Re-Drafting the 2003 NFL Draft

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMay 26, 2020

Re-Drafting the 2003 NFL Draft

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    TOM UHLMAN/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 26, 2003?

    In our opinion, you'd end up with an undrafted quarterback in the top spot, six undrafted players in Round 1 and no signal-callers beyond the second selection.

    Here are the specifics in a re-draft that includes only two quarterbacks, just one running back, just two wide receivers, two tight ends, four offensive linemen, 11 front-seven defenders and 10 defensive backs.

1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Tony Romo, Eastern Illinois

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    DONNA MCWILLIAM/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Drafted QB Carson Palmer

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    Tony Romo was passed on 262 times in this draft before eventually emerging as a franchise quarterback in Dallas. He made four Pro Bowls, won 61 percent of his starts and retired with the fourth-highest qualified passer rating in NFL history.

    Palmer obviously had more natural talent, but there's little reason the Cincinnati Bengals would draft him again. He wasn't the problem in Cincinnati, but after Pro Bowl seasons in 2005 and 2006, he led the league in interceptions in 2007, and he struggled for the remainder of his eight-year run there. He was never the same after suffering a severe knee injury in a 2005 playoff loss to the Steelers.

    The Bengals, who won zero playoff games during Palmer's tenure, would be better off giving a shot to Romo in this do-over.

2. Detroit Lions: QB Carson Palmer, USC

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    David Madison/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted WR Charles Rogers

    Where he was actually picked: First overall by the Bengals

    That enables the Detroit Lions to give a shot to Palmer, who might have experienced better fate in another home. Detroit's top 2002 draft pick, quarterback Joey Harrington, turned out to be a bust, and quarterback play was a major problem for the team throughout this decade.

    From 2003 to 2009, the Lions were the NFL's losingest team. They were also the only team in the NFL to throw 150 interceptions during that stretch, and they had the league's fourth-lowest team passer rating.

    Palmer might not have fixed that, but he'd have done a heck of a lot more than Rogers, who caught 36 passes in an NFL career that lasted just three seasons.

    A number of players on the board in this spot had better careers than Palmer, but the Lions were so bad at the time that the talents of Andre Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Antonio Gates or Terrell Suggs would have been wasted in the Motor City. Only a quarterback could have been a difference-maker.

3. Houston Texans: WR Andre Johnson, Miami

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted WR Andre Johnson

    Where he was actually picked: Third overall by the Texans

    Johnson didn't lead the Houston Texans to much glory during his 12 seasons there, but there's no way the team has any regrets about drafting him third overall in 2003. With Romo and Palmer unavailable, they'd happily reselect one of just three players from this class who earned multiple All-Pro nods and seven or more Pro Bowl nominations.

    Plus, Johnson is a legend in Houston and arguably the best offensive player in franchise history. He ranks in the NFL's top 12 on the all-time receptions list and the all-time receiving yardage list.

    That positive history in Houston gives him an edge over defensive stars Troy Polamalu and Terrell Suggs, partly because the Texans eventually became a damn good defensive team anyway thanks to guys like Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and J.J. Watt.

4. New York Jets: S Troy Polamalu, USC

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted DT Dewayne Robertson

    Where he was actually picked: 16th overall by the Steelers

    This represents tremendous value for the New York Jets, who land the only confirmed Hall of Famer in this class and the only one with four All-Pro nods combined with more than six Pro Bowl honors.

    Polamalu was a Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time Super Bowl champion and an absolute game-wrecker from 2004 to 2013 in Pittsburgh. The Jets were stellar defensively when they made back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010, but imagine how much better they would have been with Polamalu alongside superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis in the secondary.

    Maybe, under those circumstances, they'd have overcome the Colts in 2009 or Polamalu's Steelers in 2010.

    This wasn't a tough call, especially considering the defensive player they drafted in this spot never made a Pro Bowl and wasn't even a Jet when the team was competitive from 2008 to 2010.

5. Dallas Cowboys: TE Antonio Gates, Kent State

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    Kirby Lee/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted CB Terence Newman

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    They've already lost Romo, so it would be tough for the Dallas Cowboys not to draft tight end Jason Witten in this spot. But while Witten is a future Hall of Famer, Antonio Gates was a playmaker on a different level.

    The only offensive three-time first-team All-Pro from this class, Gates scored 44 more touchdowns than Witten despite starting 55 fewer games. He had four double-digit-touchdown campaigns (compared to zero for Witten), and he averaged almost two more yards per reception.

    The Cowboys can't pass on the all-time touchdown leader at the tight end position, even if it means they won't have Romo, Witten or Newman. The latter would also certainly be re-drafted in the first round after a long, successful career in Dallas, Cincinnati and Minnesota.

6. Arizona Cardinals: Edge Terrell Suggs, Arizona State

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Traded back, drafted WR Bryant Johnson 17th overall and edge Calvin Pace 18th overall

    Where he was actually picked: 10th overall by the Ravens

    After 16 years in Baltimore, Terrell Suggs finally "came home" to where he played his college ball when he signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019. But if the Cards could go back in time, they'd surely pounce on the Arizona State product in this spot.

    Suggs will eventually be in the Hall of Fame. He made seven Pro Bowls over the course of a wildly long run in Baltimore that included 132.5 sacks, 33 forced fumbles, a first-team All-Pro nod in 2011 and a Super Bowl run in 2012. A widely respected and feared leader, he also had 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in the playoffs.

    That type of production could have come in handy when the Cardinals became a contender between 2008 and 2010. Nobody on the roster registered more than five sacks in their '08 Super Bowl season, and both Johnson and Pace were off the roster at that point.

    His longevity gives him an edge over five-time All-Pro defensive lineman Kevin Williams, whose role would have been a lot more similar to Darnell Dockett's.

7. Minnesota Vikings: DT Kevin Williams, Oklahoma State

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    PAUL RUTHERFORD/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Time expired twice, drafted DT Kevin Williams ninth overall

    Where he was actually picked: Ninth overall by the Vikings

    This is an appropriate spot for Williams' slide to end. If not for the infamous time expiration debacle, the Minnesota Vikings likely would have drafted him in this spot or traded down and selected him a pick or two later. And both he and Suggs were clearly worthy of top-10 selections.

    With Suggs off the board, this is obvious. The Oklahoma State product is the only five-time first-team All-Pro from this class. Although he wasn't effective for as long as Suggs, he was still a quality starter for 11 years in Minnesota.

    Re-drafting the same player wouldn't all of a sudden give the Vikings their first Super Bowl title, but Minnesota won the division twice and won a pair of playoff games during Williams' tenure. They'd at least replicate that success with Williams, while the same can't be said with certainty of anyone else still on the board.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: TE Jason Witten, Tennessee

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Moved up when Minnesota's time expired, drafted QB Byron Leftwich seventh overall

    Where he was actually picked: Third round by the Cowboys

    Leftwich didn't pan out for the Jacksonville Jaguars and was out of a starting job just a few years later, which means the Jags would still have a quarterback problem following this re-draft. But with hindsight, they could make things easier on their quarterback with the addition of Witten.

    The future Hall of Famer led this class with a ridiculous 11 Pro Bowl nods, and that number could still grow because he remains active as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. He ranks second all-time at that position in both receptions and yardage, and that staying power counts for quite a lot.

    He would have provided the offense with a significant upgrade over Kyle Brady and, later, Marcedes Lewis. And it's worth noting his best season came when Jacksonville made a playoff run in 2007. How convenient.

9. Carolina Panthers: OT Jordan Gross, Utah

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    RICK HAVNER/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Moved up when Minnesota's time expired, drafted OT Jordan Gross eighth overall

    Where he was actually picked: Eighth overall by the Panthers

    Like Minnesota, the Carolina Panthers didn't win a Super Bowl in the real-life timeline that ensued after they drafted offensive tackle Jordan Gross. That makes his reselection less than exciting, but don't forget that they went to their first Super Bowl as the rookie Gross started at right tackle in 2003.

    The Utah product went on to earn three Pro Bowl honors as well as a first-team All-Pro credit over the course of an impressive 11-season tenure in Carolina. The Panthers won five playoff games during that span.

    That makes Gross the more sensible pick than other nominees in this spot like Robert Mathis, Nnamdi Asomugha and Lance Briggs, especially because Carolina already had Julius Peppers, Kris Jenkins, Dan Morgan and Will Witherspoon on defense.

10. Baltimore Ravens: Edge Robert Mathis, Alabama A&M

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    Brian To/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted edge Terrell Suggs

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Colts

    When the Cardinals stole Suggs, Mathis was an obvious consolation prize for the Baltimore Ravens.

    The edge defender didn't have the same staying power as Suggs, but the two were first-team All-Pros once each. Mathis earned just two fewer Pro Bowl nods (five versus seven) and the Alabama A&M product leads every player this century with 54 forced fumbles.

    Baltimore was a contender in 2006, 2008 and 2009 despite the fact that Suggs wasn't at his best statistically during that stretch. Mathis put up much better numbers in those years, and he had a big game against Baltimore in the 2006 playoffs en route to a Colts Super Bowl victory. At times, he might have felt like an upgrade over Suggs.

    For what it's worth, he averaged 0.64 sacks per game, compared to 0.57 for Suggs.

11. Seattle Seahawks: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, California

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    Kirby Lee/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted CB Marcus Trufant

    Where he was actually picked: 31st overall by the Raiders

    Trufant was good for the Seattle Seahawks, but Asomugha was a lot better. In fact, from 2008 to 2010, he was arguably the best cornerback in football. He was a Pro Bowler three times and a first-team All-Pro twice during that stretch after a 2006 campaign in which he intercepted eight passes.

    His pick totals were never high again, but that's mainly because nobody dared to consistently throw into his coverage.

    Asomugha didn't sustain that success for a long period of time—he never lived up to a big-money deal with the Eagles after his tenure in Oakland—but competitive 2005, 2006 and 2007 Seahawks teams could have used his shutdown coverage.

12. St. Louis Rams: LB Lance Briggs, Arizona

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    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Drafted DT Jimmy Kennedy

    Where he was actually picked: Third round by the Bears

    Kennedy started just 30 games in four unimpressive seasons with the St. Louis Rams and became a journeyman backup after that. Still, this St. Louis team needed more talent in the front seven. Kevin Williams would have been an ideal replacement for Kennedy, but with him off the board, the Rams will roll with the best defensive player available in Briggs.

    The longtime Bears linebacker is the only player left from this class who earned five-plus Pro Bowl nods. He achieved that honor seven times while also getting a first-team All-Pro credit in a wild 2005 campaign in which he might have been the Defensive Player of the Year if not for teammate Brian Urlacher.

    Briggs remained an effective contributor in Chicago through 2012. The Rams, who consistently struggled on defense during that period, desperately needed a presence like the one he brought to Chicago.

13. Chicago Bears: CB Charles Tillman, Louisiana-Lafayette

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    What actually happened: Traded back, drafted edge Michael Haynes 14th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Bears

    The Chicago Bears certainly would have taken Briggs if he wasn't stolen by the Rams in the previous slot, but instead, they'll salvage part of their eventual defensive core with Charles Tillman.

    The Bears had some legendary defenses in several of the seasons following this draft, and Tillman was a key cog in all of those campaigns. The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback intercepted five passes in 2005 and then replicated that when the Bears went to the Super Bowl in 2006.

    From 2003 to 2013, only four NFL players recorded more picks (36). He continued to produce well into his 30s, scoring five touchdowns and intercepting nine passes between 2011 and 2013. Three of those scores came in 2012 when he was a first-team All-Pro.

    That gives him a slight edge over Asante Samuel, who was also a killer playmaker at corner but wasn't as consistent in coverage.

14. New England Patriots: CB Asante Samuel, Central Florida

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted DT Ty Warren 13th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Patriots

    Besides, it makes more sense if Tillman lands back in Chicago and Samuel went to the New England Patriots 14th overall. Warren was a good but unspectacular player in New England, but Samuel was a difference-maker for a team that was always in contention.

    The Pats relied on him heavily as a sophomore starter in Super Bowl XXXIX, and he twice led the league in interceptions. There's also a good chance the Pats don't go 16-0 in 2007 if not for Samuel's two interceptions (one of which was a pick-six) in New England's 31-28 November victory over Philadelphia.

    The four-time Pro Bowler is one of just three players with 50-plus interceptions this century. While it'd be tempting for the Patriots to steal Osi Umenyiora from the Giants or grab a star offensive skill-position player like Anquan Boldin, there's no way they can pass up on readding Samuel.

15. San Diego Chargers: G Kris Dielman, Indiana

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    Mark Konezny/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Traded down, drafted CB Sammy Davis 30th overall

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    The San Diego Chargers essentially traded this pick for Sammy Davis and Terrence Kiel, neither of whom lasted more than a handful of unimpressive seasons in the NFL. If they could do it all again, they'd stand pat and take Troy Polamalu or Antonio Gates. But with both of those studs long gone, they can at least grab another one of their undrafted success stories from 2003.

    That'd be guard Kris Dielman, who started 97 games in San Diego and missed just three outings over the course of his six-year prime. He was a Pro Bowler every season from 2007 to 2010 and a big reason why Bolts running back LaDainian Tomlinson was so dominant during that period.

    The Chargers, of course, did not win a Super Bowl during the Dielman era, and it would be even harder without Gates. But Dielman helped them win five division titles, so the smart move would be to reclaim him.

16. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Anquan Boldin, Florida State

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    What actually happened: Traded down, drafted RB Larry Johnson 27th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Cardinals

    Johnson was incredible for two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, but that was it, and it didn't result in any playoff success. Instead, the Chiefs add an offensive weapon with more staying power in Boldin, who addresses a need and is statistically the best player available anyway.

    The three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver had seven 1,000-yard seasons altogether. He was the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year in '03, and he scored 12 regular-season and playoff touchdowns when the Cardinals went to the Super Bowl in 2008.

    He would have been an upgrade over an aging Johnnie Morton and likely would have been the team's most reliable receiver through the Eddie Kennison and Dwayne Bowe eras.

17. New Orleans Saints: Edge Osi Umenyiora, Troy

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted DT Johnathan Sullivan sixth overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Giants

    The New Orleans Saints made one of the worst trades in draft history when they dealt this and the 18th overall pick in order to select Sullivan in the top 10. The Georgia product started just 16 games, and his career was over in 2006.

    In the event of a do-over, the Saints would likely stand pat and instead add Polamalu or Gates. But with those guys and other diamonds in the rough off the board in this experiment, it's onto Giants hero Osi Umenyiora.

    One of just three players from this class (along with Suggs and Mathis) to record 85 or more career sacks, the Troy product was a first-team All-Pro with 14.5 quarterback takedowns in New York's breakout 2005 campaign and a Pro Bowler with 13 when the Giants improbably won the Super Bowl in 2007.

    A few years later, he forced a career-high 10 fumbles in another double-digit-sack season. Although he began to fade beyond that, Umenyiora had 3.5 playoff sacks when the Giants went on another Super Bowl run in 2011.

    The competitive Saints could have used a player like that when they didn't have a player hit the eight-sack mark in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

18. New Orleans Saints: CB Terence Newman, Kansas State

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    ED BETZ/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted DT Johnathan Sullivan sixth overall

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth overall by the Cowboys

    The Saints also could have used more talent at cornerback, especially in the years preceding their 2009 Super Bowl campaign. Newman would have provided that.

    The original top-five selection started 205 games in his 15-year career, intercepting 42 passes and earning two Pro Bowl nods. He was at his best right when the Saints were competitive but short on talent in coverage.

    He's clearly the top option available in this spot.

19. New England Patriots: C Dan Koppen, Boston College

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    What actually happened: Traded out of Round 1, acquired a first-round pick in 2004

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Patriots

    Even with another kick at the can, the Patriots would probably be tempted to trade back again. The talent really drops off around this spot, but the Pats can utilize this pick—originally used by Baltimore on Kyle Boller—to add another middle-round steal who helped them forge a dynasty.

    Dan Koppen was a steady starter on two Super Bowl teams and a Pro Bowler when the Patriots went 16-0 in 2007. He started 120 games over a nine-year period as Tom Brady's center (and Matt Cassel's in 2008). Although he's not a Hall of Famer, he was a consistently reliable force as a key member of a phenomenal offense for a long stretch.

    Bill Belichick wouldn't think twice before readding him here.

20. Denver Broncos: Edge Calvin Pace, Wake Forest

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    What actually happened: Drafted OT George Foster

    Where he was actually picked: 18th overall by the Cardinals

    Foster never made a Pro Bowl and was a regular starter for just three years for the Denver Broncos, who could use this opportunity to find a bigger difference-maker.

    The team could have taken edge defender Calvin Pace, who bloomed late but recorded 49.5 sacks over a steady eight-season span that included his final year with Arizona and seven of his eight campaigns with the Jets. The former Wake Forest star was a 16-game starter in six of those seasons, and he peaked with 10 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles as a 33-year-old in 2013.

    Pace was never an NFL star, but he would have made a good complementary piece alongside Reggie Hayward in the early days and Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller later on.

21. Cleveland Browns: OL David Diehl, Illinois

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    What actually happened: Drafted C Jeff Faine

    Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Giants

    Faine became a decent starter but lasted just three seasons with the Cleveland Browns and was never a standout player. He also lacked staying power, as his effectiveness dropped off when he was a Buccaneer at the end of the decade.

    Instead, Cleveland will roll with David Diehl, the only other offensive lineman from this class (in addition to Gross and Dielman) who played at a first-round level.

    Drafted as a guard, the steady, versatile Illinois product started the first 120 games of his career with the Giants. He was a key member of both New York Super Bowl teams (starting both years at left tackle), and he was a Pro Bowler in 2009.

    He could have provided the Browns stability on the blind side before the Joe Thomas era started in 2007, and even then he would have been an upgrade in multiple spots along the offensive line.

22. Chicago Bears: Edge Chris Clemons, Georgia

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    What actually happened: Drafted QB Rex Grossman

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    Still reeling from the make-believe loss of Lance Briggs, the Bears use their second first-round pick on a front-seven defender who was passed on in all seven rounds but delivered like a pass-rusher worthy of this draft slot in his prime.

    While that prime came late for Chris Clemons, Chicago might also figure it could use hindsight to get more out of the Georgia product than the Redskins, Raiders or Eagles were able to. After missing his rookie season with a torn ACL, Clemons started just three games in five seasons with those teams before finding a groove in Seattle. He registered 11-plus sacks in three consecutive seasons with the Seahawks and then eight more a couple of years later in Jacksonville.

    He's no Briggs, but he packed enough punch on the edge and had enough longevity to rotate with Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye early and Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije later on.

23. Buffalo Bills: RB Larry Johnson, Penn State

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    What actually happened: Drafted RB Willis McGahee

    Where he was actually picked: 27th overall by the Chiefs

    We're mixing it up because the impact Johnson made was similar to that of McGahee, but McGahee was coming off a major knee injury early and never fully took off. The Bills never made the playoffs with him on the roster. 

    Why not try Johnson instead? The Penn State product peaked in a massive way in late 2004 and all of 2005 and 2006, but it's entirely possible that explosion would have come sooner if the opportunity presented itself.

    That might have been the case in Buffalo, where Drew Bledsoe and Co. could have been pushed over the top by a player who compiled over 4,000 scrimmage yards and scored 40 touchdowns in a two-season span with the Chiefs.

24. Indianapolis Colts: CB Rashean Mathis, Bethune-Cookman

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    What actually happened: Drafted TE Dallas Clark

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Jaguars

    The Indianapolis Colts would be tempted to roll with Clark because he played a big role on a Super Bowl team and you might not want to mess with that, especially after losing Robert Mathis. Instead, they'll replace one Mathis with another, albeit at a different defensive position.

    The same year the Colts won the Super Bowl, All-Pro cornerback Rashean Mathis intercepted eight passes in Jacksonville, giving him 20 picks in the first four seasons of his career. He faded a bit from there but remained a pretty solid starter for four more years.

    Before winning it all in 2006, the Colts were a perennial contender that struggled defensively. An upgrade at corner over Jason David or Nick Harper could have put them over the top.

25. New York Giants: CB Marcus Trufant, Washington State

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    What actually happened: Drafted DT William Joseph

    Where he was actually picked: 11th overall by the Seahawks

    It's been a tough re-draft for the Giants, who already lost Umenyiora and Diehl before hitting the clock. At least they get a do-over on Joseph, who started just 17 games in his career and wasn't a factor when the team made its Super Bowl run in 2007.

    It works out well that the best player available here would have helped a secondary that was still somewhat of a liability.

    Marcus Trufant was an instant starter at cornerback in Seattle. He intercepted five passes as a sophomore and made the Pro Bowl with seven picks the year the Giants won their first of two Super Bowls this century. He likely would have been the No. 1 corner in New York from at least 2005 to 2008.

26. San Francisco 49ers: Edge Cory Redding, Texas

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    What actually happened: Drafted OT Kwame Harris

    Where he was actually picked: Third round by the Lions

    Harris spent just two seasons as a regular starter for the San Francisco 49ers and was out of the league by 2009. Instead, a team that recorded an NFC-low 57 sacks in 2004 and 2005 and didn't rank above the league median in that category until 2009 adds some support on the edge with Texas product Cory Redding.

    It's not a sexy pick, but few are this late in Round 1. The Niners needed help on that side of the ball, and Redding was a solid player all the way through their next contention window in the early part of the next decade. He started 147 games in Detroit, Seattle, Baltimore and Indy.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers: S Quintin Mikell, Boise State

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted S Troy Polamalu 16th overall

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    This is an attempt at replacing Polamalu, which is realistically impossible. Still, Quintin Mikell was at his best when the Pittsburgh Steelers made Super Bowl runs in 2008 and 2010, and he was a Pro Bowler in 2009.

    From 2008 to 2011, he missed just one start and registered 10 picks, 43 passes defended, eight forced fumbles, four sacks and 362 tackles.

    The undrafted safety was brought along slowly in Philadelphia, but with hindsight the Steelers might have given him a chance to contribute when they were in contention in 2004, 2005 and 2006 (he became a starter for the Eagles in 2007).

28. Tennessee Titans: LB Nick Barnett, Oregon State

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    MIKE ROEMER/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Drafted CB Andre Woolfolk

    Where he was actually picked: 29th overall by the Packers

    Woolfolk started just a dozen games in four NFL seasons, so we're giving a Tennessee Titans team that lacked talent on defense a steady linebacker in Nick Barnett.

    The Oregon State product wasn't a superstar, but he intercepted three passes and recorded more than 100 tackles as a rookie starter with the Packers, and he hit triple digits in tackles in seven of his next nine campaigns.

    He would have looked nice next to Keith Bulluck in that front seven.

29. Green Bay Packers: LB Gary Brackett, Rutgers

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    KEVIN RIVOLI/Associated Press

    What actually happened: Drafted LB Nick Barnett

    Where he was actually picked: He wasn't

    With Barnett off the board, the Packers go with the next best linebacker available in Gary Brackett, who wasn't drafted but was a quality starter for six years in Indianapolis.

    The Rutgers product had a team-high eight tackles in two separate Super Bowl starts and finished his career with five campaigns of 99-plus tackles.

    He would have essentially played Barnett's role.

30. Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Chris Kelsay, Nebraska

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    What actually happened: Traded up, drafted edge Jerome McDougle 15th overall

    Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Bills

    Chris Kelsay didn't have McDougle's ceiling, but in this case the Philadelphia Eagles land a decent starter on the edge without having to sacrifice a second-round pick in a trade up.

    Kelsay was a regular starter in eight consecutive seasons in Buffalo, where he compiled 30.5 sacks and more than 400 tackles. That sure beats McDougle, who never started a game in a disappointing, injury-plagued career.

31. Oakland Raiders: CB Ike Taylor, Louisiana-Lafayette

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    What actually happened: Drafted CB Nnamdi Asomugha

    Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Steelers

    With Asomugha long gone, the Oakland Raiders grab a Steelers value pick in Ike Taylor, who spent nearly a full decade as a starting cornerback in Pittsburgh.

    The Louisiana-Lafayette product never peaked like Asomugha, but he was a key member of a pair of championship teams, he started in three Super Bowls (he picked off Matt Hasselbeck to practically ice Super Bowl XL) and he missed just four games from his age-25 season to his age-33 campaign.

32. Oakland Raiders: S Yeremiah Bell, Eastern Kentucky

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    What actually happened: Drafted edge Tyler Brayton

    Where he was actually picked: Sixth round by the Dolphins

    Brayton was a decent player, but Yeremiah Bell was simply better.

    The former started 47 games in five seasons in Oakland, but his numbers never took off. The latter emerged late but put together four consecutive seasons of triple-digit tackles and had three interceptions as a Pro Bowler with the Dolphins in 2009.

    Remember, the Raiders entered dark ages at this point. Both Taylor and Bell had the staying power to outlast that rut.

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