A few weeks ago, I sat down and re-did the entire 2010 draft with about 10 months of hindsight. Let’s go an extra year back in time and revise the 2009 draft.
1. Detroit Lions: QB Matthew Stafford
Original pick: QB Matthew Stafford
There are some questions about Stafford’s fragility, but he’s generally met expectations as a top pick. Year 3 will be huge.
2. St. Louis Rams: OLB Clay Matthews
Original pick: OT Jason Smith
Matthews, who was arguably the best defensive player in football last year, would be a 4-3 end in St. Louis.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: DE Brian Orakpo
Original pick: DE Tyson Jackson
Orakpo has 19.5 sacks in 31 games. He’s the life of the Washington defence.
4. Seattle Seahawks: QB Josh Freeman
Original pick: OLB Aaron Curry
There’s your Matt Hasselbeck successor. You’re welcome.
5. New York Jets: QB Mark Sanchez
Original pick: QB Mark Sanchez
I’m still not sold on Sanchez long term, but the Jets have been extremely successful with the former USC star managing the offence.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Mike Wallace
Original pick: OT Andre Smith
It’s hard to believe Wallace wasn’t selected until Round 3. The speedster would have made it unnecessary for the Bengals to sign Terrell Owens or worry about Chad Ochocinco. And maybe with him around, Carson Palmer would be less of an ass.
7. Oakland Raiders: WR Hakeem Nicks
Original pick: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
Simply replacing a remarkably (but unsurprisingly) unproductive receiver with a remarkably (but unsurprisingly) productive one.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Jason Smith
Original pick: OT Eugene Monroe
With the two top pass rushers off the board, the Jags stay at offensive tackle. Smith hasn’t been good as a pro, but neither has Monroe.
9. Green Bay Packers: DT B.J. Raji
Original pick: DT B.J. Raji
The Packers have no regrets here. Big B.J. has been a force in the middle of that three-man line.
10. San Francisco 49ers: WR Michael Crabtree
Original pick: WR Michael Crabtree
There’s a chance the Niners would rather avoid the headache that Crabtree brought to the table that first summer, but I don’t see a better option in the 10 spot.
11. Buffalo Bills: OLB Brian Cushing
Original pick: DE Aaron Maybin
This makes particular sense considering they now run a 3-4. Or do they still? They’ve been waffling. The point is, Cushing is good.
12. Denver Broncos: RB Arian Foster
Original pick: RB Knowshon Moreno
Foster wasn’t even drafted, but after easily leading the league in rushing in 2010 he’s become the best back of this class.
13. Washington Redskins: C Alex Mack
Original pick: DE Brian Orakpo
With the top pass rushers gone, the ‘Skins are forced to take the best player on the board.
14. New Orleans Saints: CB Malcolm Jenkins
Original pick: CB Malcolm Jenkins
Jenkins has done everything the Saints asked of him, and then some. He’s become a stellar safety and a long-term replacement for Darren Sharper.
15. Houston Texans: CB Vontae Davis
Original pick: OLB Brian Cushing
Davis has flown under the radar and has shut down some great receivers. And did you see how bad the Texans’ secondary was last year?
16. San Diego Chargers: WR Jeremy Maclin
Original pick: DE Larry English
Maclin would be Philip Rivers’ No. 1 target today.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB LeSean McCoy
Original pick: QB Josh Freeman
With the top three quarterbacks gone and no crystal ball revealing LeGarrette Blount’s emergence, the Bucs shore up the backfield with the very successful McCoy.
18. Denver Broncos: S Louis Delmas
Original pick: DE Robert Ayers
This is another best available pick. That whole defence needs help.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Percy Harvin
Original pick: WR Jeremy Maclin
Poor Philly. Their top two picks — Maclin and McCoy — are gone. At least Harvin is just about as good as Maclin.
20. Detroit Lions: WR Johnny Knox
Original pick: TE Brandon Pettigrew
Wow. I’m starting to realize that this was a great draft for receivers. Knox, who was a fifth-round pick, would be a nice complement to Calvin Johnson.
21. Cleveland Browns: C Eric Wood
Original pick: C Alex Mack
With Mack gone, they take the next-best centre on the board. Wood has a bright future too.
22. Minnesota Vikings: WR Austin Collie
Original pick: WR Percy Harvin
And the receivers keep flying off the board. Collie didn’t go until Round 4, but he’s been remarkable in Indianapolis.
23. Baltimore Ravens: OT Sebastian Vollmer
Original pick: OT Michael Oher
With all due respect to Michael Oher, his 2010 season was awful. Vollmer is a monster.
24. Atlanta Falcons: DT Peria Jerry
Original pick: DT Peria Jerry
The jury’s still out on Jerry. I’m giving him one more year.
25. Miami Dolphins: CB Sean Smith
Original pick: CB Vontae Davis
With Davis gone, the Dolphins take the cornerback they ended up selecting in the second round.
26. Green Bay Packers: DE Ziggy Hood
Original pick: OLB Clay Matthews
No Clay Matthews so they take a 3-4 end to support Raji. Hood’s been good.
27. Indianapolis Colts: CB Derek Cox
Original pick: RB Donald Brown
Cox, who was taken by Jacksonville in Round 3, has been a pleasant surprise for Indy. With this pick, the Colts don’t have to waste their third rounder on Jerraud Powers.
28. Buffalo Bills: G Andy Levitre
Original pick: C Eric Wood
Wood’s been picked, so the Bills grab their solid second-round selection out of Oregon State.
29. New York Giants: MLB James Laurinaitis
Original pick: WR Hakeem Nicks
And there’s your replacement for Antonio Pierce.
30. Tennessee Titans: WR Kenny Britt
Original pick: WR Kenny Britt
Britt has some character issues, but who on Tennessee doesn’t? He’s still been relatively successful on the field.
31. Arizona Cardinals: RB Knowshon Moreno
Original pick: RB Chris Wells
Moreno’s freefall is Arizona’s gain. Knowshon is a significant upgrade over Beanie.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: DE/OLB Connor Barwin
Original pick: DL Ziggy Hood
Barwin is an ideal 3-4 outside lineback who could be a versatile backup in Pittsburgh.