Like most years, the 2012 NFL draft provided a lot of surprises and sleeper picks. This is why going back and doing a re-draft is entertaining. It shows how someone like Russell Wilson would go from a third-round pick to a first-rounder.
In this re-draft, I used the order prior to the draft-day trades. This means that I kept the Washington Redskins in the No. 2 spot, but didn't move the Jacksonville Jaguars up.
Check out the rest of the article to see some really dramatic changes.
Original Pick: Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford
Re-draft Pick: Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs a year after the team only won two games. His combination of leadership, savvy and arm talent has helped the franchise get over the loss of Peyton Manning. The future is extremely bright for this organization.
Some could argue that Robert Griffin III showed more promise in his rookie season. However, his late-season injury and playing style is cause for concern. Both are talented quarterbacks, but Luck is just a perfect fit for the Colts.
Original Pick: Robert Griffin III, Quarterback, Baylor
Re-draft Pick: Robert Griffin III
Mike Shanahan has Robert Griffin III to thank for the fact he’s still employed with the Washington Redskins. Until this past season, Shanahan’s tenure with the team was a complete disaster. It’s amazing how quickly things can change once a team finds a franchise quarterback.
Griffin is an amazing talent who showed the ability to carry a team to the playoffs. He’ll only get better as the Redskins build a better team around him. Washington would make this pick over and over again.
Original Pick: Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC (Pick No. 4)
Re-draft Pick: Matt Kalil
The Minnesota Vikings’ team is built around Adrian Peterson. This is why adding help along the offensive line with Matt Kalil makes sense for the franchise. His addition solidified the all-important left tackle spot for years to come.
Kalil’s presence didn’t only help the running game, as he also did a great job protecting the quarterback. Christian Ponder needs good protection if he ever wants to live up to his draft status.
I considered going with Russell Wilson in this spot, but Ponder has shown enough to warrant another chance.
Original Pick: Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama (Pick No. 3)
Re-draft Pick: Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Wisconsin
Brandon Weeden isn’t the long-term answer as the Cleveland Browns quarterback. His age and the fact he still needs time to develop limits his upside. Russell Wilson’s winning attitude and work ethic is exactly what this franchise needs.
Cleveland has been stuck in a cloud of negativity. This is why it needs more than a quarterback with talent—it needs someone with a winning personality and ability to make those around him better. Wilson showed both of those qualities during his rookie season.
The recent coaching change in Cleveland would look even better if Wilson were on the roster. Rob Chudzinski did a great job getting the most out of Cam Newton’s combination of athleticism and arm talent. However, Wilson also would’ve been a good fit for Pat Shurmur’s West Coast attack.
Original Pick: Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama (Pick No. 7)
Re-draft Pick: Doug Martin, Running Back, Boise State
Doug Martin proved to be the perfect fit for the style of Greg Schiano's offense with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were lucky to land such a talented player at the end of the first round, but in a re-draft, Martin won’t last that long.
The versatility and steadiness that Martin brings to the table is what makes him so dangerous. He’s someone capable of picking up the tough yards between the tackles, outpacing defenders to the edge and making plays out of the backfield as a receiver.
Because of Josh Freeman’s inconsistent play, a running back like Martin becomes an even more important piece to the puzzle.
Original Pick: Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU (Pick No. 14)
Re-draft Pick: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
Sam Bradford has yet to have a top-notch playmaker to target. Players like Danny Amendola are more suited for a complementary role. Adding a difference-maker like Justin Blackmon would be the piece the St. Louis Rams need to help move Bradford’s development forward.
Blackmon had a slow start to the season, but he showed his big-play ability as the season progressed. It’s easy to assume that his numbers would look a lot better with a more competent quarterback throwing him the football.
St. Louis made the decision to move down several spots in the actual draft. The added picks helped add depth to the roster, but it would be tough to pass up a player like Blackmon in a re-draft.
Original Pick: Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State (Pick No. 5)
Re-draft Pick: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
The Jacksonville Jaguars are still in a tough situation with the quarterback position. Giving up on Blaine Gabbert so early in his career isn’t an easy decision. It means that they’d use two top 10 picks just to settle one position.
However, Ryan Tannehill showed more upside and poise as a rookie than Gabbert has in two seasons. The quarterback position is too important for a team to continue giving a player opportunities when better options are available.
In recent years, young quarterbacks have shown the ability to quickly develop and win early in their careers. This is why Jacksonville wouldn’t be setting themselves back by moving on from Gabbert.
Original Pick: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M
Re-draft Pick: Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama
Ryan Tannehill would still be the pick here if he was on the board, but he went one pick earlier to the Jacksonville Jaguars. This creates a real issue for the Miami Dolphins, who have a major hole at the quarterback position.
The lack of another top-10 quarterback prospect forces them to go in a different direction. Trent Richardson would give them a running back capable of carrying the load.
Miami could then look to add a quarterback like Kirk Cousins or Nick Foles in the second round.
Original Pick: Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College
Re-draft Pick: Luke Kuechly
The Carolina Panthers hit the nail on the head when they selected Luke Kuechly in last year’s draft. He provided them with consistency and leadership in the middle of the defense. His excellent rookie season was more impressive because of the lack of talent along the defensive line.
Kuechly not only led the team in tackles, he also tied for the team high with two interceptions. This shows he’s a four-down player who can make plays in the passing game and also contribute on special teams.
Jon Beason’s recent injury issues only increase the importance of Kuechly’s presence.
Original Pick: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
Re-draft Pick: Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU
The Buffalo Bills went with Stephon Gilmore in last year’s draft, but Morris Claiborne is still the more talented of the duo. Claiborne combines excellent technique with solid athleticism to help him shut down opposing wide receivers.
His rookie season had some ups and downs, but he showed improvement toward the end of the year. The difference between Gilmore and Claiborne isn’t huge; so it’s not out of the question that the Bills would still pull the trigger on Gilmore.
Original Pick: Dontari Poe, Defensive Line, Memphis
Re-draft Pick: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina
Stephon Gilmore is a terrific athlete who plays the game with a lot of aggressiveness. His rookie season showed the type of upside he possesses. The Kansas City Chiefs secondary had plenty of problems last season—thus why they focused on upgrading that area this offseason.
Adding Gilmore to the mix would give them a young talent with a ton of upside. He’s the type of player who can fit in either a zone or man attack.
The Chiefs spent a large chunk of money this offseason, bringing in Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson. If they had Gilmore in the mix, they could’ve used those funds elsewhere.
Original Pick: Bruce Irvin, Defensive End, West Virginia (Pick No. 15)
Re-draft Pick: Bobby Wagner, Linebacker, Utah State
Russell Wilson gets the bulk of the attention as the Seattle Seahawks’ biggest steal in the 2012 draft. However, linebacker Bobby Wagner proved to be just as important of a piece to the puzzle. His ability to immediately step in and lock down the middle linebacker spot was crucial to the defense’s success.
There’s no way that Wagner would last to the second round in a re-draft. Too many teams have a need for a linebacker capable of making plays from sideline to sideline.
The Seahawks would be the real losers in any re-draft, as players like Wagner and Wilson both would come off the board much earlier. I have Wilson, Wagner and Bruce Irvin all being selected in the first round of this re-draft.
Original Pick: Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
Re-draft Pick: Cordy Glenn, Offensive Tackle, Georgia
The Arizona Cardinals weren’t able to get good production out of last year’s first-round pick, Michael Floyd, mainly because of issues along the offensive line. These problems also impacted the play of the quarterbacks and made for a complete disaster on the offensive side of the ball.
Cordy Glenn showed during his rookie season that he features the athleticism to play left tackle in the NFL. He would’ve served as an upgrade at several spots along the Cardinals offensive line. Glenn is versatile enough to play left tackle, right tackle and guard.
Improving the team’s pass protection absolutely would’ve had a positive impact on the play of the quarterbacks. One could even argue that Kevin Kolb might have remained healthy for a few more games.
Original Pick: Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU (Pick No. 6)
Re-draft Pick: Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama
Jerry Jones has never been afraid to take a risk on a player with a character red flag—see Dez Bryant. This is why Janoris Jenkins makes a lot of sense in this spot. He fell to the second round of the draft because of his off-the-field issues.
He showed during his rookie year that he’s a difference-maker. Jenkins didn’t only provide solid coverage; he also found ways to turn turnovers into defensive touchdowns.
It’s interesting to mull what the Cowboys would do in a re-draft. They could sit here and grab Jenkins or trade up to still land Morris Claiborne.
Original Pick: Fletcher Cox, Defensive Line, Mississippi State (pick No. 12)
Re-draft Pick: Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama
Fletcher Cox had a solid rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles, but this past year exposed a major weakness in the secondary. The safety position has been a weakness for this team since they let Brian Dawkins and Quintin Mikell leave via free agency.
Mark Barron possesses the versatility and aggressiveness the Eagles need in the back end of the defense. He features the ability to both support the run and cover the deep middle.
Barron is also a good leader who brings a strong work ethic.
Original Pick: Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
Re-draft Pick: Alfred Morris, Running Back, Florida Atlantic
Mark Sanchez suffered through another horrible season with the New York Jets. However, it’s naive to place all the blame on his shoulders.
The Jets offense wanted to focus on the ground game and then utilize play action. They were unable to successfully do this because Shonn Greene and Co. just weren’t able to produce.
Alfred Morris is the type of tough runner who would’ve had a major impact in this offense. He’s a one-cut runner who excels at moving the pile.
Adding Morris wouldn’t exactly be the saving grace for Sanchez, but he’d absolutely help reduce the pressure on the former USC quarterback.
Original Pick: Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama
Re-draft Pick: Kevin Zeitler, Guard, Wisconsin
Kevin Zeitler quietly had a very productive rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals. His addition helped solidify the interior of the offensive line. Cincinnati’s run game enjoyed some success thanks in large part to Zeitler’s contributions.
The Bengals would likely have to grab Zeitler here because a team like the Chicago Bears might have targeted him before Cincinnati’s second first-round pick.
Some might say this is too early for a guard, but it is pivotal to open up running lanes and keep pressure out of the face of the quarterback, and a quality guard like Zeitler can do that.
Original Pick: Melvin Ingram, Outside Linebacker, South Carolina
Re-draft Pick: Mitchell Schwartz, Offensive Tackle, California
Philip Rivers has taken a lot of criticism for his struggles the past two seasons. However, issues along the offensive line played a major role in his decreased production. Rivers just doesn’t have the athleticism to move in the pocket and overcome pass-protection issues.
Mitchell Schwartz quickly grabbed the starting right tackle spot with the Cleveland Browns. He proved to be a solid contributor with a ton of upside. Schwartz would be a great fit for the San Diego Chargers because of their need at the tackle position.
He’s a better fit at right tackle, but he flashed the ability to play some left tackle.
Original Pick: Shea McClellin, Defensive End, Boise State
Re-draft Pick: Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford
The Chicago Bears finally opened their eyes this offseason and addressed the offensive line problems by signing Jermon Bushrod. However, they could’ve saved themselves a lot of money by grabbing Jonathan Martin in the first round of last year’s draft.
Martin had some growing pains as a rookie, but he showed a ton of promise. It’s easy to imagine the Bears season looking different if they had Martin in the mix.
Maybe Lovie Smith still has his job, maybe they make a playoff appearance and maybe they use the Bushrod money to bring in someone like Mike Wallace or Andy Levitre.
Original Pick: Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
Re-draft Pick: Harrison Smith, Safety, Notre Dame
I had a tough time plugging anyone other than Kendall Wright into this spot for the Tennessee Titans. However, Harrison Smith could’ve had a bigger impact by helping shore up the back end of the defense. Smith showed both play-making ability and leadership throughout his rookie season.
The Titans defense ranked No. 26 in the league, allowing nearly 250 passing yards per game. Tennessee’s issues on defense put a lot of pressure on Jake Locker to keep pace. This seemed to hurt his development, as he appeared to play with desperation.
Addressing the safety spot in the first round would open the door for the Titans to target a wide receiver in the second round...maybe someone like Alshon Jeffery.
Original Pick: Kevin Zeitler, Guard, Wisconsin (Pick No. 27)
Re-draft Pick: Lavonte David, Linebacker, Nebraska
The Cincinnati Bengals struck gold with Vontaze Burfict, but one good season doesn’t erase the concerns about his maturity. Lavonte David was equally as productive and doesn’t come with any negative baggage.
David’s explosiveness and overall athleticism make him a solid all-around player. He’s capable of making plays behind the line of scrimmage, setting the edge against the run and dropping back in coverage. He doesn’t need to be taken out in passing situations.
One reason the Bengals might go with Burfict is because he can play either on the outside or in the middle. His versatility is valuable because Rey Maualuga’s production has dropped in recent years.
Original Pick: Brandon Weeden, Quarterback, Oklahoma State
Re-draft Pick: T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Florida International
Earlier in this mock, the Cleveland Browns added Russell Wilson to be the team’s franchise quarterback. This pick offers them a great opportunity to get him another playmaker. T.Y. Hilton showed during his rookie season that he’s capable of stretching the field.
His combination of speed and ability to create in space make him really dangerous. He can both attack the deep part of the field and take a wide-receiver screen and turn it into a big play.
Original Pick: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
Re-draft Pick: Bruce Irvin, Defensive End, West Virginia
The Detroit Lions find themselves desperate for a pass-rusher because they didn’t look ahead. They knew Kyle Vanden Bosch was showing signs of his age and that Cliff Avril would demand a big contract. This is why it makes more sense for them to add someone like Bruce Irvin over an offensive tackle like Riley Reiff.
Irvin’s explosiveness makes it tough for offensive linemen to protect the edge. The presence of Vanden Bosch and Avril would’ve provided Irvin the opportunity to get worked into the rotation.
With that being said, the Reiff pick isn’t completely off-base. Detroit also has a need at the offensive tackle position with Jeff Backus retiring and Gosder Cherilus signing with the Indianapolis Colts.
Original Pick: David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
Re-draft Pick: Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor
The Pittsburgh Steelers knew they were looking at the possibility of losing Mike Wallace via free agency. They could’ve found a long-term replacement by adding Kendall Wright to the mix. Wright possesses the ability to both take the top off a defense and work over the middle.
Ben Roethlisberger is the key to this franchise’s success. This is why it’s important to surround him with the pieces needed to be successful.
David DeCastro is still in play at this spot, but last year’s injury made it impossible to see his true potential.
Original Pick: Derek Wolfe, Defensive Line, Cincinnati (Second Round)
Re-draft Pick: Fletcher Cox, Defensive Line, Mississippi State
The Denver Broncos got solid production out of second-round pick Derek Wolfe. However, his limited athleticism hinders his potential. Fletcher Cox is a similar player in that he can both stuff the run and get some pressure on the quarterback.
He would serve as a better impact player at the defensive end/tackle role where the Broncos used Wolfe.
Again, this isn’t an attack on Wolfe’s ability to play football. It’s about Cox having more long-term upside.
Original Pick: Whitney Mercilus, Outside Linebacker, Illinois
Re-draft Pick: Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker, Arizona State
The interior of the Houston Texans’ defense really struggled when Brian Cushing went down with an injury. However, the inside linebacker position is still a need with a healthy Cushing. A player like Vontaze Burfict would be a perfect fit.
Burfict overcame maturity issues to become one of the steals of the draft. Cincinnati was willing to take a risk by signing him to a free-agent contract and it paid off.
For as much as he hurt his draft stock during the draft process, he equally rebuilt his long-term outlook with an excellent rookie season.
Original Pick: Chandler Jones, Defensive End, Syracuse (Pick No. 21)
Re-draft Pick: Chandler Jones, Defensive End, Syracuse
The New England Patriots did a great job filing a need at the defensive end position by drafting Chandler Jones. He had a solid rookie year, but wasn’t productive enough to propel himself up the board in this re-draft.
Luckily for the Patriots, he’s still on the board at this spot and remains the team’s best option. Jones is a hard-working player who possesses the athleticism to generate consistent pressure off the edge. He’s still a little raw, which only means his best football is still to come.
For New England, Jones represents the best available pass-rusher, which is the team’s biggest need.
Original Pick: Nick Perry, Outside Linebacker, USC
Re-draft Pick: Whitney Mercilus, Outside Linebacker, Illinois
Nick Perry never stood out to me as a dynamic pass-rusher, especially at the outside linebacker spot. He’s too stiff through the hips and doesn’t have great explosiveness off the line. Someone like Whitney Mercilus would’ve provided a much bigger impact for the Green Bay Packers.
Mercilus is an excellent athlete who uses his quickness and hands to create pressure on the quarterback. His fluid hips give him the versatility to drop into coverage and hold his own.
The Packers need another pass-rushing threat to emerge opposite Clay Matthews.
Original Pick: Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama (Second Round)
Re-draft Pick: Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa
The Baltimore Ravens offense and Joe Flacco saw their production increase once the offensive line was settled. This took place during the playoffs when they moved Michael Oher to right tackle and inserted Bryant McKinnie into the starting lineup.
Riley Reiff has the potential and movement ability to play left tackle in the NFL. His addition gives the Ravens a younger and cheaper option over McKinnie.
This pick offers some security because Reiff features the versatility to also play right tackle or guard.
Original Pick: A.J. Jenkins, Wide Receiver, Illinois
Re-draft Pick: Michael Brockers, Defensive Line, LSU
Selecting A.J. Jenkins was one of the biggest reaches in the 2012 draft. The San Francisco 49ers got zero production out of him, and there’s little certainty that he’ll ever develop. They would’ve been better off targeting a more NFL-ready player.
Michael Brockers would’ve been an excellent fit along the 49ers’ defensive line. His ability to stuff the run and get a push on the pocket makes him a solid all-around player.
Original Pick: Dont'a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama (Pick No. 25)
Re-draft Pick: Casey Hayward, Cornerback, Vanderbilt
The New England Patriots secondary was a major problem area throughout the 2012 season. It was such an issue that they orchestrated a midseason trade to bring in Aqib Talib. That trade could’ve been avoided by selecting Casey Hayward at the end of the first round.
Hayward features the ability to both lock on to a team’s top playmaker and generate turnovers. He finished the year tied for fifth in the NFL with six interceptions.
The problem here for the Patriots is that adding Hayward still doesn’t completely solve the problems in the secondary.
Original Pick: David Wilson, Running Back, Virginia Tech
Re-draft Pick: Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina
Quinton Coples had a very solid year for the New York Jets. He was able to tally 5.5 sacks despite being used in a limited capacity. Coples also played out of position, as he’s a much better fit as a defensive end in a 4-3 attack. This is why I have him going to the New York Giants at the end of the first round.
Coples reminds me a lot of Justin Tuck in that he holds up well against the run, can rush the passer from the end spot and move inside to defensive tackle in passing situations.
Finding a long-term replacement for Tuck is something the Giants need to consider. He’s rapidly aging and they need someone to draw double-teams away from Jason Pierre-Paul.