Supposedly it takes 3 years to really evaluate a draft class, and since this is the 4th year since this draft, it is due to have a speculative do-over. I think it is cool to be able to look back and see how the NFL would be different if all 32 teams actually had competent GM's and if all players actually lived up to their potential. Instead, once again in this draft, there are a lot of guys originally taken in the first round who just couldn't get it done in the NFL. The 49ers pick has definitely panned out, but it took 3 years and a QB change to see him become a top-10 receiver (thus the 3-years rule that I mentioned at the beginning).
I'm not taking into account trades that were made; I'm just assuming that the actual order that the players were drafted in was how it would have gone down anyway.
So, without further ado, here goes:
Pick #1: Detroit Lions
Original Pick: Matthew Stafford
New Pick: Matthew Stafford (Originally Taken #1) While there are arguably better individual players in this draft, the Lions desperately needed a quarterback to replace everyone that has ever played since Scott Mitchell (and if I knew of a good Lions QB, I would have gone back further than him). Stafford is by far the best QB in the draft and definitely could be justified as a first pick with his performance the last two years.
Pick #2: St. Louis Rams
Original Pick: Jason Smith
New Pick: Percy Harvin (Originally Taken #22) The Rams need a lot of things, and they needed a lot of things; they could have used O-Line, QB, LB or WR here. I decided to go with what their most notable need is now, especially since Amendola left. There were some really good receivers in this draft, but I think that Harvin is the best play-making receiver in this class.
Pick #3: Kansas City Chiefs
Original Pick: Tyson Jackson
New Pick: Clay Matthews (Originally Taken #26) Can anyone else believe that a talent like Clay Matthews fell to #26? The Chiefs needed a pass rusher, and Clay Matthews is possibly the only future HOF pass-rusher in this draft.
Pick #4: Seattle Seahawks
Original Pick: Aaron Curry
New Pick: Arian Foster (Originally Undrafted) Talk about a travesty: One of the best running backs in the league today was passed over by 32 teams 7 times in this draft. This pick also means that the Seahawks will not need to trade for Marshawn Lynch in 2011 (thank goodness, not that Foster would be more fun to face).
Pick #5: New York Jets
Original Pick: Mark Sanchez
New Pick: Josh Freeman (Originally Taken #17) See pick #1. Maybe there are better players available, but the Jets REALLY needed a QB. Freeman is arguably better than Sanchez (although I'm sure some people out there will disagree with me on that). Hopefully, this lets the Jets avoid the Tebow fiasco (OK, maybe not).
Pick #6: Cincinnati Bengals
Original Pick: Andre Smith
New Pick: Michael Oher (Originally Taken #23) Andre Smith is a really good tackle, but Oher seems to be the better all-around offensive lineman. I think that, given the chance to switch, the Bengals would take Oher here.
Pick #7: Oakland Raiders
Original Pick: Darius Heyward-Bey
New Pick: Brian Cushing (Originally Taken #15) The Raiders don't need any more track star receivers; they need consistency on defense. Cushing gives them just that.
Pick #8: Jacksonville Jaguars
Original Pick: Eugen Monroe
New Pick: Mike Wallace (Originally #84) I was torn here because the Jaguars are full of holes; they need a playmaker on the outside, and Wallace fits that bill. If there were any better QB's available, I would have taken one of them.
Pick #9: Green Bay Packers
Original Pick: B.J. Raji
New Pick: B.J. Raji (Same) The Packers count on this guy. If he doesn't play well, their defense doesn't play well. He is a force to be reckoned with and it is hard to pick someone else here.
Pick #10: SF 49ers
Original Pick: Michael Crabtree
New Pick: Michael Crabtree (Same) Tough decision, but Crabs has turned into a really good player and it is hard to pass on him here, even if he does have dive issues his first year. I really don't see any players that help the 49ers any more here.
Pick #11: Buffalo Bills
Original Pick: Aaron Maybin
New Pick: Brian Orakpo (Originally #13) Can't pass on the clearly superior Orakpo with this pick.
Pick #12: Denver Broncos
Original Pick: Knowshon Moreno
New Pick: Lesean McCoy (Originally #53) Tempted to give them Glen Coffee here (nah, not really). Moreno has been good; I think McCoy would have been better.
Pick #13: Washington Redskins
Original Pick: Brian Orakpo
New Pick: Paul Kruger (#57) Since Orakpo is gone and the Redskins needed a presence on the D-Line, they get a project in Kruger.
Pick #14: NO Saints
Original Pick: Malcolm Jenkins
New Pick: Jairus Byrd (#42) Jenkins isn't horrible, but Byrd has become a really good safety, something the Saints are sorely missing.
Pick #15: Houston Texans
Original Pick: Brian Cushing
New Pick: Dannell Ellerbe (Originally Undrafted) Too bad that Cushing is gone. Ellerbe has some big shoes to fill.
Pick #16: SD Chargers
Original Pick: Larry English
New Pick: Alex Mack (#21) The Chargers were REALLY bad last year. They need to protect Phillip Rivers better. Mack is a pretty good offensive lineman that they can count on to hold down the middle of the line.
Pick #17: TB Bucs
Original Pick: Josh Freeman
New Pick: Brian Hoyer (Originally Undrafted) Freeman is gone, and the Bucs needed a QB, so, at this point, it is basically a decision between Mark Sanchez and Hoyer, who as of yet is still unproved. Yeah, Hoyer is better to take a flyer on.
Pick #18: Denver Broncos
Original Pick: Robert Ayers
New Pick: Glover Quin (#112) Don't you think that the Broncos wish they had some better safety play, especially in the conference championship game last year?
Pick #19: Philadelphia Eagles
Original Pick: Jeremy Maclin
New Pick: Phil Loadholt (#54) The Eagles need better lineman to keep Michael Vick (or Nick Foles or whoever) standing upright. Loadholt, while not exceptional, is a pretty good tackle. The Eagles could find a different receiver later on (or Maclin might even fall to them at this point).
Pick #20: Detroit Lions
Original Pick: Brandon Pettigrew
New Pick: Henry Melton (#105) Ah, maybe this saves the Lions the trouble of dealing with N. Suh?
Pick #21: Cleveland Browns
Original Pick: Alex Mack
New Pick: Max Unger (#49) The Browns need offensive lineman. Mack is gone but Unger is arguably just as good.
Pick #22: Minnesota Vikings
Original Pick: Percy Harvin
New Pick: Hakeem Nicks (#29) The Vikings saved themselves some headaches (pun intended) by not getting Harvin here. Nicks is a solid receiver, and, if Ponder or Webb or whoever is back there can get the ball out, he will be a solid pickup.
Pick #23: Baltimore Ravens
Original Pick: Michael Oher
New Pick: Andre Smith (#6) It's too bad that someone finally recognized the value of Oher and took him higher, but the Ravens are OK with getting an above-average tackle in Andre Smith.
Pick #24: Atlanta Falcons
Original Pick: Peria Jerry
New Pick: Knowshon Moreno (#12) The Falcons draft Michael Turner's eventual replacement (barring a catastrophic injury, of course)
Pick #25: Miami Dolphins
Original Pick: Vontae Davis
New Pick: Alex Boone (Originally Undrafted) Davis is a decent corner, and could become a very good corner, but it won't be with the Miami Dolphins. Boone is a versatile offensive lineman. I'm sure I'll catch flack for putting him up this high, but Boone would be a great complement to and eventual replacement for Jake Long.
Pick #26: GB Packers
Original Pick: Clay Matthews
New Pick: Andy Levitre (#51) How do you replace a great pass-rusher? You don't (which is why the 49ers need to hang on desperately to Aldon Smith). You can get your HOF QB some better protection and a good run blocker for your RBs though...
Pick #27: Indianapolis Colts
Original Pick: Donald Brown
New Pick: Mark Sanchez (#5) I know, I know, I can hear the boos already. But could Sanchez have been (and could he be) a better QB in a better system with better coaching? I'm willing to bet on it, especially if he has Peyton Manning to mentor him for a couple years.
Pick #28: Buffalo Bills
Original Pick: Eric Wood
New Pick: William Moore (#55) Somebody get the Bills some pass defense! Anyone else remember that game last year where the 49ers torched them for 600 yards? With Alex playing QB?
Pick #29: NY Giants
Original Pick: Hakeem Nicks
Pick #30: Tennessee Titans
Original Pick: Kenny Britt
New Pick: Louis Vasquez (#78) This was a really tough decision, because the Titans really need a wide receiver, they really need a QB, and they really need a lot of things. Good offensive lineman is one of them; they should be able to pick Britt or another decent receiver up a bit further down.
Pick #31: Arizona Cardinals
Original Pick: Chris "Beanie" Wells
New Pick: Kevin Ogletree (Originally Undrafted) Think the Cardinals wish they could re-do this pick? Since there are no good QB's left (unless you thought Nate Davis was starting material), they get a nice receiver to play opposite of Fitzgerald and pick up a project QB through another method.
Pick #32: Pittsburg Steelers
Original Pick: Evander "Ziggy" Hood
New Pick: Louis Delmas (#33) Maybe between Delmas and Polamalu, the Steelers will be able to string together a healthy season at safety?
That's it! Thanks for reading!