Redrafting the 2014 NFL Draft

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2016

Redrafting the 2014 NFL Draft

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    The 2016 NFL draft is right around the corner. By the end of the week, we'll know which players went to which teams and what the draft class as a whole looks like.

    Don't be surprised if draft grades start pouring in before draft weekend is even over.

    Of course, this means we're nearly two years removed from the 2014 NFL draft—and we know exactly who went where then. We also have the benefit of knowing how the 2014 draft picks have performed over the past two years.

    Just for fun, try going back and looking at some early grades from the 2014 draft. Things don't exactly match, do they? This is because teams can have all the information and do all the research they want on a prospect and still have no idea how his pro playing career will unfold.

    But what if they did? What if NFL teams could know exactly what a player's first two years in the NFL would look like before filling out his draft card? We're willing to bet that things would go quite a bit differently.

    In fact, we're going to have a little fun today and rerun the first round of the 2014 draft with this entire hypothetical in mind. While keeping the same draft order—including trades—we're going to examine how teams might have drafted in 2014 knowing the two-year trajectory of the draft class.

    Our selections will be based on 2014 team needs and with the idea that only the future of the draft class is known—we won't consider future picks, acquisitions and injuries to other players.

1. Houston Texans: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

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    In 2014, the Houston Texans went with the supposed can't-miss prospect in South Carolina linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.

    The Texans, of course, could have used the first overall pick to secure a potential franchise quarterback. However, there didn't really appear to be a blue-chip quarterback at the time.

    According to NFL Media's Lance Zierlein, Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr was never even a possibility for Houston. This is likely because Carr's older brother, David, was drafted first overall by the franchise in 2002 but failed to develop.

    The younger Carr is coming off a season in which he passed for 3,987 yards with 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a passer rating of 91.1. He capped the season with a Pro Bowl appearance. He might not quite be a top-tier quarterback yet, but Carr seems well on his way to being a franchise signal-caller.

    Clowney has produced 4.5 sacks in his two pro seasons to date. He may still develop into a defensive force, but the Texans probably would have produced a better playoff showing this past season with Carr at the helm instead of Brian Hoyer.

    Given the gift of hindsight, we're sure the Texans would jump at the chance to grab Carr.

    Original Pick: Jadeveon Clowney

    Revised Pick: Derek Carr

2. St. Louis Rams: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

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    Yes, we know the Rams are now located in Los Angeles—they weren't in 2014. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. wasn't the Rams' draft pick in 2014, but he is in our draft do-over.

    In his two NFL season so far, Beckham has produced 2,755 yards receiving with 25 touchdowns. He has also been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons. Pro Football Focus rated him 13th overall among receivers for the 2015 season.

    Beckham is a true game-changing talent and exactly the type of player who could fill out the Rams offense. With a strong defense in place and star running back Todd Gurley coming in 2015, Los Angeles would be even more primed to take a potential franchise quarterback in 2016—though the Rams would have no way of knowing this. What they would know is that they're drafting a perennial Pro Bowl talent.

    Beckham would almost certainly set the stage for a resurgence in L.A. better than the team's original pick, offensive tackle Greg Robinson from Auburn.

    Robinson hasn't been a complete bust to this point, as he has started 28 games in his two seasons. He performed well in his short time at guard in 2014 but has been less than ideal as a left tackle. Pro Football Focus rated him just 139th overall among offensive tackles in 2015.

    Original Pick: Greg Robinson

    Revised Pick: Odell Beckham Jr.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars made the move in 2014 to grab the new face of their franchise. With the third overall pick, they snagged Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.

    At 6'5" and 245 pounds, Bortles has the size and the look of an elite pro quarterback. He also has the athleticism and the arm strength. The Jaguars knew the small-school prospect would take some time to develop, and that's exactly what has occurred over the last two years—Bortles has developed into a pro.

    There are still some holes in Bortles' game, of course. He could cut down on the turnovers, for example. Yet, he's coming off a season in which he passed for 4,428 yards with 35 touchdowns and a passer rating of 88.2. Jacksonville appears happy with his progression to this point.

    “We don’t have a turnstile thing going on at quarterback right now," offensive coordinator Greg Olson recently said, via the Jaguars' official website. “We’re comfortable with Blake Bortles. We’re going to accelerate his development.”

    Knowing what the turnstile of quarterbacks looked like in Jacksonville before the 2014 draft, we're sure the team would pull the trigger on Bortles again.

    Original Pick: Blake Bortles

    Revised Pick: Same

4. Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

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    The Buffalo Bills traded away their No. 9 overall pick along with first- and fourth-rounders in the 2015 draft in order to move up and grab a blue-chip receiver prospect. That pick was Clemson's Sammy Watkins, and it remains the same pick in our redraft.

    Buffalo has to be darn happy with what it has gotten out of Watkins to this point. He's racked up 2,029 yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons, despite some rather inconsistent quarterback play in that span. He's also developed into one of the more complete receivers in the NFL.

    Pro Football Focus rated Watkins 11th overall among receivers this past season.

    The 6'1", 211-pound pass-catcher should only continue to grow as a top-tier receiver, and it shouldn't be surprising to see him appear in his first Pro Bowl within the next couple of seasons.

    If Odell Beckham Jr. were available here, the pick might be different. However, the Bills should be quick to pull the trigger on this offensive centerpiece.

    Original Pick: Sammy Watkins

    Revised Pick: Same

5. Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

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    Back in 2014, the Oakland Raiders went with Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack. They ended up getting possibly the best player in the entire draft and a guy who would quickly develop into one of the game's most dominant defenders.

    Mack has racked up 153 tackles and 19 sacks in his two pro seasons. He notched 15 of those sacks in 2015, a season in which Pro Football Focus rated Mack first overall among edge defenders. Yes, he was even rated higher than Super Bowl MVP Von Miller.

    Because of how the redraft has gone thus far, Oakland gets a chance to snag the first non-quarterback, non-receiver of the day. The only way this pick would change is if a team ahead of Oakland grabbed Mack or the Raiders still had a chance to grab future franchise quarterback Derek Carr.

    Carr is gone; Mack is here. The choice is easy.

    Original Pick: Khalil Mack

    Revised Pick: Same

6. Atlanta Falcons: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

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    The Atlanta Falcons had two main directions they could take back in 2014. The best courses of action were to improve the offensive line in front of quarterback Matt Ryan or to improve a defense that was ranked 27th overall with 379.4 yards per game allowed in 2013.

    Atlanta decided to grab a potential anchor left tackle in Texas A&M's Jake Matthews.

    Matthews has started to develop into one of the league's better lineman, so it isn't as if he was a bust here. However, knowing what defensive tackle Aaron Donald has developed into persuades the Falcons to go defense in our redraft.

    Donald has been an absolute monster in his two seasons as a pro. He has amassed 117 tackles and 20 sacks in that span. For an interior defensive lineman, these numbers are staggering. He was also named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 and has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons.

    Pro Football Focus rated Donald first overall among defensive tackles this past season.

    Even though Matthews has been solid, the Falcons can't pass on an elite defensive player here.

    Original Pick: Jake Matthews

    Revised Pick: Aaron Donald

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

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    If you can recall, 2014 was the year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to bank on the Josh McCown bridge for the foreseeable future. Even without knowing what awaited McCown in the coming season, the Buccaneers couldn't have been that confident in the journeyman signal-caller.

    Of course, Tampa couldn't know what to expect from the 2014 rookie quarterbacks, either.

    At the time, it made sense to grab receiver Mike Evans. He was a playmaker in college and has developed into one at the NFL level. However, Tampa can't possibly pass on a future Pro Bowl quarterback here when the alternative under center is McCown.

    Teddy Bridgewater has not developed into a game-changing gunslinger by any means, but he is steady, poised and effective. He was named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year in 2014, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015 and just finished leading the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs.

    Pro Football Focus rated him 15th overall among quarterbacks for the 2015 season.

    If the Buccaneers could know Jameis Winston was coming in the 2015 draft, they might still go with Evans here. Only knowing what this draft class will accomplish, however, Tampa has to go with Bridgewater.

    Original Pick: Mike Evans

    Revised Pick: Teddy Bridgewater

8. Cleveland Browns: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

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    The Cleveland Browns have taken a lot of heat since the 2014 draft for selecting bust-o-matic quarterback Johnny Manziel. However, the team's worst pick actually came here at No. 8 overall in cornerback Justin Gilbert.

    Believe it or not, Gilbert has been even more of a non-factor in Cleveland than Manziel. According to Pro Football Focus, he played just 51 defensive snaps this past season. For a top-10 pick, that's simply unacceptable. If we're doing a redraft, Gilbert might not even catch on as a free agent.

    Instead, the Browns now go with UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr.

    Barr has been an all-around defensive stud in his two pro seasons. He's racked up 138 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 10 passes defended and five forced fumbles with the Minnesota Vikings, and he was named to the Pro Bowl this past season.

    In Cleveland's 3-4 base defense, he probably projects as more of a pass-rusher, but Barr still feels like an excellent fit for then-head coach Mike Pettine's system. Remember, this was supposed to be the defensive pick to appease Pettine, and the Browns weren't interested in overvaluing a receiver.

    Cleveland also didn't know that star wideout Josh Gordon was about to be suspended again. This is why Barr is the pick here, even with a receiver like Mike Evans still on the board.

    Original Pick: Justin Gilbert

    Revised Pick: Anthony Barr

9.Minnesota Vikings: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

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    The Minnesota Vikings' original pick here at ninth overall, Anthony Barr, is already off the board. The team's future franchise quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, is off the board as well.

    With things as they are, the Vikings could go in a couple of ways. They could bolster the offensive line with Jake Matthews, take a defensive starter or add an offensive weapon to complement Adrian Peterson.

    Since the Vikings line was actually strong in 2013—rated eighth overall in pass blocking by Pro Football Focus—we're going with an offensive weapon here. That weapon is going to be Texas A&M product Mike Evans.

    Evans has been a consistent producer at the pro level to this point in his career. While he hasn't been labeled a Pro Bowl talent yet, he has racked up 2,257 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons.

    With thoughts of an offense that features Peterson and a top-tier receiving talent like Evans, the Vikings pull the trigger on their new toy.

    Original Pick: Anthony Barr

    Revised Pick: Mike Evans

10. Detroit Lions: Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame

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    Originally, the Detroit Lions used the 10th overall selection on North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. While he has shown some flashes in his two-year playing career, he hasn't exactly developed into the type of game-altering playmaker the Lions had hoped for.

    In two seasons, Ebron has amassed just 72 receptions, 785 yards and six scores. This is not enough to justify a top-10 selection.

    Instead, we're going to go with Notre Dame guard Zack Martin. Sure, some will argue against taking an interior offensive lineman with a top-10 selection, but Martin has proved his worth at the pro level. He was a first-team All-Pro as a rookie in 2014 and has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons.

    He was rated third overall among guards by Pro Football Focus this past season.

    This isn't the flashiest pick Detroit could make, and the team would probably go receiver if it could possibly know that Calvin Johnson's retirement was a mere two years away. However, it never hurts to add a perennial Pro Bowler to the offensive line.

    Original Pick: Eric Ebron

    Revised Pick: Zack Martin

11. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

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    Back in 2014, the Tennessee Titans used the 11th overall pick on Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. The hope, it would seem, was that he would be able to develop into an anchor left tackle that the team could build upon.

    While Lewan hasn't been perfect by any means, it doesn't seem logical to change the plan now. His play started to strengthen toward the end of last season, and the team seems content with his continued development.

    “Taylor is a good football player. He has played a lot of football, blocked a lot of pass rushers," Titan general manager Jon Robinson recently said, via the team's official website. “He is a tough, smart player and he is a good athlete. Right now Taylor Lewan is our left tackle and we’re proud that he is our left tackle.”

    Lewan finished the 2015 season rated 14th overall among offensive tackles by Pro Football Focus. He isn't an elite player, but he gives Tennessee one less important position to worry about. The Titans will take it.

    Original Pick: Taylor Lewan

    Revised Pick: Same

12. New York Giants: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

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    The New York Giants' plan in 2014 was to get a go-to receiver for quarterback Eli Manning. The Giants ended up with Odell Beckham Jr. , who has quickly emerged as one of the top targets in the NFL.

    Unfortunately, Beckham is long off the board when the Giants are on the clock here in our redraft. With a playmaking pass-catcher still a priority, New York picks Oregon State wideout Brandin Cooks.

    Cooks hasn't been nearly as dominant as Beckham as a pro, but he really emerged this past season as one of the better young targets in the game. The 5'10", 189-pound speedster can stretch the field with the best of them and will still ensure Manning has a legitimate deep threat.

    Cooks produced 1,138 yards with nine touchdowns and a 13.5 yards-per-reception average in 2015. He finished the year rated 35th overall among wide receivers by Pro Football Focus.

    Cooks isn't going to make the highlight-reel catches that Beckham will, but at least the New York passing attack will still have some punch.

    Original Pick: Odell Beckham Jr.

    Revised Pick: Brandin Cooks

13. St. Louis Rams: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

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    The Rams passed on drafting a franchise left tackle with the second overall pick in order to snag playmaker extraordinaire Odell Beckham Jr. Ironically, the ensuing run on receivers allows the Rams to come back and land a left tackle with their second first-round pick.

    This pick this time is Texas A&M product Jake Matthews.

    Matthews hasn't exactly been a standout lineman during his brief NFL career, but he is starting to reach his potential. He has started 31 games over the past two seasons and has settled into the good-but-not-great tier of offensive linemen.

    Since he was a disaster at left tackle as a rookie in 2014, the Rams will likely look to ease Matthews into the role initially. However, it will help to know that he makes drastic improvements in Year 2.

    Pro Football Focus rated Matthews dead last among all offensive tackles during his rookie campaign. Last year, it rated him 18th.

    It hurts to know that things will be a process with Matthews, and it hurts to know that original pick Aaron Donald has gone to the team that originally drafted Matthews. However, this is a smart long-term move for the Rams.

    Original Pick: Aaron Donald

    Revised Pick: Jake Matthews

14. Chicago Bears; Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

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    In 2014, the Chicago Bears attempted to bolster their 30th-ranked defense (394.6 yards per game allowed) by spending their first-round pick on Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller.

    The Bears are going to stick to their basic game plan here, but they will go with former TCU cornerback Jason Verrett this time around.

    Both Fuller and Verrett have shown some flashes of greatness at the pro level in their young careers, so this pick shouldn't change a ton in the grand scheme of things. However, we'll go with Verrett because he really started to emerge as one of the top young corners in the league this past season.

    He finished his 2015 campaign with 42 tackles, 12 passes defended, three interceptions and a Pro Bowl appearance. Pro Football Focus rated Verrett ninth overall among cornerbacks for the 2015 season.

    Verrett didn't see the field a ton as a rookie because of a torn labrum. Fuller saw the field plenty as a rookie, so this is more of a long-term decision. Yet, it feels like the right one considering Verrett is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and Fuller continues to be inconsistent.

    Original Pick: Kyle Fuller

    Revised Pick: Jason Verrett

15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Joel Bitonio, OL, Nevada

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    Originally, the Pittsburgh Steelers used their 15th overall selection on Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. At the time, the pick made a ton of sense because Shazier appeared to be a three-down, playmaking defensive prospect.

    Shazier has been decent in his two NFL season, producing 123 tackles and 3.5 sacks in that span. However, he hasn't been anything close to a game-changer.

    Instead, we're going to go with former Nevada offensive lineman Joel Bitonio. A versatile prospect who played tackle at a high level in college and has played well at guard in the pros, he would provide Pittsburgh with an immediate starter and with depth at multiple positions along the line.

    Bitonio also projects as a future Pro Bowl staple. Though he is coming off an injury-plagued season, he was easily one of the best rookie offensive linemen back in 2014. Pro Football Focus rated him fifth overall among all guards for the 2014 season.

    This pick makes Pittsburgh much stronger in the trenches. The Steelers can grab a Shazier-like talent later in the draft.

    Original Pick: Ryan Shazier

    Revised Pick: Joel Bitonio

16. Dallas Cowboys: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

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    Originally, the Dallas Cowboys resisted the temptation of an offensive star like Johnny Manziel in order to grab guard Zack Martin with the 16th overall pick in the 2014 draft. With Martin already off the board, the Cowboys are going to stick at guard but turn to Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson.

    Though not a two-time Pro Bowler like Martin, Jackson has been a strong fixture along the offensive line for the Oakland Raiders in his two seasons. He has started 28 games and has played at a consistently high level.

    Pro Football Focus rated Jackson 27th overall among guards as a rookie in 2014 and 14th overall among guards this past season.

    At 6'3" and 335 pounds, Jackson would look right at home in the middle of Dallas' massive offensive line, and he would be able to provide a top-end starting presence there for the foreseeable future. It stings a bit to see Martin already off the board, but Jackson is a heck of a consolation prize.

    Original Pick: Zack Martin

    Revised Pick: Gabe Jackson

17. Baltimore Ravens: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama

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    A run on certain positions, combined with a relative lack of demand for 3-4 inside linebackers, has allowed Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley to slip to pick No. 17. The Baltimore Ravens couldn't be happier.

    Mosley was the original pick of the Ravens in this slot, and he has proved in his two pro seasons to be a perfect fit for the Baltimore defense. In two years, he has amassed 250 tackles, 7.0 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one Pro Bowl appearance.

    Pro Football Focus rated him 24th overall among all inside linebackers this past season.

    Two years into his pro career, it seems Mosley is also ready to become a defensive leader.

    "I think I have to be more of a vocal leader more this year, especially being that 'Mike' now," Mosley said during a recent offseason press conference via the team's official website. "It's going to take time with it. It's not me to be one to talk a lot. But once everybody starts getting together and once the group that's here now starts going through OTAs together, that leadership part will start kicking in."

    Baltimore has to be thrilled that Mosley is still sitting here and will be quick to turn in his draft card.

    Original Pick: C.J. Mosley

    Revised Pick: Same

18. New York Jets: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB, Alabama

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    The New York Jets tried to add a defensive playmaker by drafting hard-hitting Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 draft. Pryor has been a good defender in his two seasons, but he hasn't been the type of standout defender the Jets were looking for.

    Pro Football Focus rated Pryor 42nd overall among safeties for the 2015 season. This is a good rating, but it doesn't feel good enough to justify a top-20 selection.

    Instead of Pryor, we're going to go with former Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the 18th spot. A rangy, center-fielding safety and an aggressive tackler, he could fill multiple roles in the back end of the New York defense.

    Remember, this was when Rex Ryan was still head coach and the Jets were dealing with the two-year exodus of Darrelle Revis. This is why we'll stick with a pass defender here, even with a couple of intriguing offensive options on the board.

    Clinton-Dix, who was rated 15th overall among safeties this past season by Pro Football Focus, is exactly the type of player Ryan would love to coach.

    Original Pick: Calvin Pryor

    Revised Pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

19. Miami Dolphins: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

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    The run on receivers that has occurred during our redraft has the Miami Dolphins moving to lock up wide receiver Jarvis Landry with the 19th overall selection.

    Landry somehow made it all the way to pick No. 63 before the Dolphins scooped him up back in 2014. There's no possible way he would make it that long this time around if teams knew what type of player he would become.

    In two seasons with the Dolphins, Landry has amassed 194 receptions, 1,915 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2015 season.

    Jumping on Landry now ensures another team can't scoop him up before the Dolphins get back on the clock. Their original selection at 19th overall, Tennessee tackle Ja'Wuan James, has been average at best and a major disappointment at worst.

    James was rated just 140th overall among offensive tackles in 2014 by Pro Football Focus. He appeared in just seven games this past season.

    The Dolphins will gladly pass on James to ensure Landry is part of the future plan.

    Original Pick: Ja'Wuan James

    Revised Pick: Jarvis Landry

20. New Orleans Saints: Jack Mewhort, OL, Ohio State

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    This is the spot where the New Orleans Saints originally drafted Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks. However, Cooks has been gone for quite some time, thanks to an amazing run on high-end receiver talent.

    Knowing what we now know about the future of the Saints, we'd love to grab a defensive contributor with the 20th pick. However, the 2014 offseason was the offseason when defense didn't seem like a priority in New Orleans.

    Believe it or not, the Saints were ranked fourth overall in total defense during the 2013 season, only allowing an average of 305.7 yards per game.

    Instead we're going to go with versatile offensive lineman Jack Mewhort out of Ohio State. He was originally a late second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts, but he has developed better than some of the first-round linemen taken in 2014.

    Capable of playing both tackle and guard, Mewhort would provide value and versatility to the New Orleans offensive line. This past season, he emerged as one of the league's better interior linemen.

    Pro Football Focus rated Mewhort 12th overall among guards for the 2015 season. Knowing that he will develop into an upper-echelon lineman within two years is enough reason for the Saints to snag him here.

    Original Pick: Brandin Cooks

    Revised Pick: Jack Mewhort

21. Green Bay Packers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

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    With the Jets swooping in on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Green Bay Packers are forced to look in another direction to boost their pass defense.

    With the 21st pick, we're going with former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. At 5'11" and 194 pounds, Roby isn't going to be the biggest defensive back on the field, but he is fast, aggressive and confident.

    The Packers should be impressed by Roby's 4.39-second combine 40 time, as well as his development in his two seasons with the Denver Broncos. Though Roby has only emerged as a role player in the Denver defense, he has emerged as a good one. Pro Football Focus rated him 31st overall among all cornerbacks in 2015.

    The Packers are going to gamble here on the idea that Roby can emerge as a starter more quickly in their less talented secondary. Given a full glimpse into the future, the Packers might opt to grab one of the remaining receivers in the draft—but they're going to have to wait another year-plus before learning of the season-ending injury of Jordy Nelson.

    The need in 2014 is defense.

    Original Pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

    Revised Pick: Bradley Roby

22. Cleveland Browns: Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State

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    Pick No. 22 is where the Cleveland Browns landed quarterback Johnny Manziel back in 2014. It's also the slot where the team drafted quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden. While Cleveland is still trading up to No. 22 in our redraft, the team is not taking a signal-caller.

    Instead, the Browns trade up to take the first running back in the draft, Florida State's Devonta Freeman.

    Freeman didn't play much as a rookie in 2014, but he did show some flashes of pass-catching ability with 30 receptions. Given an opportunity to start in 2015, however, he exploded onto the scene with a Pro Bowl campaign.

    Freeman racked up 1,056 yards rushing, 578 yards receiving and 14 total touchdowns in 2015.

    Having moved on from Trent Richardson during the 2013 season, Cleveland would love to snag a future Pro Bowl player for its backfield here. Not only do that Browns get one in Freeman, but they add another weapon for homegrown quarterback Brian Hoyer.

    Original Pick: Johnny Manziel

    Revised Pick: Devonta Freeman

23. Kansas City Chiefs: Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford

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    The Kansas City Chiefs originally used the 23rd overall pick on Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford. At the time, the idea was to add Ford to a pass-rushing group that already included Tamba Hali and Justin Houston—and to perhaps eventually replace one of the two.

    Unfortunately, Ford has shown limited development as a pass-rusher and has struggled to stay on the field. He has started just five games in two seasons and has a mere 5.5 sacks on his resume.

    Instead of Ford, we're going to go with Stanford's Trent Murphy.

    Murphy has shown similar sack production to that of Ford with 6.0 sacks in two seasons. However, he has also developed into a much better all-around defender. He has made 22 starts in his two seasons, amassing 65 tackles and three forced fumbles.

    Pro Football Focus rated Murphy 17th overall among 3-4 outside linebackers this past season.

    This isn't a flashy pick for Kansas City by any means, but at least the team is getting a starting-caliber defender and a guy who still fits the long-term succession plan.

    Original Pick: Dee Ford

    Revised Pick: Trent Murphy

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU

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    Seeing the Browns grab a running back two spots earlier and possibly start a run at the position, the Cincinnati Bengals decide to use the 24th overall selection on LSU running back Jeremy Hill.

    Originally a second-round pick of the Bengals in 2014, Hill remains the second running back taken in the 2014 draft because Cincinnati decides to pounce here. The team bypasses original 24th overall pick Darqueze Dennard to do so.

    According to Pro Football Focus, Dennard played just 191 defensive snaps this past season. We're guessing the Bengals won't mind losing the former Michigan State cornerback in order to keep their bruising runner.

    At 6'1" and 235 pounds, Hill is a battering ram of a runner between the tackles. In his two pro seasons he has racked up 1,918 yards rushing and 20 rushing touchdowns. He's averaged 4.3 yards per carry and has provided the perfect complement to the shifty Giovani Bernard.

    Keeping half of the team's rushing attack is much more important than hanging onto a player who has been little more than defensive depth in his two seasons.

    Original Pick: Darqueze Dennard

    Revised Pick: Jeremy Hill

25. San Diego Chargers: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

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    Cornerback Jason Verrett was originally the pick at No. 25 for the San Diego Chargers. However, the Chicago Bears scooped him up earlier in the round. While we're tempted to look at other cornerbacks here, we're going to gamble on former Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

    Even though Robinson hasn't panned out as a franchise left tackle yet, there's still hope he can reach his potential. The mammoth 6'5" and 332-pounder has unreal athleticism for his size and was considered a surefire top-10 pick heading into this draft.

    Even though the Chargers will know that Robinson has struggled to adjust to life as a pro blindside blocker, we're guessing the allure of grabbing an elite physical specimen will be too great to resist this late in Round 1.

    Quarterback Philip Rivers was only sacked 30 times during the 2013 season, but this pick is about building for the future and not about filling an immediate need.

    Original Pick: Jason Verrett

    Revised Pick: Greg Robinson

26. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

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    The run on wide receivers continues at pick No. 26, and here the Philadelphia Eagles redraft one of their own.

    Originally, Philly used this selection on former Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith. Now knowing that Smith has been a total bust as a pro—with just seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in two seasons—the Eagles can feel comfortable throwing that pick out the window and securing a talented pass-catcher instead.

    The pick here becomes Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews, whom Philadelphia originally drafted in the second round. He has racked up 1,869 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons with the Eagles and has the potential to do even greater things.

    At 6'3" and 212 pounds, Matthews is one of the bigger receivers in the 2014 class. Knowing that his skills will translate well to the pro game, Philadelphia should have no qualms about pulling the trigger on Matthews.

    The Eagles can probably come back and sign Smith as a free agent, if they really want him.

    Original Pick: Marcus Smith

    Revised Pick: Jordan Matthews

27. Arizona Cardinals: Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State

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    The Arizona Cardinals used the 27th overall pick in the 2014 draft on former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon. While he has since transitioned out of the traditional safety role and into more of a safety-linebacker hybrid, we're keeping him as the pick because of his fit in the Arizona defense.

    Bucannon moved to a position the Cardinals refer to as "moneybacker" in 2015 and thrived there. Just this past season, he produced 112 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception.

    "I've never seen anything like it," then-Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson said of Bucannon's new role last season, per Steve Wyche of "The only thing close was in my rookie year when Adrian Wilson would slide into the box in nickel and dime packages. For someone to do that full time shows how special he is."

    Considered an inside linebacker by Pro Football Focus, Bucannon was rated 10th overall at the position in 2015.

    This might not have been the role the Cardinals envisioned for Bucannon when they drafted him, but it's difficult to argue with the end result.

    Original Pick: Deone Bucannon

    Revised Pick: Same

28. Carolina Panthers: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

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    We know that the Carolina Panthers love the receiver they originally drafted in this spot, Kelvin Benjamin. However, we're not sure after telling the 2014 Panthers they could have a strong rookie season from Benjamin and then lose him for his entire sophomore campaign that they'd still bite.

    Instead, Carolina is going to go with the man who has emerged as one of the league's top deep threats this past season, Allen Robinson.

    The Penn State product showed flashes in his rookie campaign of 2014. However, he had his coming-out party in 2015—you know, the year the Panthers reached the Super Bowl. The 2014 Carolina decision-makers couldn't possibly know that a Super Bowl was in the cards based on our hypothetical rules here, but it's fun to wonder what the big game might have looked like with a healthy Robinson on the roster instead of an injured Benjamin.

    As things stand, Carolina knows it will get a receiver who will amass 1,400 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns while making a Pro Bowl appearance in Year 2. That's enough for the Panthers to sign on here.

    Original Pick: Kelvin Benjamin

    Revised Pick: Allen Robinson

29. New England Patriots: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

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    Knowing that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick thinks on an entirely different plane when it comes to the draft, we wouldn't be surprised if the pick here was Kelvin Benjamin—even though he won't be around for the 2015 season.

    However, we're going to instead go with tight end Eric Ebron out of North Carolina. He hasn't quite emerged as a superstar, but he is a 6'4", 250-pound tight end who ran a 4.60-second 40 at the combine. We're sure Belichick would find something to do with him.

    Ebron did begin to show some promise as a pass-catcher this past season, hauling in 47 passes for 537 yards and five scores. His numbers would probably be even better in a two-tight end set with Rob Gronkowski on the other side of the formation and Tom Brady under center.

    Actually, the more we think about Ebron possibly going to the Patriots, the more we're glad he didn't fall this far. It almost wouldn't seem fair.

    New England's original choice at No. 30, Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley, isn't even on the team anymore. Passing on him for another offensive weapon seems like a no-brainer.

    Original Pick: Dominique Easley

    Revised Pick: Eric Ebron

30. San Francisco 49ers, Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

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    Back in 2014, the San Francisco 49ers used this slot on Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. While we've seen some flashes from Ward over the past two seasons—he did rack up 57 tackles in 2015—he's spent the bulk of his pro career playing nickelback.

    Instead of Ward, we're going to give the 49ers hard-hitting safety Calvin Pryor out of Louisville.

    While we didn't feel that Pryor was a good fit for the Jets at pick No. 20, it feels like he provides solid value for the 49ers down here at No. 30. He had 69 tackles and two interceptions this past season, and he's actually operating from the safety position.

    Pro Football Focus rated Pryor 42nd overall among safeties for the 2015 season.

    Pryor isn't a star safety, but it feels like adding him here gives San Francisco the type of player it was looking for when it drafted Ward the first time around.

    Original Pick: Jimmie Ward

    Revised Pick: Calvin Pryor

31. Denver Broncos: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

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    South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was at one time considered the most talented prospect in the entire 2014 draft class. Because of a lost rookie season and a slow-developing pro game, he falls to pick No. 31 in our redraft.

    Clowney appeared in just four games as a rookie in 2014, but he seemingly turned the corner in 2015. As a pure pass-rusher, he still has some work to do, but he showed flashes of his elite potential this past season. He finished the year with 40 tackles, 4.5 sacks and six passes defended.

    Pro Football Focus rated him ninth overall among 3-4 outside linebackers for the 2015 season.

    The Denver Broncos can afford to gamble on Clowney's future here because they are already a playoff-caliber team that doesn't necessarily need an immediate contributor. Clowney fits into the team's long-term plans of building a defensive bully, a plan that got underway during the 2014 offseason.

    Originally, the Broncos went with Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby here. However, he is off our board. Even knowing Clowney would essentially redshirt his rookie year, Denver has to like the idea of making him a defensive end-linebacker hybrid in a pass-rush rotation that would include both Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware—a rotation that was forged in 2014.

    Original Pick: Bradley Roby

    Revised Pick: Jadeveon Clowney

32. Minnesota Vikings: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

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    An early run on quarterbacks in this redraft leaves the Minnesota Vikings with few options for this end-of-round trade up. We have seen little real-game action from Eastern Illinois product Jimmy Garoppolo to this point, but we actually feel like this could be a decent fit.

    The Vikings have a strong defense in place to go with star running back Adrian Peterson, who Minnesota won't know will be absent for much of the 2014 season. Garoppolo won't be asked to do too much in order to win games and will be able to develop slowly as an NFL passer.

    One of the traits that scouts liked about Garoppolo coming into the draft was his ability to sell play action. With Peterson in the backfield, this trait is instantly magnified.

    At 6'2" and 226 pounds, Garoppolo has adequate size for the position, so he fits the bill over a boom-or-bust (and definitely busted) candidate like Johnny Manziel. Garoppolo isn't as pro-ready as Minnesota's original choice, Teddy Bridgewater. However, Bridgewater has been off the board for some time here.

    Perhaps here in a few months, we'll have a better grasp on what kind of pro Garoppolo is. Per, federal appeals court reinstated New England Patriots starter Tom Brady's four-game suspension from the deflated-football scandal earlier this week. Chances are that Garoppolo will start when the regular season opens.

    Original Pick: Teddy Bridgewater

    Revised Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo