Focus On Sport/Getty Images
What would the NFL look like if the entire league were re-drafted?
That’s the question ESPN and its team of NFL writers sought to answer on Monday, as they did a four-round snake draft of the entire NFL based on the inverse of the standings from last year.
The rules were simple: All NFL players were eligible to be drafted, salary caps didn’t matter and “each pretend GM had to select a quarterback, a non-QB offensive player and a defensive player. The fourth pick was a wild card, open to anything.”
ESPN’s Field Yates shared the entire first round on Twitter:
None of the first five picks came as a major surprise. Patrick Mahomes was the top overall pick for the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by Russell Wilson going to Washington, Lamar Jackson going to the Detroit Lions, Deshaun Watson going to the New York Giants and Aaron Donald to the Miami Dolphins.
There were some eyebrow-raisers, however. Josh Weinfuss took 41-year-old Drew Brees as the No. 8 overall pick, bypassing younger, proven quarterbacks like Dak Prescott (who went No. 9 to the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Carson Wentz (No. 11 to the New York Jets).
Drew Lock went No. 15 overall to the Denver Broncos, ahead of Kyler Murray (No. 17 to the Dallas Cowboys). Joey Bosa at No. 7 overall to the Carolina Panthers felt like a bit of a stretch. And going with a running back at No. 20 overall—even one who makes as big an impact in the passing game as Christian McCaffrey—was questionable value for the Los Angeles Rams.
ESPN’s Mike Clay gave Mike DiRocco’s picks for the Jaguars his top grade. DiRocco took Prescott, defensive end Danielle Hunter, wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster and cornerback Marshon Lattimore with his four picks.
Clay wrote: “I’m surprised Prescott fell to ninth. Hunter is only 25 and remains painfully underrated. Smith-Schuster might have gone in Round 1 if we re-drafted a year ago. And Lattimore is one of the league’s best corners at just 24 years old.”
Rookie quarterback and 2020 top overall pick Joe Burrow going No. 13 overall to Indianapolis was great value for the Colts, even if he is unproven. And while failing to get a quarterback in the first round wasn’t ideal for Buffalo, getting superstar wideout Michael Thomas at No. 22 overall was still a steal.