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The Pick That Got Away: 20 Players These NFL Teams Regret Not Drafting

Say what you want about trades and free agency, but every Super Bowl winner in NFL history has been built right through the draft. Things have always been that way, and it's why teams are always trying to secure all the additional selections they can get.

The San Francisco 49ers wouldn't have been a dynasty in the '80s if they didn't trade up to nab the GOAT in Jerry Rice back in 1985, and the folks on the west coast are forever thankful that every other team passed on Joe Montana in 1979. They finally took 'Joe Cool' in the third round, and it led to four Super Bowl championships.

Then you take a look at the New England Patriots, who forever changed the NFL landscape when they got Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 Draft. Bill Belichick added to his legendary quarterback's arsenal by finding another gem in Rob Gronkowski (second round in 2010). Those two players alone helped Belichick build up the greatest team of the 21st century.

Now, you take a look at the best teams in the NFL right now. Where would the New Orleans Saints be if they didn't hit all of their draft selections in the 2017 Draft? Getting Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams and Ryan Ramcyk has built this team into an NFC powerhouse.

As the 2019 NFL draft nears, it's a fun time to take a look at these 20 star players that NFL teams surely regret passing on. Had they gotten these picks right, the NFL would have changed forever. So have a look as we play the fun "what if" game.

Arizona Cardinals: Justin Houston

The Arizona Cardinals came away with gold when they selected LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson with the No. 5 pick. Now, just imagine if they could have had an elite pass rusher in Justin Houston to complement him for all these years.

With the 69th pick in the 2011 Draft, Arizona selected tight end Rob Housler - who played four seasons in Arizona without making much of an impact. Right after Housler, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Houston.

Houston is a four-time Pro Bowler and has been instrumental in helping Kansas City reach the playoffs in five of the last six years now. He had a ridiculous 22 sacks in 2014 and continues to be the anchor on the Kansas City defense. If the Cardinals had Houston and Peterson on that defense together, there's no telling just how great they could have been together.

Detroit Lions: Michael Thomas

With Calvin Johnson surprisingly retiring after his age-30 season in 2015, the Detroit Lions needed to find a new dynamic wide receiver. Though Marvin Jones has had some success in the Motor City, he's not the same game-changing player that Michael Thomas is.

The New Orleans Saints selected Thomas with the 47th pick three years ago, taking the Ohio State product right after the Lions took defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson with the 46th selection.

Robinson has had some flashes here and there and just might end up being a star in the Motor City after all. Meanwhile, Thomas has now registered three straight 1,000-yard seasons to average his career. Boy, would he have made a difference for Matthew Stafford

Buffalo Bills: Patrick Mahomes

To be fair, Josh Allen does look like he'll be a great quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, but it's a bit of a stretch to believe he can fare as well as Patrick Mahomes. The Bills could have taken Mahomes 10th overall in 2017, but they traded that pick to the Kansas City Chiefs - receiving 2017 and 2018 firsts plus a third-round selection.

Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns in his first season with the Chiefs and looks primed to be the NFL's next great quarterback. Even if Allen does well in Buffalo, it's hard to envision him reaching the same level as dominance. No other young quarterback in the NFL can be compared to Mahomes right now. Not even close.

The Bills passed on the chance to draft Mahomes by giving up that pick to Kansas City. If Allen doesn't pan out, Buffalo is going to look back on this and wonder what could have been for years to come. No pressure, Josh.

Los Angeles Rams: Odell Beckham Jr.

The good news for the Rams is that they found up getting Aaron Donald in the first round of the 2014 Draft, so many forget that they wasted the No. 2 selection that same year on offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

The Rams actually acquired this pick from Washington in the Robert Griffin III draft trade in 2012. Too bad they didn't put it to good use, because so many Pro Bowlers were selected after the Rams took Robinson.

One of those Pro Bowls was wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whom the New York Giants selected with the 12th pick. Beckham has been one of the game's elite offensive playmakers, and he could have done wonders with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Robinson only played three years with the Rams before getting traded to Detroit.

 Washington Redskins: Russell Wilson

The Washington Redskins made a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams in order to land the No. 2 pick in 2012. They would either get Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III - two quarterbacks who came with limitless potential.

The Indianapolis Colts selected Luck, while the Redskins happily took RG3 with the second selection. Though the latter won the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year award, his career was derailed entirely by knee injuries. Griffin was only the full-time starter in Washington twice, and they let him go after the 2015 season.

Washington would have been better off selecting Russell Wilson, whom the Seattle Seahawks got in the third round (75th overall). Wilson is among the game's top quarterbacks and helped Seattle win Super Bowl XLVIII. He would have been the better long-term quarterback for Washington than Griffin, but there's no way they could have known this at the time. Doesn't mean they don't regret taking Wilson, though.

Green Bay Packers: DeAndre Hopkins

If only the Green Bay Packers had known that Jordy Nelson only had a couple of prime years left, and if only they could tell that Randall Cobb was going to regress significantly after an incredible 2014 season.

But back in 2013, the Packers were confident that the wide receiver duo of Cobb and Nelson were good enough for Aaron Rodgers. That's why it made sense to take defensive end Datone Jones with the 26th pick, allowing the Houston Texans to take DeAndre Hopkins 27th overall.

Well, Jones played four seasons with the Packers but wasn't able to produce a whole lot. Hopkins, meanwhile, has emerged as arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL right now. To think Rodgers could be tossing touchdowns to both Hopkins and Davante Adams right now. The rest of the NFL should be thankful that the Packers wasted the chance to put this superstar wideout with the two-time MVP.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Luke Kuechly

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't made the postseason since 2007, and that can be largely attributed to their awful drafting. For example, they passed up on the chance to draft a future Pro Bowl linebacker in Luke Kuechly seven years ago.

Instead of taking Kuechly, the Buccaneers selected Alabama safety Mark Barron - believing he was capable of being the centerpiece in the secondary. But Barron wasn't able to make much of an impact in Tampa Bay, and they traded him to the Rams in the midst of the 2014 season.

As for Kuechly, he's fared just fine with the NFC South rival Carolina Panthers. Taken two picks after Barron, Kuechly has been named to Six Pro Bowls, is a five-time First-team All-Pro selection and was named 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. You think Tampa regrets missing out on this guy? Just a tad bit?

Jacksonville Jaguars: Todd Gurley

The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. with the No. 3 selection in 2015, right after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota went with the first two picks. And boy, do they regret passing up on a future star in Todd Gurley.

Fowler struggled to make an impact during his short tenure in Jacksonville; he got into trouble off the field and fell out of favor quickly in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville traded Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams at the 2018 deadline.

Speaking of the Rams, they wound up selecting Gurley with the 10th pick - seven spots after Fowler. He won the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year award and took home the Offensive Player of the Year award as well in 2017. Gurley has three 1,000-yard seasons through his first four years in the NFL. Not bad at all.

Buffalo Bills: Rob Gronkowski

The Bills organization and fans don't need a reminder about how frustrating it's been dealing with the New England Patriots in the 21st century. They could have minimized the damage by selecting tight end Rob Gronkowski in the 2010 Draft, but the Bills selected defensive tackle Torell Toup with the 41st selection.

One pick later, the Patriots nabbed Gronkowski, who has emerged as the most dominant tight end in NFL history. He's a perennial Pro Bowler and was instrumental in helping this team win two Super Bowl championships (he was injured for the second one, but you get the point).

What if the Bills wound up taking Gronkowski before the Patriots got their hands on him? Maybe Buffalo makes the most of his talents and they become a playoff team? Maybe the Patriots don't continue to dominate the AFC East for a decade? What a draft miss this was.

Los Angeles Rams: Matt Ryan

Back in the day where the Rams were in St. Louis, they selected defensive end Chris Long over Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. Now, the Rams are now loaded on offense, with Jared Goff growing into an MVP caliber signal-caller.

But imagine if they wound up with 'Matty Ice' a decade ago? Long enjoyed a couple of double-digit sack seasons during his time with the Rams, but they weren't able to build much around his talents. Had the Rams selected Ryan, they would have had a franchise quarterback and could have easily been a perennial playoff team.

Ryan has been one of the NFL's most consistent and dominant quarterbacks throughout his 11 years, winning the 2016 MVP Award. The Rams had to endure over a decade of mediocrity until Goff came along, so it's safe to say they regret not taking Ryan when he was available.

San Francisco 49ers: Earl Thomas

The San Francisco 49ers have had to deal with Seattle Seahawks' Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas for nearly a full decade. Remember when the two teams met in the 2013 NFC Championship Game? Maybe San Francisco would have won that game if they had Thomas, who became a formidable part of Seattle's iconic 'Legion of Boom'.

San Francisco had the chance to draft Thomas with the 11th selection in 2010, but they settled on offensive tackle Anthony Davis (no, not the guy who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans). Davis played with the 49ers until 2016, but he was never much of an impact player.

Meanwhile, Thomas became one of the game's elite ball-hawking safeties, and he was instrumental in helping Seattle win Super Bowl XLVIII. If the 49ers had Thomas, perhaps they'd be the ones with that Super Bowl banner instead? And their NFC West foes wouldn't have beaten up on them so much this decade?

Arizona Cardinals: Adrian Peterson

Yes, the Cardinals had Adrian Peterson for most of the 2017 season, but he barely produced and couldn't do much to help that team. But what if Arizona had AP to complement Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald for a few years there?

Arizona used the fifth overall pick in the 2007 Draft on offensive tackle Levi Brown, who played with the team until the 2013 season. Brown wasn't a bust by any means, but he wasn't that much of an impact player - compared to Peterson.

AP fell to the Minnesota Vikings two picks after Arizona took Brown. All he's done is win the 2012 NFL MVP Award and earn seven Pro Bowl selections. Peterson has simply been the best running back of this era, and he could have certainly helped Arizona win a Super Bowl - when they had Warner or Carson Palmer to go alongside Fitzgerald.

Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack

I was temped to putting the Rams on here instead of the Bills, but they wound up selecting Aaron Donald anyway. Five years after the 2014 Draft, the Bills remain one of  the worst teams in football, but Khalil Mack could have totally changed that.

Rather than select the future Defensive Player of the Year, Buffalo traded up to select Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. Watkins was inconsistent in his three years with the Bills and was traded to the Rams at the 2017 trade deadline.

Mack, meanwhile, has racked up a whopping 53 sacks through his first five NFL seasons. After Aaron Donald, Mack is probably the best defensive player in all of football. Thing is, the Bills already have one of the league's top defensive units. Imagine if they had Mack to go with it?

Houston Texans: Ben Roethlisberger

The 2004 NFL Draft Class is widely remembered for its stacked group of quarterbacks. A trio of future Hall of Famers in Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger were selected in the first round. Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers, but he was flipped to the New York Giants for Rivers.

As for the Steelers, they took Roethlisberger at the 11th spot, after the Houston Texans selected cornerback Dunta Robinson. The latter spent six seasons with Houston and had some success, but he never became a franchise-changer like Roethlisberger.

The two-time Super Bowl champion has become one of the game's all-time great quarterbacks. Big Ben hasn't had a single losing season through his first 15 years, and the Steelers are consistently in Super Bowl contention.

Houston didn't find a franchise quarterback until 2017, when they drafted Deshaun Watson. Had they drafted Big Ben to complement Andre Johnson all those years, perhaps the Texans would have had a Super Bowl or two of their own by now, no?

Oakland Raiders: Larry Fitzgerald

Seven of the first eight picks in the 2004 NFL Draft became Pro Bowlers. The only one who didn't was Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery, whom the Raiders selected with the No. 2 pick.

Right after Gallery, the Arizona Cardinals selected Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald - who is only the best wide receiver to come around over the past 15 years. Fitzgerald is an 11-time Pro Bowler and sits second all time in receiving yards (16,279), and third in catches (1,303).

Even in his mid-30s, Fitzgerald remains one of the NFL's top playmakers, and he's a lock for the Hall of Fame. Just imagine what Oakland could have done if they had a franchise-changing star like Fitzgerald.

Miami Dolphins: Drew Brees

The Miami Dolphins have spent two decades looking for a true franchise quarterback, ever since Dan Marino retired. Though Ryan Tannehill has had some success in his seven seasons with Miami, he's only led them to one playoff season.

Miami could have found its new franchise quarterback 18 years ago, when Drew Brees was available late in the first round of the 2001 Draft. The NFL's all time leader in passing yards fell to the Chargers with the No. 32 pick. Before Brees, Miami took Wisconsin corner Jamar Fletcher.

The former First-team All-American only played three seasons for Miami, so they didn't get much out of their investment. The Dolphins could have had this future Hall of Famer go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady for AFC East supremacy. Surely, Brees would have kept Miami in Super Bowl contention as well. They had a chance to sign him in the 2006 offseason, but the Dolphins settled on trading for Daunte Culpepper instead. Brees went to New Orleans, and the rest is history.

Cleveland Browns: Aaron Donald

After the Cleveland Browns took cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth selection in 2014, the next nine picks all became Pro Bowlers. Out of that bunch, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald easily stands out as the very best.

Cleveland had high hopes for Gilbert, who was an unanimous All-American during his time at Oklahoma State. But Gilbert was never able to translate his skills over to the NFL, and the Browns traded him to Pittsburgh after just two years in 'The Land'.

Donald, meanwhile, has become the best defensive player in all of football. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has helped the Rams reach two straight NFC West division titles, and there's no telling just how dominant he and Myles Garrett could have been together.

Jacksonville Jaguars: J.J. Watt

In desperate need of a quarterback, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to select Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the No. 10 pick in 2011. Gabbert lasted just three seasons in Jacksonville and never became a star, and they let him go after he played just a trio of games in the 2013 campaign. And who did the Houston Texans take right after Gabbert?

Oh yeah, J.J. Watt. You know, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year? Only the best defensive player of this era? The best pass rusher we've seen since Lawrence Taylor last played over two decades ago?

Watt has emerged as a franchise player for the Texans, and he's been a nightmare for the Jaguars, who have to deal with him twice a year. Jacksonville has a great defense now, but imagine if they Watt to go with it? That would have been something else, folks.

Oakland Raiders: Aaron Rodgers

Every single team that passed on Aaron Rodgers in 2005 certainly regrets it. Nobody will ever understand how the two-time MVP fell all the way down to the Green Bay Packers at the 24th spot. But surely, nobody regrets passing on Rodgers more than the Oakland Raiders.

That's because the Raiders owned the pick before Green Bay took Rodgers. Oakland used it on Nebraska cornerback Fabian Washington, who only played three seasons before getting traded to the Baltimore Ravens.

Oakland has since been one of the worst teams in all of football, making the playoffs just once since the 2005 Draft. Rodgers has become arguably the best quarterback in all of football right now, with two MVP awards and a Super Bowl XLV championship. Just imagine how different Oakland would be if they managed to take Rodgers while he was available.

New York Jets: Tom Brady

Well, pretty much every NFL team regrets not drafting Tom Brady.

The New England Patriots took a chance on Brady, selecting him with the 199th pick. But we decided to put the New York Jets on here for multiple reasons over the other teams that passed on Brady. Let's consider a few things.

New York had a whopping four first-round picks, none of them were used on Brady. They did select quarterback Chad Pennington, who had minor success but obviously never became a fraction of what Brady has been in Foxborough.

And finally, the Jets have been a giant mess since Brady went to the Patriots. While New England has enjoyed all these AFC East division titles and Super Bowl championships, the Jets have consistently been one of the worst teams in football, missing the playoffs in eight straight seasons now.

Imagine if the Jets drafted Brady with one of those four first-round picks. Maybe he wouldn't have developed into the NFL icon we all know today, but it would have at least put a stop to the New England dynasty. But the Jets are left wondering what could have been.

20 Arizona Cardinals: Justin Houston

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The Arizona Cardinals came away with gold when they selected LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson with the No. 5 pick. Now, just imagine if they could have had an elite pass rusher in Justin Houston to complement him for all these years.

With the 69th pick in the 2011 Draft, Arizona selected tight end Rob Housler - who played four seasons in Arizona without making much of an impact. Right after Housler, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Houston.

Houston is a four-time Pro Bowler and has been instrumental in helping Kansas City reach the playoffs in five of the last six years now. He had a ridiculous 22 sacks in 2014 and continues to be the anchor on the Kansas City defense. If the Cardinals had Houston and Peterson on that defense together, there's no telling just how great they could have been together.

19 Detroit Lions: Michael Thomas

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With Calvin Johnson surprisingly retiring after his age-30 season in 2015, the Detroit Lions needed to find a new dynamic wide receiver. Though Marvin Jones has had some success in the Motor City, he's not the same game-changing player that Michael Thomas is.

The New Orleans Saints selected Thomas with the 47th pick three years ago, taking the Ohio State product right after the Lions took defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson with the 46th selection.

Robinson has had some flashes here and there and just might end up being a star in the Motor City after all. Meanwhile, Thomas has now registered three straight 1,000-yard seasons to average his career. Boy, would he have made a difference for Matthew Stafford

18 Buffalo Bills: Patrick Mahomes

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To be fair, Josh Allen does look like he'll be a great quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, but it's a bit of a stretch to believe he can fare as well as Patrick Mahomes. The Bills could have taken Mahomes 10th overall in 2017, but they traded that pick to the Kansas City Chiefs - receiving 2017 and 2018 firsts plus a third-round selection.

Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns in his first season with the Chiefs and looks primed to be the NFL's next great quarterback. Even if Allen does well in Buffalo, it's hard to envision him reaching the same level as dominance. No other young quarterback in the NFL can be compared to Mahomes right now. Not even close.

The Bills passed on the chance to draft Mahomes by giving up that pick to Kansas City. If Allen doesn't pan out, Buffalo is going to look back on this and wonder what could have been for years to come. No pressure, Josh.

17 Los Angeles Rams: Odell Beckham Jr.

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The good news for the Rams is that they found up getting Aaron Donald in the first round of the 2014 Draft, so many forget that they wasted the No. 2 selection that same year on offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

The Rams actually acquired this pick from Washington in the Robert Griffin III draft trade in 2012. Too bad they didn't put it to good use, because so many Pro Bowlers were selected after the Rams took Robinson.

One of those Pro Bowls was wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whom the New York Giants selected with the 12th pick. Beckham has been one of the game's elite offensive playmakers, and he could have done wonders with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Robinson only played three years with the Rams before getting traded to Detroit.

16  Washington Redskins: Russell Wilson

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The Washington Redskins made a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Rams in order to land the No. 2 pick in 2012. They would either get Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III - two quarterbacks who came with limitless potential.

The Indianapolis Colts selected Luck, while the Redskins happily took RG3 with the second selection. Though the latter won the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year award, his career was derailed entirely by knee injuries. Griffin was only the full-time starter in Washington twice, and they let him go after the 2015 season.

Washington would have been better off selecting Russell Wilson, whom the Seattle Seahawks got in the third round (75th overall). Wilson is among the game's top quarterbacks and helped Seattle win Super Bowl XLVIII. He would have been the better long-term quarterback for Washington than Griffin, but there's no way they could have known this at the time. Doesn't mean they don't regret taking Wilson, though.

15 Green Bay Packers: DeAndre Hopkins

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If only the Green Bay Packers had known that Jordy Nelson only had a couple of prime years left, and if only they could tell that Randall Cobb was going to regress significantly after an incredible 2014 season.

But back in 2013, the Packers were confident that the wide receiver duo of Cobb and Nelson were good enough for Aaron Rodgers. That's why it made sense to take defensive end Datone Jones with the 26th pick, allowing the Houston Texans to take DeAndre Hopkins 27th overall.

Well, Jones played four seasons with the Packers but wasn't able to produce a whole lot. Hopkins, meanwhile, has emerged as arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL right now. To think Rodgers could be tossing touchdowns to both Hopkins and Davante Adams right now. The rest of the NFL should be thankful that the Packers wasted the chance to put this superstar wideout with the two-time MVP.

14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Luke Kuechly

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't made the postseason since 2007, and that can be largely attributed to their awful drafting. For example, they passed up on the chance to draft a future Pro Bowl linebacker in Luke Kuechly seven years ago.

Instead of taking Kuechly, the Buccaneers selected Alabama safety Mark Barron - believing he was capable of being the centerpiece in the secondary. But Barron wasn't able to make much of an impact in Tampa Bay, and they traded him to the Rams in the midst of the 2014 season.

As for Kuechly, he's fared just fine with the NFC South rival Carolina Panthers. Taken two picks after Barron, Kuechly has been named to Six Pro Bowls, is a five-time First-team All-Pro selection and was named 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. You think Tampa regrets missing out on this guy? Just a tad bit?

13 Jacksonville Jaguars: Todd Gurley

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The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. with the No. 3 selection in 2015, right after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota went with the first two picks. And boy, do they regret passing up on a future star in Todd Gurley.

Fowler struggled to make an impact during his short tenure in Jacksonville; he got into trouble off the field and fell out of favor quickly in the Sunshine State. Jacksonville traded Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams at the 2018 deadline.

Speaking of the Rams, they wound up selecting Gurley with the 10th pick - seven spots after Fowler. He won the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year award and took home the Offensive Player of the Year award as well in 2017. Gurley has three 1,000-yard seasons through his first four years in the NFL. Not bad at all.

12 Buffalo Bills: Rob Gronkowski

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The Bills organization and fans don't need a reminder about how frustrating it's been dealing with the New England Patriots in the 21st century. They could have minimized the damage by selecting tight end Rob Gronkowski in the 2010 Draft, but the Bills selected defensive tackle Torell Toup with the 41st selection.

One pick later, the Patriots nabbed Gronkowski, who has emerged as the most dominant tight end in NFL history. He's a perennial Pro Bowler and was instrumental in helping this team win two Super Bowl championships (he was injured for the second one, but you get the point).

What if the Bills wound up taking Gronkowski before the Patriots got their hands on him? Maybe Buffalo makes the most of his talents and they become a playoff team? Maybe the Patriots don't continue to dominate the AFC East for a decade? What a draft miss this was.

11 Los Angeles Rams: Matt Ryan

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Back in the day where the Rams were in St. Louis, they selected defensive end Chris Long over Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. Now, the Rams are now loaded on offense, with Jared Goff growing into an MVP caliber signal-caller.

But imagine if they wound up with 'Matty Ice' a decade ago? Long enjoyed a couple of double-digit sack seasons during his time with the Rams, but they weren't able to build much around his talents. Had the Rams selected Ryan, they would have had a franchise quarterback and could have easily been a perennial playoff team.

Ryan has been one of the NFL's most consistent and dominant quarterbacks throughout his 11 years, winning the 2016 MVP Award. The Rams had to endure over a decade of mediocrity until Goff came along, so it's safe to say they regret not taking Ryan when he was available.

10 San Francisco 49ers: Earl Thomas

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The San Francisco 49ers have had to deal with Seattle Seahawks' Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas for nearly a full decade. Remember when the two teams met in the 2013 NFC Championship Game? Maybe San Francisco would have won that game if they had Thomas, who became a formidable part of Seattle's iconic 'Legion of Boom'.

San Francisco had the chance to draft Thomas with the 11th selection in 2010, but they settled on offensive tackle Anthony Davis (no, not the guy who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans). Davis played with the 49ers until 2016, but he was never much of an impact player.

Meanwhile, Thomas became one of the game's elite ball-hawking safeties, and he was instrumental in helping Seattle win Super Bowl XLVIII. If the 49ers had Thomas, perhaps they'd be the ones with that Super Bowl banner instead? And their NFC West foes wouldn't have beaten up on them so much this decade?

9 Arizona Cardinals: Adrian Peterson

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Yes, the Cardinals had Adrian Peterson for most of the 2017 season, but he barely produced and couldn't do much to help that team. But what if Arizona had AP to complement Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald for a few years there?

Arizona used the fifth overall pick in the 2007 Draft on offensive tackle Levi Brown, who played with the team until the 2013 season. Brown wasn't a bust by any means, but he wasn't that much of an impact player - compared to Peterson.

AP fell to the Minnesota Vikings two picks after Arizona took Brown. All he's done is win the 2012 NFL MVP Award and earn seven Pro Bowl selections. Peterson has simply been the best running back of this era, and he could have certainly helped Arizona win a Super Bowl - when they had Warner or Carson Palmer to go alongside Fitzgerald.

8 Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack

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I was temped to putting the Rams on here instead of the Bills, but they wound up selecting Aaron Donald anyway. Five years after the 2014 Draft, the Bills remain one of  the worst teams in football, but Khalil Mack could have totally changed that.

Rather than select the future Defensive Player of the Year, Buffalo traded up to select Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. Watkins was inconsistent in his three years with the Bills and was traded to the Rams at the 2017 trade deadline.

Mack, meanwhile, has racked up a whopping 53 sacks through his first five NFL seasons. After Aaron Donald, Mack is probably the best defensive player in all of football. Thing is, the Bills already have one of the league's top defensive units. Imagine if they had Mack to go with it?

7 Houston Texans: Ben Roethlisberger

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The 2004 NFL Draft Class is widely remembered for its stacked group of quarterbacks. A trio of future Hall of Famers in Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger were selected in the first round. Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers, but he was flipped to the New York Giants for Rivers.

As for the Steelers, they took Roethlisberger at the 11th spot, after the Houston Texans selected cornerback Dunta Robinson. The latter spent six seasons with Houston and had some success, but he never became a franchise-changer like Roethlisberger.

The two-time Super Bowl champion has become one of the game's all-time great quarterbacks. Big Ben hasn't had a single losing season through his first 15 years, and the Steelers are consistently in Super Bowl contention.

Houston didn't find a franchise quarterback until 2017, when they drafted Deshaun Watson. Had they drafted Big Ben to complement Andre Johnson all those years, perhaps the Texans would have had a Super Bowl or two of their own by now, no?

6 Oakland Raiders: Larry Fitzgerald

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Seven of the first eight picks in the 2004 NFL Draft became Pro Bowlers. The only one who didn't was Iowa offensive tackle Robert Gallery, whom the Raiders selected with the No. 2 pick.

Right after Gallery, the Arizona Cardinals selected Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald - who is only the best wide receiver to come around over the past 15 years. Fitzgerald is an 11-time Pro Bowler and sits second all time in receiving yards (16,279), and third in catches (1,303).

Even in his mid-30s, Fitzgerald remains one of the NFL's top playmakers, and he's a lock for the Hall of Fame. Just imagine what Oakland could have done if they had a franchise-changing star like Fitzgerald.

5 Miami Dolphins: Drew Brees

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The Miami Dolphins have spent two decades looking for a true franchise quarterback, ever since Dan Marino retired. Though Ryan Tannehill has had some success in his seven seasons with Miami, he's only led them to one playoff season.

Miami could have found its new franchise quarterback 18 years ago, when Drew Brees was available late in the first round of the 2001 Draft. The NFL's all time leader in passing yards fell to the Chargers with the No. 32 pick. Before Brees, Miami took Wisconsin corner Jamar Fletcher.

The former First-team All-American only played three seasons for Miami, so they didn't get much out of their investment. The Dolphins could have had this future Hall of Famer go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady for AFC East supremacy. Surely, Brees would have kept Miami in Super Bowl contention as well. They had a chance to sign him in the 2006 offseason, but the Dolphins settled on trading for Daunte Culpepper instead. Brees went to New Orleans, and the rest is history.

4 Cleveland Browns: Aaron Donald

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After the Cleveland Browns took cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth selection in 2014, the next nine picks all became Pro Bowlers. Out of that bunch, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald easily stands out as the very best.

Cleveland had high hopes for Gilbert, who was an unanimous All-American during his time at Oklahoma State. But Gilbert was never able to translate his skills over to the NFL, and the Browns traded him to Pittsburgh after just two years in 'The Land'.

Donald, meanwhile, has become the best defensive player in all of football. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has helped the Rams reach two straight NFC West division titles, and there's no telling just how dominant he and Myles Garrett could have been together.

3 Jacksonville Jaguars: J.J. Watt

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In desperate need of a quarterback, the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to select Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the No. 10 pick in 2011. Gabbert lasted just three seasons in Jacksonville and never became a star, and they let him go after he played just a trio of games in the 2013 campaign. And who did the Houston Texans take right after Gabbert?

Oh yeah, J.J. Watt. You know, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year? Only the best defensive player of this era? The best pass rusher we've seen since Lawrence Taylor last played over two decades ago?

Watt has emerged as a franchise player for the Texans, and he's been a nightmare for the Jaguars, who have to deal with him twice a year. Jacksonville has a great defense now, but imagine if they Watt to go with it? That would have been something else, folks.

2 Oakland Raiders: Aaron Rodgers

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Every single team that passed on Aaron Rodgers in 2005 certainly regrets it. Nobody will ever understand how the two-time MVP fell all the way down to the Green Bay Packers at the 24th spot. But surely, nobody regrets passing on Rodgers more than the Oakland Raiders.

That's because the Raiders owned the pick before Green Bay took Rodgers. Oakland used it on Nebraska cornerback Fabian Washington, who only played three seasons before getting traded to the Baltimore Ravens.

Oakland has since been one of the worst teams in all of football, making the playoffs just once since the 2005 Draft. Rodgers has become arguably the best quarterback in all of football right now, with two MVP awards and a Super Bowl XLV championship. Just imagine how different Oakland would be if they managed to take Rodgers while he was available.

1 New York Jets: Tom Brady

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Well, pretty much every NFL team regrets not drafting Tom Brady.

The New England Patriots took a chance on Brady, selecting him with the 199th pick. But we decided to put the New York Jets on here for multiple reasons over the other teams that passed on Brady. Let's consider a few things.

New York had a whopping four first-round picks, none of them were used on Brady. They did select quarterback Chad Pennington, who had minor success but obviously never became a fraction of what Brady has been in Foxborough.

And finally, the Jets have been a giant mess since Brady went to the Patriots. While New England has enjoyed all these AFC East division titles and Super Bowl championships, the Jets have consistently been one of the worst teams in football, missing the playoffs in eight straight seasons now.

Imagine if the Jets drafted Brady with one of those four first-round picks. Maybe he wouldn't have developed into the NFL icon we all know today, but it would have at least put a stop to the New England dynasty. But the Jets are left wondering what could have been.

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