Re-drafting a class years after the fact is always a tricky, but worthwhile exercise. Seeing what players rose and fell and trying to match prospects with team needs at the time and their current careers is fruitful and these articles provide a pretty unique “What If?” scenario that could change the league as we know it.
The 2017 NFL Draft produced several superstar players, from star QBs like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson to receivers like Cooper Kupp and Chris Godwin to some elite defensive players like Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, and Marshon Lattimore. Several members of this draft class are among the league’s best, which makes a redraft exciting to write with the ramifications such a shift this would bring.
Who rose the most from UDFA to a Round 1 pick? Who would fall completely out of the first round this go around? The Browns once again picked #1 overall this year-a pick that might be a little tricky in hindsight, given that the player they drafted is arguably the best at his position.
Original Pick: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Re-do Pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
As good as Myles Garrett has been for the Cleveland Browns, Patrick Mahomes is one of the most talented quarterbacks in NFL history. Mahomes has set so many NFL records at this point that it’s hard to keep track of them all, consistently keeping the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl contention. With how good he has been, it’s stunning to imagine he was the tenth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
His improvisation ability, paired with arguably the best arm in the NFL, makes Mahomes an incredibly dangerous quarterback. Mahomes has an all-time ability to extend plays, break sacks and simply demoralize defenses with his playmaking. When the Chiefs absolutely need something positive, Mahomes has responded time and time again.
His talent might have helped save Hue Jackson’s coaching tenure in Cleveland, but the question would remain on if Hue could help develop Mahomes as Andy Reid did.
#2-Chicago Bears (via San Francisco)
Original Pick: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Re-do Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Bears were going to take a quarterback at this pick in the 2017 NFL Draft no matter what after this trade, but this time, they’ll take the bonafide top-10 quarterback.
Watson has been one of the best down-to-down passers in the NFL since his rookie season in 2017. Displaying an excellent combination of awareness, mobility and accuracy, Watson has made play after play throughout his career despite the poor situation around him in Houston.
He’s a skilled passer under pressure despite not having an elite arm, and he elevates the play of guys around him. Watson’s accuracy, boasting a +4.2 Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE), has bailed Houston out of bad situations and is what made him and Deandre Hopkins such a deadly duo.
Pairing Watson with a defense coached by Vic Fangio would have made an excellent combination, one that certainly would have been more dynamic than what originally happened.
#3-San Francisco 49ers (via Chicago)
Original Pick: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Re-do Pick: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The 49ers didn’t address their quarterback situation till later in the season by trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, but having the option to take Myles Garrett would be too tempting to pass on. Arguably the best pass-rusher in the NFL, Garrett has been dominant since he stepped onto an NFL field. He’s accumulated 63 sacks and almost 300 pressures in five seasons, and that’s with him missing almost half of his rookie season due to an injury.
Adding Garrett to a defensive line that included DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead would have given the 49ers arguably the best defensive line in the NFL that season—one that could have been a strength of the team for years to come.
Original Pick: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Re-do Pick: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
If Garrett is the best pass-rusher in the NFL, T.J. Watt is right on his heels for that accolade. The three-time All-Pro and 2021 Defensive Player of the Year tied the record for most sacks in a season at 22.5 this year. The brother of JJ Watt, T.J. Watt has been a dominant force since his first snap, generating 317 QB pressures and 77 sacks in just five seasons. He’s led the NFL in sacks for the last two seasons.
The Jaguars did boast a talented defensive line that helped them finish second in the NFL in sacks in 2017. Adding T.J. Watt into that mix might have been enough to help the Jaguars make the Super Bowl that year.
Original Pick: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Re-do Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
While Corey Davis has been a good NFL player, Marshon Lattimore has placed himself among the game’s best at the corner position. A four-time Pro Bowler, Lattimore has been the definition of a shutdown corner and found himself rewarded for it, signing a lucrative $97.6M deal last season. Generating 15 career interceptions and almost 60 pass breakups, Lattimore has the production to match his excellent combination of athleticism, instincts and technique.
Pairing Lattimore with one of the game’s best safeties in Kevin Byard would give the Titans an excellent duo in the secondary that would be defensive cornerstones of the team for a decade.
#6-New York Jets
Original Pick: Jamal Adams, SAF, LSU
Re-do Pick: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
While the Jets got good play from their original pick in Jamal Adams, and their trade of Adams has helped springboard their rebuild, the team didn’t have a true CB1 at the time. Adams was a productive and talented player, but consistently poor pass defense from the corner room helped contribute to the firing of Todd Bowles just a year later.
Tre’Davious White is a two-time All-Pro and one of the game’s best, accumulating 16 INTs and 40 PBUs in his five seasons in the NFL. His play has been a huge part of why Buffalo has experienced such a defensive resurgence in the last few seasons. Being able to steal White from a divisional rival would just be an added boon for the Jets.
#7-Los Angeles Chargers
Original Pick: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Re-do Pick: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
Mike Williams has been a productive player for the Chargers as of recent and just signed a lucrative contract with the team, but he’s not quite the player Chris Godwin has been. Godwin has been one of the most physically dominant receivers in the NFL and pairs his physical gifts with excellent technique versus press coverage and a bully-ball mentality in contested situations. Godwin has put up three straight seasons of over a thousand yards receiving and was a key cog in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run in the 2020-2021 season.
He and Mike Evans have formed one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL over the last few years. Pairing Godwin with Keenan Allen would be just as deadly.
Original Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Re-do Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Carolina Panthers found an elite weapon in running back in Christian McCaffrey, and won’t regret taking him a second time. McCaffrey is an elite receiving back, posting and then breaking his own receptions by a running back record, and is just the third player in NFL history to record a 1,000-1,000 season by rushing and receiving for more than 1,000 yards. His 2,392 all-purpose yards in 2019 were third-most ever for an NFL player.
#9 Cincinnati Bengals
Original Pick: John Ross III, WR, Washington
Re-do Pick: George Kittle, TE, Iowa
A total of 15 tight ends have been selected with top-10 picks since 1967, so this would be a break from precedence, but George Kittle has been one of the game’s best tight ends throughout the last few seasons. His presence as a blocker has dramatically changed the 49ers’ run game, and his 4,489 receiving yards are second among all tight ends during the last five seasons. His presence would be a significant boost to the Bengals offense that had been struggling with Eifert’s injuries up till this point.
#10-Kansas City Chiefs (via Buffalo)
Original Pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Re-do Pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Chiefs miss out on landing a franchise-changing quarterback here but instead add one of the game’s top cornerbacks to their defense. The Chiefs struggled to find a corner to pair with Marcus Peters, working in a combination of Terrence Mitchell, Steven Nelson, Phillip Gaines and even Darrelle Revis, but nothing quite jelled, and the team surrendered the fourth-most passing yards that season.
Marlon Humphrey, an All-Pro in 2019 and a two-time Pro Bowler, would be that missing piece for the Chiefs. Humphrey can play in both the slot and outside and has matched up with top receivers week in and week out with superb quickness and instincts. He and Peters have proven to be an excellent duo in Baltimore but would have a chance to prove that earlier in this re-do.
#11-New Orleans Saints
Original Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Re-do Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Saints lose out on one of their superstar players from their all-time 2017 NFL Draft class but snatch up one of them here. Ryan Ramczyk is one of the best right tackles in the NFL and ranks anywhere in the top three depending on who you ask. He’s about as clean a pass protector as there is with fantastic technique and awareness and is also an elite run blocker with his overwhelming play strength. Ramczyk is a three-time All-Pro and has allowed just 16 sacks in five seasons of play, including back-to-back seasons of allowing just two sacks.
The Saints stole Ramczyk at pick 32 this year with the pick they got from New England for Brandin Cooks. Safe to say, he wouldn’t be available where they originally picked him at this go around.
#12-Houston Texans (via Cleveland)
Original Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Re-do Pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
The Texans traded up for this pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to acquire their quarterback for the foreseeable future, but with Watson well off the board, the Texans go for the second-biggest need at this point in left tackle. The Texans brought in Bolles before the 2017 draft for a visit. Houston traded Duane Brown shortly into the 2017 season but didn’t have an adequate replacement on the team at the time, forcing them to make a blockbuster trade for Laremy Tunsil a couple of seasons later.
Bolles has had a rocky start to his career in Denver but was an All-Pro in 2020. He’s proven to be a great run blocker and would solidify the Texans’ left tackle spot for the foreseeable future-ensuring they don’t have to give up future draft capital to fix that spot.
Original Pick: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
Re-do Pick: Jamal Adams, SAF, LSU
Haason Reddick developed into a good player down the line, but after a few seasons miscast as an ILB and not recording much production till his final year in Arizona, the Cardinals would likely want to look for a higher impact player that could take the field for them right away in the 2017 NFL Draft. While the team had Tyrann Mathieu already, pairing Honey Badger with Jamal Adams is a tempting safety duo that would really let Arizona be flexible in the secondary.
Jamal Adams is a three-time All-Pro and Pro-Bowler. While he’s best known for his versatility and prowess moving forward, Adams also excels in coverage, displaying great awareness, ball skills and a motor that seemingly never ceases. He’s arguably the best run-defending safety in the NFL as well. Adams has been the target of some scrutiny, especially after being traded from the Jets, but he’s a game-changing safety. He and Mathieu on the same team would have been the best duo in the league.
Original Pick: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Re-do Pick: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Derek Barnett had a key fumble recovery for the Eagles in their Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots as a rookie but has struggled to produce much since. Being compared to the other pass rushers in the 2017 NFL Draft has done little to help his image. This time around, the Eagles add an elite running back to their offense that would have added an even deadlier component to an offense that already won the Super Bowl. Dalvin Cook struggled with injuries early on in his career but has ripped off three consecutive thousand-yard rushing seasons, displaying excellent agility and vision on his way to three Pro Bowl nods.
Despite an above-average offensive line for several years now, the Eagles have not had a rusher break a thousand yards in a season since LeSean McCoy in 2014. Dalvin Cook rushing behind that Eagles’ offensive line would have been must-see TV every week and a boon to fantasy managers every season. Cook’s speed, vision, processing and elite change of direction make him one of the best backs in the league, and a home-run hitter every time he gets the ball.
Original Pick: Malik Hooker, SAF, Ohio State
Re-do Pick: Marcus Williams, SAF, Utah
The Colts originally took a safety in the 2017 NFL Draft, and there’s no reason to change that, just the player. Malik Hooker struggled to stay healthy in Indianapolis, so the Colts this time around opt to take a more reliable option in Marcus Williams. Now a Baltimore Raven, Williams only missed five games with the Saints in his five-year career and amassed the most snaps played on the team during that time span. Williams has been one of the best single-high safeties in the NFL throughout the past few seasons.
Flashing smooth hips, excellent ball-hawking ability, instincts and awareness, Williams has been a key cog of the Saints’ defensive turnaround over the last few seasons. The Colts struggled to contain opposing passing games that year, allowing the fifth-most yards and the second-most yards per attempt while generating the 19th-most pass breakups. Adding Williams, who has triple the number of PBUs than touchdowns allowed during his career, would patch up a significant hole in their defense.
Original Pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Re-do Pick: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
With their original pick off the board here, the Ravens pivot to a different critical need in a wide receiver. The Ravens were starting Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver that season. Both of them were well past their prime, and Breshad Perriman was still struggling with injuries. As a result, the Ravens struggled to move the ball through the air all season long.
Cooper Kupp is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP with the Los Angeles Rams. His toughness, route-running and do-it-all ability have made him one of the most important pieces in Sean McVay’s revival of the Rams and sending them to the Super Bowl twice since 2017. Kupp would have added a significant playmaker to a struggling Ravens’ offense for Joe Flacco-and eventually Lamar Jackson.
Original Pick: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Re-do Pick: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Jonathan Allen has been one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the NFL since he stepped onto the field. He’s been an elite-run defender who has continued to grow every year as a pass-rusher, displaying overwhelming power at the point of attack.
His pressure and sack totals have increased each year and led to a career-high 10 sack season this year. Allen has been a stalwart presence and cornerstone of the Washington defense for years. There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t take him again if they could.
Original Pick: Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Re-do Pick: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
With their corner secured at number five, the Titans flip the picks and go for a receiver at this slot. Tennessee was still building around Marcus Mariota at this stage and looking to add more talent to their receiver room after the two-man show between Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe the previous season.
Corey Davis developed into a good player later in his NFL career, but Mike Williams has become a budding star receiver with the Chargers. He’s developed into a dominant ‘X’ and has formed one of the best duos in the NFL with Keenan Allen. Tennessee just didn’t have a player with his bully ball style and length to win over the middle of the field, and he would have been a boon for Mariota trying to develop.
#19-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Original Pick: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
Re-do Pick: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
A pick that will make many Saints fans sick, Alvin Kamara stays in the NFC South in this re-do. The 2017 Buccaneers struggled running the ball, amassing just less than 1500 yards on the ground for the 28th-ranked rushing offense. The team was rotating a running back stable of Doug Martin, Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims but none of them broke 500 yards that season. Alvin Kamara stepped in and was one of the best backs in the NFL almost immediately, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, and would have solved that issue.
Kamara is a dynamic runner between the tackles, flashing fantastic instincts and vision to pair with exceptional agility and speed in space. What makes Kamara even deadlier is his ability as a receiver, where his agility and burst make him an excellent route-runner. Adding Kamara to an offense with Jameis Winston at quarterback that featured Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson out wide would have taken that offense to even further heights and would provide a long-term answer at that spot.
Original Pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Re-do Pick: Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
The Denver Broncos were searching for their long-term answers at either tackle spot heading into the 2017 NFL Draft. The team had Russell Okung, Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo rotating in at the tackle spots, but both Stephenson and Okung allowed more than 50 pressures, and Sambrailo allowed six sacks in six games that season. Here, they can lock in their answer at the left tackle position.
While the Broncos miss out on Bolles, they get arguably a more consistent and reliable option in Dion Dawkins here. Dawkins has been a rock solid pass protector from the get-go in Buffalo and has developed into one of the better left tackles in the NFL. He’s strong and a superb technician with his accurate hand placement and blitz recognition.
Original Pick: Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida
Re-do Pick: Budda Baker, SAF, Washington
The Lions were searching for defensive help in the 2017 NFL Draft after finishing 31st in Defensive DVOA in 2016. Despite having Glover Quin and Darius Slay, the Lions were 30th in Defensive DVOA versus the pass and allowed the 19th-most yards through the air. Budda Baker is a four-time Pro Bowler and just the fourth player in Cardinals franchise history to receive at least four Pro Bowl nods in his first five NFL seasons. Baker has also earned three All-Pro nods over his career as a safety.
Baker’s explosiveness and instincts have made him one of the best run-defending safeties since he joined the NFL. Pro Football Focus has charted Baker with 161 run stops in his five-year career to go along with five career INTs and 18 PBUs. Pairing Baker with Quin (and eventually replacing him) would give the Lions a hard-hitting culture fit-one that would have more of an impact than the player they originally drafted.
Original Pick: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Re-do Pick: Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
While Charles Harris has had a career revival with the aforementioned Lions last season, he struggled in Miami, posting just three sacks and 67 pressures in his three seasons as a Dolphin. This time around, the Dolphins stick with a pass-rusher, but one that’s more proven.
Trey Hendrickson was selected 103rd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. Hendrickson was productive in New Orleans early on, rotating in sub-packages on passing downs, but he really broke out in his fourth season with the team, posting 50 pressures and 14 sacks.
He parlayed that success into a four-year, $60 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals last offseason, where he enjoyed immense success. Hendrickson helped the Bengals reach the Super Bowl, posting a staggering 87 pressures and 20 sacks. Miami needed a significant boost to their pass rush, and Hendrickson would provide that and then some.
#23-New York Giants
Original Pick: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
Re-do Pick: Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan
Evan Engram had productive moments with the Giants, including a Pro Bowl nod in 2020, but the Giants go in a different direction on this re-do. Right tackle has been a persistent problem for the Giants until just recently when the team drafted Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, who they hope emerges as their long-term answer there. This time around, they nip the problem in the bud right away and take one of the game’s best right tackles in Taylor Moton. Moton is a steady technician who has locked down the right tackle spot for the Carolina Panthers.
The right tackle position had been an issue for the Giants, with the team rotating in Bobby Hart and Marshall Newhouse that season. The duo combined to allow 60 pressures and five sacks. In his five-year career, Moton has allowed just 11.
#24-Las Vegas Raiders
Original Pick: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Re-do Pick: Kenny Moore II, CB, Valdosta State
The Raiders went 12-4 in Jack del Rio’s second season as their Head Coach but lost in the Wild Card Round partly due to poor pass defense. The team originally took Gareon Conley, who lasted two and a half seasons with the team before being traded to the Houston Texans for a third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Conley flashed some good moments but struggled to stay healthy with the Raiders and in Houston.
Kenny Moore II has three seasons of more than 1,000 snaps in his NFL career and has evolved into one of the game’s best nickel corners, if not the outright best. An undrafted free agent in the 2017 NFL Draft, Moore quickly worked his way up the depth chart in Indianapolis, going from fifth-string corner to a full-time starter by the end of the 2017 season. His athleticism and intelligence stand out on every rep, and he’d be a boost to a Raiders secondary in need of standout play.
#25-Cleveland Browns (via Houston)
Original Pick: Jabrill Peppers, SAF, Michigan
Re-do Pick: Carl Lawson, OLB, Auburn
The Browns don’t get Myles Garrett, but instead, get another incredibly talented and productive pass-rusher in Carl Lawson. Lawson, who fell to the fourth round originally, has become a pass-rush force in the NFL. In his career, Lawson has amassed 183 pressures and 22 sacks, and that’s while missing the 2021 season due to an injury.
Lawson is an explosive rusher who boasts a wide variety of pass-rushing moves he uses to harass opposing quarterbacks. For a team searching for a boost in their pass-rush, Lawson would have fit right in and been a fan favorite. Stealing him from divisional rival Cincinnati is just the cherry on top.
#26-Atlanta Falcons (via Seattle)
Original Pick: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Re-do Pick: Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple
The Dan Quinn-led Falcons were successful, but the lack of a pass-rush ultimately led to Quinn being fired later on. The Falcons hoped taking Takk McKinley in the 2017 NFL Draft would solve their problems, but injuries limited his impact on the field for them. This go-around, the Falcons take a pass-rusher who has proven to be a highly effective speed rusher coming off the edge.
Haason Reddick got off to a slow start in Arizona after being thrown at inside linebacker but has transitioned back to a role as a pass-rusher and has thrived there. Coming off of back-to-back double-digit sack seasons, Reddick just signed a massive three-year, $45 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. Reddick is a twitchy and fluid pass rusher. His explosiveness is a big reason why he was tied for the third-most pass-rush wins under 2.5 seconds this season with the Panthers. His quickness on the outside when paired with the interior rush of Grady Jarrett would have helped the Falcons stay competitive in the NFC every year.
#27-Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City)
Original Pick: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
Re-do Pick: Matt Milano, ILB, Boston College
While the Bills lost out on one defensive cornerstone in this re-do of the 2017 NFL Draft, they can grab another one with their pick here. Matt Milano has been an underrated component of the Bills’ defense, with exceptional coverage ability and athleticism.
Originally Buffalo’s fifth-round pick this year, Milano’s ability to cover tight ends downfield as well as he fits the run has made him a valuable centerpiece for the Bills on defense. In a class where two linebackers went round one and seven went on Day two, the fifth-rounder Milano has become the best linebacker to come out of this draft. Buffalo would happily snatch him back up if they could.
Original Pick: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Re-do Pick: John Johnson III, SAF, Boston College
Taco Charlton quickly flamed out of Dallas after being selected here in the 2017 NFL Draft, playing just two seasons and amassing all of four sacks for the team before being cut. While Dallas was looking for a pass-rusher to serve as insurance for Randy Gregory at the time, they won’t force it here and instead takes John Johnson III in this re-do.
Johnson III has been one of the game’s best safeties and was a standout for the Los Angeles Rams before signing with the Cleveland Browns in 2021. Amazingly, Johnson has never earned a Pro Bowl or All-Pro nod despite his elite intelligence and ball skills.
Taking Johnson would allow the Cowboys to move Byron Jones back to his natural position at cornerback instead of safety. Pairing Johnson with Xavier Woods would give Dallas a playmaking duo at safety, a position they’ve had plenty of churning at over the last few seasons.
#29-Cleveland Browns (via Green Bay)
Original Pick: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Re-do Pick: Marcus Maye, SAF, Florida
The Cleveland Browns were coming off of a season where they were one of the worst teams against the pass in the NFL. The Browns were 31st in Defensive DVOA versus the pass and allowed a league-leading 36 touchdowns through the air that season. Part of that was a safety room that dealt with injuries and struggled to generate big plays, posting zero interceptions and just seven pass breakups in 2016.
Marcus Maye, as a rookie, posted two interceptions on 18 targets, proving his value as the Jets’ free safety. Maye played a variety of roles with the Jets, moving around from free safety, into the box, as a slot corner and even taking reps outside at corner. That kind of playmaking ability was something the Browns needed. They tried it with Jabrill Peppers, but he struggled to generate the playmaking they needed and he was eventually traded to the New York Giants just two years after the Browns drafted him.
Original Pick: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
Re-do Pick: Eddie Jackson, SAF, Alabama
To the chagrin of Steelers fans everywhere, they wouldn’t land an elite pass-rusher at the end of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft this time. Luckily, they’ll still nab a top defensive playmaker in safety Eddie Jackson. Much like the Browns, the Steelers had some struggles in their safety room in 2016.
It was almost entirely the Mike Mitchell show that season. The team tried a rotation of Sean Davis and Robert Golden next to Mitchell, but neither was effective in coverage, combining to allow six touchdowns-with Davis allowing the seventh-most yards among safeties that season.
Jackson has been a top-tier playmaker at safety in Chicago for the last five years. He’s generated ten interceptions in his career and 22 PBUs, flying around as the Bears’ free safety deep. Both Mitchell and Jackson have proven they can play a variety of roles together, and with Mitchell’s release from the team at the end of the 2017 season, having his replacement on the roster would prevent the Steelers from spending back-to-back first-rounders at the position.
#31-San Francisco 49ers (via Seattle)
Original Pick: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Re-do Pick: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
Reuben Foster was a productive rookie, making his way onto the PFWA All-Rookie team in 2017. However, a slew of injuries and off-the-field incidents made the 49ers’ coaching staff lose faith in Foster, and they released him in 2018. While the team needed a defensive playmaker, this go-around they’ll add one of the best running backs in the NFL in Joe Mixon.
Carlos Hyde was a productive rusher for the 49ers, but Joe Mixon is a much better scheme fit for Shanahan’s offense, and Shanahan simply hasn’t had a rusher with Mixon’s playmaking ability. His vision and athleticism make him a natural fit in his outside zone scheme, and his prowess as a receiver makes him a deadly weapon on offense. Mixon and Hyde would be a great tandem together before Mixon eventually took over as the RB1 for San Fran.
#32-New Orleans Saints (via New England)
Original Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Re-do Pick: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
With the last pick of the first round in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Saints stole Ryan Ramczyk, who has developed into one of the game’s best right tackles. While they added him again earlier in this re-do mock draft, that leaves this pick-up in the air. Since the team lost out on the chance to add Alvin Kamara in this re-do, they can pivot and add another top running back in Kareem Hunt. Kamara won Offensive Rookie of the Year, but Kareem Hunt was right behind him.
Displaying great vision, balance and change of direction, Hunt has amassed 3,671 rushing yards and 1,616 receiving yards in his five-year NFL career. While Hunt isn’t quite the receiver that Kamara is, Hunt is more than adequate as a pass-catcher and offers just as much as a runner. Hunt has formed the best rushing duo in the NFL with teammate Nick Chubb in Cleveland but would be the RB1 in New Orleans for years to come.
A.J. Schulte contributed to this report.