formul8or Posted March 6, 2008 Share Posted March 6, 2008 If teams knew then what they know now, obviously the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft would have turned out differently. We know the Minnesota Vikings (Adrian Peterson) and Cleveland Browns (Joe Thomas) probably wouldn't change a thing. However, teams like Detroit, Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco likely would have selected different players. The draft is a guessing game for several years after the fact. So, while it is hard to totally agree or disagree based solely on the performance of how the 32 rookies performed in Year One, it can be a sign of things to come. The Detroit Lions would have been a good home for eventual Pro Bowl MVP Adrian Peterson. Here is a look at what might have happened if a few teams could have seen a season into the future: Team: Detroit LionsPick: No. 2 overallActual pick: Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia TechRevised pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma Although Johnson showed the potential to be a No. 1 receiver in the league, the Lions still have plenty of depth at that position without him. The deal for running back Tatum Bell turned out to be awful, while injury-prone former starting back Kevin Jones has made the running back position a major question mark. The combination of Jon Kitna (QB), Roy Williams (WR) and Peterson would have provided the Lions with a much more diverse offense. Cap-wise, their money would be spread out among several positions. A case could also be made that the Lions would also have been better served taking offensive tackle Joe Thomas at No. 2. Thomas proved himself to be one of the game's top young offensive tackles, and that is now also a need area for the Lions. Peterson would have made this team much more of a factor in 2007 and beyond. Now, the Lions need to figure out how to stop Peterson twice a year for the next 10 or so seasons. Team: Atlanta FalconsPick: No. 8Actual pick: Jamaal Anderson, DE, ArkansasRevised pick: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame The Falcons had dealt away backup quarterback Matt Schaub and were in the midst of dealing with the Michael Vick situation when their name came up on the clock. Now while I still expect defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson to jump up the ranks in his second year - much like the Texans' Mario Williams did in 2007 - you cannot say much for 30 tackles and zero sacks in 16 games as a rookie. More importantly, the Falcons still have no real identity on either side of the ball. Most evaluators did not think that Chris Redman would make it out of training camp, let alone recently get re-signed for $5 million dollars over the next two years. That tells you where the Falcons are at quarterback. If you give this pick back to Arthur Blank and the Falcons it is likely that they would have a hard time passing on former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. He had a higher grade on most teams' boards than Boston College's Matt Ryan does this season, and Quinn would have received quality playing time in the final month of the season. Now, the team will have to spend the 2008 campaign teaching a new system to a lesser-valued rookie quarterback. Team: Miami DolphinsPick: No. 9Actual pick: Ted Ginn, WR/KR, Ohio StateRevised pick: Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss Miami may have been better off going a different direction than Ted Ginn. Where do we start with the Dolphins? Most analysts were penciling in the name Brady Quinn when the Dolphins hit the clock, only to be stunned by hearing Ginn's name. It is unlikely the Dolphins would have been a much better team in 2007, but they would have better options right now if they had gone for Quinn at No. 9 and come back in the third round (#71) and taken a receiver like James Jones, Jason Hill, Laurent Robinson or even Jacoby Jones. Ginn still has plenty of speed and return skills, but the new front office seems undecided on the fate of last year's second-round choice, John Beck. In fact, offensive lineman Samson Satele (2nd round) is one of the few early picks from last season that fits the new regime's style/schemes. In this scenario, Quinn is off the board to Atlanta at No. 8. I think in that case the Dolphins would have looked closely at Jamaal Anderson, who would now still be on the board. But after a tremendous rookie season, the most desired player on the board most likely would have been former Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis. One last point: While I have a higher grade overall on LSU's Glenn Dorsey, the age, upside and athleticism shown by defensive tackle Amobi Okoye also would have turned out to be a better decision at No. 9 since the Dolphins could still have come back with a quarterback in round two, a better receiver choice in the third and not come away with so many wasted choices. Team: Pittsburgh SteelersPick: 15Actual choice: Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida StateRevised choice: Anthony Spencer, OLB/DE, Purdue This one is a bit trickier, because the Steelers were not really sure what they would get out of James Harrison - who turned out to be a Pro Bowl selection in his first-year replacing veteran icon Joey Porter. Meanwhile, Timmons recorded just 13 tackles and now has to either change positions or play as a backup for several years. The Steelers came back in round two by adding versatile pass rusher LaMarr Woodley, who could replace Clark Haggans on the opposite side of Harrison. However, by doubling up at that spot they left themselves vulnerable at a few other positions (like cornerback, defensive end and offensive guard). The Steelers were well aware at last year's draft that Alan Faneca would likely be gone a year later. At No. 15, the Steelers could have added cornerback Aaron Ross - who helped solidify the Giants secondary. Ross could have easily replaced Ike Taylor at some point last season. Another option could have been offensive guard Ben Grubbs as a future replacement for Faneca. More of a long-range look at their draft would suggest the Steelers would have likely looked at Anthony Spencer to push Haggans. Then, they could have come back in round two with either inside linebacker David Harris or cornerback Eric Wright, both of whom fit their needs/schemes. Team: New Orleans Saints Pick: 27Actual choice: Robert Meachem, WR, TennesseeRevised choice: Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas I gave the Denver Broncos a pass on Jarvis Moss because we haven't really been able to judge him fairly at this point. I could have elected to do the same here with the Saints and wide receiver Robert Meachem, but to me this was a greedy choice in the first place. The Saints had built a solid nucleus on the offensive side of the ball with Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, signing David Patten and knowing they had both Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush healthy. The Saints just had to dish out almost $40 million dollars to sign cornerback Randall Gay and defensive end Bobby McCray, not exactly household names. By opting to go the safe route in the first-round of last year's draft, they would have been able to invest that money on one of the better interior defensive linemen that have been available the past week. Meachem clearly has upside if he can return to his pre-injury status, but he won't help cover opposing receivers or stuff the run. He is the team's No. 3 or No. 4 option overall at best because of the other offensive options. There are several options here that would now make sense. If they still wanted to improve the passing game, tight end Greg Olsen would have been a better choice. Defensively, massive defensive tackle Alan Branch would now provide them with a young run stuffer that does not exist on their current roster. The two defenders I would lean towards a year later would be cornerback Chris Houston, who was my personal favorite for them in my mock drafts a year ago, or linebacker Justin Durant. Even with the addition of Gay, the late season injury to starting cornerback Mike McKenzie could still see the Saints using either Fred Thomas or Jason David in key situations early in 2008. Houston or Durant would provide the team with improved athleticism and range in their back seven, something that has been lacking for years. Houston would have been the best choice because the Saints have not had a premier defensive back since Dave Waymer (1980-1989). Team: San Francisco 49ersPick: No. 28Actual choice: Joe Staley, OT, Central MichiganRevised choice: Don't make trade with Patriots This has less to do with the 49ers not being happy with the play of Staley who started all 16 games as a rookie - but more to do with the loss of a top-10 draft choice. The 49ers dealt their first round pick this year for the rights to take Staley at pick No. 28 last year. Admittedly, the 49ers expected to see advancement with their team. Some even made the Niners their dark horse choice to win the NFC West in 2007. Given his athleticism and upside, Staley could soon hold the value equal to a top-10 choice. However, at the time of the trade the 49ers front office did not believe they were dealing what would turn out to be the No. 7 overall choice in this year's draft. Team: San Diego ChargersPick: No. 30Actual choice: Craig Davis, WR, LSURevised choice: Eric Weddle, DB, Utah The in-season trade for former All-Pro wide receiver Chris Chambers obviously makes this an easy option for a replacement choice. Speedy wide receiver Craig Davis had only 20 catches for 188 yards. More importantly, the Chargers have other needs that they could have filled. They reached for a speed option at receiver at the end of the first round, then compounded that by trading up in the second round to select Weddle - who was the top defender on their board at this point of the draft. Without overhauling too many choices, the Chargers could have selected Weddle at No. 30 - just six picks before they made the trade up to get him. Given the move they made up from pick No. 62 to No. 37, the ideal player for them in the second round would have been linebacker David Harris. He proved to be a terrific inside linebacker in the Jets 3-4 scheme and would have given the Chargers a younger option instead of having to sign veteran free agent Derek Smith. The newly realigned Chargers would have Chambers as their No. 2 receiver, Harris starting at inside linebacker, Weddle still on the roster and the cap room to now replace cornerback Drayton Florence - who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Team: Chicago BearsPick: No. 31Actual choice: Greg Olsen, TE, MiamiRevised choice: Kevin Kolb, QB, Houston There is no arguing the selection of Olsen. He was the most productive rookie tight end in recent memory, and gives them a great combination when paired with Desmond Clark. However, the Bears are devoid of skill position players across the board thanks to the loss of free agent Bernard Berrian to the Vikings and the release of veteran receiver Muhsin Muhammad. The fact that running back Cedric Benson has yet to prove himself as an every-down back in the NFL is also an issue. If you go one step further, the Bears are still planning to enter training camp with a quarterback battle of Rex Grossman vs. Kyle Orton. They combined to complete less than 55% of their passes with a collective 7:9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The fact that the Bears are picking No. 14 one year after being in the Super Bowl clearly shows that choosing a quarterback of the future like former Houston standout Kevin Kolb - would have been better for the team's long-term success. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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