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2007 Draft Redux
Russell still the No. 1 for Oakland; Peterson jumps to No. 3
By Todd McShay
Updated: November 8, 2007
1. Oakland Raiders -- JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Original pick: Russell
A contract holdout that lasted into the second week of the regular season has rendered Russell all but useless thus far, so it's easy to look back now and say the Raiders should have gone in a different direction. I disagree because there's no way of knowing the impact Russell could have made this fall had the Raiders been wise enough to work through a pre-draft deal. Regardless, drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall is a long-term investment, not a short-term fix, and I still believe Russell will be the best quarterback from the 2007 class when it's all said and done. Why not take Adrian Peterson? Because Oakland desperately needs a franchise quarterback and the Raiders have the fourth-best running game (140.0 ypg) in the NFL right now.
2. Detroit Lions -- Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Original pick: Johnson
Detroit's offense ranks in the top half of the league in total offense (12th, 339.0 ypg) and scoring (6th, 25.0 ppg) while the defense is giving up 23.1 points per game, so an argument could be made for a defensive player here. Adding to the skeptic's argument, a back injury has limited Johnson's production so far as a rookie. Knowing what we know now, DE Gaines Adams would be a consideration, and 19-year-old DT Amobi Okoye has been the most disruptive rookie defensive lineman to date with five sacks on the season. When all is said and done, though, drafting Johnson with the No. 2 overall pick will prove to be the right move. Johnson has shown enough flashes when healthy to justify this selection, including an average of 17.8 yards per catch and an impressive touchdown run in Week 7 against Tampa Bay.
3. Cleveland Browns -- Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Original pick: Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
This is the toughest decision of any pick in this re-draft. Cleveland selected Thomas back in April and he has turned into one of the offensive leaders for the resurgent Browns. But I said it in April and what's happened so far this season has only reinforced my feeling: The Browns should have taken Peterson at No. 3 overall. Yes, Thomas is a key player along the offensive front and will likely have a longer career than Peterson, but Peterson has simply been too special early this season not to make this choice. Any of the six teams that passed on him originally might take a mulligan to get him this time around, but the Browns look like the best fit right now as they could use a little more running to balance the seventh-best passing game (254.5 ypg) in the league.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Original pick: Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
The team is currently in dire need of help at running back and wide receiver, but with Johnson and Peterson already off the board in this scenario there is no relief in sight. Neither RB Marshawn Lynch nor WR Dwayne Bowe has shown enough in half a season to climb into the top five, and most of the problems at those positions could be solved by players who should eventually return from injuries. While it's entirely too early to give up on original selection Gaines Adams, he hasn't cracked the starting lineup and he has just 1.5 sacks through nine games. That's why Thomas is as no-brainer here. He has exceeded expectations as a rookie for the Browns and would be a welcome addition to a Bucs offensive line that needs help at tackle following Luke Petitgout's season-ending knee injury.
5. Arizona Cardinals -- Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Original pick: Brown
Brown stepped immediately into the lineup at right tackle and started the first three games but then suffered an ankle injury that prevented him from getting on the field in the next four. He saw some snaps last week against the Redskins as a backup and could move back into the starting left tackle spot next week in light of Mike Gandy's recent injury. The Arizona offense has been anemic in recent weeks, including only 23 yards rushing in Week 9 against Tampa Bay, and getting Brown back on the field should provide a boost.
6. Washington Redskins -- LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Original pick: Landry
Were Thomas still available this would be a tough call because Washington is aging and ailing along the offensive line. But with Tampa Bay scooping him up at No. 4 the Redskins would have no problem picking Landry all over again. He is a natural playmaker who will only improve with more experience, and currently ranks third on the team with 57 total tackles. Landry's versatility has been instrumental in the improvement of the Washington defense as he frees up the team's other former first-round safety, Sean Taylor, to play the roaming style that suits him.
7. Minnesota Vikings -- Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Original pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
You would be hard-pressed to find a better pick than Minnesota's original selection of Peterson at No. 7, but knowing what we know now the only way the Vikings could get their hands on him right now would be to trade up. And while Minnesota's biggest weakness is at quarterback, the problem is that no signal-caller available would be worthy of the No. 7 pick, then or now. So with the Vikings needing to do something to address the 30th-ranked passing game in the league Bowe looks like the best fit. It would have seemed crazy at the time, but Bowe was the No. 2 receiver (behind Calvin Johnson) on our draft-day board and is currently the leading receiver among all rookies even after a slow start with the Chiefs due to a lengthy holdout.
8. Atlanta Falcons -- Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Original pick: Anderson
Fellow DE Gaines Adams would be a consideration here but Anderson has been better thus far, so why mess with a good thing? Anderson has been solid as a rookie, starting all eight games and notching 16 total tackles with one forced fumble and two passes defended.
9. Miami Dolphins -- Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Original pick: Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Yes, Miami's quarterback situation is an unmitigated disaster. However, the team didn't view Brady Quinn as a top-10 pick in April, so why would it now? John Beck is clearly the Dolphins' quarterback of the future and there isn't enough of a difference between second-rounder Beck and Quinn to warrant reaching for Quinn at No. 9 overall. Original selection Ted Ginn Jr. has shown some big-play flashes in the return game but is completely unpolished as a receiver and has only seven catches through Week 9. Miami needs help at nearly every position but the aging defensive line is something that needs to be addressed immediately, so rather than spending the No. 9 pick on an injury-riddled return specialist, Miami's best bet is Okoye, who has 24 total tackles with the Texans and currently leads all rookies with five sacks.
10. Houston Texans -- Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Original pick: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
The Texans are getting gashed by opposing ground games even with original pick Amobi Okoye playing at a high level for a rookie, and with him being snapped up one pick earlier the Texans would still be in the market for defensive tackle help. DT Adam Carriker would be a possibility, along with CBs Darrelle Revis, Leon Hall and Aaron Ross, but at this point Lynch might make the most sense. Once Ahman Green got hurt and the team abandoned the run, everything else began to crumble. Houston can't rely on a 30-year old back with lots of wear on his tires to carry the full-time load in the long run, and with the promise Lynch has shown for the Bills as a rookie he could team up with QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson as a potentially formidable offensive trio moving forward.
11. San Francisco 49ers -- Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
Original pick: Willis
Willis has exceeded what were already extremely high expectations as a rookie. He has been a full-time starter in San Francisco's 3-4 defense since day one, notching a team-high 83 total tackles (59 solo) with one forced fumble to this point. Willis can't do it alone, though, and the next step is for the Niners to upgrade the personnel around Willis to solve their considerable struggles against the run.
12. Buffalo Bills -- Jon Beason, MLB, Miami
Original pick: Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Lynch has been one of only a few bright spots for a Bills team that won four games, but with him off the board in this scenario and no other rookie running back worth considering this early, the team would have to change its strategy. With original selection Paul Posluszny out for the season and Beason emerging quickly in Carolina, the Bills might reach a bit for Beason here and then go after Willis McGahee's replacement in Round 2. The Buffalo defense in general, and the linebackers in particular, are much worse off than anyone could have imagined back in April and the Bills need to address that.
13. St.. Louis Rams -- Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
Original pick: Carriker
Carriker isn't putting up flashy statistics and the Rams have several other weaknesses that need to be addressed, but I would have no problem with their taking Carriker again today. He has added bulk and made a successful move inside after playing end at Nebraska, and Carriker shows weekly improvement for a defense that is quietly getting better and has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. Plus, Carriker is the type of emotional tough guy that the Rams will be able to rely on as a leader for years to come.
14. New York Jets -- Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
Original pick: Revis
The Jets and Revis got off to a rocky start thanks to his holdout, but all's well that ends well, or at least makes it to midseason well. Revis has more than lived up to the hype of being the top cornerback prospect in the 2007 rookie class, notching 48 total tackles and seven passes defended as a full-time starter. Simply put, there is no reason whatsoever the team should even think about swapping this pick for someone else.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Lawrence Timmons, LB, FSU
Original pick: Timmons
A lingering groin injury suffered in minicamp has meant limited action for Timmons, mostly on special teams. An argument can be made for going in a different direction, but Pittsburgh didn't make this selection for the immediate future. Timmons is a developmental player who will help with the eventual transition from a 3-4 to a hybrid version of the 4-3, and it's not as if the Steelers have any pressing personnel needs that absolutely must be addressed with this pick. So the patient and responsible choice is to stick with Timmons, who should eventually team up with second-round pick LaMarr Woodley to help carry on the Steelers tradition of outstanding linebacker play.
16. Green Bay Packers -- Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Original pick: Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Harrell displayed a fine blend of quickness and power during the preseason but has not been able to avoid the injury bug. He was inactive for the team's first four games, played sparingly as a reserve during the next two outings and has not seen the field since. And with Nick Collins on the shelf due to a knee injury, safety is suddenly an area of need for the Packers. As such, they could certainly take advantage of Griffin's versatility, which has been a major plus for the Titans so far this season. Tennessee is trying Griffin at cornerback but he would obviously stay at free safety in this scenario. And in addition to providing depth in the secondary Griffin is also averaging 23.4 yards per kickoff return.
17. Denver Broncos -- Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Original pick: Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
Moss was drafted as a developmental prospect and the team must be pleased with his relative success to this point, but Adams has similar production thus far for the Buccaneers and his upside is considerably greater, which is why he was selected No. 4 overall back in April. But with Adams still on the board in our scenario he looks like a nice fit. DT Brandon Mebane is also a consideration as he has started quickly in Seattle and the Broncos are dismal against the run.
18. Cincinnati Bengals -- Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Original pick: Hall
The Bengals are a mess, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. And while they could use help at other positions, especially at linebacker after the season-ending injury suffered by Ahmad Brooks, there is no reason at this point to think Cincinnati would go in a different direction than Hall with the 18th overall selection. Hall has made 24 total tackles, broken up six passes and picked off three others while playing in all eight games (two starts) thus far.
19. Tennessee Titans -- Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Original pick: Michael Griffin, S, Texas
The team is excited about Griffin's future, but he's off the board here and Tennessee needs to provide franchise QB Vince Young with better weapons. After all, Roydell Williams leads the team with 23 receptions, which is tied for 76th among all pass catchers in the NFL. Ginn hasn't been great so far but it's tough to evaluate him considering Miami's quarterback issues. Young could better maximize the speed of Ginn, who is averaging 20.1 yards per catch, and Ginn would be able to step in as both a kickoff and punt returner.
20. New York Giants -- Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
Original pick: Ross
The Giants were unsuccessful in their attempt to move up in the '07 draft to take the two cornerbacks -- Darrelle Revis and Leon Hall -- selected before Ross. Good thing because there's no doubt the Giants would select Ross again in a heartbeat. He has emerged as the starting cornerback opposite Sam Madison and been everything New York hoped for and more. He has 23 tackles, seven passes defended and three interceptions in eight games played.
Jacksonville Jaguars -- 21. Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
Original pick: Nelson
The Jaguars couldn't be happier with their first-round pick. Nelson stepped into the starting free safety spot almost immediately and though he's had some rough spots, he continues to improve each week. The ball-hawking center fielder has been all over the field through the first seven games, notching 25 tackles, six passes defended and two interceptions.
Cleveland Browns -- 22. Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
Original pick: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
The verdict is still very much out on Quinn, but having taken Peterson instead of Thomas with the third overall pick and armed with the knowledge of QB Derek Anderson's emergence, Ugoh is the logical choice. When healthy, he's been outstanding for a rookie left tackle being asked to protect QB Peyton Manning's blind side. Ugoh should only continue to improve with better footwork and conditioning.
23. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brandon Mebane, DT, California
Original pick: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
The Chiefs broke their recent trend of boycotting wide receivers in the first round when they selected Bowe and for good reason. Bowe has been impressive, but with him off the board Green Bay's James Jones would be a possibility. But spending a first-round pick on Jones after watching just one half of one season is an awful risky move. That's why I think the Chiefs would likely go in a different direction with this pick. Stopping the run has been a problem this season, which is why Mebane makes some sense. He has made an instant impact as a starter for Seattle, notching 13 total tackles with two for loss and one sack.
24. New England Patriots -- Tanard Jackson, S, Syracuse
Original pick: Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
Running back depth has been an issue, but the Patriots certainly wouldn't reach for one here just to plug the dam while Laurence Maroney recovers. Meriweather has been bothered by injuries this season, so it's completely unreasonable to evaluate him at this point. With that said, New England would think long and hard about trading in Meriweather for Jackson, who has proved to be a fourth-round steal for the Buccaneers. In eight games, Jackson has 37 total tackles with 10 passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble.
25. Carolina Panthers -- Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Original pick: Jon Beason, ILB, Miami
The Panthers' quarterback situation has reached Code Red status thanks to the injuries suffered by Jake Delhomme, David Carr and 43-year old Vinny Testaverde. With Beason off the board and Matt Moore currently at the helm, drafting Quinn at No. 25 is a no-brainer at this point. Quinn showed potential during the preseason in Cleveland and could immediately help the Panthers.