NFL and Draft pundits tend to say young players need at least three years to develop and start to show their full potential in professional football. So, with three seasons in the books, it’s a good time to analyze how the 2019 NFL Draft has impacted the league.
In this redraft exercise, I’m keeping trades that had already happened when the draft started, but in-draft trades are not considered.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Original pick: QB Kyler Murray
Re-draft: QB Kyler Murray
Murray might not be an elite quarterback yet, but he showed good enough ability to receive a big extension this offseason. Even with questionable coaching and personnel staff, the Cardinals have improved each year, and much of that is because of Murray’s level of performance. Moreover, things would get much worse with any other players selected here and Josh Rosen as the long-term quarterback, and there isn’t any other QB option in this class — the second best is Gardner Minshew, and the other first-rounders were Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Original pick: EDGE Nick Bosa
Re-draft: EDGE Nick Bosa
The 49ers also keep their original selection here, because Bosa is a force multiplier. Bosa lost a season due to injury in 2020, but he had high impact in 2019 and 2021, and he makes the defense much better because of his ability to generate constant pressure.
3. New York Jets
Original pick: DT Quinnen Williams
Re-draft: DT Jeffery Simmons
Williams was universally considered one of the best (if not the best) prospects of this class, regardless of position, but hasn’t justified the hype so far — even if he is a good interior defensive lineman. Meanwhile, Jeffery Simmons fell in the draft because of an injury who made him miss the start of his rookie season, but since he was back, Simmons has been one of the most prolific defensive interior players in the NFL.
4. Oakland Raiders
Original pick: EDGE Clelin Ferrell
Re-draft: EDGE Maxx Crosby
That’s funny, because Crosby ended up with the Raiders in the fourth round. Clelin Ferrell was a total bust, but Crosby surpassed all expectations over him and turned out to be a dominant player.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Original pick: LB Devin White
Re-draft: WR AJ Brown
White was an important player during the Super Bowl run. However, his play style limits what Todd Bowles can do. On the other hand, AJ Brown is the most talented of an incredible wide receiver class, and adding him to a receiving core with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin would be impressive.
6. New York Giants
Original pick: QB Daniel Jones
Re-draft: WR Terry McLaurin
The Giants decided to look for an Eli Manning replacement, but Daniel Jones hasn’t shown he can be a long-term starter. They could select the best receiver available here, Terry McLaurin, and let the QB decision to the 2020 class, which was deeper for the position — that’s topic for another article, but Justin Herbert was available when the Giants selected.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Original pick: EDGE Josh Allen
Re-draft: EDGE Rashan Gary
That’s a difficult decision because Josh Allen had more immediate impact than Gary, who is a more developmental prospect. But let’s go with the ceiling here, and Rashan Gary has shown since last year he has the tools to be a premier edge rusher in the NFL.
8. Detroit Lions
Original pick: TE TJ Hockenson
Re-draft: WR DK Metcalf
The decision to select a tight end was always questionable in terms of positional value, and DK Metcalf would have been a better choice. The projection of watching Metcalf playing with Matthew Stafford is really exciting.
9. Buffalo Bills
Original pick: DT Ed Oliver
Re-draft: EDGE Brian Burns
Oliver was a highly-touted prospect, but hasn’t played to that standard. Brian Burns was an immediate-impact starter for the Panthers, and he would have been important for a team that lacked pressure from the edge.
10. Denver Broncos (traded to Pittsburgh)
Original pick: LB Devin Bush
Re-draft: WR Deebo Samuel
The Broncos traded down here, which we’re not doing here. Keeping the selection, the Broncos would have had the option to select Deebo Samuel. It’s unclear if any other team would have found his ability to play as a wide back as the San Francisco 49ers did, but Deebo is a special athlete who is perfect to alleviate an offense that lacks a good quarterback.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Original pick: OT Jonah Williams
Re-draft: OL Elgton Jenkins
Williams is a good player and was a solid piece in the Super Bowl run, but there is little doubt that Elgton Jenkins is a much better player. In his first three seasons in the NFL, Jenkins has played (very well) as left guard, center, left tackle and right tackle. You don’t find this kind of versatility and ability often.
12. Green Bay Packers
Original pick: EDGE Rashan Gary
Re-draft: WR Diontae Johnson
The Packers don’t value wide receivers as high. With the benefit of hindsight, though, it’s easier to pick Diontae Johnson and pair him with Aaron Rodgers. Johnson would have been a solid number 2 behind Davante Adams for the first three years, and now he would be ready to step in as a primary option.
13. Miami Dolphins
Original pick: DT Christian Wilkins
Re-draft: EDGE Josh Allen
Wilkins is a solid interior defensive lineman, but Josh Allen plays a more impactful position and is effective. It’s a difficult decision, but Allen would have helped the Dolphins more.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Original pick: OL Chris Lindstrom
Re-draft: OT Jonah Williams
With the benefit of Jonah Williams falling, the Falcons have a better prospect than Chris Lindstrom. At the time, the Falcons were trying to rebuild the offensive line to help elevate the last years of Matt Ryan in Atlanta.
15. Washington Redskins
Original pick: QB Dwayne Haskins
Re-draft: TE TJ Hockenson
The Haskins selection was very controversial in Washington, because owner Daniel Snyder reportedly forced the personnel staff to select him. The quarterback didn’t establish himself as a starter, and tragically passed away earlier this year. TJ Hockenson would have been a good long-term weapon.
16. Carolina Panthers
Original pick: EDGE Brian Burns
Re-draft: DT Quinnen Williams
Williams hasn’t played as well as everyone expected, but he is a player with a high ceiling and still can be a dominant force.
17. New York Giants
Original pick: DT Dexter Lawrence
Re-draft: DT Christian Wilkins
Dave Gettleman loved to draft defensive linemen, so let’s keep the trend here. Dexter Lawrence was good right away, but Christian Wilkins has surpassed him as the better player.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Original pick: C Garrett Bradburry
Re-draft: DB CJ Gardner-Johnson
Bradburry has never established himself as an average starter, and the Vikings would get a strong, versatile piece in CJ Gardner-Johnson. He was projected as a safety, but has played basically as a nickel corner in the league.
19. Tennessee Titans
Original pick: DT Jeffery Simmons
Re-draft: DT Dexter Lawrence
Without Jeffery Simmons, who was a home run for the Titans, they take Dexter Lawrence to have decent production in the same position.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (traded to Denver)
Original pick: TE Noah Fant
Re-draft: LB Devin White
The Steelers traded up to get Devin Bush, who started well but fell off a cliff since suffering a knee injury in 2020. Anyway, getting Devin White would have been better.
21. Seattle Seahawks (traded to Green Bay)
Original pick: S Darnell Savage
Re-draft: S Juan Thornhill
The Seahawks traded down multiple times here. If they had stayed, a good selection would have been safety Juan Thornhill. The best news is that they wouldn’t have had a need to trade for Jamal Adams, a deal which ended up being terrible for Seattle.
22. Baltimore Ravens (traded to Philadelphia)
Original pick: OT Andre Dillard
Re-draft: DT Ed Oliver
Ed Oliver hasn’t played as well under a good coaching staff in Buffalo, but maybe he could have been better under a different solid development program in Baltimore.
23. Houston Texans
Original pick: OT Tytus Howard
Re-draft: EDGE Montez Sweat
Howard ended up being a bust. Without other offensive lineman options, the Texans select a promising edge rusher in Montez Sweat, who might be even more productive if he had a bigger role than he has in Washington.
24. Oakland Raiders
Original pick: RB Josh Jacobs
Re-draft: S Darnell Savage
The Raiders had three first-round picks in this class, and it’s fair to say running back is not a smart selection for a rebuilding team. Johnathan Abraham was their next pick, so safety was a need too, and Darnell Savage is a fast, instinctive player, able to play multiple defensive positions.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (traded to Baltimore)
Original pick: WR Hollywood Brown
Re-draft: CB Greedy Williams
The Eagles now have Darius Slay and James Bradberry, but they suffered without good cornerbacks for some time and were forced to overspend. Greedy Williams wouldn’t solve everything alone, but he would be the first piece to do so.
26. Indianapolis Colts (traded to Washington)
Original pick: EDGE Montez Sweat
Re-draft: TE Noah Fant
Chris Ballard decided to accumulate picks and traded down in the real draft. At that time, they didn’t know yet that Andrew Luck would retire. Tight end Noah Fant would have been a good addition to complement what Jack Doyle did.
27. Oakland Raiders
Original pick: S Johnathan Abraham
Re-draft: WR Hollywood Brown
After getting their safety earlier, the Raiders are able to replace Amari Cooper with a fast wide receiver. Brown wasn’t as good for Baltimore, but quarterback Lamar Jackson and offensive coordinator Greg Roman haven’t been great partners for wide receivers.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
Original pick: DT Jerry Tillery
Re-draft: OT Dalton Risner
The offensive line has been a problem for the Chargers, and Risner is a solid, if unspectacular, guard for the Broncos.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Original pick: EDGE LJ Collier
Re-draft: TE Dawson Knox
Collier was a bust. Even though Russell Wilson isn’t known for his ability to throw to tight ends, Dawson Knox is a complete player, good blocker and good receiver, and would be able to add multiple facets to Seattle offense.
30. Green Bay Packers (traded to Seattle and to the Giants)
Original pick: CB Deandre Baker
Re-draft: S Nasir Adderley
Without Darnell Savage, the Packers would need to get another safety, and Nasir Adderley is a solid one — more than Darnell Savage, who has a higher ceiling but has been up and down throughout his career.
31. Los Angeles Rams (traded to Atlanta)
Original pick: OT Kaleb McGary
Re-draft: S Amani Hooker
The Rams got Taylor Rapp later, but they could have solved any safety issue with Amani Hooker, who has formed one of the best safety duos in the NFL with Kevin Byard.
32. New England Patriots
Original pick: WR N'Keal Harry
Re-draft: WR Hunter Renfrow
Harry is one of the worst picks of the first round. Renfrow is a totally different type of offensive weapon, but he is exactly what the Patriots have historically used — a shifty, quick slot receiver.