2007 NFL Draft: Re-Drafting the Top 10 Picks
The 2007 NFL draft was ripe with talent, and the teams that drafted wisely have reaped huge rewards.
The draft included arguably the NFL's best wide receiver, running back and corner who've all become the faces of their respective franchises. It also included No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell, now considered to be one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
Simply put, if this were an alternate universe and the league's general managers had the opportunity to re-draft the 2007 class, it would drastically alter the landscape of the NFL as we know it. Can you imagine if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had passed on Gaines Adams and selected one of the best cornerbacks of all time instead? What if the Cardinals had foreseen the enormous ability that perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Willis had before selecting Levi Brown at No. 5 overall?
While I considered individual team's needs, this list reflects the best player available at each draft position. Let's take a look at how the first 10 picks of the 2007 NFL draft would likely unfold if they re-drafted today.
Oakland Raiders, No. 1 Overall Pick: Calvin Johnson
Selecting JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 has proved costly to the Oakland Raiders. The late Al Davis became infatuated with Russell's arm strength and his ability to throw the deep ball, and he subsequently handed Russell a $61 million contract with $32 million guaranteed.
To put it mildly, the 2007 draft class was thin at the quarterback position. Of the 11 quarterbacks selected, none are currently starters in the NFL.
Oakland was in desperate need of a franchise quarterback at this point, but the Raiders could have selected Jay Cutler instead of safety Michael Huff with the seventh overall pick in 2006. They also could have waited until 2008 to select Joe Flacco with the fourth overall pick as opposed to picking running back Darren McFadden.
The best overall player in this draft was Calvin Johnson, although Adrian Peterson is a very close second. Had the Raiders already had a quarterback in place, the addition of Johnson could have completely changed the direction of the franchise.
Johnson is just that good.
Actual Pick: QB JaMarcus Russell
Re-Draft Pick: WR Calvin Johnson
Detroit Lions, No. 2 Overall Pick: Adrian Peterson
Former Detroit general manager Matt Millen is widely believed to be one of the worst GMs in the history of the sport. His notably poor draft selections include receiver Charles Rogers (No. 2 overall pick, 2003 draft), quarterback Joey Harrington (No. 3 overall pick, 2002 draft) and receiver Mike Williams (No. 10 overall pick, 2005 draft).
But despite Millen's general draft incompetence, no one can question his selection of Calvin Johnson with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2007 NFL draft.
With Johnson already off the board in this re-draft, settling for running back Adrian Peterson would have been a fantastic consolation prize. Peterson won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2007, and he parlayed that initial success into six Pro Bowl seasons. Peterson also won the NFL MVP award in 2012, just one year removed from a devastating knee injury.
While the Lions' current backfield is a good one with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, they'd be more than happy to have No. 28 leading their offense.
Actual Pick: WR Calvin Johnson
Re-Draft Pick: RB Adrian Peterson
Cleveland Browns, No. 3 Overall Pick: Joe Thomas
While there are sexier selections that the Cleveland Browns could have made with the No. 3 overall pick, it's tough to argue with the success that left tackle Joe Thomas has had.
Thomas has made seven Pro Bowls in seven seasons in the NFL and has been one of the few positives for a Browns offense that has consistently struggled to move the football. He's now protected 12 different Browns starting quarterbacks in his seventh year with the franchise.
He was also the only player besides Adrian Peterson to receive Rookie of the Year votes in 2007, which is quite the impressive feat given the offensive talent in this draft.
The Browns are the only team who drafted in the top 10 of the 2007 NFL draft who would likely end up with the same player if a re-draft happened today.
Actual Pick: OT Joe Thomas
Re-Draft Pick: OT Joe Thomas
Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 4 Overall Pick: Darrelle Revis
Cornerback Darrelle Revis ended up right where he should have been drafted in the 2007 NFL draft. But if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had drafted him in 2007, they wouldn't have had to give the New York Jets a first- and third-round draft pick to get him.
In reality, the Bucs selected defensive end Gaines Adams out of Clemson with the No. 4 overall pick.
Adams' story is a highly unfortunate one, as he showed great promise in his rookie season with the team. He led all rookies with six sacks and earned a spot on the 2007 All-Rookie team.
In 2010 at the young age of 26, Adams passed away due to a previously undetected heart problem.
While Adams showed solid potential as a pro, Revis was the correct pick in this spot.
Actual Pick: DE Gaines Adams
Re-Draft Pick: CB Darrelle Revis
Arizona Cardinals, No. 5 Overall Pick: Patrick Willis
Despite missing out on linebacker Patrick Willis in the draft, the Cardinals' defense has developed into one of the league's best. But Patrick Willis has developed into one of the league's top defensive players, and he has been instrumental in the 49ers' defensive success in recent years.
Like Joe Thomas, Willis has made the Pro Bowl in all seven of his years in the NFL. He also kicked off his career with the 49ers by leading the NFL in tackles and earning the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award.
Willis is an absolute force on defense, and while Levi Brown has been a serviceable offensive lineman for the Cardinals, they'd gladly swap Brown for Willis.
Actual Pick: OT Levi Brown
Re-Draft Pick: LB Patrick Willis
Washington Redskins, No. 6 Overall Pick: Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch seems to get better with age.
Since arriving in Seattle via trade in 2010, Lynch has been a dynamic playmaker in both the running and the passing game. He's rushed for over 1,200 yards in each of his three full seasons on the Seahawks, and the Seattle offense is built around him.
Lynch's performance against the Saints in last week's divisional playoff round was a microcosm of what he's done all year, and his tough running style makes him one of the most feared backs in the league.
While the Washington Redskins didn't totally strike out with safety LaRon Landry with the No. 6 pick, Lynch could have been their franchise back in a division that currently has three teams that struggle with their run defense.
How exciting would Lynch and Robert Griffin III be together in the same backfield?
Actual Pick: S LaRon Landry
Re-Draft Pick: RB Marshawn Lynch
Minnesota Vikings, No. 7 Overall Pick: Joe Staley
The San Francisco 49ers gave up first- and fourth-round draft picks to move into the first round and grab offensive tackle Joe Staley. They obviously knew what they were doing.
Staley has developed into a perennial Pro Bowler, making his third straight in 2013. He also anchors what is arguably the NFL's top offensive line in San Francisco.
There's no question that the Minnesota Vikings wound up with the best first-round value in Adrian Peterson. Peterson is a once-in-a-generation talent and is a sure Hall of Famer, but Staley has proven to be a steal for the 49ers at the No. 28 overall draft position. He would have been a standout on the Vikings as well.
Actual Pick: RB Adrian Peterson
Re-Draft Pick: OT Joe Staley
Atlanta Falcons, No. 8 Overall Pick: Eric Weddle
In his seventh season in the NFL, Eric Weddle of the San Diego Chargers has developed into one of the top safeties in the NFL. Weddle's made two Pro Bowls in the past three years, and he was recently instrumental in the Chargers' unexpected run to the playoffs.
Considering that the Atlanta Falcons selected Jamaal Anderson, who is no longer in the NFL, with the No. 8 pick, this was a big miss by first-year general manager Rich McKay.
The Falcons have struggled in the secondary over the last few seasons, and having a fierce competitor like Weddle to anchor that defense would have a made a major difference.
Actual Pick: DE Jamaal Anderson
Re-Draft Pick: S Eric Weddle
Miami Dolphins, No. 9 Overall Pick: Ryan Kalil
The top 10 picks of the 2007 NFL draft include some major busts, and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is certainly on that short list.
The Miami Dolphins had hoped that Ginn would develop into a superstar receiver for them, but he struggled right away in the NFL. Ginn is now used primarily as a special teams specialist on the Carolina Panthers.
Speaking of the Carolina Panthers, they picked an absolute gem with the No. 59 overall pick in the 2007 draft. After taking over as the starting center in 2008, Ryan Kalil recently made his fourth Pro Bowl and has been a stalwart on the Panthers' offensive line.
After the 2013 Dolphins offensive line achieved notoriety for all the wrong reasons and allowed the most sacks in the NFL, do you think Kalil would have been a welcome presence on that unit?
Actual Pick: WR Ted Ginn Jr.
Re-Draft Pick: C Ryan Kalil
Houston Texans, No. 10 Overall Pick: Paul Posluszny
The Houston Texans selected defensive tackle Amobi Okoye with the No. 10 overall pick in 2007 in hopes that he'd shine alongside 2006 No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams. While Okoye got off to a nice start in his rookie season with four sacks in September, he never developed into the player they'd hoped he would be. He was eventually released by the Texans in 2011.
While the Texans now have a great linebacker in Brian Cushing, Paul Posluszny would have been a phenomenal value for them at this draft spot. Posluszny was a major bright spot for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, as he finished second in the NFL in tackles with 161.
The Cushing/Posluszny linebacker combination would have created one of the best linebacker tandems in football, but instead the Texans chose a defensive tackle who's no longer in the NFL.
Actual Pick: DT Amobi Okoye
Re-Draft Pick: LB Paul Posluszny