2017 NFL Re-Draft: How Things Should Have Played Out

Mike Fanelli | May 15th, 2020

The deadline to exercise the fifth-year options for the 2017 first-round picks has come and gone. Of the 32 picks, 18 of them had their option exercised. However, four of the top five picks had their option declined. Now that it has been three seasons since this draft class entered the league, it’s fair to look back and redo the draft. For the purposes of this re-draft, I’m going to keep all trades in place but make my decisions based on current rosters.

  1. Cleveland Browns → Myles Garrett (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Patrick Mahomes (Selected 10th overall)

Garrett has been one of the best, if not the best, pass rusher since he entered the league. However, the quarterback position is king, and Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league right now. While Baker Mayfield had a promising rookie year, his 2019 season was a disappointment and if he doesn’t bounce back in 2020, the Browns could be looking for a franchise quarterback once again.

  1. Chicago Bears → Mitchell Trubisky (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Deshaun Watson (Selected 12th overall)

I wasn’t a fan of Trubisky before the draft and I’m still not a fan. Apparently, neither are the Bears. With his fifth-year option declined, it’s now or never for Trubisky. However, he first has to defeat Nick Foles for the starting job. Had the Bears taken Watson, combined with a Khalil Mack lead defense, the Bears would easily be the best team in the NFC North.

  1. San Francisco 49ers → Solomon Thomas (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Myles Garrett (Selected 1st overall)

At the time of the draft, I loved this pick but Thomas has failed to live up to expectations. With so many other young and talented defensive linemen on the roster, it makes sense to declined Thomas’ fifth-year option worth $13.1 million dollars. However, even with all the talent along the defensive line, you can never have too many good pass rushes, especially when they are as good as Garrett.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars → Leonard Fournette (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: George Kittle (Selected 146th overall)

This is where the re-draft really begins. The first three picks should have been no brainers but what do the Jaguars do here? Obviously, they regret drafting Fournette and in hindsight would have taken Christian McCaffrey. However, they could get a Kareem Hunt or another good running back on day two. With that in mind, they grab arguably the best tight end in the league and give Gardner Minshew a mismatch nightmare.

  1. Tennessee Titans → Corey Davis (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Cooper Kupp (Selected 69th overall)

When the Titans took Davis out of Western Michigan with the fifth overall, it was a win for smaller name schools. However, Davis hasn’t lived up to expectations, never topping 900 receiving yards in a season, and the Titans would have been better off taking a wide receiver from an even smaller name school. Despite missing half of the 2018 season with a torn ACL, Kupp has almost 2,600 career receiving yards and is one of the best third-down receivers in the league. A weapon Ryan Tannehill surely wishes he had.

  1. New York Jets → Jamal Adams (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Jamal Adams (Selected 6th overall)

If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Since entering the league, Adams has been one of the best safeties. Despite a rocky relationship with the front office over trade rumors, Adams should receive a long term extension between now and the start of the season. Adams has totaled at least 75 tackles in each of his three seasons in the league and is the leader of the defense.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers → Mike Williams (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Ryan Ramczyk (Selected 32nd overall)

Williams has been a solid wide receiver since entering the league, topping over 1,000 yards last season and catching 10 touchdowns the year before. However, Keenan Allen is clearly the team’s top wide receiver and the offensive line still needs work. Yes, they did sign Bryan Bulaga in free agency but Sam Tevi is projected to be the other starting tackle. Ramczyk is the best offensive tackle from the 2017 draft class and would be a major upgrade over Tevi in protecting Justin Herbert.

  1. Carolina Panthers → Christian McCaffrey (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Christian McCaffrey (Selected 8th overall)

If McCaffrey played a more critical position, he likely would have been the fourth player off the board in this re-draft. Recently the team and McCaffrey agreed to an extension worth $64 million dollars. He is the first player selected in the first round to agree to an extension and the Panthers are happy to have him around long term.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals → John Ross (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Marshon Lattimore (Selected 11th overall)

Ross’ draft stock skyrocketed when he broke the NFL combine 40-yard dash record, running a 4.22 40-time. However, his career has been plagued by injuries, missing half of the games so far in his career. Ross had a solid start to the 2019 season but got hurt and now with A.J. Green returning and the addition of Tee Higgins, Ross could find himself on another roster by the time week one rolls around. Meanwhile, the Bengals spent big money on cornerbacks this offseason but none of them offer the shutdown ability Lattimore does. Without a doubt, Ross might be the biggest bust in the top 10.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs → Patrick Mahomes (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Tre’Davious White (Selected 27th overall)

When the Chiefs traded up for Mahomes on draft night, no one knew it would become arguably the biggest steal in draft history. Three years later (with only two as the starter), Mahomes has already won an MVP award and a Super Bowl. What will the future hold for him? Who knows, but there is a reason why he went first overall in the re-draft and it’s not because of the hair. With Mahomes long gone, the Chiefs take the player who went with their original pick, White. Other than Lattimore, White is arguably the best cornerback from this draft class and the Chiefs need serious help at the position.

  1. New Orleans Saints → Marshon Lattimore (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Marlon Humphrey (Selected 16th overall)

On draft night, many were surprised to see Lattimore slide out of the top 10. Some projected him to be a top-five pick. During his time in Baltimore, Humphrey has turned into one of the better cornerbacks in the league. Last season, Humphrey had a league-high two fumble recoveries for a defensive touchdown. With Lattimore off the board, the Saints take the best remaining cornerback.

  1. Houston Texans → Deshaun Watson (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: T.J. Watt (Selected 30th overall)

Obviously, the Texans would love to land Watson again with this pick but the Bears wised up during this re-draft and snagged him 10 picks ago. With no quarterback worth a first-round pick on the board, the Texans turn to the defense. J.J. Watt is the only consistent pass rusher on the roster and I’m sure he would welcome playing alongside his brother.

  1. Arizona Cardinals → Haason Reddick (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Alvin Kamara (Selected 67th overall)

Another pick I didn’t like on draft night and still don’t like. The Cardinals reached on a Senior Bowl draft darling and got caught. Reddick has failed to turn into the multi-tool chess piece many thought he would become. Despite not missing a game in his career, Reddick has failed to top 80 tackles in a season and has just 7.5 career sacks. Meanwhile, Kamara was a steal for the Saints in the third round and imagine an offense with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and Kamara; good luck stopping that as a defense.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles → Derek Barnett (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Eddie Jackson (Selected 112th overall)

Barnett was one of my favorite players in the 2017 draft class and the Eagles could very easily take him again with the 14th overall pick. However, the Eagles have several promising young pass rushers on the roster but have a big hole at safety with Malcolm Jenkins now in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Jackson has been one of the best safeties since entering the league. His ability to turn an interception into six points is better than anyone else. Three of Jackson’s 10 career interceptions have resulted in six points. That’s something the Eagles would happily take.

  1. Indianapolis Colts → Malik Hooker (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Selected 62nd overall)

Even though he has struggled with injuries throughout his career, I was still surprised the Colts turned down Hooker’s fifth-year option, especially since it is for just under $7 million dollars. The Colts have high expectations for Khari Willis and just spent a third-round pick on Julian Blackmon. Now yes, the Colts do have T.Y. Hilton and have spent back-to-back second-round picks on Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. over the last two drafts, but adding JuJu to this group would make it one of the best in the league. Hilton has struggled with injuries in the past and JuJu is capable of being the number one option.

  1. Baltimore Ravens → Marlon Humphrey (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Chris Godwin (Selected 84th overall)

While he went off the board a few picks ago, I’m not sure the Ravens would take Humphrey if he was still available. Humphrey is a great cornerback but the Ravens have several good cornerbacks, led by All-Pro Marcus Peters. However, imagine the firepower the Ravens’ offense would have with Godwin lined up in the slot to go along with their running game and Marquise Brown stretching the field.

  1. Washington Redskins → Jonathan Allen (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Desmond King (Selected 151st overall)

Much like the Ravens and Humphrey, exercising Allen’s fifth-year option was an easy call for the Redskins. However, much like the Ravens, the Redskins may take a different player with this pick during the re-draft. The Redskins have plenty of depth along the interior of the defensive line with Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, and others. However, they need help in the secondary. While King fits a similar role as newly signed Kendall Fuller (as a nickel/safety hybrid), the Redskins could leave Fuller full time in the slot and King at free safety. The defensive line is one of the best in the conference while the secondary needs help.

  1. Tennessee Titans → Adoree’ Jackson (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Derek Barnett (Selected 14th overall)

You can certainly argue that the Titans should re-draft Jackson after the loss of Logan Ryan. However, given the additions or Kristian Fulton and Johnathan Joseph to go along with Malcolm Butler, cornerback isn’t a big position of need. Meanwhile, outside of Harold Landry, the Titans lack a proven pass rusher on the roster. Jeffery Simmons is coming off a promising season but had just two sacks in nine games, while Vic Beasley is very inconsistent. Barnett is coming off a career-high 6.5 sack season (in 14 games). Pairing Landry and Barnett would finally give the Titans a good duo of pass rushers.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers → O.J. Howard (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Kenny Golladay (Selected 96th overall)

Grabbing Godwin in the third round was a steal. However, we went off the board a few picks ago and the Buccaneers need to give Mike Evans a running mate. Much like Godwin, Golladay was a third-round steal and has turned into one of the better wide receivers in the league. With Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate on the roster, the Buccaneers will be just fine at tight end without Howard.

  1. Denver Broncos → Garett Bolles (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Dion Dawkins (Selected 63rd overall)

Bolles was one of the worst selections on the first night of the 2017 draft. He has struggled to be a blindside protector and to no one’s surprise, his fifth-year option was declined. However, the Broncos have a promising offense outside of left tackle. Dawkins has been one of the more underrated left tackles in the league and would be a major upgrade protecting Drew Lock.

  1. Detroit Lions → Jarrad Davis (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Jonathan Allen (Selected 17th overall)

After spending a second-round pick on Jahlani Tavai last year and signing Jamie Collins this offseason, it’s no surprise the Lions declined Davis’ fifth-year option. Meanwhile, the Lions save Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Mike Daniels all leave this offseason, creating a big hole at defensive tackle. While the addition of Danny Shelton helps, Allen is one of the better interior pass rushers in the league, totaling 14 sacks over the last two years.

  1. Miami Dolphins → Charles Harris (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Joe Mixon (Selected 48th overall)

Recently the Dolphins traded Harris to the Falcons for a 2021 seventh-round pick. After the trade was official, the Falcons declined Harris’ fifth-year option and at $10.1 million dollars, I understand why. However, in this re-draft, the Dolphins take arguably the most underrated running back in the league. The duo of Jordan Howard and Matt Breida is nice, but Mixon has back-to-back seasons with over 1,400 scrimmage yards. Mixon would give Tua Tagovailoa a three-down back he can count on no matter the situation.

  1. New York Giants → Evan Engram (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Evan Engram (Selected 23rd overall)

On paper, the Giants don’t have a lot of holes, especially given what is left on the board. In another example of if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, the Giants take Engram during the re-draft. Engram had a promising rookie season, catching 64 balls on 115 targets for 722 yards and six touchdowns but have struggled with injuries since. However, if he can stay healthy, he has the talent to be a top 10 tight end in the league.

  1. Oakland Raiders → Gareon Conley (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Larry Ogunjobi (Selected 65th overall)

During the 2019 season, the Raiders traded Conley to the Texans for a 2020 third-round pick. After half a season with the Texans, they decided to decline his fifth-year option. Ideally, you would like to get more than a third-round pick for a former first-round selection, less than 2.5 years into his rookie deal. However, in this re-draft, the Raiders take Ogunjobi to add depth to their defensive tackle rotation. Both Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins will be free agents after the 2020 season while Ogunjobi has developed into one of the more underrated defensive tackles in the league.

  1. Cleveland Browns → Jabrill Peppers (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Taylor Moton (Selected 64th overall)

In hindsight, the Browns would happily trade anyone they take with this pick, as Peppers was moved to the Giants in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. However, in this re-draft, we’re going pretend the Browns are keeping the player from this pick. With Garrett a 49er, a pass rusher is needed but one isn’t worth the selection here. Instead, the Browns grab Moton, who has experience at guard and tackle, to pair up with Jack Conklin, Joel Bitonio, and Jedrick Wills Jr. to protect Mahomes.

  1. Atlanta Falcons → Takkarist McKinley (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: Shaquill Griffin (Selected 90th overall)

After a promising first two years in the league where it totaled 13 sacks, McKinley regressed in 2019, finishing with just 3.5 sacks. The Falcons declined his fifth-year option worth $10.1 million dollars and understandably so. While the Falcons signed Dante Fowler Jr. this offseason in hopes of fixing their pass rushing problems, their secondary still needs help. They spent their 2020 first-round pick on A.J. Terrell but other than Isaiah Oliver, the Falcons lack talent at cornerback. Meanwhile, Griffin has been one of the more underrated cornerbacks since entering the league, totaling 36 passes defended and 186 tackles.

  1. Buffalo Bills → Tre’Davious White (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Budda Baker (Selected 36th overall)

The Bills would love to get their hands on White again with this pick but he went off the board a long time ago. Instead, the Bills return to the secondary but grab a hybrid defensive back. Baker can play in multiple spots and would provide versatility to an already very good Bills defense. While Baker isn’t a shutdown cornerback like White is, in hindsight, White shouldn’t have slid to the Bills on draft night.

  1. Dallas Cowboys → Taco Charlton (Option Unavailable)

    Re-draft: Jabrill Peppers (Selected 25th overall)

When Charlton went unclaimed after the Cowboys waived him last fall, his fifth-year option was automatically voided. Since then he signed with the Dolphins during the 2019 season and recently signed a one year deal with the Chiefs. Obviously, the Cowboys regret taking Charlton and would go in a different direction with this pick. However, after having arguably the best 2020 draft class, the Cowboys don’t have a lot of holes on paper. One hole that wasn’t addressed is the safety position. Both Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be free agents after the 2020 season and the Cowboys don’t have any starting caliber depth behind them.

  1. Cleveland Browns → David Njoku (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Zach Cunningham (Selected 57th overall)

Even after signing Austin Hooper to the richest contract for a tight end in NFL history this offseason, the Browns picked up Njoku’s fifth-year option worth about $6 million dollars. However, in this re-draft, the Browns address the defense. After losing Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey in free agency, the Browns’ linebacker position is a little thin. Mack Wilson was a steal in the fifth round last year but he needs some help. Since entering the league, Cunningham has been one of the most consistent linebackers, totaling over 330 tackles and missing just two games in three years.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers → T.J. Watt (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Dalvin Cook (Selected 41st overall)

With Watt long off the board, the Steelers turn their attention to giving Ben Roethlisberger another weapon. The Steelers took James Conner in the third-round round and during the 2018 season, he looked like a star in the making. However, Conner has struggled with injuries, missing 11 out of 48 career games while not finishing several others. The Steelers have spent middle-round picks on a running back in three straight drafts but had they taken Cook, they would have had a Le’Veon Bell replacement. While Cook has struggled with injuries himself, he is coming off a career year, averaging over 118 scrimmage yards per game.

  1. San Francisco 49ers → Reuben Foster (Option Declined)

    Re-draft: O.J. Howard (Selected 19th overall)

Foster was waived by the 49ers during the 2018 season after domestic violence allegations. The Redskins claimed him but Foster didn’t play the rest of the season while the legal issues were addressed. Foster then tore his ACL and MCL in his knee during the 2019 offseason and didn’t play a snap last season. With Foster not playing a snap since October 2018, the Redskins wisely declined his fifth-year option worth $10.1 million dollars. Meanwhile, the 49ers got arguably the steal of the draft, selecting Kittle in the fifth round. However, with him off the board, they take Howard instead. While Howard has struggled at times so far in his career, the talent is there and would step into a good situation in San Francisco.

  1. New Orleans Saints → Ryan Ramczyk (Option Exercised)

    Re-draft: Marcus Williams (Selected 42nd overall)

The Saints surprised a lot of people when they drafted Ramczyk at the end of the first round as they had Zach Strief locked in at right tackle. However, in hindsight, it was the correct move to make. Not only did Ramczyk start as a rookie, with Strief retiring, but he has been a critical part of the Saints offensive line. However, with him long off the board, the Saints grab their second-round pick, Williams. While he is most famous for missing a tackle in Minnesota, Williams is an under appreciated player. He has 10 interceptions, 23 passes defended, and 187 tackles in his career while missing just two games. Whether it’s by the Saints or another team, Williams is in line for a big contract after this season.

Just Miss The Cut

Kareem Hunt (Selected 86th Overall)

After an excellent rookie season where he led the league with 1,327 rushing yards and had 11 total touchdowns, Hunt was putting together another great season in 2018. However, following the horrible video, the Chiefs released him. After signing with the Browns during the 2019 offseason and missing eight games with a suspension, Hunt had a solid second half of the season, averaging 58 scrimmage yards per game in a limited/backup role. If not for the off the field problems and the fact that running backs are the easiest position to replace, Hunt would have easily gone in the first round of the re-draft.

Mike Williams (Selected 7th Overall)

As I mentioned earlier, Williams has been a solid wide receiver since entering the league, going over 1,000 yards last year and catching 10 touchdowns the year before. However, there were several second and third-round wide receivers in the 2017 draft class they have turned into stars like Kupp, JuJu, Godwin, and Golladay. It was merely just a numbers game for Williams, but he likely would have been selected by the Saints with the 32nd overall pick in the re-draft if they didn’t sign Emmanuel Sanders this offseason.

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