The 2016 NFL Draft featured several elite players. This draft was the only one in the 2010s decade in which the first seven picks of the draft all made a Pro Bowl at some point in their career (so far). The interesting thing about the 2016 draft is that there were only 31 first round picks, due to the New England Patriots being forced to forfeit their first round pick because of Deflategate.
Hypothetically, if the NFL were to go back in time and “re-draft” all the players selected in the 2016 draft, how would it play out? This does not take into account the team’s needs at the time; simply the value of the player and his performance in the National Football League.
(Note: Quarterbacks are more important than every other position, so although one player may be a better overall NFL player than a quarterback, quarterback is the most valuable position in football therefore he would be worth more in this re-draft.)
This article will include Picks 17-31. Picks 1-16 can be found here.
2016 NFL Draft Do-Over
17. Atlanta Falcons – Kenny Clark, DT
Original Pick: Keanu Neal, S
Kenny Clark is one of the best interior defensive linemen in football, and when you watch him play it’s easy to see why. He is excellent at stuffing inside runs and is overall just a very good player. He would be a great addition to the Falcons defense.
18. Indianapolis Colts – Will Fuller, WR
Original Pick: Ryan Kelly, C
Will Fuller has dealt with injury throughout his career, but he has established during his time healthy that he is a true number one receiver. Although pairing him with T.Y. Hilton, another receiver who deals with injuries, giving Andrew Luck (their quarterback at the time) a deep threat to go with Hilton, would help them a lot.
19. Buffalo Bills – Keanu Neal, S
Original Pick: Shaq Lawson, DE
Keanu Neal has overall been a questionable player, but he is no doubt a solid one. He is a great tackler and is also decent in coverage. Overall, the Bills would love to have him on their team to help them out on the defensive side of the ball. A secondary with Tre’Davious White (drafted in 2017) and Neal would be impressive.
20. Houston Texans – Hunter Henry, TE
Original Pick: Will Fuller, WR
Hunter Henry has been a great tight end with the Chargers, and the Texans would be happy to take him up. Although they didn’t get Will Fuller, they still get a consistently good tight end who can be a great weapon for Deshaun Watson, who they got in 2017.
21. New York Jets – Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE
Original Pick: Darron Lee, LB
Yannick Ngakoue has been a very good pass rusher in Jacksonville, in his short time in Minnesota, and in Baltimore. Although his stats are nothing special, Ngakoue is great at pressuring quarterbacks and “messing up the play,” things that are not typically recorded in stats. The Jets are able to get their hands on him and put him on their d-line.
22. Washington Football Team – James Bradberry, CB
Original Pick: Josh Doctson, WR
James Bradberry has been a solid corner throughout his career, especially during this 2020 season where he has been putting receivers on an island. Washington picks him up in the draft with their 22nd overall pick.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Matthew Judon, EDGE
Original Pick: Laquon Treadwell, WR
Judon fell to the fifth round the first time around, but this time he gets picked as a late first rounder, where he belongs. Judon has been a solid pass rusher for Baltimore, especially as a fifth round pick.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Jaylon Smith, LB
Original Pick: William Jackson, CB
Jaylon Smith has been a solid linebacker for the Cowboys. The Bengals could use help on defense, so this would be a great fit for them.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tyler Boyd, WR
Original Pick: Artie Burns, CB
The Steelers are amazing at developing receivers, and Tyler Boyd is a very talented player. Putting him in the Steelers offense alongside Antonio Brown who they had at the time would be a very great receiver duo.
26. Denver Broncos – Jared Goff, QB
Original Pick: Paxton Lynch, QB
Jared Goff has been average at best in his career, but the Broncos so desperately need a quarterback. If the Broncos had Goff at quarterback right now, their offense would be significantly better, though still not great. This would be a good pick for Denver, to see how well Goff would fit in their system.
27. Green Bay Packers – Austin Hooper, TE
Original Pick: Kenny Clark, DT
Kenny Clark didn’t fall to them this time around, so they take Austin Hooper with this pick. He has been a solid tight end throughout his career, and Aaron Rodgers would be happy with this weapon.
28. San Francisco 49ers – Ryan Kelly, C
Original Pick: Joshua Garnett, OG
Ryan Kelly has been a great center in the NFL, and the 49ers, realizing that not many elite players are left on the board, are able to shore up the interior of their offensive line.
29. Arizona Cardinals – Sterling Shepard, WR
Original Pick: Robert Nkemdiche, DT
Shepard has been a decent player throughout his career, and the Cardinals are able to grab him. Imagine the 2020 Cardinals offense with Shepard alongside all that firepower.
30. Carolina Panthers – Cory Littleton, LB
Original Pick: Vernon Butler, DT
Cory Littleton is a decent linebacker. He may not be great, but he can do the job, and the Panthers are able to snatch him up this time around in the draft with their late pick.
31. Seattle Seahawks – Deion Jones, LB
Original Pick: Germain Ifedi, OT
Deion Jones has been solid through his time with Atlanta, and the Seahawks put him alongside Bobby Wagner to strengthen up their linebacker corp. That would be a good LB duo in Seattle.
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