Re-Drafting the 2017 NFL Draft

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMay 18, 2022

Re-Drafting the 2017 NFL Draft

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    There is no more impactful exercise in the NFL than the draft. Or speculative one.

    Teams spend hundreds of hours scouting players. Fly in many for private workouts. But draft picks are educated guesses. Every year, Day 3 picks or undrafted free agents become impact players, and first-round picks fall flat on their face.

    But what if things were different? What if NFL teams knew which players would go on to win individual accolades and All-Pro nods? What if teams could look, say, five years into the future and know which players would blossom into stars?

    Take the 2017 draft. In a class that featured a pair of generational pass-rushers in Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt, a megastar quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and more Pro Bowl running backs than you could shake a stick at, if teams knew which prospects were going to become dominant professionals, then the first round would look a lot different.

    It would look something like this.


    Note: For the purpose of this exercise, trades that took place before the draft (such as the Carson Wentz and Brandin Cooks trades) were included. However, trades that took place after the event began (draft-day deals) were not.

1. Cleveland Browns

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M

    The Pick Now: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

    The Cleveland Browns can't be faulted for taking Myles Garrett No. 1. In his first five pro seasons, Garrett has logged 58.5 sacks, including a franchise record 16 sacks in 2021, and made the Pro Bowl three times.

    And yet, in this redraft, the Browns throw Garrett back without a second thought.

    In his first season as the starter in Kansas City (and second overall), Patrick Mahomes became just the second player in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns on the way to being named the league's most valuable player.

    In his third and fourth seasons, Mahomes led the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, including a win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. He has thrown 151 career touchdown passes against just 37 interceptions and has a career passer rating north of 105.

    It might be premature to put Mahomes in the conversation among the all-time greats under center. But that's the career trajectory he's on.

2. San Francisco 49ers

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    Kirk Irwin/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina (by Chicago Bears)

    The Pick Now: Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M

    In 2017, the San Francisco 49ers traded back one slot before settling on Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas at No. 3 overall. Moving down and adding picks was fine. Choosing Thomas? Not so much. He had 9.5 sacks over his first five seasons and was sent packing at the end of his rookie deal.

    However, had Garrett slipped to No. 2, the 49ers would have stayed right where they were, because Garrett is a generational prospect—a 6'4", 272-pound athletic marvel with bend that has to be seen to be believed.

    Garrett's 2021 season was the best of his career—he piled up 16 sacks and set a Browns single-season record. He has hit double digits in that category in four straight seasons and forced 11 fumbles in five years.

    Pairing Garrett and Nick Bosa (who was drafted second overall by the Niners in 2019) would give San Francisco a terrifying duo of pass-rushers.

3. Chicago Bears

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford (by San Francisco 49ers)

    The Pick Now: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

    Deshaun Watson's career has been marred.

    The 22 pending civil lawsuits against him alleging sexual misconduct and assault could result in a lengthy suspension.

    He also sat out the 2021 season amid the uncertainty caused by the lawsuits and a trade request.

    But there's a reason the Browns mortgaged the franchise's future and gave him a fully guaranteed $230 million contract. When last we saw him on the field, he was pacing the NFL with 4,823 passing yards in 2020. He has 104 career touchdown passes against just 36 interceptions and a career passer rating of 104.5.

    He may not be Mahomes, but when Watson is healthy and on the field, he isn't that far off.

    The Chicago Bears' trade up and selection of North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky—making him the first signal-caller taken—was a gaffe that has defined the team since. Trubisky wasn't terrible over four years in Chicago, but he wasn't the best quarterback in his class. Or the second-best.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

    The Pick Now: T.J. Watt, Edge, Wisconsin

    The Jacksonville Jaguars did OK with the fourth pick, as Leonard Fournette topped 1,000 rushing yards twice in three seasons with the team. But Fournette was eventually released after the Jags couldn't find a trade partner in 2020.

    And in this redraft, Jacksonville can do a lot better than "OK."

    T.J. Watt wasn't considered an elite prospect in 2017—it was late in Round 1 before the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted the Wisconsin edge-rusher. But he has been a difference-maker on the field since, racking up a whopping 72 career sacks, including 65 over the past four years.

    A four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro, Watt tied Michael Strahan's single-season sack record with 22.5 and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles Rams)

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    Doug Benc/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

    The Pick Now: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington

    The Tennessee Titans used the fifth pick on a small-school wide receiver with big-time potential. But the wideout the team settled on (Corey Davis of Western Michigan) didn't play up to that potential in Nashville, failing to hit the 1,000-yard mark in any of his first five seasons. Davis' best season (a 65-catch, 984-yard, five-TD stat line in 2020) came in his last year with the Titans—he now catches passes for the New York Jets.

    It took quite a while longer before Cooper Kupp heard his name called in 2017—the former Walter Payton award winner as the best player in the FCS was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round. But in his third season, Kupp did what Davis has been unable to, exploding for 94 catches, over 1,161 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

    As it turns out, Kupp was only getting started. In 2021, he became just the fourth player of the Super Bowl era to lead the league in catches (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) on the way to being named the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year.

6. New York Jets

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    Rusty Jones/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

    The Pick Now: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

    The 2017 Jets were a five-win, last-place team, in part because New York ranked a moribund 19th in rushing at 106.4 yards per game. Upgrading that run game is worth passing on Jamal Adams, despite the fact that Adams made the Pro Bowl in two of his three seasons with the Jets before being traded to Seattle.

    The past two years haven't been especially kind to Christian McCaffrey—multiple injuries wiped out most of his 2020 campaign, and hamstring and ankle issues limited him to seven games a year ago.

    But when healthy, McCaffrey has been about as productive as running backs get. In 2019, he became just the third player in league history (joining Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk) to top 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving in a season. McCaffrey averaged 4.8 yards per carry, flirted with 1,400 rushing yards, caught 116 passes (the second consecutive season in which he had over 100 receptions) and found the end zone 19 times.

    That year, McCaffrey accounted for 43 percent of Carolina's offense.

7. Los Angeles Chargers

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

    The Pick Now: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

    The Los Angeles Chargers fared pretty well with this pick—so much so that for the first time in this do-over, a team is standing pat.

    Do not fix that which is not broken and all that jazz.

    Mike Williams was one of the top wideout prospects in the class—a big-bodied 6'4", 218-pounder who excelled on fades and 50-50 balls. Per Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated, Williams said at the time that he felt he was the total package.

    "I'm a big, physical receiver," Williams said. "I can go get the deep ball. I'm going to block on the edge. I just do it all in one."

    It wasn't just idle boasting. Williams has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but he has been a great fit as an outside complement to Keenan Allen with the Bolts. In his second professional season, Williams caught 10 touchdowns, and he has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards twice—including a career-best 1,146 yards last year.

8. Carolina Panthers

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    Derick Hingle/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

    The Pick Now: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

    The Carolina Panthers went the running back route in 2017, grabbing Stanford's Christian McCaffrey at No. 8.

    McCaffrey isn't an option in this redraft, but given how much the Panthers leaned on the run game at the time, sticking to the backfield isn't a bad idea.

    And as it just so happens, there's a back available whom the Panthers are quite familiar with.

    In 2017, Alvin Kamara didn't come off the board until the opening stages of Round 3. Since then he has been one of the steals of his class.

    A Pro Bowler following each of his first five seasons, Kamara made an impact from the get-go with the New Orleans Saints, averaging over six yards per carry and topping 1,500 total yards on the way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

    The 5'10", 215-pounder has topped 1,300 total yards five times, caught 80 passes four times, scored a whopping 67 total touchdowns and tied an NFL record with six rushing scores in a game against the Vikings in 2020.

9. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Alex Menendez/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: John Ross III, WR, Washington

    The Pick Now: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State

    The Cincinnati Bengals drafted a wideout with the ninth pick in 2017, settling on Washington's John Ross III after he set a combine record with a 4.22-second 40-yard dash. Ross caught seven touchdowns in 2018, but he's never had even 600 receiving yards in a season.

    This time around, the Bengals are pivoting to a guy who can, actually, you know, catch.

    That Chris Godwin wasn't as highly regarded of a prospect as Ross entering the draft is an example of how much we don't know about how prospects will fare. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a major bargain when they drafted Godwin, who has emerged as one of the better possession receivers in the NFL.

    In two of the past three seasons, Godwin has topped 85 catches and 1,100 yards. He also possesses some of the best hands in the league, with a catch percentage over 77 percent each of the last two years.

10. Buffalo Bills

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech (by Kansas City Chiefs)

    The Pick Now: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

    The Buffalo Bills traded this selection to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017 for a first-round pick, a third-round pick and Kansas City's first-rounder the following year. The Chiefs then selected Mahomes with the pick that defines the entire draft.

    This time, the Bills won't receive all that extra compensation. They will, however, get the same player they wound up taking 17 slots later.

    Tre'Davious White's 2021 season ended on a down note when the former LSU standout tore his ACL against the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving. But that injury, while unfortunate, doesn't change the fact that White has become a defensive leader for the league's top defense.

    A two-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro in 2019, White has started all 72 games he has played as a professional, picking off 16 passes and averaging a dozen passes defensed per season. White hasn't allowed a passer rating against of 80 in any of the past four years, and twice over that span his passer rating against was under 60.

11. New Orleans Saints

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

    The Pick Now: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

    The New Orleans Saints used their first pick on Ohio State cornerback Marson Lattimore. Given how things have played out since (and how this re-do has progressed), there's no reason to change course.

    Lattimore wasted little time establishing himself as an impact player—he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year after making 52 total tackles and picking off five passes.

    The big plays haven't come as frequently for Lattimore in the four seasons since—he is averaging just two interceptions per season in that span. But he has been a physical presence (Lattimore has averaged just under 60 total tackles per season) who has averaged almost 15 passes defensed per year and has five career forced fumbles.

    Lattimore has also allowed less than 60 percent of the passes sent in his direction to be completed in each of the past three years and has made the Pro Bowl four times.

12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia Eagles)

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (by Houston Texans)

    The Pick Now: George Kittle, TE, Iowa

    It's a little ironic that the Cleveland Browns just mortgaged the franchise's future for Deshaun Watson. Had the team stood pat in the 2017 draft, it could have had Myles Garrett and Watson.

    But the Browns traded their second first-rounder (obtained from the Philadelphia Eagles in their trade up for Carson Wentz the year before) to Houston.

    However, thanks to the power of revisionist history, the Browns now have Patrick Mahomes. So this second pick will instead be used to get Mahomes a Travis Kelce-like weapon over the middle.

    After a relatively quiet rookie season, George Kittle exploded into NFL prominence in 2018, racking up 88 catches for over 1,350 yards and five scores. That year, Kittle averaged 15.6 yards per catch, a ridiculous number for a tight end.

    That marked the first of back-to-back seasons with at least 85 catches and over 1,000 receiving yards. Kittle is a three-time Pro Bowler and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2019.

13. Arizona Cardinals

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    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Haason Reddick, Edge, Temple

    The Pick Now: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

    The good news for the Arizona Cardinals is that Haason Reddick has developed into a capable edge-rusher who has surpassed 10 sacks in each of the last two seasons.

    The bad news is that the first of those seasons, 2020, was Reddick's last in the desert. He bolted the Cardinals for Carolina in free agency and is with the Eagles after a year with the Panthers.

    This time around, the Cardinals are addressing an offensive line that has been an issue for years. The class of 2017 wasn't as loaded with offensive linemen as it was with, say, running backs, but there's at least one tackle who has earned a first-team All-Pro nod.

    Ryan Ramczyk has done his best work for the New Orleans Saints while manning the right side, but the 6'6", 314-pounder is capable of playing both tackle spots. In 653 snaps a season ago, Ramczyk allowed just two sacks, and he hasn't surrendered more than that in a campaign since 2018.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings)

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee

    The Pick Now: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

    When Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrific knee injury in 2016, the Minnesota Vikings panicked. They shipped their first-rounder in the following draft (and a conditional pick) to the Philadelphia Eagles for veteran quarterback Sam Bradford.

    The Eagles then used that pick on Tennessee edge-rusher Derek Barnett, who has posted 21.5 sacks over his five seasons in Philly.

    Given that lack of production, it can be argued that the Bradford trade worked out for exactly no one.

    However, in this redraft, the Eagles can get a defender who has made a much bigger impact—a three-time Pro Bowler who also happens to have 21.5 career sacks. The thing is, that number looks substantially more impressive when you consider that Jamal Adams is a safety.

    Over five seasons, Adams has topped 80 tackles four times, including 115 stops with the New York Jets in 2018. Adams also racked up 9.5 sacks with the Seahawks in 2020—the most ever in a season by a defensive back.

15. Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

    The Pick Now: Budda Baker, S, Washington

    The Indianapolis Colts used their first-rounder on Malik Hooker—a rangy, talented young safety from Ohio State.

    Hooker has shown flashes, but he has had trouble staying on the field—30 missed games over his five seasons. This redraft gives the Colts a chance to select a player who has become what the team hoped Hooker would be when they drafted him.

    That player is Washington safety Budda Baker, who was a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals.

    In the years since, he has established himself as one of the NFL's best safeties. The 5'10", 195-pounder has been named a first-team All-Pro twice, including in his rookie season. Baker has surpassed 100 tackles three times, including a league-leading 104 solos in 2019. He has been named to four Pro Bowls and has five interceptions over the last two seasons, including a career-high three in 2021.

16. Baltimore Ravens

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

    The Pick Now: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

    It shouldn't strike one as surprising that the Baltimore Ravens would wind up with the same player in this redraft. Part of the reason the Ravens have remained a perennial contender for as long as they have is the fact that the team consistently drafts well.

    That was the case in 2017. Alabama's Marlon Humphrey wasn't the first corner drafted that year. He also wasn't the first one taken in this redraft. But he's had significant success since. In the past three seasons, Humphrey has started 42 games for the Ravens. He has topped 60 total tackles in two of those three seasons, adding five interceptions and 38 passes defensed on the way to Pro Bowl trips in both 2019 and 2020 before a torn pectoral muscle cut short his 2021 campaign.

    In two of the past three seasons, Humphrey has posted a passer rating against lower than 85, and just once over that span did he allow 60 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed.

17. Washington Commanders

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

    The Pick Now: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

    Redrafts are a piece of cake!

    Kidding aside, this really is one of the easiest calls to make of the entire round—because there's absolutely no reason to change what Washington did with the 17th pick.

    The Commanders sport one of the NFL's best defensive lines—a line manned by four players who were all first-round picks. And the old man of that line, the first player drafted among them, was Alabama tackle Jonathan Allen in 2017.

    For the first few years of Allen's career, he played both end in Washington's 3-4 base front and tackle in sub-packages. And whether the 6'3", 300-pounder was taking on tackles or guards, Allen did so at a high level—after an injury-shortened rookie year, Allen has peeled off four straight campaigns with over 60 tackles, averaging over six sacks per year over that span.

    Allen is also getting better as the years pass. The 2021 season was his best, as Allen logged 62 total tackles, posted a career-high nine sacks and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

18. Tennessee Titans

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    Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC

    The Pick Now: Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple

    Adoree' Jackson showed flashes over his four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, making 41 starts. But the Titans declined Jackson's fifth-year option and let him walk in free agency, so it's back to the well in this redraft. And with the high-end cornerback talent already off the board, the Titans will look to the offensive line—and arguably the last real difference-maker up front in this class.

    Dion Dawkins has spent most of his five seasons with the Buffalo Bills at tackle, but the 6'5", 320-pound mauler can play guard as well. Dawkins has played over 1,000 snaps in four of his first five seasons, including allowing four sacks in 1,089 snaps on the way to his first Pro Bowl last year.

    Adding Dawkins to a line that already featured a pair of solid tackles in Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan would give the Titans one of the league's better offensive fronts—one that might have gotten Derrick Henry's breakout started a little sooner.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

    The Pick Then: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

    The Pick Now: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

    Running backs may be devalued in the 21st-century NFL. But there wasn't a position in the 2017 draft that was more replete with high-end talent than the offensive backfield. And given that the Buccaneers' leading rusher was Peyton Barber with 423 yards, the Bucs would be well-served to avail themselves of some of that talent.

    Injuries have been an issue for Dalvin Cook over his first five years in Minnesota. Beginning with the ACL tear that ended his rookie season after a month, Cook has missed at least two games in all five pro seasons.

    But when he's on the field, Cook is as dangerous as any running back. The 5'10", 210-pounder has averaged a robust 4.7 yards per carry over his career, and he has topped 1,100 rushing yards in each of the last three years—including over 1,500 yards on the ground in 2020. Cook has also done substantial damage as a receiver, hitting the 40-catch mark three times in five years.

20. Denver Broncos

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah

    The Pick Now: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah

    The Denver Broncos have quite the dilemma here.

    As has been touched on, the class of 2017 wasn't at all impressive along the offensive line. There are two linemen from this draft who have been named to a Pro Bowl—and both are already off the board.

    However, Denver badly needed help along the offensive line—so much so that the team will stand pat here with the tackle it gave a four-year, $68 million extension to in November of 2020.

    Utah's Garrett Bolles experienced some bumps in the road early in his career. He allowed eight sacks in just over 1,100 snaps as a rookie. But as the years have progressed, so has the 6'5", 300-pounder's level of play—so much so that he has allowed just five sacks over the last two seasons combined.

    Bolles may not be a great left tackle. But he's a good one in his prime.

    Those have significant value.

21. Detroit Lions

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    Focus On Sport/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

    The Pick Now: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

    The 2017 Detroit Lions weren't a bad team—they won nine games that year and finished in second place in the NFC North. But one thing the team did not do well is run the football—Detroit averaged a measly 76.3 yards per game on the ground.

    No team averaged less. So instead of drafting an average linebacker in Jarrad Davis (who was out after four seasons in Motown), the Lions are snagging some of the impact backfield talent available.

    Joe Mixon hasn't gotten the run he deserves as one of the NFL's better running backs over his first five seasons—in part because many of those seasons were spent on bad teams. But after he posted a career-high 1,205 rushing yards in Cincinnati's march to Super Bowl LVI last year, people are taking notice of the 6'1", 220-pounder.

    There's not much that Mixon can't do at a high level—he has surpassed 1,000 rushing yards three times in five years, has averaged almost 35 receptions a season and found the end zone a whopping 16 times during his Pro Bowl season last year.

22. Miami Dolphins

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Charles Harris, Edge, Missouri

    The Pick Now: Trey Hendrickson, Edge, Florida Atlantic

    The Miami Dolphins' first pick in 2017 was all about bolstering the pass rush. But the player they drafted, Missouri's Charles Harris, has been mostly invisible in the pros. Harris has just 14 sacks over his first five seasons, and over half of those came last season in Detroit.

    Trey Hendrickson, on the other hand, made his first Pro Bowl last year as the sack leader for the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals after piling up 14 sacks. It was the second straight season that Hendrickson had over a dozen sacks after he posted 13.5 in a breakout 2020 with the New Orleans Saints.

    The breakout was admittedly unexpected—over his first three years in the NFL, the third-round pick had just 6.5 sacks. He's also not a huge factor against the run, having posted just one season over 30 total tackles.

    But the 6'4", 270-pounder has established himself as a player who can consistently apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

23. New York Giants

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss

    The Pick Now: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

    In fairness to the New York Giants and tight end Evan Engram, this wasn't a terrible pick. He had a pair of seasons with at least 650 receiving yards over his five years in New York, including a 63-catch, 654-yard, one-score line that earned him a Pro Bowl nod in 2020.

    Also, just like Engram, JuJu Smith-Schuster will open his sixth NFL season catching passes for a new team. After five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the second-round pick out of USC will try to help lead a revamped receivers room in Kansas City this season.

    However, Smith-Schuster can at least point to his massive 2018 season as proof that he can make an impact. That year, he caught a whopping 111 passes and topped 1,400 yards. He backed that up in 2020 with 97 catches for 831 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.

    The Giants get a dependable passing-game target over the middle—just not the one they originally went for.

24. Las Vegas Raiders

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    Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

    The Pick Now: Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF

    The Las Vegas Raiders have had issues at cornerback for a number of years. For some reason, the team continues to try to fill that void with former Ohio State players—even though most of the Buckeyes corners the team has drafted have been massive busts. Gareon Conley is no exception. The Raiders first-rounder from 2017 isn't just no longer on the team—he's been out of the league since 2019.

    Shaquill Griffin didn't have the best 2021 season in his first year as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars—he allowed almost 70 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed with a passer rating against of 109.5.

    But Griffin has demonstrated that he can both hold his own in coverage and that he isn't afraid of getting his uniform duty. He has topped 60 total tackles three times in five years, has three seasons with at least a dozen passes defensed and earned a Pro Bowl nod following the 2019 season.

25. Houston Texans

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    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan (by Cleveland Browns)

    The Pick Now: Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama

    The Houston Texans originally shot up the board in the 2017 draft, shipping their first-rounders in both 2017 and 2018 to Cleveland for the right to draft Deshaun Watson. But he was long gone by Cleveland's second pick, so the Texans are left searching for a quarterback of the future—one who isn't available in this draft.

    Given that, Houston's best bet is to go the "best player available" route—and that means upgrading a less-than-imposing cadre of safeties.

    It was Day 3 of the draft before Alabama safety Eddie Jackson heard his name called by the Chicago Bears. But it didn't take long for his skill in coverage to get him on the map. A 16-game starter as a rookie for the Bears, Jackson had tallied a six-pick campaign by his second season. Jackson was named a first-team All-Pro that year and a Pro Bowler in both 2018 and 2019.

    He'd be a welcome addition to a Houston secondary that needs all the help it can get.

26. Seattle Seahawks

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    Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Takkarist McKinley, Edge, UCLA (by Atlanta Falcons)

    The Pick Now: Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan

    The Seattle Seahawks traded back in the first round of this draft. Then they traded back again. Then the team selected a defensive tackle in Malik McDowell who wound up playing a grand total of zero snaps for Seattle because of injury and several arrests.

    This time, perhaps it would be wise for the Seahawks to just hang on to the pick and bolster an offensive line that has been a major issue for the team the past several years.

    Over five seasons spent mainly at right tackle for the Carolina Panthers, Taylor Moton has never been named to the Pro Bowl. However, the 6'5", 325-pound road-grader has been durable, having not missed a game in the pros. He has also been consistent—Moton has surrendered just 11 sacks over the entirety of his career and has never been penalized more than six times in a season, and last year he allowed just one sack in 1,149 snaps.

27. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU (by Buffalo Bills)

    The Pick Now: Austin Ekeler, RB, Western Colorado

    The Kansas City Chiefs didn't trade up in this redraft. Didn't land the quarterback who would lead them to their first championship in half a century.

    It's really quite sad.

    Still, at least the Chiefs have an opportunity to add a versatile, talented offensive weapon for Alex Smith—by drafting a player who slipped past every team and all 253 draft picks.

    After playing at Western Colorado, Austin Ekeler was an afterthought to NFL teams in 2017. Now he's one of the most dangerous dual-threat running backs in the league. Ekeler has yet to run for 1,000 yards in a season, but the 27-year-old did just set a personal best with 911 yards.

    More importantly, Ekeler has topped 50 catches each of the last three seasons, including 92 grabs in 2019 and 70 a year ago. He also surpassed 1,500 total yards in two separate seasons and exploded for 20 total touchdowns in 2021.

    That he wasn't named a Pro Bowler last year says a lot more about the selection process for that game than it does Ekeler as a player.

28. Dallas Cowboys

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    Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan

    The Pick Now: Haason Reddick, Edge, Temple

    The Dallas Cowboys appear to have finally found a running mate for veteran edge-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence in 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons. But Parsons is an off-ball linebacker who just happened to thrive as an edge-rusher, and putting him in the latter spot opens a hole in the former.

    It's a hole the Cowboys are filling in this redraft by taking a guy whose skill set is in many respects similar to Parsons'.

    Unlike Parsons, Haason Reddick didn't burst into prominence as a rookie. As a matter of fact, after three seasons playing mostly as an off-ball linebacker, Reddick was widely considered a bust.

    But then, in 2020, the Cardinals moved Reddick to the edge—and the light bulb came on. After piling up 12.5 sacks during his last season with the Redbirds, he signed a one-year deal with the Panthers. During that lone season in Charlotte, Reddick piled up another 11 sacks.

    Having Parsons and Reddick would afford coordinator Dan Quinn all kinds of defensive versatility.

29. Green Bay Packers

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    The Pick Then: David Njoku, TE, Miami (by Cleveland Browns)

    The Pick Now: Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP

    In the 2017 draft, the Green Bay Packers traded back a few spots from Round 1 to Round 2, adding a fourth-rounder before eventually drafting cornerback Kevin King early on Day 2.

    But in this do-over the Packers are holding on to this pick in an effort to hold on to who might be the most important player in their offense this season.

    Because with the benefit of hindsight, there is zero chance that running back Aaron Jones would fall all the way to the fifth round.

    It didn't take the Packers all that long to figure out they had something in Jones, who was second on the team in rushing as a rookie and averaged a gaudy 5.5 yards per attempt. By 2018 he was the team's nominal No. 1 back, and by 2019 he was a featured back who peeled off the first 1,000-yard season of his career.

    Jones went that one better in 2020, topping 1,100 yards while once again averaging 5.5 yards per tote on the way to his first Pro Bowl.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pick Then: T.J. Watt, Edge, Wisconsin

    The Pick Now: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

    The Pittsburgh Steelers remained contenders for as long as they did partly because they time and again made solid picks late in the first round. The 2017 draft was no exception—Pittsburgh landed arguably the best defensive player in the class at No. 30 in T.J. Watt.

    But Watt is all kinds of gone now, as are a number of other Pro Bowl defenders. But that doesn't preclude the team from finding an upgrade at boundary cornerback opposite Joe Haden.

    Chidobe Awuzie hasn't been a worldbeater. At least not consistently. A second-round pick of the Cowboys in 2017, Awuzie played four up-and-down seasons in Dallas before landing in Cincinnati as a free agent last year.

    But he played a big part in the Bengals' run to the Super Bowl, emerging as Cincinnati's No. 1 cornerback. Despite often facing an opponent's No. 1 receiver, Awuzie allowed just 58.2 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed and posted a highly respectable passer rating against of 75.1, two interceptions and 14 passes defensed.

31. Atlanta Falcons

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    The Pick Then: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (by San Francisco 49ers)

    The Pick Now: Marcus Maye, S, Florida

    In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons moved up a handful of spots to draft edge-rusher Takkarist McKinley. It's a pick better known for what McKinley said in his post-draft interview than anything he did in the NFL the past five years.

    Maybe the Falcons should have just stood pat and drafted a player who does a little more talking on the field and a little less talking off it.

    Safety Marcus Maye is coming off a down 2021 season of his own. The former Florida standout made it just six games into his final year with the Jets before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury.

    But 2020 was easily the best year of Maye's career—the 5'11", 207-pound defensive back capable of playing both deep and box safety set or tied career highs in tackles, passes defensed and interceptions. He's also been excellent in coverage, allowing under 60 percent of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed in each of his seasons.

32. New Orleans Saints (from New England Patriots)

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    The Pick Then: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

    The Pick Now: Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois

    After obtaining the final pick of Round 1 in the trade that sent Brandin Cooks to New England, the New Orleans Saints used that selection on Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk. But in this redraft, Ramczyk is off the board. So the Saints will make an effort to address Cooks' departure.

    They weren't without talent at wide receiver—the 2017 season marked the first of three consecutive Pro Bowl trips for Michael Thomas. But after him, the depth chart thinned quickly, and no other wideout on the team topped 70 targets for the season.

    The last couple of years have been imminently forgettable for Kenny Golladay—he was injured for most of 2020, and his first season in New York in 2021 was a disaster. But in both 2018 and 2019 while with the Detroit Lions, Golladay caught at least 65 passes and topped 1,000 yards. In 2019, Golladay scored 11 touchdowns and averaged over 18 yards per reception on the way to the Pro Bowl.


    Statistics via Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted. Offensive line statistics via Pro Football Focus.