Every year experts and fans alike dissect and grade how each team did in that year’s draft. What if every team had a ‘redo’ after a couple of seasons to evaluate players and readdress the team’s needs with that new information? Today we will give each team a chance to use that new information to see how the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft could/should have gone.
For the purposes of convenience and clarity, all trades that involved just swapping picks have been reversed (i.e. Pittsburgh doesn’t trade up to the 10th pick) but trades made prior to draft night were not reset (i.e. Frank Clark and OBJ trades).
Pick #1, Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Considering the Cardinals fired their head coach that offseason specifically to hire Kliff Kingsbury, it’s hard to imagine they go in another direction if given the option of selecting first overall again.
Quarterback is the most important position in today’s NFL and Murray has done nothing to make the team regret the decision. A completion percentage of nearly 66 percent and a 61/38 touchdown to turnover ratio. While his win/loss record (13-18-1) isn’t impressive, the team has been lacking talent other than the QB position.
Actual pick: Kyler Murray, QB
Pick #2, San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa was considered by most as the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft. His 9 sacks in his rookie season provided evidence that the team made the right decision. San Francisco might reconsider taking Bosa 2nd overall if he cannot recover from an ACL tear he suffered in 2020.
Actual pick: Nick Bosa, DE
Pick #3, New York Jets: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
It took till the third pick but we have our first deviation from the actual draft. While Quinnen Williams appears to be an excellent player, finding pass rushers is much more difficult than defensive tackles. Add to that the fact that Williams has suffered injuries (ankle and neck) that have prevented him from playing 16 games in either of his first two seasons.
As for Sweat, he has 16 sacks in two seasons with the Washington Football Team and also has shown he’s capable of dropping into coverage.
Actual Pick: Quinnen Williams, DL
Pick #4, Las Vegas (then Oakland) Raiders: Devin White, LB, LSU
Arguably got the biggest boost from this redraft. While their original selection, Clelin Ferrell, hasn’t been a bust (65 tackles and 6.5 sacks) Devin White offers a huge upgrade to the Raiders defense.
With 231 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and 5 fumble recoveries White has been a ‘beast’ for the Buccaneers defense over the last two seasons. Instead, the Raiders signed Vontaez Burfict who proceeded to get suspended for the rest of the season after four games in 2019 for repeated safety violations/’dirty hits’.
Actual Pick: Clelin Ferrell, DE
Pick #5, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, White goes one pick earlier in this scenario. Their ‘consolation prize’? Possibly the best overall defensive player in the draft. With 9.5 sacks and 14 tackles-for-loss (TFL), Williams is already a top 10 defensive tackle in the league.
Actual Pick: Devin White, LB
Pick #6, New York Giants: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Quarterback Daniel Jones had a promising rookie season but came back down to Earth in 2020 completing just over 61 percent of his passes and fumbled an NFL-most 29 times in two seasons.
Meanwhile, Josh Allen (DE, not QB) took the league by storm in his rookie season racking up 10.5 sacks and earning a Pro Bowl spot. The Giants, on the other hand, finished in the bottom third in both pass and rush defense.
Actual Pick: Daniel Jones, QB
Pick #7, Jacksonville Jaguars: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
The Jags missed out on Allen but Brian Burns has been very effective at rushing the passer as well. His 16.5 sacks over the last two years, puts him among his fellow rookies as a formidable pass rusher.
Actual Pick: Josh Allen, Edge
Pick #8, Detroit Lions: Maxx Crosby, Edge, Eastern Michigan
Along with the players taken before him, a case could be made that Crosby’s production (17 sacks and 30 TFL) warrants a top-five selection. The Lions pass rush has been pedestrian the past two years, totaling 52 sacks as a team. Tight ends are important but elite pass rushers don’t grow on trees.
Actual Pick: T.J. Hockenson, TE
Pick #9, Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, University of Houston
In this scenario, the Bills still get the man they originally drafted. Oliver’s stats won’t overwhelm you but, lining up most snaps as a “true nose tackle”, his value is in how he helped transform the Bills defense.
Actual Pick: Ed Oliver, DT
Pick #10, Denver Broncos: Devin Bush Jr, Linebacker, Michigan
This do-it-all linebacker originally went to Pittsburgh in a trade-up with Pittsburgh but Denver takes him instead. 109 tackles, two interceptions, and four fumble recoveries would have come in handy for the Broncos in the crowded AFC West.
Actual Pick (Pittsburgh traded up): Devin Bush, LB