People often try to grade professional sports drafts immediately after they’re done. It’s easy to just play armchair general manager the next day. The NFL team that drafts the most popular players from teams with the largest college football fanbases, get the highest draft grades. No one is giving a team an A+ to a team that drafts an offensive lineman from Idaho.
Since the 2017 NFL season kicks off this week, it’s time to look back at an older NFL Draft and redraft based on how well the player has played in the NFL.
This list isn’t “pick the top 32 players and list them from best to worst” redraft. I try to factor in what the team needed in 2010. I’m not going to pick the St. Louis Rams drafting Rob Gronkowski first overall, cause the team didn’t even have a quarterback to throw to him.
Which players would be taken in the first-round in a ‘redrafted’ 2010 NFL Draft?
1. Trent Williams – OT – Oklahoma (Williams was drafted #4) – Sam Bradford was taken here in the real 2010 NFL Draft, but Williams has had a better pro career. A team would belucky to have a cornerstone at tackle for nearly a decade.
2. Ndamukong Suh – DT – Nebraska (Suh was drafted #2) – This is our first ‘they got it right’ pick of the list. Suh was such a dominant nose tackle (albeit a little dirty). He smoked guards and centers to disrupt the offense by sacking the quarterback or causing some pressure. Suh took a huge payday with Miami and still keeps up his numbers.
3. Gerald McCoy – DT – Oklahoma (McCoy was drafted #3) – This is another pick that worked out for both the team and the player. He has just been so consistent and exactly the kind of player you can build a defense around. I know there are more flashy guys on the board, but McCoy can wreak havoc on the offensive line.
4. Joe Haden – CB – Florida (Haden was drafted #7) – Washington did well with their real pick in this draft (Trent Williams), but getting a young, talented cornerback would have been a nice bookend to DeAngelo Hall. The Redskins needed a dominant secondary against the elite QB-laden NFC East.
5. Rob Gronkowski – TE – Arizona (Gronkowski was drafted #42) – Most people would have put Gronk as the #1 pick, but the first four teams had more pressing needs. Tony Moeaki had a breakout season for the Chiefs in 2010, but Gronk would have been much better out of the gate. Moeaki never had much success since getting injured early the next season. Matt Cassel would probably still be the QB in KC if Gronk was open ever damn play.
6. Kam Chancellor – S – Virginia Tech (Chancellor was drafted #133) – How important was Chancellor on the game of football? Before Chancellor, teams wanted to have an athletic corner who is no taller than six-foot tall and is fast enough to chase running backs and slot receivers. Well, Chancellor (who is 6’3 & 225lbs) was perfect for today’s tight end-heavy offenses. It helps that Chancellor is such a freak athlete and can also chase running backs and slot receivers. Teams have been drafting bigger safeties the last few years thanks to Chancellor.
7. Sam Bradford – QB – Oklahoma (Bradford was drafted #1) – Bradford has struggled to stay healthy his entire career, but when he’s healthy, he’s good. The 2010 NFL Draft might be the worst overall quarterback draft class in history. Bradford is the only quarterback in the top-31…and #32 is just there cause he’s still a backup, and the Saints (who drafted #32) needed a solid backup for Drew Brees (it’s not Tim Tebow). Bradford had some bad luck and luckily still has some fans in front offices around the league. I think if the draft were to happen today, Bradford would be drafted here…even though there are some very talented offensive talent left on the board.
8. Earl Thomas – S – Texas (Thomas was drafted #14) – Seattle built the cornerstones for the ‘Legion of Boom’ in a single draft. It’s crazy that someone could get Thomas and Chancellor in the same draft. Thomas was actually my favorite safety coming into this draft. He was a playmaker and made some huge ones while in Texas.
9. Mike Iupati – G – Idaho (Iupati was drafted #17) – Yes, I’m drafting a guard over Dez Bryant and Antonio Brown. Iupati has been one of the best guards in the NFL since this 2011. He’s still a beast and will clear the way for David Johnson in Arizona this season.
10. Dez Bryant – WR – Oklahoma State (Bryant was drafted #24) – Remember when the entire NFL was scared of drafting Bryant? He was dismissed at Oklahoma State for his relationship with Deion Sanders and there was some red flags about his immediate family. Well, he’s kept his nose clean the last few seasons. He was a perfect target for Tony Romo, but not sure if he will keep up his numbers with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.
11. Antonio Brown – WR – Central Michigan (Brown was drafted #195) – I’m not sure if Brown would be this good on any other team. It just seems like the Steelers turns an unheralded college wide receiver into a stud. It started with Hines Ward and the process is the same. Once one of those transformed studs go to another team, they all but disappear. Brown might be different, but it will always be a question in my head.
12. Jimmy Graham – TE – Miami (FL) (Graham was drafted #95) – The Chargers drafted at this spot in 2010. Can you imagine the two-headed monster of Antonio Gates and Graham? Philip Rivers would have won a few MVPs and possible a Super Bowl. He’s a stud and would have been a stud on any team in the NFL.
13. Eric Berry – S – Tennessee (Berry was drafted #5) – Berry had such an impactful early career, but had to miss some time due to cancer. He survived a bout of treatment and has came back with just as much intensity in the secondary. Having Marcus Peters playing beside him has made his job easier.
14. Carlos Dunlap – DE – Florida (Dunlap was drafted #54) – In most drafts, Dunlap would have been ranked much higher in a redraft. He has 57 sacks for his career and has been to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons. The Bengals helped their team so much in this draft. They also drafted Geno Atkins in the fourth round.
15. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE – South Florida (Pierre-Paul was drafted #15) – I would have put Pierre-Paul higher, but his fireworks accident knocked him down a few spots. True story, I actually thought his teammate at South Florida, George Selvie, would have a better pro career. Selvie was even a bigger name on campus. Pierre-Paul was able to slide under the radar a little and improve so much in his short time in college.
16. NaVorro Bowman – LB – Penn State (Bowman was drafted #91) – I watched a lot of Big Ten football around this time and thought Bowman was going to be a superstar. He had a LaVar Arrington-esque quality to him. He was just always where he needed to be. Some players just have that kind of freakish instinct. I admit that you should switch around anyone from #13 thru #16 and I’d be fine with it. These guys are so close together in terms of defensive impact.
17. Markice Pouncey – C – Florida (Pouncey was drafted #18)
18. Russell Okung – OT – Oklahoma State (Okung was drafted #6)
19. Demaryius Thomas – WR – Georgia Tech (Thomas was drafted #22)
20. Sean Lee – LB – Penn State (Lee was drafted #55)
21. Geno Atkins – DT – Georgia (Atkins was drafted #120)
22. Ryan Mathews – RB – Fresno State (Mathews was drafted #12)
23. T.J. Ward – S – Oregon (Ward was drafted #38)
24. Everson Griffen – DE – USC (Griffen was drafted #100)
25. Golden Tate – WR – Notre Dame (Tate was drafted #60)
26. Bryan Bulaga – OT – Iowa (Bulaga was drafted #23)
27. Devin McCourty – CB – Rutgers (McCourty was drafted #27)
28. C.J. Spiller – RB – Clemson (Spiller was drafted #9)
29. LeGarrette Blount – RB – Oregon (Blount went undrafted)
30. Chris Ivory – RB – Tiffin (Ivory went undrafted)
31. Victor Cruz – WR – UMass (Cruz went undrafted)
32. Colt McCoy – QB – Texas (McCoy was drafted #85)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.