Revisiting the 2010 Draft reveals some things that you would be surprised to be true in a draft just nine years later. The first four picks and five of the first six were players for the Big Twelve. In total, a whopping nine first rounders were from the Big Twelve. For perspective, there has only been a total of five Big Twelve players drafted in the first round in the last three drafts.
Rutgers produced two first round picks which is crazy considering it only has only ever had three first round picks. Since 2000, Georgia Tech has only produced three first round picks and two of them came in 2010.
In this re-draft scenario, the top-three picks weren’t first round picks and neither were five of the top ten. With the benefit of hindsight, here’s how I would re-draft the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
1. St. Louis Rams: Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan
2010 Pick - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
The 2010 Draft featured a loaded crop of superstars but none better than Brown who has been the best wide receiver in football since 2013. Bradford had a few good seasons as a starter but injuries plagued his career. Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton were the Rams’ top-two wide receivers at the time.
2. Detroit Lions: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona
2010 Pick - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Hello. Imagine Gronk and Calvin Johnson on the same offense. It couldn’t be stopped. That’d be a heck of a way to surround 2009 No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia
2010 Pick - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
You mean to tell me that the defensive tackle selected at No. 120 overall is better than the DTs drafted at No. 2 and No. 3 overall? Yup. Suh, McCoy and Atkins have all been outstanding but Atkins has been the most consistent. There’s a reason Atkins is the only one still on his original team.
4. Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
2010 Pick - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
Nothing to change here. Named to seven Pro Bowls in nine seasons, Williams has been an elite left tackle in the NFL. While you may perceive he’s had some durability issues, on average Williams has started over 13 games/season for his career.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Earl Thomas, S, Texas
2010 Pick - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
Both Thomas and Berry have been elite players, but Thomas hasn’t had nearly the extensive injury history of Berry. Berry has four seasons where he played in all 16 games and four that he played in six or less. Thomas has arguably been the NFL's top free safety over the last decade.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Kam Chancellor, S, Virginia Tech
2010 Pick - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
A fifth-round pick in 2010, Chancellor produced a career worthy of a much higher selection. His fit with Seattle was absolutely perfect for the role he filled. Although he retired after 2017, Chancellor had a 6+ year run of being one of the most imposing defenders in the league.
7. Cleveland Browns: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
2010 Pick - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Having a playmaker at wide receiver like Demaryius Thomas may have changed the Jake Delhomme era in Cleveland. Thomas has been one of the league’s most prolific offensive weapons since his breakout season in 2012.
8. Oakland Raiders: Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
2010 Pick - Rolando McClain
Injuries have plagued Berry’s career but there’s no denying his impact when healthy. Five Pro Bowls and three first-team All-Pro selections later, Berry has still had a great career.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami
2010 Pick - CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson
Buffalo was in search of playmakers which is why the Spiller selection was made. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Graham has been one of the NFL’s most dynamic weapons at tight end.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
2010 Pick - Tyson Alualu, DT, California
A six-time Pro Bowl selection, McCoy enjoyed a sensational run for Tampa Bay. While Jacksonville has produced some impressive defensive units, McCoy could have stabilized the defensive tackle position which has featured plenty of turnover in Jacksonville since the Stroud-Henderson duo was intact.
11. San Francisco 49ers: NaVorro Bowman, LB, Penn State
2010 Pick - Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman formed arguably the most dominant pairing of linebackers in NFL history. I’m not going to mess with that.
12. San Diego Chargers: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
2010 Pick - Ryan Matthews, RB, Fresno State
Suh being available at No. 12 overall says everything you need to know about how good the 2010 Draft Class was. The merits of the selection are obvious and Suh would have been a fixture on the interior of the Chargers’ defensive line.
13. Philadelphia Eagles: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida
2010 Pick - Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
You can split hairs discussing the 2010 EDGE rusher class but I think Dunlap has been the best. His career got off to a much quicker start than Graham and Dunlap could have provided a dynamic complement to Trent Cole in his prime.
14. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
2010 Pick - Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Imagine how bad Seattle’s offensive lines would have been without Okung in the mix. The player Seattle took at No. 6 overall makes sense at No. 14.
15. New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
2010 Pick - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
No reason to change a thing here. JPP was a big part of the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl Championship and has the second most sacks of any pass rusher in the 2010 class.
16. Tennessee Titans: Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
2010 Pick - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
While the quarterback position wasn’t truly stabilized, perhaps Vince Young’s fate as the Titans’ starter would have been different had Bryant been in the mix.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
2010 Pick - Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
A seven-time Pro Bowler, Pouncey has anchored the Steelers offensive line for the past decade, a unit that is annually among the best in the league. Consistent stability has been far from the case with SF’s interior offensive line over that span.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
2010 Pick - Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
Pouncey would have been the pick but he didn’t quite make it far enough to replicate a great selection. Bulaga has been a stalwart at right tackle for Green Bay and would have done the same in Pittsburgh.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Everson Griffen, DE, USC
2010 Pick - Sean Witherspoon, LB, Missouri
Griffen would have been an awesome complement to John Abraham as his career was winding down. Much better than continuing to roll with Jamaal Anderson.
20. Houston Texans: Joe Haden, CB, Florida
2010 Pick - Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
Corner was still the right direction to go with this selection but I opted for Haden of Jackson. Both have been outstanding starters but Haden offers another level of ball skills that aren’t as present in Jackson.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
2010 Pick - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
With Carlos Dunlap out of the equation in this scenario, going back into the pass rusher pool is necessary. Graham’s career started slowly but has emerged as a versatile playmaker for the Eagles.
22. Denver Broncos: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, SMU
2010 Pick - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
While Thomas went much earlier in this scenario, there are still plenty of options at receiver worthy of this selection. Sanders eventually made his way to Denver and was a huge part of the Super Bowl Championship team in 2014.
23. Green Bay Packers: Reshad Jones, S, Georgia
2010 Pick - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
If I told you Jones was the second-leading solo tackler in the 2010 Draft Class would you believe me? Well, he is. Green Bay had some stars on defense since 2010 but the safety position was often unsettled. Jones changes that.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Sean Lee, LB, Penn State
2010 Pick - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
A fan-favorite, Sean Lee has had dominant moments as the quarterback of the Dallas defense. Injuries have been an issue but there is no denying the impact he’s made when on the field.
25. Denver Broncos: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
2010 Pick - Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
This was a tough one, especially since Peyton Manning was signed and Denver won a Super Bowl. With that said, I would have like to see what Josh McDaniels and Sam Bradford could have done together.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Linval Joseph, DT, ECU
2010 Pick - Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
Picking Williams was all about getting more stout up the middle and there probably hasn’t been a more stout interior defensive linemen in the game since 2010 than Joseph.
27. New England Patriots: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
2010 Pick - Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
A nine-year starter on the Patriots defense that produced three Super Bowl Championships since 2010, I’m not changing anything here with the McCourty pick.
28. Miami Dolphins: Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
2010 Pick - Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Cam Wake on one side, Jerry Hughes coming off the other - sign me up! Perhaps Miami would have done better with Hughes’ talent early in his career than what happened in Indy.
29. New York Jets: TJ Ward, S, Oregon
2010 Pick - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
How much better would that Jets defense have been with Ward at safety instead of Eric Smith? Those Jets teams at that time were stacked but the safety situation could have improved. Well, and quarterback...
30. Detroit Lions: Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
2010 Pick - Jahvid Best, RB, California
The Lions traded back into the first round for a running back that only last two seasons in the NFL. WHOOPS! We’ll fix that mistake by giving Detroit one of the league's most consistent corners in Kareem Jackson.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Sam Shields, CB, Miami
2010 Pick - Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
Indy seemed to have the pass rush and safety situation figured out but lacked consistency at cornerback. Shields could have brought stability at corner for the Colts.
32. New Orleans Saints: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
2010 Pick - Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Not that they both haven’t been great but imagine Tate and Drew Brees together starting in 2010 and the problems it would have caused defenses. I have the chance to make that happen and I’m not passing it up.