. He’s not available, so they need another left tackle. Jermon Bushrod is an overrated player who Drew Brees makes look better than he is. Brees has only taken a sack 82 times in the last 4 years on 674 pressured drop backs (12.2%), the best rate in the league over that period by a quarterback who has played in all 4 seasons (sorry, Peyton Manning). A deeper look at Bushrod’s stats shows that he is really a product of Drew Brees’ abilities. Bushrod has allowed 20 quarterback hits and 90 quarterback pressures in the last 2 seasons, yet only 7 sacks. He is really a replacement level player disguised as a Pro-Bowler with the help of his quarterback. However, the 49ers will take him at this point in the draft.

29. Baltimore Ravens- WR Robert Meachem (Tennessee)

The Ravens used a 3rd round pick on a wide receiver, Yamon Figurs, so it was obviously a need. Meachem isn’t a great receiver, but he’s the best left and this draft class has really fallen off a cliff talent wise.

30. San Diego Chargers- OT Doug Free (Northern Illinois)

Ugh, yeah Doug Free goes in the 1st round. He’s a solid offensive tackle with the ability to play both on the left and right side. AJ Smith has only used one draft pick higher than the 3rd on an offensive lineman in his tenure in San Diego and it’s really started to show over the past few years. He’d be an upgrade over Jeromey Clary, who has been starting at right tackle for the Chargers for a while, even though he isn’t very good.

31. Chicago Bears- TE Greg Olsen (Miami)

In a weak draft class, the Bears will make this pick again. Olsen was a solid tight end for them for a few years and then got them a 3rd round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft last offseason, which isn’t too bad. This pick is worth a 2012 3rd rounder and 196 catches for 1981 yards and 20 touchdowns over 4 seasons from a tight end, at least in this thin draft class.

32. Indianapolis Colts- DT Alan Branch (Michigan)

The Colts had the league’s worst run defense in 2006. Branch was a bust as a 2nd round pick in Arizona, but emerged as one of the best defensive tackles in the league last year in Seattle, especially against the run. I guess that’s worth this pick from a team who needs a run stuffer.

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2006 NFL Draft Redo

1. Houston Texans- DE Mario Williams (NC State)

Normally if there’s a franchise quarterback available, I would put him #1 because those guys are just so valuable, and there is one available this year, Jay Cutler. However, the Texans got Matt Schaub the following offseason and things worked out pretty well for them with this original pick. Mario Williams proved the Texans right and established himself as one of the league’s premier pass rushers, which is another very valuable thing.

2. New Orleans Saints- RB Maurice Jones-Drew (UCLA)

Again, I’m not putting Cutler here because the Saints signed Drew Brees this offseason. The Saints used this pick on Reggie Bush, but even though that didn’t really work out, things worked out pretty well for the Saints. Can you imagine if they had taken Maurice Jones-Drew instead? Is it possible to score 40 points per game?

3. Tennessee Titans- QB Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt)

Here’s where Cutler goes. The Titans picked Vince Young here. He had some good moments with the Titans, but also some bad moments and, overall, his tenure in Tennessee was a failure. Things would have worked out a lot better if they had taken the local kid, Cutler, from in state Vanderbilt. Cutler is the only true franchise quarterback in this draft class and is one of the top 12-15 quarterbacks in the league. Those guys are so valuable because they can mask so many different problems and it’s impossible to win a Super Bowl without one.

4. New York Jets- OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson (Virginia)

This pick worked out pretty well for the Jets. Ferguson proved himself to be one of the better left tackles in the league and, other than quarterback, no position is more valuable. There is a reason why the franchise tag for offensive linemen is normally the 2nd highest in the NFL after quarterback and why you rarely see franchise caliber left tackles on the open market, only behind quarterbacks in frequency.

5. Green Bay Packers- DE Tamba Hali (Penn State)

The Packers had just 35 sacks in 2005 and besides, how could you pass on Tamba Hali here? Hali has emerged as one of the best pass rushers in the league and has experience in both the 3-4 and 4-3, both of which the Packers have run since 2006, so he’d be a perfect fit for them.

6. San Francisco 49ers- OT Andrew Whitworth (LSU)

I have no idea how Andrew Whitworth has never made a Pro Bowl. He’s one of the most underrated players in the league and has been a legitimate franchise caliber left tackle on Cincinnati’s offensive line over the past few years. The 49ers allowed 48 sacks in 2005, 5th most in the NFL. They attempted to fix the problem the following draft by trading up for Joe Staley, but, while Staley has been solid on the left side for them, Whitworth is a much better player. Besides, this way they would have been able to keep their 1st round pick in 2008 (#7), which they surrendered to move up for Staley.

7. Oakland Raiders- CB Johnathan Joseph (South Carolina)

Oakland had the league’s 26th rated pass defense in 2005. They attempted to fix that by drafting safety Michael Huff at this pick. He’s been alright, but he hasn’t really been worth a top-10 pick. Joseph is worth one and would have solved the problem more directly.

8. Buffalo Bills- DT Haloti Ngata (Oregon)

Buffalo had the league’s 29th rated run defense in 2005. Haloti Ngata sure would have fixed that problem. In Baltimore’s hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme, he has experience in both of the schemes the Bills have run since 2006, so he’s a perfect fit for them, on top of filling a need and being the best available player.

9. Detroit Lions- DE Elvis Dumervil (Louisville)

The Lions’ defense was so bad for so many years because they simply ignored it in the early rounds in the Matt Millen era. Just one of Millen’s eight 1st round picks was a defensive player (Ernie Sims). I guess drafting crappy receivers was more important. If they got a do-over, they’d probably have drafted more defensive players, like Elvis Dumervil, who definitely would have helped a pass rush that managed just 31 sacks in 2005.

10. Arizona Cardinals- G Jahri Evans (Bloomsburg)

Interior offensive lineman rarely go this high, but that’s because, if they don’t become Pro Bowlers, they’re pretty much disappointments as top-20 picks. If a guard drafted in the top-20 becomes just a solid starter, it’s a disappointment because you can find solid starting guards much later. At other positions like cornerback, wide receiver, left tackle etc, it’s not as big of a deal if they’re just solid. That being said, Jahri Evans is a 3-time Pro Bowler and really has been one of the league’s best interior offensive lineman over the past few years so there’s no doubt he deserves to go this high looking back in hindsight. The Cardinals have needed offensive line help in a big way for years.

11. Denver Broncos- WR Greg Jennings (Western Michigan)

Jennings doesn’t go in the top-10 because you have to wonder how he’d do without Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre throwing him the football. The Broncos’ top two receivers in 2005 were Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. Smith was heading into his age 36 season in 2006 and caught just 52 passes for 512 yards and 3 touchdowns before retiring at the end of the season. Lelie, meanwhile, left as a free agent during the 2006 offseason.

12. Baltimore Ravens- NT Kyle Williams (LSU)

The Ravens miss out on Haloti Ngata, but they get Kyle Williams instead. Williams was ProFootballFocus’ top rated defensive tackle in 2010 and only goes below Ngata because he was a bit of a late bloomer and because he hasn’t had the consistent success that Ngata has had. Maybe that would have been different in a defense surrounded by Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Ed Reed, among others.

13. Cleveland Browns- WR Brandon Marshall (Central Florida)

The Browns had lost #1 receiver Antonio Bryant during the offseason and needed a complimentary young receiver opposite Braylon Edwards, who didn’t exactly turn out as they planned. Marshall would have turned out how they planned Edwards to turn out though and given the Browns a much needed #1 receiver, something they’ve lacked for years.

14. Philadelphia Eagles- CB Brent Grimes (Shippensburg)

The Eagles had the league’s 23rd ranked pass defense in 2005. Brent Grimes would have gone higher, but he was a bit of a late bloomer. There’s no doubt that the Shippensburg product is one of the top cornerbacks in the league now though. He was just given the Falcons’ franchise tag this offseason at a position with a franchise tag value tied for 2nd highest in the league.

15. St. Louis Rams- WR Marques Colston (Hofstra)

The Rams haven’t had good receivers since the days of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. That once dynamic duo was heading into their age 34 and age 30 seasons respectively in 2006, so Colston would be some young talent for them to have waiting in the wings. Like Jennings, he doesn’t go higher because you have to wonder how he would have done without Drew Brees.

16. Miami Dolphins- TE Vernon Davis (Maryland)

This is a more appropriate place for Davis. Davis has become one of the better tight ends in the league, but he’s still just a tight end. Those guys are not really worth top-10 picks. Randy McMichael, a decent tight end, left the Dolphins after the 2006 season and left them starting Justin Peelle at tight end. He caught 29 passes for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns. After him, it’s been Anthony Fasano, who hasn’t been much better, at least as a pass catcher.

17. Minnesota Vikings- MLB Stephen Tulloch (NC State)

The Vikings took a linebacker here. Chad Greenway has been a solid player for them, but I think Tulloch is a better player because, unlike Greenway, he doesn’t struggle in coverage. He’d be a great fit for their cover 2 scheme, which requires linebackers be able to cover. He could have either played outside in Greenway’s spot, or inside and moved EJ Henderson outside.

18. Dallas Cowboys- MLB DeMeco Ryans (Alabama)

The Cowboys took a linebacker here. Bobby Carpenter really sucked. Here’s someone who doesn’t suck to fill a hole for the Cowboys in the middle of their linebacking corps.

19. San Diego Chargers- WR Miles Austin (Monmouth)

Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker were their top two wide receivers in 2005. Both left after the 2006 season. Vincent Jackson stepped up in their absence, but they could have used another receiver like Austin, especially since it would have allowed them to avoid to Buster Davis disaster in the 1st round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Austin goes below the other receivers because he was a late bloomer.

20. Kansas City Chiefs- DE Kamerion Wimbley (Florida State)

The Chiefs chose Tamba Hali here. That was a great pick, but he’s gone in this redo. However, they need to take some sort of pass rusher because Hali has been their only good pass rusher since and if they don’t replace him, they’ll really have trouble getting to the quarterback for years. Wimbley isn’t on Hali’s level, but he fits the range.

21. New England Patriots- RB DeAngelo Williams (Memphis)

The Patriots used this pick on Laurence Maroney. That didn’t work out. DeAngelo Williams would have worked out much better and made the Patriots’ offense even more explosive, which was obviously the goal with Maroney.

22. San Francisco 49ers- CB Tramon Williams (Louisiana Tech)

Tramon Williams upgrades a defense that ranked dead last against the pass in 2005. He has the talent to go earlier, especially after his 2010 season, but he was a late bloomer and is currently dealing with nerve damage in his shoulder that really limited him in 2011. We’ll see if he’s healthier and bounces back in 2012.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OT Donald Penn (Utah State)

The Buccaneers got Donald Penn as an undrafted free agent and he turned into a legitimate left tackle for them. They wouldn’t be able to get him there again, so they just use their 1st round pick to secure a big part of their offense.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Antonio Cromartie (Florida State)

The Bengals originally used this pick on Johnathan Joseph, but he’s not available unfortunately. Instead, they just take the best available cornerback to fill the void.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers- C Nick Mangold (Ohio State)

The Steelers have needed offensive line help for years. Besides, it’s a steal to get Mangold at this point. The league’s top center, Mangold would solidify their pass protection and anchor their running game.

26. Buffalo Bills- OLB Chad Greenway (Iowa)

Greenway goes off the board here and is an upgrade on the outside for a Buffalo defense that was using some scrub named Jeff Posey at one outside linebacker spot in 2005. No wonder they ranked 29th against the run.

27. Carolina Panthers- OT Eric Winston (Miami)

The Panthers had a need on the right side of their offensive line in 2006. Winston would have filled it and allowed them to continue the run heavy offense that Head Coach John Fox loves. They took right tackle Rashad Butler in the 3rd round.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars- DE Jeremy Mincey (Florida)

The Jaguars got to the quarterback 35 times in 2005 and have really struggled to get to the quarterback over the past few years. Mincey was a 6th round pick of the Jaguars’ in 2006, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind taking him again with a 1st rounder in a redo since he’s their only proven pass rusher at the moment. He would have gone higher, but he was a late bloomer.

29. New York Jets- S Michael Huff (Texas)

This is a more appropriate spot for Michael Huff. He’s a solid safety, but he just wasn’t worth a top-10 pick. The Jets have had safety issues for years and even though this was a huge need in 2006, this is a best available player pick. The Jets also used a 3rd round pick on Eric Smith, a safety.

30. Indianapolis Colts- OLB D’Qwell Jackson (Maryland)

Another best available player pick, Jackson would have fit in with the Colts defense at linebacker. He would have gone higher if it weren’t for injury issues. The Colts used a 3rd rounder on a linebacker in 2006.

31. Seattle Seahawks- CB Tim Jennings (Georgia)

The Seahawks used this pick on Kelly Jennings, a cornerback. They had the right idea. They needed a cornerback. They just took the wrong Jennings. Tim is one of the best underrated cornerbacks in the league and was one of just two starting cornerbacks to not allow a touchdown last season.

32. New York Giants- OLB Mathias Kiwunaka (Boston College)

I don’t imagine the Giants have any complaints about this pick. Kiwanuka has been a solid starting linebacker and situational pass rusher for them.

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