Re-Drafting the 2002 NFL Draft

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 23, 2020

Re-Drafting the 2002 NFL Draft

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    MATT HOUSTON/Associated Press

    This offseason, Bleacher Report is imagining how every NFL draft this century would go down if teams could jump into Dr. Emmett L. Brown's retrofitted DMC DeLorean and go back in time.

    What if they could all set the flux capacitor for April 20, 2002?

    In our opinion, you'd end up with no quarterbacks in Round 1 but four undrafted players in the top 15. And four original Philadelphia Eagles picks would go off the board in the first round, while five players who eventually played significant roles on the Pittsburgh Steelers would also be opening-round selections.

    Here are the specifics in a re-draft that includes zero signal-callers, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, five offensive linemen, 13 front-seven defenders and eight defensive backs.

1. Houston Texans: S Ed Reed, Miami (FL)

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    Tim Umphrey/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Drafted QB David Carr

    Where he was actually picked: 24th overall by the Baltimore Ravens

    The Houston Texans thought they found their franchise quarterback in this spot. But Carr was a complete bust, and it turns out there were no franchise quarterbacks in this class. 

    Instead, they would have been better off rolling with one of several defensive stars who came out of college in 2002. And while real-world No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers would have been a strong selection, you can't pass on safety Ed Reed here. 

    Reed was the first member of this draft class to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a five-time first-team All-Pro (nobody else in the class earned that honor more than three times), a nine-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion in 2012 and the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. 

    He has a league-high 64 interceptions this century (only two other players have more than 50), 21 of which came in his first three seasons. He would have immediately made the Texans a lot better than they were.

2. Carolina Panthers: Edge Julius Peppers, North Carolina

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted edge Julius Peppers

    Where he was actually picked: Second overall by the Carolina Panthers

    Yeah, the Carolina Panthers could have taken Reed. But considering the Miami product wasn't really viewed as a top-five pick at the time, we're allowed to say Carolina got this right.

    Peppers went on to become one of the greatest players in franchise history. He matched Reed with nine Pro Bowl nods, was a three-time first-team All-Pro and ranks fourth on the all-time sack list with 159.5. 

    Only Robert Mathis has forced more fumbles this century.

    He was the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year in '02 and a huge reason the team made the Super Bowl in 2003. It's a shame Carolina failed to win a championship in any of his 10 seasons there, but that doesn't change the fact he was a game-changer throughout a long and successful run with the Panthers, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

3. Detroit Lions: Edge James Harrison, Kent State

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    What actually happened: Drafted QB Joey Harrington 

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    James Harrison was not among the 261 players chosen in this draft, but the five-time Pro Bowler was so dominant and intimidating in his prime that he'd have to be a top-five pick in the event of a do-over. 

    The Detroit Lions, who wasted this pick on bust quarterback Joey Harrington, would likely have a tough decision to make between Harrison and fellow edge-defender Dwight Freeney, both of whom had multiple first-team All-Pro appearances and won Super Bowls. 

    Freeney had a longer run as a great player (he made seven Pro Bowls compared to five for Harrison), but Harrison was the Defensive Player of the Year when the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2008. He was a bigger difference-maker on a championship team, and some bad early-2000s Detroit Lions teams could have used his energy and leadership.

    Either would have been much better than Harrington, who threw more interceptions than touchdown passes and went 18-37 in four years as Detroit's quarterback.

4. Buffalo Bills: Edge Dwight Freeney, Syracuse

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    George Gojkovich/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted OT Mike Williams 

    Where he was actually picked: 11th overall by the Indianapolis Colts

    With Reed, Peppers and Harrison off the board, Freeney becomes a no-brainer re-draft selection for a Buffalo Bills team that got only 48 starts out of the disappointing Williams. 

    The Syracuse product ranks 18th on the all-time sack list, and only Peppers and former teammate Robert Mathis have forced more fumbles since the turn of the century. He and Peppers both earned three first-team All-Pro nods, and his seven Pro Bowl honors ranked third in the class. 

    The Bills also would have appreciated Freeney's longevity. He had nine seasons with at least eight sacks over the course of a 14-year span that concluded when he was a member of the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, and Peppers was the only member of this class with more campaigns as a regular starter.

    The Bills would have cherished him opposite solid pass-rusher Aaron Schobel.

5. San Diego Chargers: S Roy Williams, Oklahoma

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    What actually happened: Drafted CB Quentin Jammer 

    Where he was actually picked: Eighth overall by the Dallas Cowboys

    With all due respect to Roy Williams and those who follow him, this draft class falls off a cliff after the top four go off the board.

    Picking Williams instead of Jammer wouldn't have necessarily put the San Diego Chargers over the top, but he earned five Pro Bowl nods and was also an All-Pro once in six seasons as a regular starter in Dallas.

    He barely beats out offensive lineman Andre Gurode, who would have been an upgrade over Nick Hardwick or Mike Goff, both of whom were relied on heavily as part of the Chargers' interior offensive line.

    Jammer was a reliable starter for a decade in San Diego, but he was never an All-Pro or even a Pro Bowler. Williams was a much more special player, and he'd help a secondary that now doesn't have Jammer and was about to lose Rodney Harrison. That had to be considered a larger weak spot than the offensive line.

6. Dallas Cowboys: G Andre Gurode, Colorado

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    What actually happened: Traded back, drafted S Roy Williams eighth overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Dallas Cowboys

    With Williams off the board, the Dallas Cowboys roll with their second-round pick. Gurode was a hit in the No. 37 spot and would now earn top-five consideration. He had a fairly long and successful career as an upper-echelon player and earned five Pro Bowl honors as the Cowboys' starting center.

    The Colorado product is the sixth and final member of this year's rookie class who made at least five Pro Bowls, and he was also a second-team All-Pro in 2009 (those accolades are particularly tough to achieve at his position).

    The Cowboys would probably be tempted by Bart Scott or Brian Westbrook here. The Gurode selection isn't as sexy, but he was a more reliable player for a longer stretch.

7. Minnesota Vikings: LB Bart Scott, Southern Illinois

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted OT Bryant McKinnie

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    McKinnie had a nice long career with the Minnesota Vikings, but he didn't peak close to as high as Scott. The undrafted Southern Illinois product was one of the most productive and feared linebackers in the sport between 2005 and 2012, missing just one game in that consistently effective eight-year run with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.

    Scott was particularly ridiculous during Baltimore's 13-3 season in 2006 when he recorded 103 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits, nine passes defensed and two interceptions. It's a shame that was his only Pro Bowl campaign, though, because he was also a lights-out intimidator with the Jets between 2009 and 2012.

    He makes a lot more sense than McKinnie and a little more sense than Albert Haynesworth, mainly because Minnesota had recently used high draft picks on defensive tackles Chris Hovan and Fred Robbins.

8. Kansas City Chiefs: DT Albert Haynesworth, Tennessee

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted DT Ryan Sims sixth overall

    Where he was actually picked: 15th overall by the Tennessee Titans

    Haynesworth is the fifth and final member of this rookie class who was a multiple first-team All-Pro. His prime was short, and he was a Pro Bowler in only those two All-Pro seasons and never again, but he was the second runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008 (ironically behind Harrison and Reed). 

    In '07 and '08, he truly was one of the best defensive players in the game. And while he was never the same after leveraging that success into a $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs would still be smart to gamble on Haynesworth rather than Sims or a skill-position player like Brian Westbrook or Jeremy Shockey in this spot.

    It's worth seeing what he might have done when Kansas City was a contender in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and the Chiefs certainly didn't need a tight end or running back with Tony Gonzalez and Preist Holmes on board. Meanwhile, Sims never made a Pro Bowl and was never a standout player in K.C. or elsewhere.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Jeremy Shockey, Miami (FL)

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    What actually happened: Drafted DT John Henderson 

    Where he was actually picked: 14th overall by the New York Giants

    Henderson was by no means a bad pick. But the Jacksonville Jaguars already had Marcus Stroud, and an embarrassment of riches at one position didn't do them much good in the years to come (they won one playoff game between 2002 and 2016). 

    Instead, the Jags could have done more to support Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith and eventual starting quarterback Byron Leftwich by immediately upgrading for years to come with tight end Jeremy Shockey.

    Shockey was a first-team All-Pro with 894 receiving yards as a rookie. He didn't sustain that for too long, but he still made three more Pro Bowls, went over 600 yards four more times and scored six or more touchdowns in three other campaigns.

    This is so-so value for a player who fills a big need.

10. Cincinnati Bengals: RB Brian Westbrook, Villanova

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    What actually happened: Drafted OT Levi Jones 

    Where he was actually picked: Third round by the Philadelphia Eagles

    Westbrook represents tremendous value in this spot, so much so that if trades were allowed, somebody likely would have leaped ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals to select the versatile running back eighth or ninth overall. 

    The Chiefs and Jaguars had little need for him at the time, but even with Corey Dillon on the roster, the Bengals couldn't let the slide continue.

    Dillon faded in 2003 and played elsewhere beyond that season anyway. Meanwhile, Westbrook became a stellar dual-threat option who scored double-digit touchdowns in '03 and followed that up with five consecutive 1,200-plus-scrimmage-yard seasons in Philadelphia.

    He made two Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro when he went over 2,100 yards from scrimmage in 2007, and he was an integral member of Philly's 2004 Super Bowl team.

    That beats the hell out of Jones, who never made a Pro Bowl and was out of football at age 30.

11. Indianapolis Colts: S Ryan Clark, LSU

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    What actually happened: Drafted edge Dwight Freeney

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    With Freeney and all of the top-tier edge-defenders gone, an Indianapolis Colts team that still hadn't drafted Bob Sanders and rarely had good partners for Sanders grabs the second-best undrafted player from this rookie class in Ryan Clark. 

    The LSU product was a Pro Bowler just once, but he was a regular starter in 10 seasons and stood out consistently between 2004 in Washington and his retirement following a 2014 swan song with the Redskins. Between those rounds in D.C., Clark was a key member of the Super Bowl-winning 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers and a Pro Bowler with that team in 2011.

    He played in two Super Bowls as a Steeler and was a leader in that veteran locker room. That's enough to give him an edge over John Henderson, who would also address a weak area and made a pair of Pro Bowls instead of one.

    Neither re-draft pick would be bad, though.

12. Arizona Cardinals: DT John Henderson, Tennessee

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    WADE PAYNE/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Drafted DT Wendell Bryant 

    Where he was actually picked: Ninth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars

    This is a natural fit considering the Arizona Cardinals drafted a defensive tackle anyway and Bryant didn't pan out. The highly touted Wisconsin product started just nine games in Arizona before a season-long substance-abuse suspension essentially ended his career in 2005.

    But they get good value for Henderson, who was originally a top-10 pick and was one of the best interior defensive linemen in the sport between 2002 and 2009. He missed just four games during that eight-year run with the Jaguars, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods along the way.

    If they had eventually paired Henderson with Darnell Dockett, might that 2008 team that lost the Super Bowl to Pittsburgh have had enough to hang on for the franchise's only Lombardi Trophy?

13. New Orleans Saints: Edge Aaron Kampman, Iowa

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    What actually happened: Drafted WR Donte Stallworth

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Green Bay Packers

    Aaron Kampman was never a difference-maker on the edge quite like Peppers, Harrison or Freeney. But for three or four years in the mid-2000s, he was a top-of-the-line pass-rusher for the Packers. That sure beats Stallworth, who lasted just four good-not-great seasons in New Orleans and didn't make an impact in the NFL beyond 2007. 

    Stallworth also wasn't a Pro Bowler. If the Saints wanted to take a wide receiver again, they might go for Javon Walker here instead. But they already had Joe Horn and would eventually find Marques Colston.

    In the years to come, they never had a pass-rusher peak as high as Kampman, who recorded 27.5 sacks in back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2006 and 2007.

    That mark led all NFC players, and his 56 quarterback hits were a league-high tally during that stretch.

    He'd certainly be an upgrade over Charles Grant, who they took with their second first-round pick this year, but he wouldn't likely be available in that No. 25 spot in a re-draft.

14. Tennessee Titans: G Brandon Moore, Illinois

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    What actually happened: Traded back, drafted DT Albert Haynesworth 15th overall

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    With Haynesworth gone and Henderson also unavailable, the Tennessee Titans go an even less sexy but extremely steady route with an undrafted guard.

    Brandon Moore wasn't a superstar at a glamor position, but he started every game for eight consecutive seasons with the New York Jets and was extremely consistent and reliable as both a run- and pass-blocker.

    It's surprising he made just one Pro Bowl, but he would have eventually lent a huge hand to a Titans team that often had continuity along the offensive line but could have used more young interior talent when they were competitive between 2007 and 2011.

    They were always stronger outside than inside, which is why McKinnie continues to slide.

15. New York Giants: WR Javon Walker, Florida State

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted TE Jeremy Shockey 14th overall

    Where he was actually picked: 20th overall by the Green Bay Packers

    The New York Giants were also pretty solid at offensive tackle in these days, but they did lose a pass-catcher when Shockey went to Jacksonville in the top 10. Here, they sort of replace him by at least giving eventual franchise quarterback Eli Manning another talented target in wide receiver Javon Walker.

    In Green Bay during Manning's rookie year with the Giants, Walker caught 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. That was his only Pro Bowl campaign, but he also went over 1,000 yards with the Denver Broncos in 2006. It was downhill from there, but the Giants might take this chance, hoping to squeeze a little more out of the Florida State product.

    At the very least, he would have provided a huge upgrade over Ike Hilliard in support of Amani Toomer (and, later, Plaxico Burress).

16. Cleveland Browns: RB Clinton Portis, Miami (FL)

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    What actually happened: Drafted RB William Green 

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Denver Broncos

    Green helped the Cleveland Browns make the playoffs in 2002, but the Boston College product struggled mightily in a close wild-card loss to the Steelers and was never the same again. His injury-plagued career was over just a few years later. 

    Instead, the Browns would jump at the chance to take Clinton Portis, who was the Offensive Rookie of the Year with 1,872 scrimmage yards and 17 touchdowns for the Broncos and then went over 1,300 rushing yards in each of the next three seasons in Denver and Washington.

    Between 2002 and 2008, only LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for more yardage than Portis. He likely would have gone off the board a lot earlier if not for the dynamic Westbrook, as well as the fact a lot of teams in the top half of Round 1 were already set in the offensive backfield at this point in time.

17. Atlanta Falcons: CB Lito Sheppard, Florida

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    What actually happened: Traded back, drafted RB T. J. Duckett 18th overall

    Where he was actually picked: 26th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles

    Duckett didn't pan out at all for the Atlanta Falcons, who at this point had aging, unremarkable cornerbacks and lacked talent in general on defense. So with this class' top two backs off the board, we'll give them exciting corner Lito Sheppard.

    The Florida product was a first-team All-Pro with five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in 2004 (when the Eagles went to the Super Bowl) and a Pro Bowler with six picks and another touchdown in 2006. In four seasons between '04 and 2007, he picked off 16 passes and defended 48 despite missing 15 games.

    Sheppard didn't experience a lot of success before or beyond that stretch, but that hot run alone made him quite valuable. He'd eventually make up one hell of a duo with 2004 first-round corner DeAngelo Hall.

18. Washington Redskins: C LeCharles Bentley, Ohio State

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    What actually happened: Traded back twice, drafted QB Patrick Ramsey 32nd overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the New Orleans Saints

    We're generally assuming that these players wouldn't have been significantly better or worse wherever they land in this experiment, but LeCharles Bentley was so good that you could still envision a team swinging the bat here in hopes that he wouldn't suffer a career-crushing knee injury in this alternate timeline.

    The real-world second-round pick out of Ohio State was dominant from the get-go as both a guard and a center in New Orleans, earning Pro Bowl nods in 2003 and 2005. He missed only seven games in those four years and looked as though he was on track to enjoy a tremendous career before tearing his patellar tendon soon after signing a big free-agent deal with the Cleveland Browns.

    Ensuing complications meant Bentley would never again play in the NFL.

    Still, he was good enough for that short time that he's still worthy of a first-round selection in this spot, especially by a team like the Washington Redskins that could have used a boost in the interior offensive line.

19. Denver Broncos: OT Bryant McKinnie, Miami (FL)

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    What actually happened: Drafted WR Ashley Lelie 

    Where he was actually picked: Seventh overall by the Minnesota Vikings

    The McKinnie slide finally ends with the Denver Broncos, who didn't get much out of Lelie. But in these days, they lacked continuity and top-end talent at offensive tackle and didn't get much out of 2003 first-round tackle George Foster.

    "Mount" McKinnie missed just four games over the course of an eight-year starting run with the Vikings. He was a Pro Bowler just once, but it's a good thing that said Pro Bowl campaign took place when he was on the north side of 30 in 2009.

    He had longevity, and he continued to be effective while playing for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 and 2012 (he was the starting left tackle in Baltimore's Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers).

    Lelie went over 1,000 yards once with Denver but scored just eight touchdowns in the other six seasons of his career, and there are no other receivers worthy of the top 20. McKinnie is a no-brainer.

20. Seattle Seahawks: DL Brett Keisel, BYU

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    What actually happened: Traded back, drafted TE Jerramy Stevens 28th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Seventh round by the Pittsburgh Steelers

    In real life, the Seattle Seahawks landed a second-round pick by trading back here, but that pick wasn't fruitful (who remembers Anton Palepoi?). Neither was the selection of Stevens, who never hit 600 yards or surpassed the five-touchdown plateau in five seasons with the Seahawks and four with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    So instead, the Seahawks can focus on a defensive line that, at the time, lacked talent and didn't really build up until the tail end of the decade.

    Brett Keisel, Charles Grant and Alex Brown would all make sense here, but Keisel had a little more staying power. He was a consistently effective starter for the Steelers between 2006 and 2013, earning a Pro Bowl nod along the way.

21. Oakland Raiders: CB Quentin Jammer, Texas

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    What actually happened: Traded up twice, drafted CB Phillip Buchanon 17th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth overall by the San Diego Chargers

    Rather than trading up twice to land Buchanon, the Oakland Raiders can sit still here and land a better cornerback who was drafted higher and had a more successful career. 

    Not a bad deal. 

    Buchanon was a playmaker during his three years in Oakland, but the Raiders traded him away in 2005, and he intercepted nine passes over the course of seven seasons for the rest of his career. Consistency was a problem, and he never made a Pro Bowl.

    Jammer wasn't a star either, but he was a lot steadier over the course of an 11-year career with the Chargers (he spent one more season with the Denver Broncos in 2013). He started twice as many games (162) as Buchanon (81) and defended 140 passes in that time.

22. New York Jets: Edge Charles Grant, Georgia

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    What actually happened: Drafted edge Bryan Thomas 

    Where he was actually picked: 25th overall by the Saints

    Thomas never lived up to expectations despite a long run with the New York Jets, who instead would have been better off with a player they might have considered as an alternative in this spot. Grant, who was selected three spots later by New Orleans, had a pair of double-digit-sack campaigns coming off the edge for New Orleans in 2003 and 2004.

    That's a mark Thomas never hit in his 11-year career in New York.

    Grant peaked early and never made a Pro Bowl, but he did remain a strong starter through 2009 and finished his eight-year career with an impressive 17 forced fumbles. The Jets could have used that level of production out of this slot.

23. Oakland Raiders: G Jonathan Goodwin, Michigan

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    What actually happened: Drafted LB Napoleon Harris 

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Jets

    Like Phillip Buchanon, Harris had a decent three-season run in Oakland before going elsewhere and he didn't have much staying power beyond that. Original Panthers third-round selection Will Witherspoon would make sense as an alternative at the same position, but a team that lacked interior offensive line depth and would soon lose center Barret Robbins might be better off taking a swing with offensive lineman Jonathan Goodwin.

    I say it's a swing because Goodwin was a late-bloomer who only became successful when he became a starting center in New Orleans (and later San Francisco) in his 30s. Prior to that, the fifth-round pick failed to consistently find the light of day behind guys like Brandon Moore, Kevin Mawae and Nick Mangold in New York.

    Did the Jets overlook Goodwin? The Raiders would have a chance to start him earlier and find out.

24. Baltimore Ravens: CB Sheldon Brown, South Carolina

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    What actually happened: Drafted S Ed Reed

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Philadelphia Eagles

    With Reed longgggg gone, the Ravens settle for the only other player in this class who intercepted more than 25 passes in his career. Sheldon Brown was never a superstar, but he picked off 26 passes in 11 seasons and missed just one game over the course of a nine-year run as a starter in Philadelphia and Cleveland.

    Philly's real-world second-round pick also forced nine fumbles and scored four defensive touchdowns. He started against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

    He would have been an upgrade at the starting cornerback spot opposite All-Pro Chris McAlister.

25. New Orleans Saints: Edge Alex Brown, Florida

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    What actually happened: Drafted edge Charles Grant 

    Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Chicago Bears

    With Grant gone, the New Orleans Saints grab the best pass-rusher remaining to team up with Darren Howard (and, later, his successor, Will Smith). Alex Brown never had a double-digit-sack season, but he recorded three-plus forced fumbles, six-plus sacks and four or more passes defended in three consecutive seasons with Chicago.

    Brown was a solid complement to Adewale Ogunleye in his prime, and he could have served in a similar role for the better part of a decade in New Orleans.

    He beats out off-ball linebackers Will Witherspoon, Larry Foote and former Saint Scott Fujita, mainly because he plays a more critical position.

26. Philadelphia Eagles: LB Will Witherspoon, Georgia

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    What actually happened: Drafted CB Lito Sheppard

    Where he was actually picked: Third round by the Carolina Panthers

    Witherspoon delivered to enough of an extent to merit a top-20 selection, but we struggled to find a spot for him until now. The Philadelphia Eagles would probably be looking at defensive backs Chris Hope and Michael Lewis here after losing Sheppard and Brown earlier in the re-draft, but they'd have a lot of trouble passing on a playmaker like Witherspoon.

    The original third-rounder out of Georgia accumulated 951 tackles, 26 sacks, 14 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns over the course of an underrated 12-year career in Carolina, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Tennessee.

    He could have helped a linebacking corps that didn't have a lot of talent beyond Jeremiah Trotter in the years to come.

27. San Francisco 49ers: S Chris Hope, Florida State

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    What actually happened: Drafted CB Mike Rumph 

    Where he was actually picked: Third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers

    Rumph started just 19 games in five NFL seasons, but there aren't any quality alternatives at cornerback here for the San Francisco 49ers. Instead, a team that lacked a consistent presence beyond Tony Parrish at safety could go with the underrated Chris Hope.

    The Florida State third-rounder intercepted 17 passes in a five-season span between 2005 and 2009 and was a Pro Bowler with the 2008 Titans. He was also a 16-game starter six times in a seven-season stretch in Pittsburgh and Tennessee—a run that included the Steelers' Super Bowl XL victory over Seattle.

28. Green Bay Packers: WR Deion Branch, Louisville

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted WR Javon Walker 20th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Patriots

    The Green Bay Packers lost Javon Walker earlier in the draft, but they'd probably prefer to keep the second-round pick they traded away to move up for Walker and instead take the next-best receiver available, Deion Branch.

    Unlike Walker, Branch never hit 1,000 yards or made a Pro Bowl. But while the former seemed to burn bridges in Green Bay and elsewhere over a short career, Branch was a relatively reliable and consistent producer over the course of 10 years in New England and Seattle.

    Walker had just three 600-yard seasons; Branch had six. Oh, and he was MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX. 

    He'd have been an ideal complement to Donald Driver, and later, Greg Jennings.

29. Chicago Bears: S Michael Lewis, Colorado

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    What actually happened: Drafted OT Marc Colombo 

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Philadelphia Eagles

    At this stage, the Chicago Bears had somewhat of a revolving door next to standout safety Mike Brown. Considering that Colombo didn't pan out (he started just seven games in Chicago) and that no other successful offensive tackles are available here, we'll roll with Michael Lewis.

    Another member of a great Eagles draft class that played a huge role in the team's 2004 Super Bowl season, the Colorado product was a Pro Bowler in that '04 campaign and a regular starter in three seasons in Philly and three more in San Francisco.

    He finished a short-but-solid career in 2010 with double-digit sacks and picks.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Larry Foote, Michigan

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    What actually happened: Drafted G Kendall Simmons

    Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers

    Like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost a lot of good players in this re-draft, and they're not about to let longtime steady linebacker Larry Foote get away as well.

    Pittsburgh drafted Foote in the fourth round, but he greatly exceeded expectations over the course of a 13-year career that included two starts in Super Bowl victories, three Super Bowl appearances altogether and eight full or relatively full seasons as a starter in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Arizona. His numbers were never exceptional, but the Michigan product had 80-plus tackles six times and was a respected and reliable leader.

    That has to make him a better pick than Simmons, who was a solid five-year starter at right guard but wasn't a factor beyond 2007.

31. St. Louis Rams: LB Scott Fujita, California

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    What actually happened: Drafted LB Robert Thomas 

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs

    Speaking of steady linebackers from the middle rounds, the St. Louis Rams get one in Scott Fujita, who recorded 80-plus tackles five times and started 125 games during an 11-season run in Kansas City, Dallas, New Orleans and Cleveland.

    Also a respected locker room presence and a Super Bowl starter, Fujita would have been a short- and long-term upgrade over Thomas, who failed to start a dozen games in all seven of his pro seasons.

32. New England Patriots: WR Donte Stallworth, Tennessee

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted TE Daniel Graham 

    Where he was actually picked: 13th overall by the New Orleans Saints

    The New England Patriots lost a Super Bowl MVP earlier in this round, so it'd make a lot of sense for them to draft a receiver who they signed at two different points in his volatile 10-year career.

    The No. 13 overall pick failed to live up to that draft status even before pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter, which derailed his career in 2009. But he did go over 500 yards in five of his first six seasons, and he scored 31 touchdowns in that span.

    The Patriots would probably wonder if they could have gotten more out of Stallworth if they had him from the start. This would be their chance.