Redrafting the 2016 NFL Draft

This is the last “Redrafting the Draft” that I’ll be doing this season. That means I won’t be doing the 2017 Draft. But just for fun (and with zero research) here are the biggest takeaways: Patrick Mahomes goes first to the Browns, Deshaun Watson goes second to the 49ers, and Mitchell Trubisky goes undrafted.

Next week I will begin releasing scouting reports on prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft (seniors and those likely to declare). But for now, the Tennessee Titans are on the clock with a chance to drastically change today’s NFL. And as always, I reset the draft order to the original draft order that became official right after the 2015 season concluded.

1) Tennessee Titans – Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

(Jared Goff, QB, Cal)

This was the big trade up the Rams made to secure Jared Goff first overall. Of course with resetting the original draft order, it’s the Titans’ selection again. In hindsight, we know that the Titan’s first round pick in 2015, Marcus Mariota) didn’t pan out. So the Titans get to try their hand at Dak Prescott, someone we know to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

2) Cleveland Browns – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

(Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State)

Carson Wentz still goes second overall in this redraft, but the Cleveland Browns are the beneficiaries due to the original draft order resetting. Wentz comes with his injury concerns, but the Browns kept trading out of opportunities to select high-profile quarterbacks only to select much worse quarterbacks later on (until Baker Mayfield). I highly doubt the Browns would’ve stacked up all of those losses with Wentz under center.

3) San Diego Chargers – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

(Joey Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State)

Joey Bosa was a phenomenal pick for the Chargers, but where has it really impacted this time? They certainly would be worse with just removing Bosa from their roster. But adding Michael Thomas to their offense with Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon? Sign any Chargers’ fan up for that.

4) Dallas Cowboys – Joey Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

(Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State)

I think it’s obvious by now if you’ve been reading my previous redrafts, but I don’t like drafting running backs in the top 10. Elliott is one of the best running backs in the league and he’s certainly made the Cowboys offense much better; but now he’s owed a lot of money and paying a running back top dollar has proven to be disastrous around the league. Instead, the Cowboys can add one of the best pass rushers in the league with Bosa.

5) Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State

(Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State)

I know the breakup between Ramsey and the Jaguars was bad, but maybe with hindsight things wouldn’t go so poorly this time around. Ramsey was very important to the Jaguars, but certain members in their front office believed he was replaceable. This led to a rift between the two sides, mainly at the contract negotiation table. This time, the Jaguars can pay the man and do a better job of keeping this defense near the top.

6) Baltimore Ravens – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

(Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame)

I really wanted to go with Ronnie Stanley again because he is great in Baltimore and why fix something that isn’t broken? But the truth is Laremy Tunsil is a better player, even if it is by a small margin.

7) San Francisco 49ers – Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State

(DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon)

I feel like in every redraft I do something that makes 49ers fans mad, and he’s this one. DeForest Buckner is a great player and one of the best defensive linemen in the league, but there is no denying that Chris Jones is better. There is an argument to be made that Jones is the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL (but Fletcher Cox also exists). Either way, the 49ers built a lot of their NFC Championship winning team through the defensive line, so that shouldn’t change in a redraft.

8) Miami Dolphins – Tyreek Hill, WR, West Alabama

(Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State)

This is where the Titans ended up after this pick was traded around several times. We have the Dolphins here back in their original spot and they can add a serious weapon to their lackluster offense. They still had Jarvis Landry, so just imagine Landry and Hill paired up for the next eight years or so.

9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE, Maryland

(Leonard Floyd, EDGE, Georgia)

The Bears traded up to this spot to jump over the Giants in order to snag Leonard Floyd. The Buccaneers ended up with one of many failed cornerbacks from this draft class in Vernon Hargreaves. Instead, they add a great pass rusher in Yannick Ngakoue to an extremely depleted position group.

10) New York Giants – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

(Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State)

We all know that the Giants missed really badly with their 2015 first round draft selection with Ereck Flowers. They have to make up for that here and they’re honestly lucky that Ronnie Stanley is still available for them. Eli Apple also didn’t work out for the Giants, but left tackle is a much more important position for the Giants.

11) Chicago Bears – DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon

(Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida)

Leonard Floyd had moments and even games of great play. But his overall inconsistency made him into a bust. The Bears selected Eddie Goldman in the second round in 2015, but placing DeForest Buckner next to him and newly signed Akiem Hicks instantly makes this defensive line one of the best in the NFL.

12) New Orleans Saints – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

(Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville)

The Saints would draft Alvin Kamara just a year later, but these redrafts don’t work with that particular kind of hindsight bias. I’m also not going to argue about who is better between Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott, but Elliott has been more consistent. Sheldon Rankins has been good for the Saints, but he wouldn’t be drafted this highly again.

13) Philadelphia Eagles – Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

(Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss)

The Eagles packaged a lot of picks to move up to second overall to select Carson Wentz. He’s obviously already off the board, I don’t want to reach for Jared Goff here, and maybe the Eagles could give Nick Foles an earlier chance. Instead, the Eagles can bolster their rushing attack with the bruising Derrick Henry. They’ve struggled on the ground ever since LeSean McCoy’s glory days.

14) Oakland Raiders – Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor

(Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia)

The Raiders secondary was really poor (it’s still not much better). I was a big fan of Karl Joseph going into this draft, but he has not lived up to his first round billing. The Raiders has a bigger need at cornerback anyway, and Xavien Howard falls right in their laps. Howard has established himself as one of the best young cornerbacks in the league, and got a huge extension from the Dolphins to prove it.

15) Los Angeles Rams – Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

(Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor)

The Rams gave away almost everything for Jared Goff at first overall. He’s still on the board in this redraft, but that’s not the direction I’m going again for the Rams. Sure they made the Super Bowl with Goff as quarterback, but how much did he really do that year that directly caused the Rams to win games? Instead, they could’ve added Jaylon Smith here and another quarterback next year, either through the draft or free agency. Smith has a horrible knee injury in his last college football game, causing him to slide out of the first round. He would’ve been a lock for the top five if that knee injury hadn’t happened. He’s regained most of his form since then, earning a huge paycheck from the Cowboys.

16) Detroit Lions – Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA

(Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State)

The Lions were kind of being carried by Matthew Stafford during the 2010s. Their two biggest needs, however, were on both sides of the trenches. Taylor Decker has been an above average tackle during his career, but Kenny Clark was one of the bigger steals of this draft. He’s dominated on the defensive line every game, and twice a year against the Lions.

17) Atlanta Falcons – Kevin Byard, S, Middle Tennessee State

(Keanu Neal, S, Florida)

Keanu Neal was one of my favorite prospects going into this draft, but his injuries just keep piling up. Staying with the same position (the Falcons really needed secondary help), Byard has become one of the best safeties in the league (just don’t ask Stephen A. Smith).

18) Indianapolis Colts – Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State

(Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama)

Once again, I’m going with the offensive line for the Colts to protect Andrew Luck. The Colts actually finally went with an offensive lineman in the first round in this draft with Ryan Kelly. This was a tough call, as Kelly is a great center, but Whitehair has been able to switch back and forth at center and guard while dominating both positions. Due to this versatility, Whitehair gets the edge over Kelly.

19) Buffalo Bills – Deion Jones, LB, LSU

(Shaq Lawson, EDGE, Clemson)

The Bills made the right call addressing their front seven, but it was the wrong guy. Shaq Lawson has just never really gotten on track in the NFL. Meanwhile, Deion Jones has quietly become one of the best linebackers in the league. The Bills have been pretty poor at linebacker until drafting Tremaine Edmunds in the first round in 2018.

20) New York Jets – Jared Goff, QB, Cal

(Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State)

Darron Lee got off to a hot start in the NFL with the Jets, but being traded away seemed to be the worst thing for him. The Jets would end up with Sam Darnold in 2018, but they rolled with Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2016. While Fitzmagic is fun, the Jets should’ve invested in a young quarterback in the draft for him to groom. I know I ripped on Goff a little bit earlier in this article, but destination for rookie quarterbacks is so important. Would Goff be better today if his first year was with the Jets instead of the Rams (Jeff Fisher was the Rams head coach in 2016, before Sean McVay got there)? We will never know the answer to that, but it’s worth the shot.

21) Washington Redskins – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

(Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame)

The Texans hopped up here to grab their receiver in Will Fuller, but Fuller has a lot of limitations in his game. The Redskins also grabbed a receiver in Josh Doctson, which turned out even worse than Fuller. The Redskins added Guard Brandon Scherff in 2015 and they can continue to build their offensive line with Ryan Kelly. Kelly, Scherff, and Left Tackle Trent Williams is a great trio on the offensive line to build around.

22) Houston Texans – Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford

(Josh Doctson, WR, TCU)

As I mentioned above, Will Fuller hasn’t worked out for the Texans. While still adding to offensive weapons, the Texans could’ve snagged one of the best young tight ends in the league in Austin Hooper. Hooper has had a good start to his career, but he exploded in 2019, just in time for a huge contract to go to Cleveland.

23) Minnesota Vikings – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

(Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss)

The third receiver in a row in the original draft, Treadwell might be the worst of the three. The Vikings have been trying to build their offensive line for quite some time now, so why not grab one of the best tight tackles in the league? The Titans inexplicably didn’t pick up Conklin’s fifth-year option, so he hit the market and cashed out in a big way.

24) Cincinnati Bengals – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

(William Jackson, CB, Houston)

The Bengals have been struggling in the first round for a long time (hopefully that changes with Joe Burrow). William Jackson is nothing short of a bust, but similar to Jaylon Smith with his injuries, Myles Jack has been excellent. After suffering a bad injury that greatly affected his draft stock, Jack has put that behind him to become a really good linebacker.

25) Pittsburgh Steelers – Keanu Neal, S, Florida

(Artie Burns, CB, Miami)

Artie Burns flamed out in Pittsburgh after a promising rookie year. Meanwhile, the Steelers had been searching for talent at safety since the retirement of Troy Polamalu. I mentioned Keanu Neal’s injury history above, but I would take the chance here. There is always the hope that different circumstances wouldn’t result in those injuries, but it does appear that Neal is injury prone.

26) Seattle Seahawks – Joe Thuney, G, N.C. State

(Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis)

The Broncos jumped up to this spot to nab Paxton Lynch, which was just another failed quarterback for the Broncos. The Seahawks traded out of the first round, but I think we all know that they needed to address the offensive line. Russell Wilson has been scrambling for his life since he entered the league, and its high time that the Seahawks add some protection for him.

27) Green Bay Packers – Matt Judon, EDGE, Grand Valley State

(Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA)

The Packers miss out on Kenny Clark here in this redraft, but they get to address the edge rusher position. Besides receiver, edge rusher was one of the biggest issues for the Packers until they paid a lot for the position in free agency in 2019. Matt Judon really jumped on the scene this season, earning him a big pay day after he gets past the franchise tag.

28) Kansas City Chiefs – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

(Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford)

The 49ers traded up from the second round to this spot to grab Joshua Garnett. The Chiefs ended up selecting Chris Jones with that second round pick from San Francisco. It’s safe to say the Chiefs won that trade. However, Chris Jones is long gone in this redraft, so the Chiefs need to look elsewhere. Taylor Decker seems like a disappointment due to his draft position (16), but he’s an above average starting left tackle in the NFL. The Chiefs have one of the best right tackles in the league in Mitchell Schwartz, so now they could get that left tackle they’ve coveted since Eric Fischer turned out to be a bust.

29) New England Patriots – Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

(Selection Forfeited)

The Patriots were forced to forfeit this pick due to Deflategate. However, because I’m a nice guy (and this is purely fiction), I’ve given it back to them. One of the few positions the Patriots have routinely struggled with is defensive tackle. Sheldon Rankins can also be considered a bust due to his high draft spot (12), but he’s an above average defensive tackle. The Patriots have had better defensive ends and pass rushers around their defensive tackles than the Saints, so Rankins could have fared even better in New England.

30) Arizona Cardinals – Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin

(Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss)

Robert Nkemdiche came to Arizona with some baggage, the main reason he fell so far in the original draft. He never pulled things together in the NFL, though, which was surprising given his talent. The Cardinals had a slew of problems at linebacker, including an indefinite suspension for Daryl Washington. Joe Schobert would’ve been a very welcome addition in Arizona, as he’s turned into one of the better linebackers in the league.

31) Carolina Panthers – Justin Simmons, S, Boston College

(Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech)

The Panthers had problems with their secondary before Josh Norman left town, and then he left after this Super Bowl. Without any cornerbacks still left on the board in this redraft, I had to look at safety for secondary help. Luckily, Justin Simmons was still available. Simmons is highly underrated, but I consider him easily a top ten safety in the NFL.

32) Denver Broncos – Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

(Germain Ifedi, OL, Texas A&M)

This is the pick that the Broncos used to trade up for Paxton Lynch. Peyton Manning retired after the Super Bowl and let’s just say the Broncos got a little too desperate very quickly. Instead, the Broncos could’ve addressed another huge need of theirs: tight end. Their tight end group was in a very sad state until they drafted Noah Fant just a year ago. I really like Hunter Henry, but he has had a lot of injury problems. SInce entering the league in 2016, he’s missed 1, 2, 16, and 4 games, respectively. Hopefully a change of scenery would result in a different outcome of injuries for Henry.

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