It doesn’t seem like it’s been nine years, but that’s how long it has been since the 2007 NFL Draft. This draft turned out much better than many expected. This draft contained players that ended up changing, not only their franchise around, but also changing the NFL game itself with their play.
Some of the players in this draft are considered some of the best, if not the very best, at their respective positions. They are feared on the field by opponents, players, and coaches and they make their presence known when they step foot on the turf. Many teams did not do good jobs in their scouting and pre-draft routines because they passed on players that could have made their team better for the present and future at the time. These players came onto their teams as young talents and proved that they belonged in the league with the best of the best. These players ended up making Pro Bowl and All-Pro rosters, breaking NFL records, becoming MVPs, and Super Bowl Champions.
Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson announced on March 8th that he was retiring from the NFL after just nine seasons. Johnson is known as one of the best receivers in NFL history and was by far the Lions best offensive weapon ever since he arrived in 2007. Johnson helped the Lions get back to winning seasons and the playoffs and he will truly be missed by, not only teammates and the Lions organization, but also by fans and other players in the league. Johnson was surprisingly not the only player in this draft that retired. See where Johnson and other superstars should have been drafted in the 2007 draft.
1. Oakland Raiders – Adrian Peterson, RB
Original Pick: JaMarcus Russell
The Oakland Raiders had the chance to change their franchise around with the 1st overall pick in the 2007 draft, but instead drafted one of the biggest busts in NFL history in QB JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders should have went with RB Adrian Peterson instead, who was drafted 7th overall and is becoming one of the best RBs in NFL history already.
In nine seasons, Peterson is an NFL MVP, seven-time All-Pro selection, seven-time Pro Bowler and has led the league in rushing yards three times. Peterson is the Minnesota Vikings franchise leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Peterson holds the NFL records for most rushing yards in a game (296 yards), most rushing yards in a eight-game stretch (1,322), most 60 plus yards TD runs in career (13), most 50 plus yard runs in a single season (7) and most 200 plus rushing yard games in career (6). Peterson is also second in the most rushing yards in a single season with 2,097.
2. Detroit Lions – Calvin Johnson, WR
Original Pick: Calvin Johnson
The Detroit Lions made a risky pick drafting a WR 2nd overall in the draft, but it was a decision that they will never regret. Calvin Johnson was the best offensive player the Lions have had since RB Barry Sanders, which is a huge accomplishment. Johnson had a Randy Moss and Jerry Rice effect, where he was always doubled or tripled team and was the main focus of the opposing team. Much like Rice and Moss, Johnson still had success, despite having two or three defenders on him.
In his nine-year career with the Detroit Lions, Johnson was a six-time Pro Bowler, selected to four All-Pro rosters, and led the league in receiving yards twice. Johnson is the Lions all-time career leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Johnson is the fastest receiver in history to reach 10,00 yards. Johnson holds NFL records for single-season receiving yards (1,964) and tied with Lance Alworth for most career games with 200+ receiving yards (5). Johnson finished his career with 731 receptions for 11, 619 yards and 83 TDs. Johnson made have retired early, but he did enough to be a first ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer.
3. Cleveland Browns – Patrick Willis, LB
Original Pick: Joe Thomas
The Cleveland Browns were surprisingly ranked in the top-ten overall offenses leading up to the draft, but they still decided to draft an offensive player despite them being ranked 30th in defense. The Browns have not been a good team for a while so they could have drafted anybody, but needed to address their terrible defense at that time. The Browns should have went with defensive force, LB Patrick Willis who initially went 11th overall, although Joe Thomas has been a solid pick for them.
In his eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Willis is a seven-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro selections and led the NFL in tackles twice. Willis actually was hurt one season, so he did all of this in seven seasons. Due to a consistent toe injury, Willis retired from the NFL in March 2015. Willis finished his career with 950 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, and eight interceptions.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Darrelle Revis, CB
Original Pick: Gaines Adams
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the second worst defense in the entire league and needed this lottery pick to get them back on track. Although they had the right idea in upgrading their defense, they failed to pick the right player. The Bucs should have drafted CB Darrelle Revis, who went 14th overall and is an elite defender in today’s game. While Revis played for the Bucs for one season in 2013, this was after his injury and he was not at his best. In nine seasons so far, Revis made seven Pro Bowls, four All-Pro teams, and helped the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl XLIX over the Seattle Seahawks.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Eric Weddle, S
Original Pick: Levi Brown
The Arizona Cardinals were not a good overall team at this time, so they needed help on both sides. However, their defense was worse than their offense. Eric Weddle would have fit in nicely with the a Cardinals defense that needed major help. So far in his career, Weddle (who was drafted 37th overall and makes a huge jump here) has appeared on five All-pro teams, three Pro Bowl teams and led the league in interceptions in 2011. Weddle is the type of player that would have made an immediate impact in Arizona. Weddle has spent his entire career so far with the Sand Diego Chargers but will suit up for the Baltimore Ravens next season.
6. Washington Redskins – Jon Beason, LB
Original Pick: LaRon Landry
The Washington Redskins were ranked second to last in overall defense and needed this draft to help them out. Safety LaRon Landry was a solid pick, but not the right pick for the Redskins at the time. Instead the Skins should have went with LB Jon Beason, who would have been a better fit in Washington. Like other players in this draft, Beason retired in February 2016 due to injuries. However, n his nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants, Beason made more of an impact than Landry, with three Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections. Beason finished his career with a total of 705 tackles.
7. Minnesota Vikings – Joe Thomas, OT
Original Pick: Adrian Peterson
Of course the Minnesota Vikings made the best selection in the draft by getting Adrian Peterson, but he should have been off the draft board by the time the 7th pick came around. The Vikings should have went with OT Joe Thomas, who is an elite player at his position with the Cleveland Browns. Thomas has been to the Pro Bowl every single year of his career and is the only OT in NFL history to start their career like that. Thomas has also been selected to eight All-Pro teams.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Dashon Goldson, S
Original Pick: Jamaal Anderson
The Atlanta Falcons needed help on the defensive side and knew that coming into the draft. They had the right plan by drafting DE Jamaal Anderson, but he was not what they expected him to be. The Falcons would have been better with S Dashon Goldson (who went 126th orginally), who can tackle and cover. Goldson has been selected to two Pro Bowls and made an All-Pro roster in 2012. Goldson was part of the San Francisco 49ers defense that was ranked third overall and had the NFC’s best record in 2012 before leaving to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and eventually the Washington Redskins.
9. Miami Dolphins – Marshal Yanda, G
Original Pick: Ted Ginn, Jr.
Going into the draft, the Dolphins need help with their offense. Wide Receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. had his best season last season with the 15-1 Carolina Panthers because of his speed, but he was used as mostly a special teams player with the Dolphins. The Dolphins could have instead drafted G Marshal Yanda, who originally went 86th overall. Yanda has been to five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams with the Baltimore Ravens. Yanda was also the starting guard for the Ravens during their 2013 playoff run and eventual Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers Ravens QB joe Flacco finished the postseason completing 73 of 126 passes for 1,140 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, tying Joe Montana and Kurt Warner for the most touchdowns in a single postseason, thanks in part to protection from Yanda.
10. Houston Texans – Marshawn Lynch, RB
Original Pick: Amobi Okoye
The Houston Texans were just a bad team overall leading up to the draft, so they could have drafted a player on offense or defense. Marshawn Lynch, originally taken 12th overall, has been a terrific RB over the last few years and could have changed the Texans organization around. Most know about Lynch’s 67-yard TD run against the New Orleans Saints where he broke about nine tackles, which he why he is called “Beast Mode” today. Lynch has has been selected to five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams. Lynch was part of the Seattle Seahawks team when they went to two straight Super Bowls, winning one of them, and had the best record in the NFC those two seasons as well.
Lynch recently announced his retirement, finishing his career with 9,112 rushing yards and 74 rushing TDs.
11. San Francisco 49ers – Ryan Kalil, C
Original Pick: Patrick Willis
Like many other teams, the San Francisco 49ers had a bad all-around team and could have drafted a player on either offense or defense. They made a great choice in LB Patrick Willis as they became one of the elite defenses in the league, but Willis should have been off the draft board by this time. The 49ers then could have went with C Ryan Kalil, originally selected 59th overall, who would have gave QB Alex Smith and RB Frank Gore great protection. Kalil was the starting C for the Carolina Panthers this past season, who went 15-1, made a trip to Super Bowl 50, and had a MVP QB in Cam Newton. Kalil has been selected to five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams.
12. Buffalo Bills – Joe Staley, OT
Original Pick: Marshawn Lynch
The Buffalo Bills had one of the worst offenses in the league at this time. Marshawn Lynch was a great pick for them, but seeing as though he should have been off the board, the Bills could have went with OT Joe Staley, who went 28th overall in 2007. Staley could have helped that offensive line with some great protection for the offense. Staley has been to five Pro Bowls and three Second-team All-Pro rosters so far in his career with the San Francisco 49ers.
13. St. Louis Rams – Michael Griffin, S
Original Pick: Adam Carriker
The St. Louis Rams had a top-ten offense coming into this draft, but had one of the worst defenses in the league, so the draft choice was not hard to make. The Rams knew they need to improve their defense, but they did not make the best selection in DT Adam Carriker, who only lasted three seasons with the Rams. The Rams would have had better success with S Michael Griffin, who went 19th overall. Griffin has been to two Pro Bowls and was selected to an All-Pro team in 2010 with the Tennessee Titans.
14. New York Jets – Greg Olsen, TE
Original Pick: Darrelle Revis
The New York Jets were a pretty bad team at this time, but they needed more help on offense than defense. They went with defense and made the right decision with Revis Island. However, he’s gone, so they could’ve went with Greg Olsen. Olsen would have been a great addition to an offense that needed playmakers. Olsen had been to two Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro in 2015. Olsen was the main target this past season for MVP QB Cam Newton and the 15-1 Carolina Panthers that made it to Super Bowl 50 before falling short to the Denver Broncos.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Lawrence Timmons, LB
Original Pick: Lawrence Timmons
The Pittsburgh Steelers were top-ten in both offense and defense, so they were really looking to upgrade at certain positions, although they went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. The Steelers went with LB Lawrence Timmons, who was a good fit for that team. Timmons was selected to the Pro Bowl and was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2012. Timmons also helped the Steelers to a Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Arizona Cardinals and Timmons is still with the Steelers today.
16. Green Bay Packers – LaMarr Woodley, DE
Original Pick: Justin Harrell
The Green Bay Packers were a good overall team so they could have drafted for the future or drafted somebody they thought could make an immediate impact. LaMarr Woodley, selected 46th overall, would have been a great piece to add to an already good Packers defense. Woodley would have played alongside CBs Charles Woodson and Al Harris, LBs Nick Barnett and AJ Hawk, FS Nick Collins, and of course on the opposite side of DE Aaron Kampman. The Packers defense would have been a force to be reckoned. Woodley was selected to the Pro Bowl and a Second-Team All-Pro both in 2009. Woodley also was apart of the Steelers team that defeated the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. After leaving Pittsburgh, Woodley would play for the Oakland Raiders and most recently, the Arizona Cardinals.
17. Denver Broncos – Le’Ron McClain, FB
Original Pick: Jarvis Moss
The Broncos had a pretty good defense but needed some help on offense. They decided to ignore that fact and draft a defensive player, which backfired on them. In five seasons, DE Jarvis Moss had 48 tackles and six sacks for his career. The Broncos should have invested their time and money into FB Le’Ron McClain, selected 137th overall. In seven seasons, McClain was selected to two Pro Bowl and two All-Pro teams while spending time with the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Diego Chargers. McClain has 1,310 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns for his career. McClain was also great at blocking in the backfield.
18. Cincinnati Bengals – Reggie Nelson, S
Original Pick: Leon Hall
The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the best offenses in the league, but one of the worst defenses going into this draft. They had a good enough pick to draft a player that could help them right away with the 18th overall selection. The Bengals should have drafted S Reggie Nelson, who went three picks later, who spent three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before actually going to the Bengals, where he is starting to breakout as a elite defender. This past season, Nelson had a breakout year by leading the league in interceptions. This earned Nelson his first trip to the Pro Bowl and a spot on the Second-Team All-Pro team.
19. Tennessee Titans – Jermon Bushrod, OT
Original Pick: Michael Griffin
The Tennessee Titans were ranked dead last in overall defense and ranked 16th in overall offense going into this draft, so they could have drafted anybody. They tried drafting defense and that didn’t really work out for them, so they should have went with offense and drafted OT Jermon Bushrod, who went 125th overall. Bushrod went to two Pro Bowls with the New Orleans Saints and helped them to a victory in Super Bowl XLIV over the Indianapolis Colts. Bushrod would have been blocking for RB Chris Henry and QB Vince Young. After leaving New Orleans, Bushrod would play for the Chicago Bears and will suit up for the Miami Dolphins next season.
20. New York Giants – Zak DeOssie, LB
Original Pick: Aaron Ross
The New York Giants needed serious help on defense and fast. The selection of CB Aaron Ross did not work out out well for them and they should have instead gone with LB Zak DeOssie earlier, who they later pick in the fourth round. DeOssie has been selected to two Pro Bowls and helped the Giants to both of their Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots in XLII and XLVI.
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