Drafting is hard. In the NFL there are so many things that factor into whether or not a player will succeed. Is the player big enough? Is he too nice? Is he too mean? Can he deal with the pressure? Does he only care about the money? There are just so many questions, and it is impossible to determine these factors from the outside looking in. It’s actually very impressive that teams are able to get so many picks right.
We as fans tend to mock teams when a highly drafted player fails to live up to the insurmountable expectation that they are working for. Most of the time it is completely out of the teams control when a player doesn’t work out, because injuries often hinder development and are almost always completely unexpected.
Many of the players from the 2012 NFL Draft were in the news a lot this past off season as a lot of the drafted players were up for new contracts. If we were to go back in time, who would have been drafted in the first round? Here is our redraft of the 2012 NFL draft.
63 Andrew Luck QB – Indianapolis Colts
Original Pick: Andrew Luck
There is really no reason to change this pick. The argument can be made that Russell Wilson made 2 Super Bowls and led the league in passer rating last year, but we don’t feel like he would be able to do that on the Colts. Wilson is a good quarterback, but Luck is just better. In his first three seasons Luck took the Colts to 3 straight playoffs, and would have possibly gotten them to 4 if his offensive line didn’t lie down for a good portion of the season. In his first year, Luck was bounced from the playoffs by the Super Bowl winning-Ray Lewis inspired Ravens, and then Tom Brady knocked him out twice. 2015 was a scary year for Colts fans as he was on pace to double his total interceptions from the previous year, before he announced that he was dealing with some bad injuries. If Andrew Luck continues to play the way he was before the injuries that limited him to only 7 games and the Colts manage to put a line in front of him, then he will find himself winning a Super Bowl soon.
61 Russell Wilson QB – Washington Redskins
Original Pick: Robert Griffin
The trade with St. Louis that brought RG3 to Washington haunts the Redskins to this day. Griffin looked like everything he was billed to be in his rookie season. He was a lovable guy, put up fantastic numbers both on the ground and in the air, won Rookie of the Year, and led his team to their first playoff berth in 5 years. In that playoff game Griffin tore his ACL and LCL after Mike Shanahan chose to put his star QB into the game when he was obviously hurt. Griffin would never be the same again. If Washington were to have taken Wilson in the draft things may have played out differently. Wilson has proved himself a much less fragile player, staying healthy all four years despite playing with an offensive line that ranks below league average. Also Wilson has shown himself a better teammate than Griffin who seemed more interested in his endorsement deals than his on field prospect. The team around Wilson helped him make it to two straight Super Bowls, but at this point we know that he is a truly special player that any team should want.
59 Luke Kuechly ILB – Cleveland Browns
Original Pick: Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson’s career really followed the trajectory of most other early Browns picks: bust! However, Cleveland was able to handle his career in a very non-Browns-like manner. His rookie season went as well as expected; he scored 11 touchdowns and gained 950 yards on the ground while starting in 15 games. Then the Browns shockingly traded the Alabama product to the Colts where he had countless issues on the field and he was cut after the 2014 season and labeled a bust. He currently is signed with the Ravens after being out of football for the 2015 season. Luke Kuechly should have been the pick here, he would have made sense at pick number one in many other years. In his four years playing he has made the Pro-Bowl 3 times, he led the league in tackles twice, won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, and followed up by winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He looks like he will be a centerpiece for the Panther’s defense for years to come, something the Browns can only dream of having.
57 Lavonte David OLB – Minnesota Vikings
Original Pick: Matt Kalil
Taking Matt Kalil looked like a brilliant move by Minnesota at the beginning of his career, but since then it looks like he may be a bit of a disappointment. He made the Pro-Bowl his rookie year, but unfortunately it’s all been downhill from there. Defensive players have seemed to have figured out how to get past him, and Teddy Bridgewater has suffered because of it. The Vikings line has been mediocre at best, and Kalil has been the weakest piece. Lavonte David on the other hand seems to just keep getting better every year, getting more tackles every season. He’s been an absolute beast for Tampa Bay, leading the team in tackles every year and even leading the team in interceptions in 2015. The Buccaneers just locked David up for 5 more years so they have a building block for years to come, while Minnesota still is unsure whether they want to continue working with Kalil.
55 Ryan Tannehill QB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Original Pick: Justin Blackmon
Justin Blackmon looked like he was going to be the greatest receiver the NFL had ever seen when he was in college. In a draft that featured Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, Blackmon was heavily favored to be a top 3 pick (even as high as 2 before the Rams traded the pick), but he slid to number 5 where the Jaguars jumped up to take the Oklahoma State product. His first season was pretty good, it consisted of 5 touchdowns and 865 yards. However, that’s all he really ever did as he has been suspended all but 4 games since then. He has had multiple DUIs and marijuana possession arrests, and was suspended for using a banned substance. The Jaguars should have realized that they were never going to succeed with Blaine Gabbert at the quarterback position (even after only one year) and had chosen Ryan Tannehill instead. Tannehill doesn’t get the fanfare that fellow draftees Luck and Wilson have gotten, but his talent is unfairly ignored. Most of his teammates (exception of Brent Grimes) have seemed to love playing with him, and he has gotten better every year. His interceptions are low, and his yards are going up, and that’s with all coaching changes that often derail a young quarterback’s development. Tannehill may not have made the playoffs, but the Dolphins are a competitive team and the Jaguars would have been thrilled to have a guy like him.
53 Josh Norman CB – Dallas Cowboys
Original Pick: Morris Claiborne
Right position, wrong player. The Cowboys traded way up in the 2012 draft to pick up a guy who was billed as the next great corner. Despite a number of red flags (including Claiborne getting 4 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test) the Cowboys felt like they had fixed their secondary that was one of the worst in the NFL during the 2011 season. As it turned out Claiborne didn’t fix any of the issues and arguably has made the team worse. Josh Norman was a surprising find in the 5th round, but the Panther’s absolutely nailed it. Norman has shown that he can be the top corner on his team, stopping the best receivers in the league and making it look easy. Last year he held DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, TY Hilton, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones to combined 9 receptions for 89 yards, and his play against Odell Beckham Jr. was legendary. Doing it over, the Cowboys would have easily taken Norman over Claiborne.
51 Bobby Wagner ILB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Original Pic: Mark Barron
Mark Barron is a mystery. He was greatly misused during his time in Tampa Bay, but after making the switch to linebacker after being sent to St. Louis, it’s easier to understand what was expected of the Alabama safety. He earned a gaudy 5 year deal from the Rams, which was questioned by many. In Tampa Bay he was widely accused of lazy play while being part of a secondary that was rated the worst passing defense in NFL history. Bobby Wagner on the other hand was an absolute steal and pretty much the opposite of Barron. He was always praised for his attitude and commitment to the team and the game, he came from a small school, and is a leader amongst his teammates. He has been named to 2 Pro-Bowls, 2 All-Pro teams, and was a key part on a defense that has played in 2 Super Bowls. Tampa Bay would have been much better off with Wagner at Linebacker than they would have even if they kept Mark Barron for the position.
49 Kirk Cousins QB – Miami Dolphins
Original Pick: Ryan Tannehill
The Dolphins made the best pick possible at this point in the draft. They desperately needed a Quarterback who could start, and Tannehill was widely considered a top level talent at the position who only fell because most other teams at this point did not need a QB or took one the year before (Jaguars and Vikings). Tannehill was linked to the Browns at 4 before they swapped with Minnesota, however Cleveland went with Trent Richardson and Tannehill fell to Miami at number 9. In this redraft, Tannehill didn’t last so the Dolphins are forced to take a different QB. 2012 was an oddly good year for QB, but so many of them went after the first round. There was Wilson in the third, Brock Osweiler in the second, Nick Foles in the third, but we have the Dolphins picking Kirk Cousins here. You like that? Cousins has lasted longer than the other QBs that came out of this draft, even though he had to learn the position while backing up a guy like RG3. Kirk Cousins may have only played one full season, but he did lead the Redskins back to the playoffs and that’s something the Dolphins have not done since Chad Pennington was their QB, so suffice to say they would be happy with Cousins.
47 T.Y. Hilton WR – Carolina Panthers
Original Pick: Luke Kuechly
One of the problems that the Panthers were hoping to fix in the 2012 still persists on the team today, lack of receiving talent. At the end of the 2011 season Carolina knew they had their franchise QB with Cam Newton, but the receiving corp. was comprised of Steve Smith and a ragtag group of NFL journeymen. They drafted Joe Adams, but he never panned out. Obviously Luke Kuechly was the best non-QB in this draft, so the Panthers absolutely nailed their original pick, but in this do-over they need another plan. Enter TY Hilton, Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver. Could you imagine how good Hilton would have been if he spent a few years playing behind Steve Smith? Hilton is basically a carbon copy of the future Hall-of-Famer, so having him as a tutor would have tremendously helped the young receiver. Hilton was a steal in the draft as a 3rd round pick, even though at the time many people were questioning the team’s logic as guys like Nick Toon and Juron Criner were still on the board (seriously they were supposed to be safer picks). There is no replacing Kuechly, but adding Hilton would have been a great piece for the Panthers.
45 Janoris Jenkins CB – Buffalo Bills
Original Pick: Stephon Gilmore CB
Again with the right position, but wrong player taken. Stephon Gilmore is not that bad of a pick, he is a startable corner for a team that has a pretty deep secondary, however Janoris Jenkins has just become a better cornerback. The biggest issue with Gilmore is the fact that he is injury prone and hasn’t been able to play a full season since his rookie year. Jenkins on the other hand anchored the Rams entire secondary, being a magnet for passes and earning a 5 year deal from the Giants this past off season. Teams knew how good Jenkins was going to be during the draft, however some off the field issues and his dismissal from The University of Florida set off alarms and teams passed on him for less talented players who had a less shaky background. Because he stayed out of trouble, Jenkins made the teams that passed on him in favor of guys like Gilmore, Claiborne, and (embarrassingly) Dre Kirkpatrick, look stupid.
43 Dontari Poe DT – Kansas City Chiefs
Original Pick: Dontari Poe
Could the Chiefs have done better with this pick? Poe has turned himself into one of the best (if not the best) run stoppers in the game, and is a valued member on a defense that boasts some of the games best players. It’s easy to say that the Chiefs didn’t pick wisely here by not grabbing a Wide Receiver or Quarterback, but that’s because we live in 2016, not 2012. At the time the Chiefs were planning to start Kyle Orton at the QB position who had put together some good seasons and was more reliable than any of the remaining QBs proved to be (basically Orton > Nick Foles and Brock Osweiler), and the receiving corp. included Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, and Jonathan Baldwin (who was not an obvious bust yet). Poe was a solid pick and it has been smart choices like this that have kept the Chiefs in playoffs contention since they got a real QB in Alex Smith.
41 Fletcher Cox DT – Philadelphia Eagles
Original Pick: Fletcher Cox
Again, here is a very solid pick. Cox made his first Pro-Bowl in the 2015 season, after getting noticeably better each year he’s played. The Mississippi State product has racked up 22 sacks in his career tallying 162 tackles and forced 5 fumbles. The 2011 Eagles were supposed to be the “dream team” with Michael Vick at Quarterback, LeSean McCoy at running back, and a defense that featured the likes of Trent Cole, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Jason Babin. Everything fell apart and the Eagles didn’t end up making the playoffs. Cox has been arguably the best player drafted by the Eagles since that year (though most of that is Chip Kelly’s fault). Defensive line was the weakest group on the team, and many of the players they had been relying on were aging quickly. The Eagles have not been good, but as mentioned before it may have been Chip Kelly that made them so bad. Cox was unaffected by Kelly’s lack of coaching ability, and we are expecting great things from him in the coming years.
39 Chandler Jones DE – Arizona Cardinals
Original Pick: Michael Floyd
Like the Bills pick, it’s not really the player’s fault or lack of play that makes us want to redraft, but Michael Floyd does not look like he was totally worth a first round pick. He’s a good number 2 receiver who can put up 1000 yards in a season, but is being outplayed by both an ancient Larry Fitzgerald, and John Brown who was taken in the 3rd round. The Cardinals did feel like they needed a receiver as they were lining Early Doucet up across from Fitzgerald, but as it turned out they didn’t need Floyd that bad. The Cardinals have been suffering from a lack of pass rushers for about half a decade at this point. They keep finding old men on the street, who happen to be ex-NFL pass rushers, to plug in, but that shouldn’t have worked. If they were to pick up someone as talented as Chandler Jones in 2012 that issue would have never been a problem. He racked up 36 sacks for the Patriots and was widely thought of as the future of the team’s defense before they traded him (to the Cardinals).
37 Alshon Jeffery WR - St. Louis Rams
Original Pick: Michael Brockers
Michael Brockers’ career thus far is nothing special. To be fair, he is a good run stopper on the best defensive line in the NFL, so he doesn’t really get much fan fare. The Rams would have done better to have picked up a real #1 receiver in this draft. They tried to when they grabbed Brian Quick in the beginning of the second round, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. Since “The Greatest Show on Turf” ended and Issac Bruce and Torrey Holt left St. Louis, the Rams have needed someone to be their star wide out. They have tried a ton of different options including Kenny Britt, Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, and a 10000-year-old Wes Welker, but none really took over the role. If they had picked up Alshon Jeffery here and chose a defensive lineman where they would have picked up Quick, then LA would be getting a much more talented team who might be a favorite to make the playoffs.
35 David DeCastro OG – Seattle Seahawks
Original Pick: Bruce Irvin
Bruce Irvin was good for the Seahawks, good enough to make a case to still be the pick at number 15. He has 22 sacks to his name and was able to turn that into a 4-year contract with the Raiders. There is a question remaining as to how much of Irvin’s skill came from playing with the very talented Seahawks defense and opposing coordinators having to plan for the other standouts on the team. The better pick for the Seahawks would have been David DeCastro, the guard from Stanford. He was called the best guard that has ever been seen in the draft when he was coming out of college, but somehow slipped all the way down to the Steelers at 24. DeCastro may not be the best guard of all time, but he sure as hell is a great player on a great team. If the Seahawks had a guy like DeCastro to anchor the line right now they would probably be the favorites to go to the Super Bowl. Irvin was good, but the team could have found competent pass rushers in later rounds, they have not found a lineman with DeCastro’s skill since the Russell Wilson era began.
33 Bruce Irvin OLB/DE – New York Jets
Original Pick: Quinton Coples
We said that Bruce Irvin was good… The Jets reportedly really wanted Irvin on their team when the draft was happening. Irvin was expected to go in the second round, but the Jets were hoping to get him in the first round and were understandably upset (and shocked) when the Seahawks grabbed him so early. They were forced to take Quinton Coples, who had a number of question marks coming into the draft as he had some off the field concerns and his drive to play was a subject of debate. He played well at first, but only managed to get 8 tackles in the entire 2015 season. Bruce Irvin played a similar role, and played better. He would have fit in with the Jets’ defensive scheme and would not have been “lost” amongst the bigger names. Coples was fine at first and may see a career resurgence in Los Angeles, but Irvin would have been the better pick up and would have been the pick if things went a different way.
31 Harrison Smith S – Cincinnati Bengals
Original Pick: Dre Kirkpatrick
The Bengals have been drafting so well the past few years, but this pick just could not have gone worse. There was a lot of hype about Dre Kirkpatrick going into the draft (along with the rest of the corners) but failed to live up to his billing. It’s not that Kirkpatrick has been terrible, he has shown flashes of being very good and even started 15 games in 2015, but just doesn’t seem like an answer for a secondary that is forced to start Adam Jones for most of the season. They even had to use another first round pick to grab Darqueze Dennard in 2014, but he has yet to start more than 1 game, and William Jackson III this past draft. The Bengals would have been wise to grab Harrison Smith at this spot back in 2012. Smith has been a solid starter for the Vikings since he was drafted late in the first round. He is a strong tackler and has the ability to pick off a ball or two every year. He wouldn’t fix the issues that the Bengals have specifically at corner, but he would be a massive upgrade at the safety position, which currently has George Iloka and Reggie Nelson penciled in to start.
29 Cordy Glenn OT – San Diego Chargers
Original Pick: Melvin Ingram
When Melvin Ingram can play, he plays pretty well. However he doesn’t play very often. 2015 was the only season where he was able to start more than 9 games, and throughout the four years he has been in the NFL, he has only started in 28. Half of those came in 2015 alone. Players taken in the first round have to be the starting player at their position, and based on a slew of injuries, Ingram is just not a guy the Chargers can trust. It isn’t a huge shock as Ingram’s injury concerns were the only thing keeping him from being a top 10 pick. One of the biggest things stopping Philip Rivers from getting his team into the playoffs has been the poor play of their offensive line. Joseph Barksdale and King Dunlap have never been dominant players and the drafting of DJ Fluker looks like a wash. If the Chargers could have another shot at this draft they would probably go for Cordy Glenn, an offensive tackle who has started 16 games 3 straight years and just signed a 5 year contract extension with the Bills. Buffalo took advantage of the fact that Glenn somehow slid into the second round despite being arguably the best lineman in this draft.
27 Michael Floyd WR – Chicago Bears
Original Pick: Shea McClellin DE
Shea McClellin may be best known as the guy who broke Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone in 2013. In that game Shea had 3 sacks, which is impressive, except that he has only recorded 7.5 sacks in his career thus far. He has been a total bust for the Bears who reached for the Boise State defensive end when they could have picked up a guy like Chandler Jones or Lavonte David. In this re-draft both of those guys are off the board, and while Defensive Line was a problematic position for the Bears, there was a reason they took Alshon Jeffery with their second pick. We have Chicago grabbing Michael Floyd here. Their receivers not named Brandon Marshall consisted of Earl Bennett and Devin Hester, and they had yet to get Martellus Bennett to fill the hole at Tight End. Lining Floyd up with Marshall would have been a dynamic pairing, though they would not have been able to ship Marshall off to the Jets as Floyd doesn’t look like the #1 guy that Jeffery has turned into.
25 Mitchell Schwartz OT – Tennessee Titans
Original Pick: Kendall Wright
The Titans really wish they could redo this draft. 2011 was a teasing year for Titans fans as many of them expected to go winless following the chaotic 2010 that ended with both QB Vince Young and Head Coach Jeff Fisher finding new jobs. However, Mike Munchak coached Matt Hasselbeck to a 9-7 record while fans got excited for 2011’s first round pick, Jake Locker. Instead of bolstering their aging offensive line, the Titans scooped up a receiver for their young QB expecting to have a great pairing for years to come. It’s not that Wright has been a bust, but he hasn’t shown himself to be a go-to #1 guy. Locker on the other hand was constantly injured, and was never able to play in more than 11 games in a season. If the Titans could have grabbed a guy like Schwartz, who has started every game of his career, Locker’s career and Tennessee’s playoff hopes may not have ended so quickly. Schwartz just picked up a 5 year $33 million contract to play for the Chiefs; he will be one of the highest paid linemen of all time.
23 Mike Daniels DE – New England Patriots
Original Pick: Chandler Jones DE
Even though the Patriots traded him for tic-tacs to the Cardinals this offseason, Chandler Jones was one of the best pick-ups from the entire 2012 draft. Arguably the guy showed himself as the best pass-rusher from the draft and the Patriots used him as a center piece on their defense for their Super Bowl win. The one problem with Jones is his injury concerns, so he slipped a bit in this re-draft. Mike Daniels on the other hand has quietly been one of the best players on the Packers’ defense. He has started 16 games for two years straight after coming off the bench for his first two years. His stats aren’t gaudy, but he is the type of player who affects the game without racking up a ton of tackles. The man just plays good ball and the Patriots know the value of a player like that.
21 Robert Griffin QB – Cleveland Browns
Original Pick: Brandon Weeden
At this point in his career people seem to write Robert Griffin off as a bust. But he’s only 26-years-old and has ample time to reinvent himself and find what made him rookie of the year back in 2012. Brandon Weeden on the otherhand is a bust, the second biggest bust in the entire draft, only being beat by Cleveland’s other first round pick. It’s a bit baffling that the Browns wasted a pick on Weeden in the first place; there were QB with better combine numbers available, they had major problems on defense and had already drafted an offensive playmaker, and he was 28 making him the oldest first round pick ever. Knowing what we know about Robert Griffin it’s strange to see him in the first round of a redraft, but he is getting paid like most other starting quarterbacks because the Browns are aware that he is capable of getting healthier and back in football shape. If he is able to do that, we are talking about a very dynamic player so he is worth a shot late in the first round.
19 Riley Reiff OT – Detroit Lions
Original Pick: Riley Reiff
The Lions needed offensive line help, and they got offensive line help. Reiff has played almost every game since he was drafted and played well. Matthew Stafford has played very well behind his line and if Detroit could just put some pieces around them they might have a chance to get to the playoffs. They made the right call drafting the Iowa product, and they would do the same thing again given the chance. There’s not much more to say about this, Reiff was a solid pick. End of story.
17 Matt Kalil OT – Pittsburgh Steelers
Original Pick: David DeCastro
We mentioned it once already, but we want to repeat it; how did David DeCastro fall this far? In the redraft there was no chance that Pittsburgh would be picking DeCastro just because he is too good. We had DeCastro off the board at 15, but the Steelers found themselves with another potential steal with Matt Kalil here. We have already made note that Kalil’s career started off very strong, but he has since faded fast. Pro Football Focus rated Kalil as the worst starting tackle in the NFL so seeing him here might feel a bit high. What is hard to account for his the fact that Kalil has started every game of his career, and that’s something you don’t see from a lot of players. He started as a Pro-Bowler, so Kalil has the potential to bounce back because we have seen what he is capable of. Taking Kalil here is much like how we had the Browns picking up RG3 a couple picks earlier; yes now Kalil doesn’t look like what we were expecting after his initial season, but that doesn’t mean his career is done.
15 Olivier Vernon DE – New England Patriots
Original Pick: Dont’a Hightower
It’s hard not to give Hightower a first round grade, as he has been a dynamic player for the Patriots since coming to the team. He has 14.5 sacks and 220 tackles, but he just cannot stay healthy and when it comes to the playoff he pretty much disappears. The Patriots are not regretting this pick, and even picked up Hightower’s 5th year option to see if he can get better in 2016, but there are just better players to grab in this redraft. The best player available at this point is Olivier Vernon, the DE out of Miami. The Dolphins found this guy in the 3rd round and he has been a better player than almost all the ends left on the board. Through four years he has 29 sacks and that was enough for the Giants to make him the highest paid defensive end in the NFL with an $85 million deal. The contract seemed very high for him, but the point was made that Vernon is the best player left and would be the better pick for New England.
13 Derek Wolfe DT – Houston Texans
Original Pick: Whitney Mercilus
The Texans are consistently looking for someone to line up across from JJ Watt and they used their 2012 first round pick on Whitney Mercilus for that exact reason. It hasn’t worked the way they hoped. Yes Mercilus has 30 sacks to his name, but he hasn’t consistently been able to start, and when he is on the field the other team is double or triple teaming Watt, so Mercilus’ stats should be better than they are. If the Texans had a guy like Derek Wolfe at the nose tackle position, Watt would be free (well free-er) to attack the QB. Trough his time in Denver, Wolfe has been an absolute monster while stopping the run. When so many of the defensive players who drove the Broncos to their Super Bowl win changed teams, the team made sure that Wolfe was their priority giving him a 4 year extension. The Texans would love to have Wolfe in the middle instead of an aging Vince Wilfork or an ineffective Louis Nix.
11 Ladarius Green TE – Cincinnati Bengals
Original Pick: Kevin Zeitler
Unlike the Bengals’ earlier pick, Kevin Zeitler has been fine. The guard out of Wisconsin has started most of the Bengals games since he was drafted, but some injuries have kept him from having a perfect record. They did not make any mistakes when chooing Zeitler in 2012, but with guys like Kelechi Osemele, Brandon Brooks, and Bobby Massie coming out of later rounds, the argument can be made that Zeitler didn’t need to go so early. Tyler Eifert has been arguably the best player on the Bengals offense. Last year he caught 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He was drafted in 2013. The Bengals really needed some receiving help this year and solved it by drafting both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, but they had a much bigger issue at tight end where Jermaine Gresham was handling the position. Ladarius Green would have been better to pair with AJ Green and later Tyler Eifert than either of the receivers Cincinnati did take. It would have allowed them to use one of those picks for an equally effective lineman.
9 Malik Jackson DE – Green Bay Packers
Original Pick: Nick Perry
The Packers were looking so hard for a complimentary player to pair with Clay Matthews that they took a player expected to be a great pass rusher in Nick Perry. That didn’t work out. Perry has never been able to take over the starting role and hasn’t gotten more than 4 sacks in a season. Malik Jackson would have been a much better pick. Not only did the Packers have a much shakier D-Line than linebacking corp., but Jackson has just been a better player. He has shown him self as an excellent run stuffer, and a better pass rusher than Nick Perry is. In 2015 alone he had 45 tackles, 5 sacks, and 7 pass deflections; Perry on the other hand has 76 tackles, 12.5 sacks, and 4 pass deflections in his career. Perry did have a decent playoff run in 2015 racking up 3.5 sacks, which keeps him from being a total bust, but Jackson had a better playoffs being a key component in the Broncos winning the Super Bowl. Jackson turned a breakout 2015 into a six-year deal with the Jaguars, Perry got a one-year “prove-it” deal from the Packers. It’s obvious who would have been a better pick.
7 Travis Benjamin WR – Minnesota Vikings
Original Pick: Harrison Smith
When we were redrafting, this was the trade that we concluded definitely would not have happened again. The Ravens traded this pick with the Vikings for their second and fourth round picks, but in this redraft Vikings would not have wanted to jump up this high because Harrison Smith was not there. For the sake of continuity we will say that the trade happened. Since Smith wasn’t there, the Vikings would have taken the best offensive playmaker left in the draft, Travis Benjamin. Despite having the horrifying list of players that were the Browns quarterbacks from 2012 until now, and having to deal with playing second banana to Josh Gordon and his crazy situation, Benjamin was able to put up some very healthy numbers including 1,683 yards gained and 3 return touchdowns. The Vikings that year had a young Christian Ponder ready to start, Adrian Peterson running behind a healthy line, and no receivers. Seriously, the ever-injured Percy Harvin, and Jerome Simpson highlighted their receiving corp., but that’s pretty much all they had. Adding a guy like Benjamin would have gone a long way to better both the Vikings future success and ultimately Christian Ponder’s career.
5 Vontaze Burfict OLB – San Francisco 49ers
Original Pick: A.J. Jenkins
This pick would not have made a lot of sense in 2012 as no one saw the early retirement of Patrick Willis coming. However, their initial pick made no sense in 2012 because A.J. Jenkins wasn’t good. A wide receiver would have been a good pick up for the 49ers, but not necessarily worth a first rounder especially one who was a “reach” at best. Jenkins has become one of the worst busts in the history of the 49ers because he caught 0 passes for the team before they traded him to the Chiefs where he was almost equally unsuccessful. With this do-over, the 49ers would pick up Vontaze Burfict, who was expected to be the number 3 pick at many point during the college football season, until his personality and lust for blood became apparent. He went entirely undrafted purely because of that. However, he has been a dominating player for the Bengals leading them in tackles over that time, and also led the team in fines. His temper often affects his play and he has been accused multiple times of trying to hurt opposing players. He would have been higher in this redraft if not for that, but unfortunately it knocks him very far back.
3 Doug Martin RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Original Pick: Doug Martin
Why do anything else with this pick? The Muscle Hamster has had 2 seasons where he crossed 1400 yards, but he also had two seasons where he couldn’t get more than 500. The two bad years were marred with injuries so you have to take the bad with a grain of salt. When healthy, Martin is a dominating running back capable of winning multiple games almost by himself. The Buccaneers needed a running back in 2012, and Martin is the best running back to come out of this draft, so why not? The Buccaneers made a lot of mistakes over the past few years; this was not one of them.
1 Justin Tucker K – New York Giants
Original Pick: David Wilson
While the Buccaneers made the correct call to grab a running back late in the first round, the Giants made a huge mistake by picking up David Wilson. It wasn’t that picking up Wilson was a bad idea, he had all the makings of a great running back and was excellent in college, but Wilson just didn’t have the physique to play in the NFL. He was constantly hurt and ended up retiring after only 2 seasons. In his career, Wilson gained only 504 yards. Justin Tucker is one of the, if not the best kicker in the NFL right now. Obviously he wasn’t taken in the first round, or any round for that matter as Tucker was undrafted. Lawrence Tynes, the Giants’ kicker at the time, was coming to the end of his career and he was not hitting his field goals at an NFL rate. Taking Tucker would have shored up the position for years to come.