ESPN asked every team reporter to go over the previous five drafts—from 2014-2018—and correct the teams biggest “mistake.” Mistake might be harsh. Hindsight is easy. The rules for this exercise were that the player has to be of reasonable need, available, and no trades.
You can do this for just about any player on every team, save the All-Pro’s. Here’s what Nick Wagoner did:
First round of the 2016 NFL draft (No. 28 overall)
Actual pick: Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford
Do-over pick: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
A top receiver has been a need for the 49ers since Terrell Owens departed in 2003, but it was heightened further in 2016, when Anquan Boldin left. Plenty of fans and outside observers thought the Niners should use their second-round pick, which was No. 37 overall, on Thomas. Instead, San Francisco traded that pick, a fourth-round choice and a sixth-round choice to Kansas City for No. 28 and a seventh-round choice. Garnett showed promise as a rookie but has been plagued by injury while Thomas has been to two Pro Bowls and averaged 107 catches, 1,262 yards and eight touchdowns per season. The 49ers still find themselves seeking a top wideout and could have had Thomas without trading up.
Thomas is one of the best receivers in the NFL. It’s silly that he fell in the draft. He was always good. I don’t think anyone knew Thomas would turn out as good as he has been.
Here’s another option: Chris Jones. Could you imagine adding Jones to the defensive line?