Re-Drafting the 2006 NFL Draft
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 29, 2006?
In our opinion, you'd end up with dudes from obscure schools like Bloomsburg, Hofstra, Monmouth, Samford and Shippensburg in Round 1, you'd have three original Cincinnati Bengals off the board in the Top 15, and you'd wind up with a guard in the top spot.
Here are the specifics in a re-draft that includes zero quarterbacks, three running backs, five wide receivers, two tight ends, five offensive linemen, eight front-seven defenders, eight defensive backs and one very special-teamer.
1. Houston Texans: OL Jahri Evans, Bloomsburg
What actually happened: Drafted edge Mario Williams
Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Saints
Yeah, this wasn't a top-heavy class. Don't be surprised if in 20 years it's one of the only pre-2010 draft classes in NFL history with no Pro Football Hall of Famers. You'll notice that it's a pretty deep class, but without any megastars we're left with a great-but-not-legendary interior offensive lineman in the top spot.
That's Jahri Evans, the only four-time first-team All-Pro from this group. He was one of the best guards in the sport over the course of 11 strong seasons with the New Orleans Saints, and he would have looked damn good alongside Duane Brown, Eric Winston and Chris Myers (and later Derek Newton and Ben Jones) when the Houston Texans were routinely competitive between 2009 and 2016.
Guard isn't a hyped position, but the Texans severely lacked talent at that spot during an otherwise promising stretch. Evans might not have gotten them to a Super Bowl, but he might have made a bigger difference than Williams, who had just two double-digit-sack campaigns in six years with the team.
2. New Orleans Saints: OL Nick Mangold, Ohio State
What actually happened: Drafted RB Reggie Bush
Where he was actually picked: 29th overall by the Jets
The Saints undoubtedly would have taken Evans. After all, the dude played a huge role when they won their only Super Bowl in the 2009 season. The next-best interior offensive line option is Nick Mangold, who made a class-best seven Pro Bowls over the course of a superb decade-long run with the New York Jets.
The Saints would likely have been able to move Jonathan Goodwin to guard along with Carl Nicks, with Mangold holding things down at center.
He might not be an upgrade over Evans, but it's arguably more important to replace a key offensive lineman than a secondary offensive weapon like Bush, who had just 725 scrimmage yards in that Super Bowl year and lasted just a handful of seasons in New Orleans.
3. Tennessee Titans: WR Brandon Marshall, Central Florida
What actually happened: Drafted QB Vince Young
Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Broncos
Yes, Young was the Offensive Rookie of the Year for the Tennessee Titans. But the former Texas star never won a playoff game over the course of five seasons in Tennessee. And even in that '06 campaign, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns and barely completed half of his passes.
The Titans could get crafty here if they figure Young and/or Jay Cutler wouldn't be re-drafted at all. We aren't conducting a second-round re-draft, so let's suppose that means the Titans keep Young. This way, they give the talented quarterback a star wide receiver in Central Florida product Brandon Marshall.
The six-time Pro Bowler leads the class in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. He would have come in handy for a Tennessee team that relied too heavily on guys like Drew Bennett, Justin Gage and Roydell Williams at the time.
4. New York Jets: DT Haloti Ngata, Oregon
What actually happened: Drafted OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Where he was actually picked: 12th overall by the Ravens
Ferguson was a Pro Bowl left tackle when the New York Jets made back-to-back AFC Championships in 2009 and 2010, but the Jets have another first-round pick, and there are a lot of good tackles available. So instead, it's worth seeing if a star like Haloti Ngata could have put them over the top on defense.
The five-time Pro Bowler was a second-team All-Pro when the Jets made their '09 run and a first-teamer in 2010. He would have provided a clear upgrade over Sione Pouha up front for the Jets, and the playoff success he had with the Baltimore Ravens would come in handy for Gang Green.
He beats out Kyle Williams and top pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil and Mario Williams, none of whom peaked quite like Ngata.
5. Green Bay Packers: WR Greg Jennings, Western Michigan
What actually happened: Drafted LB A.J. Hawk
Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Packers
Don't think the Green Bay Packers would mess with something that wasn't broken here. Wide receiver Greg Jennings went over 1,200 yards with 12 touchdowns when the team won the Super Bowl in 2010. He scored two touchdowns in that one-score Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he went over 100 yards in each of the two postseason wins that preceded that.
Marques Colston might have had a better career than Jennings, but his curve was flatter. The Western Michigan product was more productive in 2010 than Colston was in any of his 10 NFL campaigns.
Hawk was also a starter on that 2010 championship team, but he wasn't a Pro Bowler like Jenning (who also earned that honor in 2011).
6. San Francisco 49ers: CB Antonio Cromartie, Florida State
What actually happened: Drafted TE Vernon Davis
Where he was actually picked: 19th overall by the Chargers
Davis played a big role on some very good San Francisco 49ers teams, but those teams lacked talent at cornerback. In this case, it might be worth sacrificing Davis for a superstar cover man like Antonio Cromartie.
The four-time Pro Bowler clearly would have been the best corner on the roster when they were a perennial contender between 2011 and 2013.
Remember, in hindsight, the 49ers probably overlooked their other tight end, Delanie Walker, who flourished in a bigger role when he left town to join the Tennessee Titans in 2013. That'd make it worth giving up Davis, especially since San Francisco never won a Super Bowl during that stretch anyway.
Cromartie edges out Johnathan Joseph, who was also a star corner at that time but was never an All-Pro and earned half as many Pro Bowl nods despite a longer career.
7. Oakland Raiders: CB Johnathan Joseph, South Carolina
What actually happened: Drafted S Michael Huff
Where he was actually picked: 24th overall by the Bengals
In fact, that career continues for Joseph, who started 11 games for the Texans last season and recorded multiple interceptions in both 2017 and 2018. The longevity would come in handy for an Oakland Raiders team that didn't have a winning season between 2003 and 2015 but became relatively competitive when Derek Carr arrived midway through the 2010s.
Those teams certainly could have used a reliable No. 1 corner like Joseph, who has 31 picks, seven forced fumbles, eight touchdowns and 186 starts under his belt.
He'd at least make a lot more sense than Huff, who never emerged despite plenty of opportunities over the course of a seven-plus-year run in Oakland.
8. Buffalo Bills: OT Andrew Whitworth, LSU
What actually happened: Drafted S Donte Whitner
Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Bengals
Like the Raiders, the Buffalo Bills would be smart to re-draft a dude with staying power in this round. After all, Buffalo still hasn't won a playoff game this century, and the Bills didn't even sniff the playoffs between 2006 and 2016.
They've been pretty competitive the last three years, though, and they could have used a proven veteran leader at a key position. That makes offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth an obvious reselection.
The LSU product is a four-time Pro Bowler, and he was a first-team All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams when the Bills were a playoff team in 2017. He'd have provided a significant upgrade over Dion Dawkins the last three seasons.
9. Detroit Lions: Edge Elvis Dumervil, Louisville
What actually happened: Drafted LB Ernie Sims
Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Broncos
The Detroit Lions would have to make this re-draft selection thinking about 2011 and 2014—the only two seasons since 1996 in which they won double-digit games. One thing they could have used in those campaigns? A game-changer on the edge to work with star interior defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
Enter Elvis Dumervil, who between 2011 and 2015 made four Pro Bowls, recorded 53 sacks, forced 11 fumbles and earned a second career first-team All-Pro honor (in 2014). He registered 17 sacks alone in that '14 season, which could have been huge for a Detroit defense that didn't have a defensive end reach the eight-sack mark that year.
Real-life top pick Mario Williams would also make more sense than Sims, who lasted just four years in Detroit. But Williams peaked a lot earlier than Dumervil and wasn't quite as much of a force in those later seasons.
10. Arizona Cardinals: Edge Mario Williams, NC State
What actually happened: Drafted QB Matt Leinart
Where he was actually picked: First overall by the Texans
But that's exactly why Williams would be a tremendous fit for the Arizona Cardinals. Back when the Lions were still tripping over themselves in the late stages of the 2000s, the Cards became a contender between 2007 and 2009.
Williams put up 35 sacks and made two Pro Bowls with the Texans during that three-year stretch, and his 12 sacks in 2008 would have led an NFC-winning Cards team by a huge margin.
No Cardinal recorded more than five sacks that season, and the Cards got to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger just twice in a close Super Bowl loss. Williams might have been capable of putting them over the top.
He certainly would have helped more than Leinart, who at that point was nothing more than a clipboard holder while Kurt Warner did his thing.
11. St. Louis Rams: DT Kyle Williams, LSU
What actually happened: Traded back, drafted CB Tye Hill 15th overall
Where he was actually picked: Fifth round by the Bills
The St. Louis Rams would also be best served re-drafting a player who remained effective for a long period of time, because the Rams weren't a threat again until 2017 and 2018. Offensive tackle Donald Penn would make sense now that they've lost Andrew Whitworth, but he fell off a cliff after a Pro Bowl 2017 season.
Instead, let's roll with defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and missed just one start as a reliable key player in Buffalo between 2016 and his retirement following that '18 campaign.
He made six Pro Bowls over the course of an underrated 13-year career there, and he'd have looked good next to Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. That sure beats Hill, who lasted just three disappointing seasons in St. Louis.
12. Cleveland Browns: S Antoine Bethea, Howard
What actually happened: Traded back, drafted edge Kamerion Wimbley 13th overall
Where he was actually picked: Sixth round by the Colts
Who could have helped the Cleveland Browns earn an extra win or two when they went 10-6 but missed the playoffs in 2007? That was their only competitive season in the last decade-and-a-half, but Wimbley's presence wasn't enough, as he suffered somewhat of a sophomore slump following an 11-sack rookie campaign.
Instead, they'd be better off with safety Anthoine Bethea, who intercepted four passes as a Pro Bowler for the Indianapolis Colts that year and went on to have a long and successful career in Indy, San Francisco and Arizona.
Bethea was never a superstar, but he made three Pro Bowls and recorded the eighth triple-digit-tackle season of his career with the New York Giants in 2019. He could be helping the Browns right now, and he would have been an upgrade over either Sean Jones or Brodney Pool back in '07.
13. Baltimore Ravens: DT Domata Peko, Michigan State
What actually happened: Traded up, drafted DT Haloti Ngata 12th overall
Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Bengals
With both Ngata and Williams gone, what choice do the Baltimore Ravens have? Domata Peko wasn't the same caliber player as either of them, but he's the next interior defensive lineman up for a team that now has a huge hole up front on defense.
From the time be became a starter for Cincinnati in 2007 until he departed the Denver Broncos following a 16-start 2018 campaign, Peko was a consistently reliable defensive tackle. He started 16 games in 10 of those 12 seasons as a jack-of-all-trades interior defender.
That's something Baltimore certainly could have used without Ngata.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Marques Colston, Hofstra
What actually happened: Drafted DT Brodrick Bunkley
Where he was actually picked: Seventh round by the Saints
Speaking of consistent productivity, that became Marques Colston's trademark during a 10-year run with the Saints in which he went over 900 yards eight times. He amazingly never made a Pro Bowl, but the real-world seventh-round pick out of Hofstra could have done a lot to help the Philadelphia Eagles in that time frame.
For the early part of that stretch, the Eagles were relying on dudes like Reggie Brown, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant and Hank Baskett at wide receiver. Colston was better than all of those guys. And even when DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin emerged together at the turn of the decade, they could have found room for Colston as at least a third option rather than Avant or Riley Cooper.
Bunkley, meanwhile, had a few solid seasons in Philly but never took off and was playing elsewhere by 2011.
15. Denver Broncos: S Donte Whitner, Ohio State
What actually happened: Traded up, drafted QB Jay Cutler 11th overall
Where he was actually picked: Eighth overall by the Bills
Again, maybe in this alternate timeline, the Denver Broncos still end up with Cutler because he's not selected in this re-draft. That's worth the risk because there's no way they'd re-select him 15th overall, let alone 11th. He spent just three seasons there, and the Broncos failed to make the playoffs during that stretch.
Donte Whitner would make a lot more sense here. After all, John Lynch was on his last legs at the safety position, and aside from a short but impressive late-career stretch for Brian Dawkins, the next few years featured duds like Nick Ferguson, Hamza Abdullah, Marquand Manuel, Marlon McCree and Quinton Carter at safety for the Broncos.
Whitner was a two-time Pro Bowler who remained effective deep into the 2010s.
16. Miami Dolphins: Edge Tamba Hali, Penn State
What actually happened: Drafted S Jason Allen
Where he was actually picked: 20th overall by the Chiefs
This was an abysmal draft class for the Miami Dolphins, starting with Allen, who made just 19 starts in five years with the team. Re-selecting one player in the middle of the first round won't make this a good class, nor will it change the fact that Miami was a write-off for much of the next decade. But the Dolphins did make the playoffs in 2008, so they'd be smart to look at who could have helped them then while remaining productive for as long as possible.
Tamba Hali fits that profile.
A Kansas City Chiefs first-rounder, the five-time Pro Bowler represents great value here after recording 86 sacks and missing just five starts over the course of the next decade in K.C. He was an effective starter from the get-go and would have helped a defense that usually lacked a second pass-rushing weapon in those days.
17. Minnesota Vikings: WR Miles Austin, Monmouth
What actually happened: Drafted LB Chad Greenway
Where he was actually picked: He wasn't
Greenway wasn't a bad pick for a Minnesota Vikings team that got 140 starts out of the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker over the course of the next decade. But the status quo didn't earn Minnesota a Super Bowl or even an NFC Championship victory, so they'd have to mix it up here.
A good way to do that would have been with wide receiver Miles Austin, who could have helped when Minnesota was a double-digit-win playoff team in 2008 and 2009. He hadn't yet emerged in '08, but the Vikings would use hindsight to give him more early opportunities than he had with the Dallas Cowboys.
In that '09 season, they came just short of the Super Bowl with Brett Favre at quarterback. Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian made up a decent trio at wide receiver then, but Austin's 2009 campaign eclipsed all three of those players on paper. His presence might have been enough to put Minnesota over the top.
18. Dallas Cowboys: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, UCLA
What actually happened: Drafted LB Bobby Carpenter
Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Jaguars
Carpenter started just three games in four seasons with a Dallas Cowboys team that was extremely competitive during that stretch in spite of a busted 2006 first-round pick.
With a do-over, they'd be better off upgrading at running back. The Julius Jones/Marion Barber/Tashard Choice/Felix Jones days were not particularly fruitful on the ground, and they'd miss Austin now as well on offense. That could make Santonio Holmes a candidate here, but we'll roll with running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Between 2006 and 2011, "Mojo" was one of the best backs in football. His 74 touchdowns during that stretch ranked second to only LaDainian Tomlinson, and he made three Pro Bowls while also earning a first-team All-Pro nod before he began to decline in 2012.
19. San Diego Chargers: CB Brent Grimes, Shippensburg
What actually happened: Drafted CB Antonio Cromartie
Where he was actually picked: He wasn't
Cromartie is off the board, but the San Diego Chargers still benefit from the fact that this rookie class was loaded with successful cornerbacks. And while they could go with several potential corners here, we'll suggest the undrafted Brent Grimes over Tramon Williams, Tim Jennings and Cortland Finnegan.
Williams didn't peak like Grimes. He had one great season in 2010, but that was his only Pro Bowl campaign, and he was never a first-team All-Pro. Grimes made four Pro Bowls with Miami and the Atlanta Falcons, compared to just one for Williams, one for Finnegan in Tennessee and two for Jennings with the Chicago Bears.
And he might have done a lot more had he not been overlooked during his first few seasons in Atlanta.
Grimes is the closest the Chargers can come to replacing Cromartie and maintaining the success that came their way between 2006 and 2009.
20. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Tramon Williams, Louisiana Tech
What actually happened: Drafted edge Tamba Hali
Where he was actually picked: He wasn't
Now we've launched a run on quality cornerbacks.
The Kansas City Chiefs lost Hali earlier in this draft, but with Tramon Williams, they at least add a talented defender who had staying power. The undrafted Louisiana Tech product was a Pro Bowler when the Chiefs made the playoffs in 2010, and he continued to be effective throughout the 2010s (he had two interceptions as a member of the Green Bay Packers in 2019).
With the draft's top pass-rushers gone, going this route makes a lot of sense for a team that has never exactly been loaded at cornerback. Williams would have been the team's top corner in that 2010 season and would have helped a lot when they were consistently in contention between 2013 and 2018.
21. New England Patriots: CB Devin Hester, Miami (FL)
What actually happened: Drafted RB Laurence Maroney
Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Bears
Maroney started just 14 games in four seasons with the New England Patriots, who proceeded to use zero first-round picks on offensive skill-position players over the course of the next decade.
Instead, Bill Belichick would be all over a wildly dangerous weapon like Devin Hester, who was never really a standout cornerback or wide receiver but became one of the best return men in NFL history.
The Miami (FL) product scored a ridiculous 11 return touchdowns in his first two professional seasons. He was an All-Pro returner three times, including when he again scored three punt-return touchdowns in 2010, and he did put up nearly 1,900 yards and 10 touchdowns as a receiver between 2008 and 2010.
Belichick would have had a field day.
22. San Francisco 49ers: TE Vernon Davis, Maryland
What actually happened: Drafted LB Manny Lawson
Where he was actually picked: Sixth overall by the 49ers
Remember when the 49ers risked giving up Davis earlier to land Cromartie? This turns into a coup here because Davis remains on the board.
Lawson never really took off and was no longer on the roster when the competitive Jim Harbaugh era got underway, but Davis was a key member of those teams. They get him back here with solid value. It's a no-brainer, as they ultimately traded in Lawson for Cromartie without losing anyone else.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Santonio Holmes, Ohio State
What actually happened: Drafted G Davin Joseph
Where he was actually picked: 25th overall by the Steelers
With Joseph on board, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put together three winning seasons in a four-year stretch between 2007 and 2010, but they didn't win a single playoff game during that run. That was due partly to the fact that they lacked offensive firepower. Relying on an old Joey Galloway as well as guys like Ike Hilliard, Antonio Bryant, Michael Clayton and Mike Williams wasn't ideal.
But Santonio Holmes might have been good enough to help the Bucs win some playoff games in those years.
The Ohio State product went over 750 yards in each of his first five seasons—a stretch that included five playoff touchdowns for the Super Bowl XLIII MVP.
24. Cincinnati Bengals: OT Donald Penn, Utah State
What actually happened: Drafted CB Johnathan Joseph
Where he was actually picked: He wasn't
The Bucs also risked passing on Donald Penn there, which is unfortunate because the undrafted offensive tackle became a Pro Bowl blind-side protector in Tampa. But again, the status quo wasn't working there anyway.
The Cincinnati Bengals benefit from that, though, because Penn at least relieves some of the stress caused by the loss of Andrew Whitworth, Johnathan Joseph and Domata Peko, all of whom were retaken in the top 13.
Penn essentially replaces Whitworth. And while the undrafted Utah State product isn't as accomplished as Whitworth, he did have staying power, and he emerged earlier when he made his first Pro Bowl in 2010. That could have helped the Bengals when they became a relatively consistent contender in 2009.
25. New York Giants: CB Tim Jennings, Georgia
What actually happened: Traded back, drafted edge Mathias Kiwanuka 32nd overall
Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Colts
The New York Giants might not want to mess with what helped them win the Super Bowl 21 months after this draft took place, but Kiwanuka was generally overshadowed by Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan that season.
By instead taking cornerback Tim Jennings, they likely would still win championships in 2007 and 2011 and would have increased their chances of winning in other seasons.
The former Georgia cornerback was a Pro Bowler with the Bears in 2012 and 2013. In those two seasons alone, he intercepted 13 passes and scored three touchdowns, and he was also a quality starter in the years that directly preceded and followed that hot stretch. He would have upgraded the secondary on a 10-win team in 2010, and he would have been by far the best cover man on another winning team trying to defend a title in 2012.
26. Chicago Bears: LB DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
What actually happened: Traded out of Round 1
Where he was actually picked: Second round by the Texans
Some of these are damn obvious. For instance, the Chicago Bears went to the Super Bowl in the 2006 season, falling short against the Colts. In this spot, '06 Defensive Rookie of the Year DeMeco Ryans is available.
Yeah, Chicago had Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs at linebacker, but Ryans could have made a larger impact than Hunter Hillenmeyer. It'd be worth a shot if you're the Bears, especially because the tackle machine continued to be a strong player who made a pair of Pro Bowls in 2007 and 2009.
27. Carolina Panthers: CB Cortland Finnegan, Samford
What actually happened: Drafted RB DeAngelo Williams
Where he was actually picked: Seventh round by the Titans
Williams had a nice long career for the Carolina Panthers, but they won just a single playoff game during his nine-year tenure in that offense. Might as well try something fresh in hopes that somebody late in Round 1 could put you over the top in a semi-competitive year.
Take cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who flashed for only a short time as a member of the Tennessee Titans but was one of the best defensive backs in the league at his peak. And that peak just so happened to be mainly in 2008, when he was a first-team All-Pro with five interceptions and 17 passes defended in a season in which the Panthers went one-and-done in the playoffs despite a 12-4 regular season.
That team in particular could have had a chance at making a run with Finnegan starting in place of Ken Lucas opposite Chris Gamble.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Kamerion Wimbley, Florida State
What actually happened: Drafted TE Marcedes Lewis
Where he was actually picked: 13th overall by the Browns
Like Williams in Carolina, Lewis had a nice long run with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And he was a factor when Jacksonville made waves in 2007. But Wimbley could have helped even more in his early years.
Cleveland's real-world No. 13 overall pick put up 11 sacks as a rookie and was a solid starting edge defender for another half-decade. He could have been a difference-maker on a Jags defense that lacked pass-rushing prowess in that '07 season and had nobody with more than five sacks when Wimbley put up nine in 2010.
29. New York Jets: OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia
What actually happened: Drafted C Nick Mangold
Where he was actually picked: Fourth overall by the Jets
Just like the 49ers, the Jets deftly landed a potential difference-maker with their top-10 pick and then wound up with a chance to take their original top-10 selection in the bottom half of Round 1.
While they'd miss Mangold, a team that suddenly has Haloti Ngata can take solace in the fact that it would still have Pro Bowl left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson in those competitive 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
Ferguson never became a legend, but he never missed a start in 10 relatively steady seasons as the blind-side protector there.
30. Indianapolis Colts: RB Joseph Addai, LSU
What actually happened: Drafted RB Joseph Addai
Where he was actually picked: 30th overall by the Colts
They've already lost Bethea and Jennings in the secondary, so there's no way the Indianapolis Colts can let another member of that '06 Super Bowl team get away.
Joseph Addai didn't have a long career in Indy, but the running back did compile 143 yards on 29 touches when the team beat Chicago in Super Bowl XLI, and he followed that up with a 15-touchdown Pro Bowl campaign in 2007.
31. Seattle Seahawks: TE Owen Daniels, Wisconsin
What actually happened: Drafted CB Kelly Jennings
Where he was actually picked: Fourth round by the Texans
Jennings was a regular starter in just two seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, and he was never a standout player. He intercepted just two passes in six NFL campaigns.
Instead, Seattle could gamble to see if tight end Owen Daniels could have put them over the top when the team made playoff runs in 2006 and 2007. The Wisconsin product caught 97 passes for 1,120 yards and eight touchdowns those two years in Houston, which far exceeded the contributions put forth by Seattle tight ends Jerramy Stevens (in 2006) and Marcus Pollard (in 2007).
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Reggie Bush, USC
What actually happened: Traded up, drafted WR Santonio Holmes 25th overall
Where he was actually picked: Second overall by the Saints
The Pittsburgh Steelers could have gone with DeAngelo Williams here, but they lost a pass-catching weapon in Santonio Holmes, and Reggie Bush was a much more prolific receiver than Williams.
With no first-round-caliber wide receivers still on the board, Pittsburgh might as well roll the dice on the talented Bush. The former USC star never lived up to expectations in the NFL, but he compiled 1,200-plus yards from scrimmage in four separate seasons, he won a Super Bowl with the 2009 Saints, and he had some staying power.
He could have helped the Holmes-less Steelers when they were low on weapons in 2008 and 2009 in particular.