The 2013 NFL Draft was touted as a fairly weak draft leading up to draft day. There were no big time offensive skill players that were thought to be worthy of a top pick, so teams used this draft to fill other, less “sexy” positional needs on their team. In fact, eight of the first twenty picks were offensive lineman and five of the top twenty were on the defensive line
Now, about two years later, we have seen that the projections were mostly right, as very few solid skill players have emerged from this draft. The quarterbacks and wide receivers that were taken in the draft have not lived up to their expectations, even though those expectations were low. However, one position in this draft that is a bright spot in retrospect is running back. The first four running backs taken in the draft have all become starters for their teams and a few are now among the best in the league.
The rest of the first round of this draft was fairly hit and miss, with certain players not living up to their draft spot, and others who far surpassed the expectations placed on them when they were drafted. For example, lineman who were taken later in the draft are surpassing those who were taken early.
So, what would happen if the NFL GMs were able to see two years in the future ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft? The picks would without a doubt change and certain teams would have to completely revamp their draft boards. Well, that fantasy scenario has been brought to life here as we set out to re-draft the Top 20 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft.
20 Kansas City Chiefs: DE Sheldon Richardson
Sheldon Richardson has without a doubt been one of the brightest stars from this draft, as he's had a large role in the outstanding run defense of the New York Jets. The Chiefs already have a great big run stopper presence in Dontari Poe, but after seeing what Richardson has been able to do for the Jets, they would be salivating over the possibility of pairing the two together. Richardson won the 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year and was given Pro Bowl honours in 2014 for his solid play.
19 Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Kiko Alonso
The second overall pick in the 2013 NFL re-draft would be none other than the runner-up to Richardson in Defensive Rookie of the year voting, Kiko Alonso. Alonso looks to be the next great linebacker in the NFL. He is a tackling machine with great vision and is capable of making plays all over the field. The Jags have a lot of needs, but Alonso fills a big one as the Jags could use a leader like him on defense. Alonso has also recently found himself in the headlines as he was traded straight up for LeSean McCoy, which shows just how highly he is regarded in the NFL.
18 Miami Dolphins: OT Lane Johnson
The Dolphins traded up to the 3rd spot by making a move with the Raiders, so we'll assume they do the same here.
The offensive line is one of the biggest needs for the Dolphins and, looking back, there is no better offensive lineman in this draft than Lane Johnson. He is extremely athletic for his position and also ran a 4.72s 40 yard dash, which is almost unheard of for an offensive lineman. He has enjoyed a lot of success so far in his NFL career, with his only setback being a four game suspension for PED use. He would without a doubt give the Dolphins some much need stability on their offensive line. There would be no bigger fan of this move than Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill.
17 Philadelphia Eagles: S Eric Reid
The Eagles secondary has been an absolute train wreck for the last couple of years, and this pick of S Eric Reid could perhaps turn that around. Eric Reid is a very versatile safety who is capable of both covering and laying down some heavy hits. He has had some brief concussion concerns, but has still appeared in most of his games and has been successful. He was also named to the Pro Bowl following his great rookie season. The Eagles would’ve absolutely loved to add a guy like that to their secondary.
16 Detroit Lions: DE Ezekiel Ansah
This pick actually stays the same, as we believe the Lions picked the right guy for this spot. Ansah has perhaps the most athletic potential in the entire draft. That's because he only began playing football in his sophomore season of college, and is already finding NFL success only a few years later. In fact, he has 8 sacks and 7.5 sacks respectively in his first two seasons in the NFL. He's shown himself to be quite versatile, as he can do anything on the field from rushing the passer to stopping the run to dropping back into coverage.
15 Cleveland Browns: RB Le'Veon Bell
Just one year after completely whiffing on a selection of a RB this early, the Browns finally get it right. They finally get the offensive playmaker they’ve been looking for in RB Le'Veon Bell. Bell is a rare combination of size, speed and vision that isn’t seen often in today’s NFL. He is also a great pass catcher out of the backfield, which makes him even more dangerous. On top of that, he has received high praises from LaDainian Tomlinson, who said that Bell is already the best RB in the NFL today.
14 Arizona Cardinals: RB Eddie Lacy
Next up, the Arizona Cardinals also select a RB, but they elect to go with the big, bruising back, Eddie Lacy. This pick gives the Cardinals the RB they have needed for the better part of a decade. Lacy is the true definition of a power back as he is capable of breaking tackles and dragging opposing defenders behind him. He's been an instrumental part of the Packers since he was drafted and has taken some of the pressure off star QB Aaron Rodgers. Lacy was also voted the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for his inaugural NFL season.
13 St. Louis Rams: CB Desmond Trufant
The St. Louis Rams, like the Jaguars at pick number two, have a lot of needs. There are a number of players they can go with here, but we feel that Desmond Trufant is the pick to help that Rams defense reach its true potential. Trufant is already among the best cover corners in the NFL and will likely continue to get better and better. He does suffer a bit from being associated with the horrible defense of the Atlanta Falcons, but don’t be fooled, there is a short list of CBs that teams would take over Trufant, he’s that good.
12 New York Jets: S Kenny Vaccaro
This pick may come as a shock to some, since Vaccaro’s stock has taken a bit of a hit after the Saints abysmal 2014 season, but we think that this guy could reach his true potential with the right team. Vaccaro had a very impressive rookie season, but he had a fairly up and down 2014 season. He made numerous big plays, but was also to blame for many defensive errors and mishaps. Despite all of this negative press, we feel that Vaccaro would succeed in the right location with the right defense, and we feel that New York is that place.
11 Tennessee Titans: G Kyle Long
In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Titans had the right idea with the position, but they just took the wrong player. Kyle Long has far and away proven himself to be the best guard of this draft. Long has a great pedigree for football as his father is Hall of Famer Howie Long and his brother is Rams DE Chris Long. However, Kyle has long been out of the shadows of his family. Long has been an instrumental part of the Bears offense and is already one of its leaders. He also made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons and shows no signs of slowing down.
10 San Diego Chargers: OT Eric Fisher
With the number 11 pick of this re-draft, we finally see the #1 overall pick come off the board. The Chargers need O-line help desperately to allow Philip Rivers to work his magic, and this pick of Eric Fisher gives them that help. Though not living up to his real life draft spot, he has still been a serviceable lineman with a lot of potential to get better as he matures and better understands his position. He is a natural left tackle and was forced to learn the right tackle position as a member of the Chiefs, which could be the reason he has not been living up to his potential.
9 Oakland Raiders: WR DeAndre Hopkins
The Raiders are in desperate need of an offensive playmaker and speedy WR, so DeAndre Hopkins is the obvious pick here. Hopkins really took a step forward in 2014 as he was the Texans leader in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He was so good that the Texans were comfortable getting rid of Andre Johnson. He is already one of the leaders of that team, and at only 22 years old, he’s just going to keep getting better.
8 New York Jets: LB Jamie Collins
After going with a safety with their first pick in the draft, we think that the Jets look to further improve their defense with this selection of talented linebacker Jamie Collins. This would be a great pick as it would ensure that the Jets would have a Pro Bowl caliber player at both the second (Collins) and third (Vaccaro) levels of their defense. Collins really showcased his skills in the 2014 season where he was one of the best and most versatile defenders in the NFL, and will look to get even better in the years ahead.
7 Carolina Panthers: OT Luke Joeckel
There are two glaring weaknesses that the Panthers would look to strengthen with this pick: O-line and CB. With no CBs left that are worthy of a spot this high, the Panthers elect to go with the guy who was thought to be going #1 overall in the draft, Luke Joeckel. Joeckel is an extremely talented pass blocker, which the Panthers desperately need as QB Cam Newton takes way too many hits. Despite Joeckel being injured and underperforming thus far in his NFL career, he still has a ton of potential and could grow into a superstar.
6 New Orleans Saints: S Tyrann Mathieu
In the real 2013 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected a safety and we believe they would do that again in this re-draft. However, with Vaccaro off the board, we believe they go with playmaker Tyrann Mathieu. The Saints desperately need some defensive help and Mathieu is the perfect guy, as he can cover well and also make plays on the ball. Ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft, his drug test failures and attitude were red flags for a lot of teams, but so far in his NFL career he has been outstanding.
5 Buffalo Bills: TE Travis Kelce
In the real draft, the Buffalo Bills shocked everyone by making E.J. Manuel the first QB taken off the board. Though he hasn’t been horrible, no QB in this draft should’ve been taken this early. Instead, the Bills should’ve taken a guy who is already experiencing success in the NFL, TE Travis Kelce. Kelce is the leading receiver on the Chiefs, and would give the Bills a nice, reliable and explosive security blanket for whoever they decide to throw in as QB.
4 Pittsburgh Steelers: OT D.J. Fluker
In this spot in the draft, the Steelers most certainly should have taken an offensive lineman. Ben Roethlisberger takes more hits than almost any other QB in the NFL, and that could prove horrible for the team if he was to get injured. OT D.J. Fluker is the pick here because he is a huge body ( 6’5 and 339 lbs) that would serve as a great help in the fight to reduce the hits that Big Ben takes. Fluker is also a very versatile player who can play either G or OT.
3 San Francisco 49ers: WR Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen to the 49ers just makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. One is that he has a very similar style to receivers that the 49ers have acquired in the past such as Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. What he may lack in speed, he more than makes up for with his size and fantastic hands. He had a tremendous rookie season, and is confident that he can return to form, and even surpass his great production in his inaugural season. You can be sure that Colin Kaepernick would be extremely happy with this selection.
2 New York Giants: C Travis Frederick
Now this might’ve been the surprise of the real 2013 NFL Draft. Frederick was selected by the Cowboys at the end of the first round and the pick was ridiculed. Frederick proved them wrong by being the leader of the best offensive line in football down in Dallas. This Pro Bowl center would be a fantastic fit in New York as they have neglected to draft, sign or trade at the position for years. This leaves them with no real, true OL talent that is capable of what Frederick can do. He would walk on to the field and immediately be the leader of that line and look to turn things around.
1 Chicago Bears: DT Star Lotulelei
The way we believe the Bears should have drafted is by selecting the big, strong and talented DT Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei was projected by many news media outlets to be a top pick in the NFL Draft, but a medical condition arose that acted as a red flag for some teams. As it turns out, Lotulelei has been fantastic for the Panthers and is one of the reason they have one of the best D-lines in football. In the summer before the 2014 season, the Bears spent a ton of money on D-line help, which they wouldn’t have had to do if Lotulelei was on the team.