Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft
Across all professional sports, franchises look back at draft decisions and sometimes shudder. Every team makes mistakes. The draft is an inexact science. But some mistakes cost general managers and coaches their jobs, while others set franchises back for years. Look at Oakland’s selection of Jamarcus Russell No. 1 overall in 2007. Here, we’ll go back ten years, redrafting the 2010 NFL draft.
After 10 years, it’s easy to look back and see the mistakes. Although not every team botched their first-round pick, many missed the mark completely. Of the 32 players selected in the first round, less than have been the primary starter at their position for the team. And exactly half (16) made at least one Pro Bowl appearance.
The 2010 NFL Draft included superstars like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Antonio Brown. But none of them were drafted in the first round. Brown, at one time arguably the best receiver in the league, fell to the sixth round.
The 2010 NFL Draft saw three of the top four picks come from the Oklahoma Sooners, and five of the top six were from the Big 12 Conference. In the last five drafts, the Big Twelve had three top-10 picks total.
The draft also saw two players from both Georgia Tech and Rutgers selected in the first round. Georgia Tech has produced a total of three first rounders since 2000. There’s only been one other first round pick from Rutgers in program history.
11 trades involving first round picks took place, dramatically altering the selection process. Denver was involved in dealing six different first round choices. Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago and Minnesota all went without a first rounder. For the sake of this discussion, the order will remain as it stood in 2010 and will generally operate under best-player-available standards.
So here’s a look at how we envision redrafting the 2010 NFL draft.
Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft: 1-5
1. St. Louis Rams – Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan
Original Pick – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
The 2010 Draft has a number of bigtime players, most notably Antonio Brown. In 10 seasons, Brown has 841 catches, over 11,000 yards and has scored 76 touchdowns. He’s a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro. Sam Bradford had a couple good seasons as a starter, but injuries derailed his career after winning Rookie of the Year. Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton were the Rams’ top-two wide receivers in 2010.
2. Detroit Lions – Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona
Original Pick – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
In 2009, the Lions took QB Matt Stafford No. 1 overall. He had Calvin Johnson to throw to, but can you imagine if he also had Gronk? Despite an injury history, Gronkowski is a proven winner and prolific TE. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Super Bowl champ.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia
Original Pick – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Although Atkins came off the board in the fourth round at No. 120 overall, he’s proven to be far more consistent and productive than the other defensive tackles in this draft. He’s recorded 75.5 career sacks, more than both Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy. He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro.
4. Washington Redskins – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Original Pick – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
The Redskins nailed it on this pick, despite the recent troubles that could see Williams leave town. Williams is the best offensive lineman from this draft and has made the Pro Bowl seven times.
5. Kansas City Chiefs – Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Original Pick – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The 2010 NFL Draft produced several elite safeties. And while Eric Berry wasn’t a bad one, Thomas has been the more productive over his career. Berry only played 16 games in four seasons, while Thomas has been arguably the best free safety in the NFL this decade. Thomas has seven Pro Bowl berths and three first-team All-Pro selections.
Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft: 6-10
6. Seattle Seahawks – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Original Pick – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
The Seahawks land the different leader for the ‘Legion of Boom’ here with the selection of Berry. Although Kam Chancellor excelled in Seattle, Berry would do the same. He’s a five0time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro and registered more tackles and interceptions than Chancellor.
7. Cleveland Browns – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Original Pick – Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Having a playmaker at wide receiver like Dez Bryant may have changed the Jake Delhomme era in Cleveland. Bryant was one of the league’s most prolific offensive weapons this past decade. He made 531 receptions for nearly 7,500 yards and 73 touchdowns. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and was first-team All-Pro once.
8. Oakland Raiders – NaVorro Bowman, LB, Penn St.
Original Pick – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
If the Raiders wanted a linebacker, they would have done well with Bowman, who was originally a third-round pick. Bowman is the most productive linebacker of the draft class with 585 tackles, 14 sacks and five interceptions. He’s a four-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler.
9. Buffalo Bills – Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami (FL)
Original Pick – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Bills sought an offensive weapon in 2010 and would have landed a legitimate one in Graham had they made him the selection over Spiller. Graham is a five-time Pro Bowler and made first-team All-Pro once in his career. He has more career catches (649) and receiving yards (7883) than Gronk, and is just behind him in touchdown catches (74).
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Original Pick – Tyson Alualu, DT, California
Suh has been a dominant force in the NFL for years, and he won’t slide out of the top-10 as a result. Suh is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection. He’s registered 346 solo tackles and 58.5 career sacks. He would’ve fit right in in Sacksonville.
Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft: 11-15
11. San Francisco 49ers – Sean Lee, LB, Penn St.
Original Pick – Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Yes, Sean Lee had injury issues throughout his career. But when he was on the field, he was by far one of the best at the position. He and Patrick Willis and would have formed a dominant pairing of linebackers. Lee picked up 510 tackles, 14 interceptions, two Pro Bowl berths and one first-team All-Pro nod.
12. San Diego Chargers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
Original Pick – Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
The fact that McCoy slips out of the top-10 speaks to the depth of this class. McCoy has piled up over 200 tackles, 59.5 sacks, six trips to the Pro Bowl and one first-team All-Pro selection.
13. Philadelphia Eagles – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, USF
Original Pick – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
The redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft includes sorting through some elite pass rushers, including JPP. While Carlos Dunlap may have the most sacks (81.5), JPP is second with 79.5 in almost one full season fewer games. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with one first-team All-Pro honor.
14. Seattle Seahwaks – Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
Original Pick – Earl Thomas, S, Texas
In this redraft, the Seahawks took care of their safety need first, then addressed the o-line after. While Seattle needed an OT, Pouncey is arguably the best o-lineman in this bunch. He has the most Pro Bowl selections (8) and the most first-team All-Pro berths (2).
15. New York Giants – Everson Griffen, DE, USC
Original Pick – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
Again, this defensive end class is a very closely bunched group. Griffen is right behind Dunlap and JPP in sacks from the DE spot (74.5). And he actually doubles both of their Pro Bowl selections (4).
Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft: 16-20
16. Tennessee Titans – Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
Original Pick – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
The Titan still had Vince Young under center entering 2010. And while he didn’t finish that year with Tennessee, maybe, with Thomas as a primary target, things go differently. Thomas has 724 catches, nearly 10,000 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns, with four Pro Bowl selections.
17. San Francisco 49ers – Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
Original Pick – Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
The 49ers nailed it with this pick. Iupati has been one of the best guards in the game, with four Pro Bowl berths and one first-team All-Pro selection.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St.
Original Pick – Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
The Steelers needed some o-line help heading into the 2010 season, so it makes sense to take Okung in this spot. Even though he was originally the No. 6 overall pick, he’s been a solid starting tackle and has made two Pro Bowls.
19. Atlanta Falcons – Kam Chancellor, S, Virginia Tech
Original Pick – Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
While Weatherspoon was okay, the opportunity to land an elite defensive back in Chancellor is too much to pass up for the Falcons here. Originally a fifth-round pick, Chancellor has outplayed his draft position better than anyone other than Antonio Brown (sixth round). He’s a four-time Pro Bowler.
20. Houston Texans – Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Original Pick – Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
The Texans went with a corner in 2010, so they’ll land the top one in this spot. Although originally a top-10 selection, Haden has made a respectable living in the league as a three-time Pro Bowler with 27 career interceptions.
Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft: 21-25
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
Original Pick – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
Dunlap has registered the most sacks of anyone from the 2010 NFL draft (81.5). Originally a second-round pick, Dunlap has made two Pro Bowl appearances and picked up over 300 tackles.
22. Denver Broncos – Emmanuel Sanders, WR, SMU
Original Pick – Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
The Broncos were trying to remake their offense in 2010. And they could do worse than Sanders, who eventually landed in Denver. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with over 600 career catches and 42 touchdowns.
23. Green Bay Packers – Linval Joseph, DT, East Carolina
Original Pick – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
By landing Linval Joseph, the Packer pick up one of the stoutest defensive linemen in the game. He’s been a fixture in the NFC North for years, and there’s no doubt Aaron Rodgers would rather be his teammate. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with over 300 tackles and 24 sacks.
24. Dallas Cowboys – Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Original Pick – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
While the Cowboys could have used an offensive upgrade here, picking up McCourty would have stabilized their defensive back field for years. A ten-year starter in New England, McCourty is a three-time Super Bowl champ and two-time Pro Bowler.
25. Denver Broncos – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Original Pick – Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
One of the most misguided picks of all-time came when Denver traded up to select Tebow in the first round. A much better use of the pick would have been to take Bradford. Although Bradford’s career was derailed by injuries, he was the best QB in this class and won the 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft: 26-32
26. Arizona Cardinals – Andre Roberts, WR, The Citadel
Original Pick – Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
The Cardinals originally drafted Roberts in the third round (No. 88 overall), but he’s one of 15 players from this draft class to land on the first-team All-Pro. He’s also a two-time Pro Bowler. His success in recent years has come as a return man, but he does have over 250 receptions and 15 receiving TDs.
27. New England Patriots – Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Original Pick – Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
Golden Tate was originally a second-round pick, and he’s since tallied 660 catches, nearly 8,000 yards and 44 touchdowns. Having Tom Brady as his quarterback likely up those numbers considerably.
28. Miami Dolphins – Reshad Jones, S, Georgia
Original Pick – Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Reshad Jones completely outplayed his original fifth-round draft spot for the Dolphins. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with 599 career tackles, tied for the most in the 2010 draft class. His 21 interceptions are fourth most.
29. New York Jets – TJ Ward, S, Oregon
Original Pick – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
The Jets original pick here, Kyle Wilson, was only a full-time starter for one season and he was out of the league after 2015. Adding Ward would have been a huge upgrade for their defense. Ward made two Pro Bowls and registered 458 tackles and eight interceptions in his career.
30. Detroit Lions – Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
Original Pick – Jahvid Best, RB, Cal
The Lions traded back into the first round to select Best. If it weren’t for concussions, Best could’ve been a bigtime player but he played only 22 games in his career. Mathews proved to be the best back in this class, gaining over 5,000 yards, scoring 40 touchdowns and earning one Pro Bowl berth.
31. Indianapolis Colts – Sam Shields, CB, Miami (FL)
Original Pick – Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
While Jerry Hughes is a good player, Sam Shields would have stabilized the Colts defensive backfield. Shields is the only originally undrafted player to make it into the first round of this redrafting the 2010 NFL Draft. He made one Pro Bowl and won one Super Bowl with Green Bay. And he’s registered 267 tackles and 19 interceptions.
32. New Orleans Saints – Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
Original Pick – Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
The Saints finished the first round with a cornerback in 2010, and we’ll finish with one here as well. With Haden and Shields off the board, the next best corner in the 2010 draft class was Jackson. He never made a Pro Bowl, but picked up 516 tackles and 18 interceptions.