All options have been picked up and declined, so now is a good time to go back and look at the 2017 Draft. I am going to redo all players picked in the first round only. So no Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Kenny Golladay, George Kittle, Budda Baker, Chris Godwin, Kareem Hunt and others. Just the first round guys.
Team needs as of the 2017 draft is taken into consideration. How would the draft go if teams knew then what they know now? Here is my guess.
1. Cleveland Browns
Pick: QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
Actual Pick: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Nobody quite knew how Mahomes would fare coming out of the Air Raid system at Texas Tech. Absolutely no one could have predicted his success. Sure, the Chiefs system, as well as learning for a yearr helped, but it is hard to believe Mahomes would not be a stud anywhere. In two years as a starter, all he has is an NFL MVP and Super Bowl victory. Mahomes is easily on his way to becoming an all time great.
2. Chicago Bears
Pick: QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Actual Pick: QB Mithell Trubisky, North Carolina
I never understood why Watson fell in the draft. I always had him as my top QB in this class. He was a winner and talented, and that has carried over quite well to the NFL. There was no doubt in my mind he would be better than Mitchell Trubisky. Passing on two long time Pro Bowl quarterbacks; this one hurts for Bears fans.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Pick: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Actual Pick: DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
The 49ers front line is loaded with first round picks, but Solomon Thomas is the one guy who did not quite pan out. Garrett still hasn’t fully reached his potential, but he is still too talented and potentially great to pass up here, even though his stats have not reached a few others.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: CB Tre’Davious White, LSU
Actual Pick: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
This is a tough choice between White and TJ Watt, but I will go with cornerback. White has become perhaps the best shutdown corner in the league, quite a feat for a very late first round pick.
5. Tennessee Titans
Pick: OLB TJ Watt, Wisconsin
Actual Pick: WR Corey Davis, Central Michigan
The Watt family sure does know how to terrorize quarterbacks. Watt has graded out as one of the very best defenders in the NFL since he was drafted, and would have been a perfect fit with the Titans defense.
6. New York Jets
Pick: SS Jamal Adams, LSU
Actual Pick: SS Jamal Adams, LSU
Jamal Adams has been as good as advertised for the Jets, so why switch up the pick here? New York has not drafted well in the first round, but they hit a homerun with Adams and need to lock him up.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Actual Pick: WR Mike Williams, Clemson
The Chargers had a solid defense in 2016, but no one with the potential of Lattimore. There is still room to improve for the young cornerback, who should be even better in the coming years.
8. Carolina Panthers
Pick: RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Actual Pick: RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
The Panthers are McCaffrey’s team, and he has become the highest paid running back in NFL history, so the Panthers obviously made a good choice. Crazy note: McCaffrey has more career receptions than the three receivers picked in the top ten COMBINED.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Actual Pick: WR John Ross, Washington
Ramczyk could very easily have a Pro Bowl or two on his resume, but he gets a bit lost among the other bigger names on the Saints offensive line. He would have been a great hit for a Bengals team that had a lot of whiffs drafting the position.
10. Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
Actual Pick: QB Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
Humphrey has slowly developed into a full time starter, and should have a few Pro Bowl appearances during his prime. But wow, imagine if the Chiefs did not draft Mahomes here. One of the most important non-top five NFL draft picks of all time. Whatever the Bills gave up to allow the Chiefs to move up this high was not NEARLY enough.
11. New Orleans Saints
Pick: CB Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Actual Pick: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Saints hit a homerun with Lattimore, but this was an excellent cornerback class, so they missed out on the top three guys. Adoree’ Jackson has transformed from a track star to a very solid starting cornerback, a position the Saints absolutely had to address.
12. Houston Texans
Pick: QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
Actual Pick: QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
The Texans had the worst quarterback situation in the league before trading up to draft Watson. With the Pro Bowlers gone, they probably still would take a swing on Trubisky. He has a Pro Bowl appearance on his resume (LOL) at least.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Pick: WR Mike Williams, Clemson
Actual Pick: MLB Hasaan Reddick, Temple
The stats have not quite been there for Williams, but the talent remains tantalizing. He averaged more than 20 yards per reception last year and the best could still be yet to come.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Actual Pick: DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Barnett is a solid starter, and the Eagles are very happy with his development, so they probably would have gone the same route here.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Pick: TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
Actual Pick: FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State
In college, Engram was a very productive and talented pass catcher who had trouble staying healthy. Nothing has changed since then. Engram would have been catching passes from Andrew Luck in this scenario.
16. Baltimore Ravens
Pick: DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Actual Pick: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
Allen has been a solid 3-4 end, but has not lived up to his pre draft reputation. He would have fit in well with the Ravens defense, and the team has always had an affinity for Alabama prospects.
17. Washington Redskins
Pick: DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Actual Pick: DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Thomas has been a big disappointment, but I think he could be a solid 3-4 end. He is strong and a solid run stopper. Not great, but not bad for a Redskins team that was still adding pieces to a since abandoned 3-4 defense.
18. Tennessee Titans
Pick: SS Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
Actual Pick: CB Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Peppers fell to late in the first round because he lacked a true position. He has settled in quite well at safety, though he will probably never be a Pro Bowler.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State
Actual Pick: TE OJ Howard, Alabama
Hooker has been great when healthy, but has rarely been healthy. He was an injury risk coming out of Ohio State. Still, the talent and potential is there, and he would be worth taking here.
20. Denver Broncos
Pick: TE OJ Howard, Alabama
Actual Pick: OT Garett Bolles, Utah
OJ Howard did not produce at Alabama and has not produced in Tampa Bay. Teams love talent though, and he has a ton of it. Especially at a thin position like tight end.
21. Detroit Lions
Pick: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
Actual Pick: MLB Jarrad Davis, Florida
I had Dalvin Cook ahead of Fournette in my running back rankings, but even I did not think Forunette would be as inefficient as he has been in the NFL. He’s too big and too slow, and has showed little with all of his touches, but the name is still there, and he will get another shot.
22. Miami Dolphins
Pick: TE David Njoku, Miami
Actual Pick: DE Charles Harris, Missouri
Njoku has not produced much during his career, but he is still quite young and there is projection remaining.
23. New York Giants
Pick: MLB Haason Reddick, Temple
Actual Pick: TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
The problem with “Swiss Army Knife” types is sometimes they aren’t great at any one thing. Reddick has played a few different positions, with average results. Still, he has never missed a game and is a decent starter at linebacker.
24. Oakland Raiders
Pick: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
Actual Pick: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
The quarterback situation did not do Corey Davis any favors, but he simply has not lived up to his draft slot. He could still be a decent 2 or 3, and perhaps this would have kept the Raiders from trading for Antonio Brown.
25. Cleveland Browns
Pick: DE Takk McKinley, UCLA
Actual Pick: S Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
McKinley is a decent situational pass rusher, but that is about it. He would have probably been a starter for a Browns defense that was comprised of table scraps.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Pick: DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
Actual Pick: DE Takk McKinley, UCLA
Charlton was the only first round pick to not make it through his rookie deal without being cut. He is not starter quality, but he showed for a depleted Miami squad that he can at least get to the quarterback on occasion.
27. Buffalo Bills
Pick: WR John Ross III, Washington
Actual Pick: CB Tre’Davious White, LSU
John Ross has been electric when healthy, but that has been way too few and far between. Still, that 4.20 combine time will never go away, so he should have a decent career as a situational deep threat.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Pick: MLB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Actual Pick: DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
Foster is a terrible human being, but he was a Pro Bowl caliber player during his first couple of seasons. Of course, his off the field baggage is on it’s way to killing his career before it could really take off.
29. Cleveland Browns
Pick: OT Garett Bolles, Utah
Actual Pick: TE David Njoku, Miami
Bolles has been a mediocre blocker who collects penalties like Pogs, and he is already in his late 20’s. He could hang around as a backup, but that is about it.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: DE Charles Harris, Missouri
Actual Pick: OLB TJ Watt, Wisconsin
The Steelers are great at developing pass rushers, so perhaps they could have gotten something out of Charles Harris, unlike Miami.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Pick: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Actual Pick: MLB Reuben Foster, Alabama
Conley was traded by a team that desperately needed cornerback help. That should tell you all you need to know about Conley.
32. New Orleans Saints
Pick: MLB Jarrad Davis, Florida
Actual Pick: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Davis was a third or fourth round prospect when the Lions severely reached, and they have been paying for it ever since.