Re-Drafting the 2010 NFL Draft

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystJuly 16, 2020

Re-Drafting the 2010 NFL Draft

0 of 32

    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    The 2010 NFL draft is known for a few things.

    It was the final draft before the rookie wage scale kicked in with the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. First overall pick Sam Bradford was the last No. 1 selection to get a gonzo payday before even playing a down—$50 million in guarantees.

    It also had possibly the best trio of defensive tackles ever in the same class. Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy went in the top five, while Geno Atkins lasted until Round 4. The threesome has combined for 19 Pro Bowl nods.

    Defensive tackle wasn't the only loaded position. The edge-rusher crop was deep. Both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham entered the NFL. And there was no shortage of wide receiver talent.

    This draft produced a fistful of players who will be enshrined in Canton. But if we knew then what we know now, how much different would the first round of the 2010 draft look?

    That's what we're here to find out.

    With the benefit of hindsight (and without draft-day trades—only deals consummated before April 22, 2010, are included), I've run the 2010 draft through the hot tub time machine and re-slotted the round.

    The St. Louis Rams are on the clock—and Bradford isn't getting that monster payday.

1. St. Louis Rams

1 of 32

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma

    New Pick: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

    It surprised no one when the St. Louis Rams drafted Sam Bradford first overall in 2010. But while Bradford had his moments in the NFL, he never came close to living up to the expectations that came with his draft slot (and the six-year, $78 million contract that came with it).

    Part of Bradford's struggles can be attributed to poor pass protection over his time in St. Louis. After this re-pick, the Rams still need a quarterback—but at least whoever they get will have his blind side covered.

    Trent Williams' 2019 season was wiped out by a dispute with Washington, but for most of the past decade the 6'5", 320-pounder has been one of the best left tackles in the game. Seven straight times from 2012 to 2018, he made the Pro Bowl.

    Left tackle is a premium position—enough so for Williams to beat out the other stars from the class of 2010.

2. Detroit Lions

2 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

    New Pick: Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan

    Ndamukong Suh has had an excellent NFL career. His selection at second overall in 2010 was a good one by the Detroit Lions, and it won't be long until his name gets called in this re-draft.

    But there's a player available who has made an even bigger impact in the pros—even if his career has taken a strange turn.

    Toward the end of Brown's tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he grew unhappy and demanded a trade. Pittsburgh dealt him to the Oakland Raiders, but he never played for them in a game that counted thanks to a series of incidents of erratic behavior. The Raiders released him, but less than two weeks after he signed with New England, Brown was released by the Patriots amid multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

    However, for a six-year stretch from 2013 to 2018, there wasn't a better wideout in the NFL. Brown has made seven Pro Bowls total, has been named a first-team All-Pro four times and is tied for the second-fewest games to amass 10,000 career receiving yards.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 of 32

    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

    New Pick: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

    The 2009 Oklahoma Sooners were loaded with NFL talent. Three of the first four players selected in the 2010 draft played collegiately in Norman. Two of those players went on to be perennial Pro Bowlers.

    As you'll also soon see, the 2010 draft class was stacked at the defensive tackle position. It's debatable whether Gerald McCoy is the best of the lot, but it's a close enough call for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to stick with the original pick the franchise made in 2010.

    McCoy spent nine years with the Buccaneers, where he established himself as one of the most disruptive 3-technique tackles in the game. McCoy made six consecutive Pro Bowls from 2012 to 2017, tallying 44.5 sacks over that span. He was also named a first-team All-Pro in 2013.

4. Washington

4 of 32

    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma

    New Pick: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona

    It didn't take long for a team to be forced to re-pick. Were Trent Williams still on the board, he'd be an easy call again for Washington, but he's headed to the Gateway City in this do-over.

    As consolation prizes go, landing one of the best tight ends in the history of the game ain't so bad.

    In his prime, Rob Gronkowski was as difficult to defend as any player in the NFL. Four times over his nine-year career with the New England Patriots, Gronkowski topped 1,000 yards in a season—including a stat line of 90 receptions, 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2011 that was arguably the best year a tight end has ever had.

    Gronkowski is a five-time Pro-Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro. A three-time Super Bowl champion, he was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2014 and was named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

    Other than that, he has just been OK.

5. Kansas City Chiefs

5 of 32

    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

    New Pick: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

    All things considered, the teams picking at the top of Round 1 in 2010 did well. Five picks into the first round, we already have two picks that are the same now as they were then.

    To be brutally honest, an argument can be made for a few players here over safety Eric Berry. But I don't have the heart to move a guy who was one of the best defenders the Chiefs have ever had.

    Berry spent nine seasons in Kansas City, and for most of that span he was one of the best safeties in the league. He topped 70 tackles four times, piled up 14 interceptions, made the Pro Bowl five times and was a first-team All-Pro three times.

    After being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014, Berry not only recovered from cancer but also came back to have one of the best seasons of his career on the way to Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2015.

    Berry chose to have a new IV inserted for every chemotherapy session—rather than having a PICC line inserted once—so he could keep working out as he underwent cancer treatment.

    It doesn't get any tougher than that.

6. Seattle Seahawks

6 of 32

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

    New Pick: Earl Thomas III, S, Texas

    The 2010 NFL draft was an important one for the Seattle Seahawks. It would be a couple of years before Russell Wilson arrived in town, but the foundation for Seattle's Super Bowl teams was coming together—starting with an offensive tackle who would play in both those Super Bowls.

    However, while Russell Okung was good in Seattle, Earl Thomas III was great.

    It didn't long for Thomas to establish himself as one of the best free safeties in the league after being drafted 14th overall in 2010. By his second season, Thomas was named to the first of seven Pro Bowls. By his third season, he was a first-team All Pro. Thomas has four seasons with over 60 solo tackles, 30 career interceptions and three campaigns with five picks.

    Thomas was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s, and there's an excellent chance he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

7. Cleveland Browns

7 of 32

    David Richard/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

    New Pick: Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia

    As was already mentioned, the 2010 draft class was as loaded with defensive tackle talent as any in NFL history. Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and Geno Atkins all went on to become fixtures at the Pro Bowl.

    However, while Suh and McCoy were top-five picks in 2010, Atkins wasn't selected until the fourth round.

    The 6'1", 300-pounder wound up being arguably the best value in the draft.

    Last year's trip to the Pro Bowl was the eighth in Atkins' storied career. He's been named a first-team All-Pro twice, has tallied nine or more sacks five times and has piled up 75.5 sacks for his career—second-most in Bengals history (since sacks became an official statistic in 1982) and the most by an interior lineman.

    Cornerback Joe Haden was actually one of the better picks the Cleveland Browns have made in the last decade-plus.

    But Atkins is better still.

8. Oakland Raiders

8 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

    New Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

    The 2010 NFL draft was not especially kind to the Oakland Raiders. In their defense, they were hardly alone in believing that Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain would be a difference-maker in the pros.

    As it turns out, not so much.

    With this re-draft, the Raiders get a chance to rectify that mistake—and landing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh would do just that.

    At Nebraska, Suh was one of the most dominant defensive players in college football history. Short of the Heisman Trophy, Suh won virtually every award a player can in 2009. And he picked up in the NFL where he left off in Lincoln.

    In 2010, Suh amassed 10 sacks, was the Defensive Rookie of the Year and made the first of five career Pro Bowls. The 6'4", 313-pounder has tallied 58.5 career sacks, has been named a first- or second-team All-Pro five times and was included on the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.

9. Buffalo Bills

9 of 32

    Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Original Pick: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson

    New Pick: Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami (Fla.)

    The Buffalo Bills didn't necessarily do poorly with their selection of running back C.J. Spiller in 2010. He played eight seasons in the NFL, topped 1,200 rushing yards in 2012 and made a Pro Bowl. But due in part to injuries, Spiller never quite fulfilled his potential.

    Jimmy Graham has had his own issues with injuries—especially in recent years. But over the past decade or so, Graham also helped lead a charge (along with Rob Gronkowski) that changed how the tight end position is viewed by NFL teams.

    In just his second professional campaign, Graham turned in one of the best seasons ever by an NFL tight end—99 receptions, 1,310 yards and 11 scores. Two years after that, he caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 scores. He caught 10 touchdown throws a year later.

    All told, Graham has racked up almost 8,000 yards, scored 74 career touchdowns and been named to the Pro Bowl five times.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

10 of 32

    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Tyson Alualu, DT, Cal

    New Pick: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida

    Had one of the elite defensive tackles been available for the Jacksonville Jaguars here, it would be an easy call—and a sizable upgrade. Tyson Alualu was a capable pro in the NFL, but he was never a difference-maker.

    Edge-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul is another story.

    Pierre-Paul's career was thrown a major curveball in 2015 when a fireworks accident blew off part of his right hand. Then in 2019, he suffered a serious neck injury in an automobile crash.

    However, when healthy, Pierre-Paul has been one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL over the last decade. He's tallied at least 12 sacks in a season three times—highlighted by an 86-tackle, 16.5-sack effort in 2011.

    All told, Pierre-Paul has racked up 79.5 sacks over a career that includes a pair of Pro Bowl trips and a win in Super Bowl XLVI.

11. Denver Broncos (from Chicago Bears)

11 of 32

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers (by San Francisco 49ers)

    New Pick: Kam Chancellor, S, Virginia Tech

    Denver acquired this selection from the Chicago Bears in the 2009 trade that sent quarterback Jay Cutler to the Windy City and then flipped the pick to San Francisco. But since only predraft trades are included in this re-draft, that second deal doesn't count here.

    If you think that's confusing, wait until we get a little farther into the round—the Patriots were in full Monty Hall mode in 2010.

    However, if it meant landing Kam Chancellor, the Broncos probably wouldn't mind making the pick at No. 11.

    Over an eight-year career cut short by a neck injury, Chancellor was one of the most feared safeties in the NFL. In five of those eight seasons, he had at least 75 tackles. A four-time Pro Bowler, Chancellor was a key member of the "Legion of Boom" defense that trounced the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

12, Miami Dolphins

12 of 32

    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State (by San Diego Chargers)

    New Pick: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

    This pick also changed hands in the draft—San Diego made a move up the board to acquire running back Ryan Mathews, who went on to top 1,000 rushing yards twice over five years with the Bolts.

    With the Dolphins back on the clock after a disappointing 7-9 season in 2009, the other side of the ball gets addressed.

    For much of his decade in the Queen City, Carlos Dunlap has flown under the radar. He's not usually mentioned among the best 4-3 defensive ends in the league. He has been named to just two Pro Bowls and has only one season with more than 10 sacks.

    But only twice has Dunlap failed to reach 7.5 sacks in a season, and since sacks became an official stat in 1982, no player in Bengals history has gotten to the quarterback more.

13. San Francisco 49ers

13 of 32

    Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan (by Philadelphia Eagles)

    New Pick: NaVorro Bowman, LB, Penn State

    This pick was originally part of quite a bit of wheeling and dealing. The Broncos traded down from No. 11 to No. 13 and then slid back yet again in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. All that draft-day wheeling and dealing is out the door here, though, so the Niners go back on the clock…

    And wind up with a player the team drafted in the third round anyway.

    By his second season, NaVorro Bowman was starting for the 49ers opposite Patrick Willis. The duo formed the best one-two punch at inside linebacker in the NFL for some time, and Bowman more than held up his end of the deal. From 2011 to 2015, Bowman topped 140 total tackles four times, topped 100 solos three times and was named a first-team All-Pro every year except the 2014 season he lost to a knee injury.

    Injuries cut Bowman's career short, but when he was 100 percent, he was as good as any inside linebacker in the game.

14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)

14 of 32

    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Earl Thomas III, S, Texas

    New Pick: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

    After acquiring this pick from the Denver Broncos in 2009, the Seattle Seahawks used it to select safety Earl Thomas III.

    In this re-draft, Thomas is already in the Emerald City—which frees up the Seahawks to improve the offensive line by grabbing one of the best centers of the 21st century.

    When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Maurkice Pouncey 18th overall in 2010, it was the highest a center had been drafted since 1999. It didn't take long for Pouncey to repay Pittsburgh's confidence in his abilities—he started all 16 games as a rookie and made the Pro Bowl while anchoring the line for a Steelers team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

    It wouldn't be the first time Pouncey made the Pro Bowl. As a matter of fact, since he entered the NFL, there have only been two seasons in which he didn't earn that recognition.

15. New York Giants

15 of 32

    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Jason Pierre-Paul, EDGE, South Florida

    New Pick: Everson Griffen, EDGE, USC

    It's inevitable in these re-drafts that a team will be forced to turn to plan B at a position of need after the player it originally drafted comes off the board earlier.

    That's where the New York Giants find themselves at pick No. 15.

    Everson Griffen hasn't had the monstrous years Jason Pierre-Paul has occasionally produced. He hasn't been quite as consistent over the past decade as Carlos Dunlap. And at the moment, he's still looking for work.

    But over 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Griffen piled up 74.5 sacks. He's had three seasons with 10 or more sacks, has made four Pro Bowls (including last year) and sits fourth in franchise history in sacks, trailing just Hall of Famers John Randle and Chris Doleman and Jared Allen

    As plan B's go, it's a pretty danged good one.

16. Tennessee Titans

16 of 32

    Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Derrick Morgan, EDGE, Georgia Tech

    New Pick: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State

    The Tennessee Titans actually did OK with the 16th overall pick in 2010. Derrick Morgan played nine years for the team and ranks sixth in franchise history with 44.5 sacks.

    Still, while Griffen's selection one pick earlier drains the well of the high-end edge-rushers in the class of 2010, there's plenty of talent available at other positions—like, say, a No. 1 wide receiver.

    The Titans needed wideout help badly enough in 2010 that they claimed what was left of Randy Moss off waivers that November. But while Moss' career was finished, Dez Bryant's was only getting started.

    Bryant didn't have the longest career (eight years), but there was a time when he was arguably the best wide receiver in the league. From 2012 to 2014, the three-time Pro Bowler posted three straight seasons with at least 88 catches, over 1,200 receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns.

17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers)

17 of 32

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho

    New Pick: Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho

    Sometimes things just fall into place.

    The 49ers picked up Carolina's first pick in the 2010 draft by virtue of the 2009 trade that landed Everette Brown and Mike Goodson in Charlotte.

    If you have no idea who that is, it should give you a pretty good idea how well the trade worked out for the Panthers.

    It worked out just fine for Mike Iupati and the 49ers, though.

    It didn't take long for the 6'5", 331-pound Iupati to make an impact as a professional—he was a 16-game starter as a rookie in 2010. By his third season, Iupati was a Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro and the foundation along the offensive line for a Niners team that won the NFC.

    Iupati would go on to make three more Pro Bowls—two in San Francisco and one in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

18 of 32

    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Original Pick: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

    New Pick: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers

    The Pittsburgh Steelers would no doubt be bummed to lose out on Maurkice Pouncey in the 2010 draft. He has stood watch over the middle of Pittsburgh's offensive line from the moment he was drafted until the present day.

    Picking up a defensive back who has been a thorn in Pittsburgh's side that same amount of time might take some of the sting out—especially since the 2010 Steelers allowed 304 passing yards and three touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers in a Super Bowl XLV loss to the Green Bay Packers to end their season.

    Devin McCourty played the first three seasons of his career at cornerback for the New England Patriots before switching to free safety in 2013. He made the Pro Bowl as the former in 2010 and as the latter in 2016, he's been named a second-team All-Pro three times, and he was a defensive starter for three Pats teams that won the Super Bowl.

19. Atlanta Falcons

19 of 32

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri

    New Pick: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech

    Back in 2010, Roddy White was in the prime of his career in Atlanta—White's 115 receptions that season were a career best. But part of the reason White caught so many passes was a lack of viable options behind him, and it would be one more year before the team drafted Julio Jones in the first round.

    Demaryius Thomas hasn't quite enjoyed the NFL success Jones has, but he hasn't been that far off. In 10 seasons spent mostly with the Denver Broncos, Thomas has hit over 1,000 yards five times. In both 2014 and 2015, Thomas topped 100 receptions and 1,300 yards.

    Thomas made five consecutive Pro Bowls from 2012 to 2016, and his 9,055 receiving yards in nine seasons in the Mile High City ranks him second in franchise history in that category behind Rod Smith.

20. Houston Texans

20 of 32

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama

    New Pick: Joe Haden, CB, Florida

    The Houston Texans drafted a cornerback with their first pick in 2010. While Kareem Jackson has had a very good 10-year career with the Texans and Denver Broncos, there's a better option available in this do-over at the same position.

    After winning a national championship with Florida in 2008, Joe Haden was the first player at his position selected in 2010, going seventh overall to the Cleveland Browns. By his second season, he was starting in Cleveland. By his fourth, he earned the first of three Pro Bowl nods—the last coming in 2019 as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Haden's career has had some ups and downs—the Browns released him in 2017 after he refused to take a pay cut. But when he's on top of his game, the 5'11", 195-pounder is an excellent cover corner.

    If the 2019 campaign was any indication, he's got plenty left in the tank 10 years later.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

21 of 32

    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

    New Pick: Linval Joseph, DT, East Carolina

    The Cincinnati Bengals had a fantastic draft in 2010. It produced a pair of stalwarts along the defensive line in end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Geno Atkins who remain on the team to this day.

    Unfortunately, in this re-draft, both of those linemen are long gone by the time it's Cincinnati's turn to pick. But while Atkins may not be an option at defensive tackle, there is a player available who has had an excellent NFL career in his own right.

    Linval Joseph hasn't been the force rushing the passer that Atkins has over the last 10 years. The 6'4", 329-pounder has just 24 career sacks, has never logged more than four sacks in a season and is more of a lane-clogging run-stuffer than a disruptive penetrator.

    However, Joseph has averaged over 50 tackles a season, topped 65 total stops twice, forced eight fumbles and been named to a pair of Pro Bowls.

22. New England Patriots

22 of 32

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech (by Denver Broncos)

    New Pick: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, SMU

    The Denver Broncos picked at No. 22 in 2010, but explaining how that came to be requires an abacus and a degree in chaos theory.

    Take my word for it—it was originally New England's pick.

    The Patriots were a team in flux at wide receiver in 2010. Randy Moss wouldn't finish the year in Beantown. Wes Welker was working his way back into shape after tearing his ACL late in the 2009 season. Julian Edelman was still an unknown youngster.

    This team would have benefitted from some added pop at wideout.

    Enter Emmanuel Sanders.

    To be fair, Sanders' first four seasons were OK but not much more than that—with the Steelers, he never had 70 catches or 750 yards in a season. But after joining the Denver Broncos as a free agent in 2014, Sanders exploded for 101 catches, 1,404 yards and nine scores. All three remain career highs.

    That 2014 season marked the first of three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the 5'11", 180-pound Sanders, who made the Pro Bowl in both 2014 and 2016.

23. Green Bay Packers

23 of 32

    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

    New Pick: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa

    The 2010 season was a pretty good one for the Green Bay Packers—if you're into that whole "winning the Super Bowl" thing.

    Some players available in this spot may have earned more individual accolades than Bulaga. In 10 seasons, he's yet to be named to the Pro Bowl.

    But there isn't a better pick for the Packers at No. 23 overall—because the team may well have lost Super Bowl XLV to the Pittsburgh Steelers without him. By the second month of his professional career, Bulaga was starting at right tackle for the Packers. By the end of the 2010 season, he was the youngest player ever to start in the NFL's biggest game.

    Over the years that followed, Bulaga anchored the line for one of the NFC's most successful franchises, making 111 starts at both tackle spots.

24. Philadelphia Eagles

24 of 32

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State (by Dallas Cowboys)

    New Pick: Brandon Graham DE, Michigan

    This is one of a few picks toward the back end of the 2010 draft that changed hands during the draft. It was traded by Philadelphia to Denver, who then traded it to New England, who then traded it to Dallas—I think.

    Where's that abacus?

    Even when you wipe away all of those trades and add a decade of hindsight, the Eagles wind up with the player they traded up to get at 13th overall, which says something about…something.

    My head is starting to hurt.

    Brandon Graham got off to a slow start in the NFL—he had just three sacks as a rookie and barely played in 2011 as he recovered from microfracture surgery. But in 2012, he started to turn it around.

    The 32-year-old has never had a 10-sack season or made a Pro Bowl, but he has become an excellent run defender and solid pass-rusher who ranks fifth in sacks in Eagles history and made the strip-sack that sealed Philly's win in Super Bowl LII.

25. Baltimore Ravens

25 of 32

    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (by Denver Broncos)

    New Pick: Reshad Jones, S, Georgia

    Back in 2010, the Denver Broncos sent three picks to Baltimore so that they could move up and select Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

    Tebow did (somehow) win a playoff game in Denver, but all in all, it wasn't a great deal.

    The question now is what the Ravens would do if they hadn't traded the pick. There aren't a lot of players available who stand out as clear upgrades at a major area of need for a Baltimore team that would win the Super Bowl in 2012.

    Still, strong safety Reshad Jones would have looked pretty good next to Ed Reed at the back end of the Ravens defense. Over a 10-year career with the Miami Dolphins, Jones has topped 90 tackles four times and 100-plus stops three times, and he posted 106 solos during his first of two Pro Bowl seasons in 2015.

26. Arizona Cardinals

26 of 32

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

    New Pick: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

    The 2010 Arizona Cardinals were a team on the edge of a cliff. When Kurt Warner announced his retirement, it shoved them over—the team went from 10-6 and the playoffs in 2009 to 5-11 the following year.

    It's tempting to slot Sam Bradford to the Redbirds here. It would be a few years before Carson Palmer arrived in the desert and gave the Cardinals competent quarterback play again. But Bradford's injury history is a bridge too far when there are Pro Bowl-caliber players available at premium positions.

    Russell Okung may never have become the elite blindside protector the Seattle Seahawks thought they were getting when they drafted him sixth overall in 2010. But over 10 years with the Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, Okung has started 124 games, made it to a pair of Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl.

27. Dallas Cowboys

27 of 32

    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers (by New England Patriots)

    New Pick: Sean Lee, LB, Penn State

    By this point in the 2010 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys had swung a deal to trade up and select Dez Bryant. In exchange, the New England Patriots got extra draft capital and defensive back Devin McCourty.

    It was about as close to a win-win deal as you'll see in the NFL. But that trade is off the table. So is Bryant. And McCourty.

    However, there's still a player out there who went on to have a good career with a star on his helmet.

    Had it not been for injuries, Sean Lee might have been every bit the linebacker that his Penn State teammate Navorro Bowman was. When Lee was able to stay on the field, he could be an impact player—as evidenced by four 100-tackle seasons, 14 career interceptions and two trips to the Pro Bowl.

    Had it not been for 51 missed games over the last 10 years, Lee wouldn't have lasted until No. 26 here.

28. San Diego Chargers

28 of 32

    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State (by Miami Dolphins)

    New Pick: Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State

    The San Diego Chargers are really in a pickle here. There's a reason why the Bolts moved up in Round 1 to select Ryan Mathews in 2010. The Chargers had aspirations of making a run at a championship, but the team needed running back help in the worst way.

    The problem is this wasn't a good class to need running back help in. LeGarrette Blount carved out a solid career after going undrafted, but he topped 1,000 yards just twice and didn't offer much in the receiving game. C.J. Spiller is in many ways similar to Mathews—a talented, explosive young running back who couldn't stay on the field.

    So 16 picks later than it originally happened, the Chargers circle back around to Mathews and his two 1,000-yard seasons and Pro Bowl nod in 2011 in this re-draft.

    They need help in the backfield that badly.

29. New York Jets

29 of 32

    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

    New Pick: Kareem Jackson, CB Alabama

    Difficult though it may be to believe, the 2010 New York Jets were good. Really good. Like one game away from playing in the Super Bowl good. It was the last time the team sniffed any success in the playoffs—partly because the franchise has struggled in talent evaluation over the past decade.

    In fairness, Kyle Wilson wasn't a terrible player over his six NFL seasons. He just wasn't especially good either. But there's a different DB available at pick No. 29 that would offer the Jets both a bump in talent and a lot of versatility.

    Some might be tempted to label Kareem Jackson as a "good but not great" player given that he's played 10 years in the NFL and never made a Pro Bowl. But Jackson is a Pro Bowl-caliber player who has played some of the best football of his career in the last few seasons. He's also capable of playing anywhere on the back end, from boundary corner to the slot to both safety spots.

30. Minnesota Vikings

30 of 32

    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Jahvid Best, RB, Cal (by Detroit Lions)

    New Pick: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame

    Had the Minnesota Vikings known the bottom was going to fall out in 2010, they probably wouldn't have flipped their first-rounder to Detroit for a modest return. The Vikings won 12 games in 2009 but fell apart the following season—in no small part because the passing game imploded. The Vikings didn't have a receiver hit even 900 yards in 2010.

    It took Golden Tate a while to find his sea legs in the NFL—he didn't hit the 850-yard mark receiving until his fourth season in the NFL. But in 2014, Tate's coming-out party happened in Detroit—99 catches for 1331 yards.

    That 2014 season is the only time Tate has made the Pro Bowl, but he added two more 1,000-yard seasons in 2016 and 2017 and should eclipse 8,000 yards for his career with the New York Giants in 2020.

31. Indianapolis Colts

31 of 32

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Jerry Hughes, EDGE, TCU

    New Pick: T.J. Ward, S, Oregon

    On some level, the Jerry Hughes pick was a pretty good one. He is still kicking around the NFL after 10 years, and he has piled up 51.5 career sacks.

    However, all but five of those sacks have come as a member of the Buffalo Bills. Hughes' three seasons with the Colts were (to put it mildly) a disappointment.

    The Colts will stick with defense with this do-over, but it's the back end that will get a look this time around in the form of a running mate for Antoine Bethea at safety.

    T.J. Ward was something of a throwback—a downhill thumper of a strong safety who might even be converted to linebacker if he was drafted in 2020. His physicality may have played a part in his lasting only eight seasons in the NFL, but in his prime, he was one of the most feared hitters in the game.

    Over those eight pro seasons, Ward racked up over 600 tackles and picked off eight passes. A Pro Bowler in 2013 with the Cleveland Browns and 2014 with the Denver Broncos, he was also a member of the Denver team that won Super Bowl 50.

32. New Orleans Saints

32 of 32

    Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Original Pick: Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State

    New Pick: Sam Shields, CB, Miami (Fla.)

    The New Orleans Saints entered the 2010 draft riding high after winning the first Super Bowl title in franchise history. There wouldn't be a repeat (courtesy of the "Beast Quake" game), but the 2010 iteration of the franchise was still a good team.

    As has been the case for much of Mickey Loomis' tenure as general manager, the Saints drafted well in 2010. That was the year tight end Jimmy Graham arrived in the Big Easy, and first-round pick Patrick Robinson is still in the NFL and in his second stint in New Orleans.

    But there's at least one cornerback available who was a better player, even if injuries cut his career short.

    In seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the 5'11", 178-pound Shields went from an undrafted free agent to one of the more underrated corners in the NFL. His 40-tackle, two-interception campaign with the Packers in 2014 got Shields to the Pro Bowl, and he won Super Bowl XLV with Green Bay as a rookie and played with the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

    Unfortunately, Shields also had a number of concussions—including one that cost him the entire 2017 season. That 2018 season in Los Angeles was his last.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.