The 2017 NFL Draft wasn’t a draft highlighted by a can’t miss quarterback, a game-changing running back, or even a defender who was going to change the game with his dominance. Instead, it was a draft of hope. Several players who came into the draft with question marks surrounding them fell into the range of teams that were searching for answers. We saw some very interesting things occur as a result of that dynamic. Kansas City got a quarterback who is currently leading the MVP race and who many teams completely overlooked. Cleveland opted to go for a can’t miss defensive end instead of grabbing one of three potential franchise quarterbacks. Two receivers who haven’t really panned out were drafted in the top ten by teams that arguably didn’t need them. Two of the best running backs in the NFL weren’t even drafted until the third round.
If you had to do the 2017 NFL Draft all over again, the NFL would look very differently than it does now. If teams knew what they knew now, then some of the league’s best teams might be in trouble and some of the league’s worst teams might have new life. In the interest of clarity, we’re going to assume that the same trades made during the actual NFL Draft are made in this re-draft. In any case, this seemingly quiet draft would have generated a lot more noise if teams had the benefit of being able to look in the future. This is a re-draft of the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
32 1st Overall: Cleveland Browns - Patrick Mahomes
Original Pick: Myles Garrett
Baker Mayfield recently suggested that the Browns should have drafted Patrick Mahomes based on pure talent, and we tend to agree. Would Mahomes be nearly in as good of a position in Cleveland as he is in Kansas City? No. However, we haven’t seen anything from Mahomes that suggests he isn’t an all-around talented QB who is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Knowing what we know now, it’s hard to pass on Mahomes with the first overall pick.
31 2nd Overall: Chicago Bears - Deshaun Watson
Original Pick: Mitchell Trubisky
The Watson/Mahomes debate isn’t quite settled yet, but again, it’s based on what we know now. Such as it is, the Bears get a great little consolation prize in Deshaun Watson. Watson’s unfortunate rookie season ACL tear has some asking questions regarding his long-term durability, but nobody can deny what a playmaker he is. He can throw the ball deep, he can keep plays alive with his legs, and he has showcased incredible football maturity for someone his age. Hard to argue with this pick.
30 3rd Overall: San Francisco 49ers - Alvin Kamara
Original Pick: Soloman Thomas
In our version of rewritten history, the ‘49ers still plan to chase down Jimmy Garoppolo and use this pick on a running back instead. While there’s still a debate to be had regarding the best back of this particular draft, we think that they go with Alvin Kamara’s explosive potential. Kamara’s ability to get it done as a runner and a receiver is matched by very few people in the NFL. At the very least, he would have given the 49ers offense a spark that it currently lacks.
29 4th Overall: Jacksonville Jaguars - Mitchell Trubisky
Original Pick: Leonard Fournette
“Better” players are technically still available, but knowing what we know now, sending Trubisky to the Jaguars seems fairly obvious. At the very least, Trubisky is a clear upgrade to Blake Bortles. At best, he’s a kid who is getting better every day and may just become a true undisputed franchise QB.
Again, Trubisky would have to be developed in a worse situation, but we think that Jacksonville would come out ahead of giving Trubisky the start over Bortles at some point in this timeline.
28 5th Overall: Tennessee Titans - Myles Garrett
Original Pick: Corey Davis
Based on Tennessee's current needs, it'd be a tough decision between this pick and our sixth overall pick, but they ultimately decide to stick with their "best player available" strategy and draft Myles Garrett. Honestly, Garrett is good enough to justify the first overall pick, but in terms of needs, we think he falls no further than to the Titans. This would be a pretty good situation for both parties compared to where they are currently at. Sadly for some fans, this is all revisionist history.
27 6th Overall: New York Jets - Kareem Hunt
Original Pick: Jamal Adams
He could have gone as high as three or four in this draft based on talent alone, but a few factors lead to Hunt falling to the New York Jets at number six. Much like Patrick Mahomes, you do have to account for the fact that Hunt would be going to an offense that is significantly less dynamic than the one in Kansas City. However, talent is talent, and Hunt has the ability to get it done out of the backfield or as a receiver.
26 7th Overall: Los Angeles Chargers - JuJu Smith-Schuster
Original Pick: Mike Williams
This might be the biggest jump in terms of pure talent vs. actual draft position, but we think that JuJu Smith-Schuster is for real and will probably end up being the most successful receiver drafted this particular year. Given how hard the Chargers were chasing a receiver during this draft, it makes sense that they would go after Smith-Schuster. The good news for Smith-Schuster is that he’d be in a great situation in San Diego. In fact, he might be putting up even bigger numbers than he is now.
25 8th Overall: Carolina Panthers - Marshon Lattimore
Original Pick: Christian McCaffrey
You could certainly make the argument that the Panthers would stick with their original pick of Christian McCaffrey (more on him in just a bit), but given that McCaffrey gives the Panthers a “rich get richer” situation, we think they might just go for Marshon Lattimore. Lattimore has been an absolute monster at times as the Saints’ best cornerback.
Given how hard it is to find great cornerbacks (and how Carolina likes to run clock with its running game), we think they would love the idea of being able to shut down big plays with Lattimore. Not that they regret who they actually picked...
24 9th Overall: Cincinnati Bengals - Cooper Kupp
Original Pick: John Ross
Here’s an interesting pick that you could say is a bit of a reach. The thing about Cooper Kupp is that his success has come as part of a dynamic offense filled with weapons and masterminded by one of the best coaches in the league.
Would Kupp be able to replicate his success as part of a much more inconsistent offense like the one in Cincinnati? Probably not, but Cooper Kupp next to A.J. Green? We're willing to bet Kupp would've made it work. He certainly would've been better than speedster John Ross.
23 10th Overall: Kansas City Chiefs - Christian McCaffrey
Original Pick: Patrick Mahomes
The very bad news for the Chiefs is that they’ve already lost out on Patrick Mahomes and Kareem Hunt in this re-draft. The good news is that they are about to draft Christian McCaffrey. It’s not quite the same, but when you consider how well the KC offense performed under Alex Smith, this might actually be a pretty explosive addition to the offense that Andy Reid is assembling in Kansas City. That’s our nice way of saying that KC absolutely nailed it in this original draft and need to come down to Earth a bit.
22 11th Overall: New Orleans Saints - Budda Baker
Original Pick: Marshon Lattimore
Since they lost out on Lattimore in this re-draft and maybe aren’t that desperate for a first-round RB given that they still have Mark Ingram, we’re going to guess that the Saints would've turned to Budda Baker in this situation. It’s hardly a compromise. Baker is shaping up to be a special safety for the Arizona Cardinals who can not only patrol the backfield with confidence but is able to get to the quarterback from time to time. The Saints get a good one here.
21 12th Overall: Houston Texans - Joe Mixon
Original Pick: Deshaun Watson
The Texans lose out on a franchise quarterback with the loss of Deshaun Watson in this draft. Since there aren’t any other QBs on the board worth reaching for, we think they go RB instead and not give Lamar Miller a call. Joe Mixon is arguably a better overall talent than Lamar Miller (at least as far as upside goes), and he’d come with a friendly rookie contract that would allow the Texans to make a free agent move at the QB position instead.
20 13th Overall: Arizona Cardinals - T.J. Watt
Original Pick: Haason Reddick
We actually don’t dislike the Cardinals' original choice to draft Haason Reddick, but we think that they would jump at the chance to get this upgrade at the linebacker position by drafting T.J. Watt. Again, some of Watt’s success may be based on the fact he’s in a better situation in Pittsburgh, but we generally think that he’s exhibited more overall talent at the position. Still, this isn’t nearly as big of a trade up as some teams have enjoyed thus far.
19 14th Overall: Philadelphia Eagles - Malik Hooker
Original Pick: Derek Barnett
The Eagles certainly come out ahead there as they grab the man who might just be the best safety (and one of the top defensive players) from this draft. Malik Hooker has looked stellar as a member of the Colts, which is fairly impressive when you consider that he doesn’t have the best help around him on that side of the ball. The Eagles might also have elected to address some WR needs in this draft, but we’re going to go with the best player on the board.
18 15th Overall: Indianapolis Colts - Jamal Adams
Original Pick: Jamal Adams
The Colts lose out on Hooker and decide to settle for Jamal Adams instead to address their safety needs. While Adams hasn’t been the surefire top safety that some thought he might be entering this draft, he has proven to be an all-around talented player whose frustrations are largely attributed to the fact that the Jets are in disarray. The Colts aren’t that much better, but they do offer enough stability to ensure that they’d bet more out of Adams.
17 16th Overall: Baltimore Ravens - Ryan Ramcyzk
Original Pick: Marlon Humphrey
Some may point to this pick as being a bit of a reach, but in a draft that wasn't exactly loaded with elite offensive line talent, Ryan Ramczyk is looking like the best of the bunch. He has formed an excellent tackle tandem in New Orleans alongside Terron Armstead and the Ravens are still somewhat stagnant as an offense at times. While it may be tempting to put a receiver here, there aren't any on the board worth slotting at no.16.
16 17th Overall: Washington Redskins - Jonathan Allen
Original Pick: Jonathan Allen
The Redskins end up with their original pick here, which is pretty fortunate when you consider that Jonathan Allen probably could have been drafted higher on this list based on talent alone. While there’s a strong chance that Philly takes Allen in the revised version of this draft, we think that their desire to snag Hooker means that Allen still ends up in Washington. As we’ve already seen how that plays out, there’s not much more to say. Allen has been fantastic.
15 18th Overall: Tennessee Titans - Derek Barnett
Original Pick: Adoree Jackson
The Titans take advantage of some of the defensive shuffling going on in the last few picks and manage to grab Derek Barnett for a pretty good price. In fact, it’s really not an argument about whether or not the Titans would be happy with this pick but rather if they should instead grab one of the running backs available. Considering some of the problems those backs have faced, we’re going to say that they ultimately decide to go with the safer pick.
14 19th Overall: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - George Kittle
Original Pick: O.J. Howard
We actually don’t mind the Bucs’ original pick of O.J. Howard, but all things considered, we’d guess that they might instead choose to name George Kittle their tight end of the future. As receivers, they’re on fairly equal ground (even if we like Kittle more due to his explosive playmaking ability). However, Kittle separates himself as one of the better young blocking tight ends in the league. It’s enough to justify picking him in retrospect, even if the Howard selection is perfectly acceptable.
13 20th Overall: Denver Broncos - Garrett Bolles
Original Pick: Garrett Bolles
This is a tricky position to be in. Truth be told, the 2017 NFL Draft was lacking in offensive line talent. It was especially rough for teams looking for an upgrade at tackle. We haven’t been that impressed with Garrett Bolles so far, but the Broncos did need a young tackle from this draft, and Bolles is looking like the best available option from the class. There’s nobody left on the board that’s just the kind of can’t miss player the Broncos draft regardless of need, so they probably stick with Bolles.
12 21st Overall: Detroit Lions - Dalvin Cook
Original Pick: Jarrad Davis
The thing about drafting Dalvin Cook is that you have to ask yourself whether or not you feel like his biggest struggles are behind him. Cook has been bitten by the injury bug early in his career, which is never a good sign for a running back. However, it’s not a final verdict and some of the things we’ve seen Cook do when he’s healthy suggests that he might be worth the slight bust risk that he still carries.
11 22nd Overall: Miami Dolphins - Haason Reddick
Original Pick: Charles Harris
The Cardinals' decision to go for T.J. Watt here means that they’re going to give up another promising young linebacker to someone else. In this case, we think that Hasson Reddick ends up falling to the Dolphins. Other teams might have abandoned their draft strategy a bit to go for Reddick (the Broncos and Lions are other candidates), but we feel that this spot represents Reddick’s general draft value in terms of both his productivity and the general needs of the team drafting him.
10 23rd Overall: New York Giants - O.J. Howard
Original Pick: Evan Engram
Much like the Bucs, the Giants' original decision to draft Evan Engram at this spot is arguably still defensible. However, with Kittle going to the Bucs earlier in this draft, we’re going to guess that the Giants go with O.J. Howard instead of Engram in this situation. Howard is a big, pass-catching tight end who has shown a remarkable ability to get it done in the red zone. Engram has shown more downfield upside, but Howard seems like the better overall selection.
9 24th Overall: Oakland Raiders - Marlon Humphrey
Original Pick: Gareon Conley
Humphrey doesn’t go quite as high as he did in the original draft, but don’t take that as too much of a comment on his overall value. It’s just that there are other DBs who would ultimately go ahead of him and teams that probably wouldn’t reach for him. That all works out well for the Raiders who manage to get a very good cornerback out of this draft for a price that’s still below his worth.
8 25th Overall: Cleveland Browns - Jarrad Davis
Original Pick: Jabrill Peppers
The Lions decide to reach for Dalvin Cook, so the Browns get an immediate upgrade at linebacker by selecting Jarrad Davis. Davis has been a bright spot on a Detroit defense that certainly hasn’t been the worst, but does seem to lack an identity. The situation is a bit different in Cleveland where the defense has been one of the few bright spots in recent years. We think that Davis that would make that defense even better and might just help the Browns win a few games.
7 26th Overall: Atlanta Falcons - Takkarist McKinley
Original Pick: Takkarist McKinley
It’s actually pretty remarkable that Takkarist McKinley survives the first round shake-up and manages to stay a Falcon considering that he’s actually been quite good so far. While we ultimately think that there are other defenders who would go in the mid-round ahead of him, he has certainly exhibited that kind of value so far in his less than two years in the NFL. In fact, his second year is shaping up to be even better than his first.
6 27th Overall: Buffalo Bills - Leonard Fournette
Original Pick: Tre'Davious White
Some will say that Fournette falling this far down the draft is a gut reaction to his inability to stay healthy this year, but that’s not entirely true. It’s more of a reaction to his durability problems in general. Once a running back starts getting hamstring issues, it’s hard for them to ever really overcome them.
The question is whether or not Fournette will have enough good years before the games missed really start to pile up. We think he’s still a first-round pick, but teams would certainly be more cautious to draft him.
5 28th Overall: Dallas Cowboys - Mike Williams
Original Pick: Taco Charlton
We imagine there are some who would have Williams going higher than this and others who would leave him out of the first round entirely. While Williams has struggled at times in Los Angeles, we still think that he’s a big and fast receiver who has shown enough ability to play in the NFL to make him worth the gamble for a team in need. At the very least, he's a solid red-zone threat.
In this revised version of the 2017 NFL Draft, we think that the Cowboys pass on Taco Charlton and take that gamble, especially with how things ended with Dez Bryant and how their receiving corps looked before adding Amari Cooper.
4 29th Overall: Cleveland Browns - Eddie Jackson
Original Pick: David Njoku
To be perfectly honest, you could make the argument that Eddie Jackson is going to be a better overall NFL safety than Jamal Adams. However, we like Adams’ upside and overall athletic ability just a little more. Still, the Browns score another big defensive win with this pick that helps them get over the loss of Myles Garrett earlier in the draft. In fact, we’d love to see what a Patrick Mahomes-led Browns offense and this Browns defense looks like.
3 30th Overall: Pittsburgh Steelers - Shaquill Griffin
Original Pick: T.J. Watt
Since the Steelers are no longer stealing a top linebacker like T.J. Watt in this draft, they are instead electing to take maybe the best cornerback left on the board. Shaquill Griffin hasn’t exactly helped to reignite the Legion of Boom, but he’s shaping up to be one of the best young players on a Seahawks’ defense that isn’t nearly as bad as some of their toughest critics have suggested they are. Pittsburgh isn’t in dire need of a corner, but Griffin would still probably start on the team.
2 31st Overall: San Francisco 49ers - Dan Feeney
Original Pick: Reuben Foster
Even though this is a late first-round pick that comes as a result of the benefits of hindsight, we think that San Francisco would be stoked to add Dan Feeney to the team. Freeney is shaping up to be a very good young offensive guard who will probably remain very good for a long time. Given that San Francisco still has quite a few question marks on their o-line, the addition of Freeney makes them an immediately better team.
1 32nd Overall: New Orleans Saints - Adoree Jackson
Original Pick: Ryan Ramczyk
The Saints use the last pick in this re-imagined first round of the 2017 NFL Draft to add to their defensive backfield. Adoree' Jackson isn’t exactly tearing it up in the NFL, but he’s always been an athletic prospect who is coming along nicely. If his ability to generate takeovers continues to improve, then we imagine the Titans are going to be happy to have him. In this world, though, the Saints manage to diminish the damage done by losing out on Marshon Lattimore by drafting Jackson.