In this second edition of “Redraft the Draft”, the top of this class contains some of the most elite players at their respective positions still to this day. Most of the top guys are still on the respective teams that drafted them, few are already retired or out of the league, and the top guy still somehow remains a free agent.
As always, I have undone the draft day trades, but kept the trades made before the draft. I don’t think the Browns would’ve traded out of the 6th overall pick if they had known what Julio Jones would’ve become. These redrafts operate under complete hindsight bias, therefore draft day trades made 9 years ago don’t make a lot of sense today.
1) Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
(Cam Newton, QB, Auburn)
Despite the injuries that have recently plagued Cam Newton and led to his release from the Panthers this offseason, there is nothing to change here. Newton won an MVP and took the Panthers to the Super Bowl.
2) Denver Broncos – Von Miller, EDGE, Texas A&M
(Von Miller, EDGE, Texas A&M)
Same as above, Von Miller remains the best choice for the Broncos here. He has been one of the top edge rushers in the league this decade. Miller also won MVP of the Super Bowl that the Broncos won in 2015.
3) Buffalo Bills – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
(Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama)
Marcell Dareus was dominant for the Bills in the first half of his career, but Julio Jones is still one of the best at his position. There is no denying that Jones should be drafted this high in a redraft.
4) Cincinnati Bengals – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
(A.J. Green, WR, Georgia)
A.J. Green has been great for the Bengals, but Tyron Smith plays a much more important position, and he hasn’t been plagued with the injuries that Green has faced. The Bengals are known to have one of the worst offensive lines throughout the decade, but Smith would severely alter that.
5) Arizona Cardinals – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
(Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU)
Similar to the reasoning above with Tyron Smith over A.J. Green, Watt plays a more important position and his level of play is still at the top. Watt has faced injuries that Peterson hasn’t faced, but he’s also won Defensive Player of the Year 3 times.
6) Cleveland Browns – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
(Julio Jones, WR, Alabama)
The Falcons traded up here in the 2011 draft to steal Julio Jones, but in this redraft the Browns get lucky with A.J. Green still on the board. The Browns were lacking an elite receiver throughout the last decade until Odell Beckham Jr. rolled into town last offseason.
7) San Francisco 49ers – Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
(Aldon Smith, EDGE, Missouri)
In the original 2011 NFL Draft, the 49ers wound up with Kaepernick in the second round. In this redraft, they have to take him in the first round in order to still get him. Kaepernick was one of the best young QBs in the league before supposed political controversy essentially ended his career way too early.
8) Tennessee Titans – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
(Jake Locker, QB, Washington)
Jake Locker obviously didn’t work out in Tennessee, but Patrick Peterson has been one of the best CBs in the league this past decade. The Titans had a big need at CB, and there isn’t another QB worth selecting this high.
9) Dallas Cowboys – Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
(Tyron Smith, OT, USC)
Obviously the Cowboys would love to get Tyron Smith here again, but he’s already off the board in this redraft. But the Cowboys also had a huge need on their defensive line at the time, and snagging Cameron Jordan here is still a great selection.
10) Washington Redskins – Richard Sherman, CB, Stanford
(Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri)
In the original 2011 NFL Draft, the Jaguars traded up here to select Blaine Gabbert, while the Redskins traded back and selected Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is still on the board, however Richard Sherman has had a much better career and the Redskins really needed a CB at the time.
11) Houston Texans – Justin Houston, EDGE, Georgia
(J.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin)
The Texans were able to get Watt here in the original draft, but instead here in the redraft with Watt already gone, Justin Houston is not a bad consolation prize. Houston is more of a LB than Watt, but he is still one of the more successful EDGe rushers of the last decade.
12) Minnesota Vikings – Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama
(Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State)
The Vikings missed on Christian Ponder in 2011, but they luck out here in the redraft. Marcell Dareus has been one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league since 2011, and he would’ve solidified the Vikings defensive line during this last decade.
13) Detroit Lions – Chris Harris Jr., Kansas
(Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn)
Nick Fairley never really planned out in the NFL, even playing next to Ndamukong Suh who demanded a double team. Placing Chris Harris Jr. on this defense behind Suh would’ve made a great start towards their rebuild.
14) St. Louis Rams – Aldon Smith, EDGE, Missouri
(Robert Quinn, EDGE, North Carolina)
Aldon Smith was on track early to have a phenomenal career. Off field issues side tracked things and pushed Smith out of the league for a few years. Hopefully a change of scenery from San Francisco to St. Louis would change things for Smith.
15) Miami Dolphins – Jason Kelce, C, Cincinnati
(Mike Pouncey, IOL, Florida)
The Dolphins still get their Center in this redraft, but the one with the better career to this point. Their level of play has been fairly similar, but Kelce’s leadership and the fact that he anchored a Super Bowl sinning offensive line gives him the edge.
16) Jacksonville Jaguars – Cameron Heyward, DL, Ohio State
(Ryan Kerrigan, DL, Purdue)
In the original draft, the Jaguars traded up to grab Blaine Gabbert, putting the Redskins here to select Ryan Kerrigan. Obviously Gabbert didn’t work out, but the Jags can get an even better defensive end than Kerrigan in Cameron Heyward.
17) New England Patriots (via OAK) – Mike Pouncey, IOL, Florida
(Nate Solder, OT, Colorado)
The Patriots needed to upgrade their offensive line in this draft. Solder was a really solid player for the Patriots since he was drafted, but he’s since moved on to the Giants and Pouncey remains one of the best centers in the league.
18) San Diego Chargers – Jurrell Casey, DL, USC
(Corey Liuget, DL, Illinois)
The Chargers went with the correct position, but wrong player here as we look back on it. Liuget is another one of those solid players from this draft, but Casey has had the better career.
19) New York Giants – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
(Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska)
The Giants end up with Nate Solder here just like they did in real life in free agency a year back. Amukumara never really panned out, having the best years of his career on a Bears roster loaded with other talent on defense.
20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
(Adrian Clayborn, DL, Iowa)
The Buccaneers still address their defensive line in this redraft, but you can’t argue that Ryan Kerrigan is the better player and has had a better career than Adrian Clayborn.
21) Kansas City Chiefs – Doug Baldwin, WR, Stanford
(Phil Taylor Sr., DL, Baylor)
The Browns got this pick through the Chiefs, who got it from the Falcons in an earlier trade. Phil Taylor Sr. didn’t have much of a career, but Doug Baldwin had a great career, albeit cut short due to lingering injuries. From undrafted to the first round of this redraft, Baldwin ends up a big winner.
22) Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
(Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College)
This pick ends up being the exact same as the Colts have gotten just what they wanted out of Anthony Costanzo. He’s been a great left tackle for the majority of his career and doesn’t appear to be slowing down soon.
23) Philadelphia Eagles – Rodney Hudson, IOL, Florida State
(Danny Watkins, IOL, Baylor)
The Eagles needed offensive line help in this draft but Danny Watkins was a miss. They get Rodney Hudson in this redraft, a guy who can play any position on the interior of the offensive line but has excelled at guard. The Eagles hit on Jason Kelce in the sixth round, but he’s already off the board here.
24) New Orleans Saints – Muhammad Wilkerson, DL, Temple
(Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal)
The Saints miss out on their Pro Bowl defensive lineman Cameron Jordan here in this redraft, but they still get a good defensive lineman in Muhammad Wilkerson.
25) Seattle Seahawks – Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
(James Carpenter, OT, Alabama)
The Seahawks ended up with Russell Wilson the following year, but they still needed a QB in this draft. Andy Dalton had a good start to his career before recently falling out of favor in Cincinnati.
26) Baltimore Ravens – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
(Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh)
In the original draft, the Ravens ran out of time so the team behind them jumped in front. The Ravens ended up with Jimmy Smith, and that remains the same in this redraft.
27) Atlanta Falcons – Robert Quinn, EDGE, North Carolina
(Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado)
The Falcons are one of the biggest losers in this redraft. Without trades, the Falcons stay at 27 and lose out on Julio Jones. They still end up with a good pass rusher in Robert Quinn, another position of need at the time.
28) New England Patriots – Jabaal Sheard, EDGE, Pittsburgh
(Mark Ingram Jr., RB, Alabama)
The Saints ended up with this pick in the original draft, but here in this redraft the Patriots land a pass rusher after trading away Richard Seymour in the offseason to the Raiders.
29) Chicago Bears – Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
(Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin)
The Bears really needed offensive line help but they got a big miss in Gabe Carimi. Gilbert had a great start to his career and is still a good tackle in the NFL today.
30) New York Jets – Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn
(Muhammad Wilkerson, DL, Temple)
The Jets miss out on Muhammad Wilkerson in this redraft, but they can still address the defensive line. Fairley was a bust after being drafted 13th overall to the Lions, but hopefully a change of scenery would’ve resulted in a better career for Fairley.
31) Pittsburgh Steelers – Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU
(Cameron Heyward, DL, Ohio State)
The Steelers miss on Cameron Heyward in this redraft, but they are able to address the other side of the line. Marcus Cannon has been a starter in New England for most of his career, and with the Steelers also missing out on Marcus Gilbert in this redraft, Cannon is a good pick.
32) Green Bay Packers – K.J. Wright, OLB, Mississippi State
(Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State)
The Packers needed a pass rusher in this original draft, but ended up with a solid offensive tackle. In the redraft, K.J. Wright is still available as part pass rusher and part linebacker (not quite a true edge rusher). His skill set coming into the league was very comparable to Clay Matthews, which would’ve been a deadly duo.