Re-Drafting the 2014 NFL Draft

Photo: USA TODAY Sports - Mark J. Rebilas

It's Monday! That means we are another week closer to NFL training camps opening across the league, putting the 2019 offseason to rest. Speaking of eventful offseasons, the 2014 NFL Draft featured one of the best overall classes in recent history. In fact, 20 of the first 36 picks in this draft have at least one Pro Bowl appearance on their resume. At the same time, we also saw huge busts like Justin Gilbert, Marcus Smith, Calvin Pryor, and the infamous Johnny Manziel selection. Those players were easy to eliminate, but other than that, it was incredibly difficult to narrow the first round to just 32 players from this insanely talented draft class.

1. Houston Texans - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Original Pick: Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE, South Carolina

There is no debate here. Aaron Donald is the best defensive player this league has seen in a long time, and pairing him with JJ Watt at this time would have made the Texans' front unblockable.

2. St. Louis Rams - Khalil Mack, EDGE, Buffalo

Original Pick: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Khalil Mack is arguably the league's best edge rusher, so this is also a no-brainer pick. It would have been really fun to see Mack and Robert Quinn paired together on the outside.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois

Original Pick: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Picking the right quarterback here could have put the Jacksonville Jaguars over the top on their playoff run two years ago. In this redraft, they right their wrong by picking Jimmy Garoppolo, who looks like a franchise quarterback if he can stay healthy.

4. Buffalo Bills - Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Original Pick: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

The Buffalo Bills made a desperate move to trade up for an offensive weapon in 2014, giving up a future first-round pick in the process. Sammy Watkins was never able to stay healthy in Buffalo, and the Bills instead run to the podium to turn in the card for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

5. Oakland Raiders - Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE, South Carolina

Original Pick: Khalil Mack, EDGE, Buffalo

A clean swap of Khalil Mack for Jadeveon Clowney here makes the most sense. Clowney was one of the most talented prospects in recent draft history, but the start of his career was delayed by injuries. Now, he is showing that potential and has been to three straight Pro Bowls.

6. Atlanta Falcons - Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame

Original Pick: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

The number one concern coming into this draft for Atlanta was finding a way to better protect franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. Jake Matthews was a good pick, but the Falcons could have made this a great pick by taking Notre Dame's Zack Martin, who has been an All-Pro every year of his career.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Original Pick: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans is the first pick of this re-draft that I would not change. Mike Evans made a ton of sense then, and he is one of the best receivers in the NFL right now. Easy.

8. Cleveland Browns - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Original Pick: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

The Cleveland Browns went into this draft hoping to finally find the individual who would end their infamous ineptitude at the quarterback position. Johnny Manziel somehow made that drought even more laughable. By getting Derek Carr here, the Browns would finally get stability at the most important position in football.

9. Minnesota Vikings - Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

Original Pick: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

Again, this is another pick I would not change. Anthony Barr has proven to be a perfect fit and invaluable asset for Mike Zimmer's defense. He's been to four straight Pro Bowls, so I don't think Minnesota would like a do-over here.

10. Detroit Lions - DeMarcus Lawrence, EDGE, Boise State

Original Pick: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Pairing Ezekiel Ansah and DeMarcus Lawrence in Detroit with Ndamukong Suh in the middle would've be so fun to watch. Lawrence was one of the biggest steals of the draft, and while Eric Ebron is resurrecting his career in Indianapolis, he simply did not produce up to his Top-10 status in Detroit.

11. Tennessee Titans - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Original Pick: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Again, this is a pick I'm keeping the same. The Tennessee Titans found their franchise left tackle in Taylor Lewan then, and now, he's been to three consecutive Pro Bowls.

12. New York Giants - Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State

Original Pick: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

Losing out on Odell Beckham Jr. hurts, but in this illustrious wide receiver class, the blow is significantly softened with the Giants landing star wide receiver Davante Adams.

13. St. Louis Rams - Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Original Pick: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

It took a little longer than expected for Jake Matthews to get going in the NFL, but it seems like he is finally playing up to his potential after reaching the Pro Bowl in 2018. Selecting Matthews instead of Greg Robinson is a massive upgrade.

14. Chicago Bears - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Original Pick: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

Just like Jake Matthews, it took a little longer for Kyle Fuller to truly realize his potential, and I don't think the Bears would change a single thing about this pick. Fuller enters this season as one of the league's elite cornerbacks after a first-team All-Pro 2018 campaign.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

Original Pick: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State

This one is difficult because before his devastating injury, Ryan Shazier was undoubtedly one of the league's best off-ball linebackers. If the Steelers did it all over again, this pick would not change.

16. Dallas Cowboys - Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State

Original Pick: Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame

Interestingly, if the Steelers had originally passed on Ryan Shazier, the Cowboys would've drafted him at 16 instead of Zack Martin. With that being said, Telvin Smith is a very similar player who has been one of the league's best off-ball linebackers since he was picked in the fifth round.

17. Baltimore Ravens - CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama

Original Pick: CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama

This pick made too much sense at the time, and I think the Ravens would make this pick again if this class was re-drafted. Mosley was a four-time All-Pro linebacker with Baltimore before signing a lucrative contract this offseason with the New York Jets.

18. New York Jets - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Original Pick: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Speaking of the New York Jets, what a terrible pick Calvin Pryor was, huh? Well, instead of the whole "we believe in Geno Smith" thing, the Jets find their future at the most important position in football with Teddy Bridgewater.

19. Miami Dolphins - Joel Bitonio, OT/G, Nevada

Original Pick: Ja'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee

Ja'Wuan James wasn't a terrible pick here, but looking back at some of the offensive linemen that went after him, it looks worse and worse. One of those offensive linemen that went later was Nevada's Joel Bitonio. He has proven to be one of the league's most versatile and productive offensive linemen since he was drafted.

20. New Orleans Saints - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Original Pick: Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

The Saints traded up Brandin Cooks back in 2014, and I think they would do it again. Cooks remains one of the league's most talented wide receivers, even if he is on another team right now.

21. Green Bay Packers - Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Original Pick: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Packers drafted Davante Adams in the second round, so I am essentially replacing him with Allen Robinson here. Robinson started off his career hot in Jacksonville before his knee exploded. Could you imagine what the Packers' offense would have looked like if Robinson's early success was with Aaron Rodgers instead of Blake Bortles?

22. Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

Original Pick: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

The Browns originally got Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel with their two first-round picks in this draft. Knowing how talented this class was, that has to be one of the biggest blunders in NFL draft history. Instead, the Browns pair quarterback Derek Carr with Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry as his top weapon.

23. Kansas City Chiefs - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Original Pick: Dee Ford, EDGE, Auburn

Ironically, Sammy Watkins ended up in Kansas City after all. He was just never able to stay healthy in Buffalo, but Watkins still has a ton of untapped potential, so the Chiefs benefit from his fall.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Malcolm Butler, CB, West Alabama

Original Pick: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard has been meh for most of his career in Cincinnati, resembling most of this cornerback class as a whole. A cornerback who came out of nowhere in this class as a Pro Bowler was West Alabama's Malcolm Butler, and it goes without saying that he would have been a huge upgrade over Dennard in this draft slot.

25. San Diego Chargers - Charles Leno Jr., OT, Boise State

Original Pick: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

It's a shame that Jason Verrett has never been able to stay healthy because he showed flashes of being an elite cornerback. Because of those durability concerns, the Chargers stick to the top priority: Protecting Phillip Rivers. One of the biggest steals in this draft was Boise State's Charles Leno falling to the Chicago Bears in the seventh round. He has developed into a Pro-Bowl offensive tackle, something Phillip Rivers could use right now.

26. Philadelphia Eagles - Dee Ford, EDGE, Auburn

Original Pick: Marcus Smith, EDGE, Louisville

Marcus Smith was undoubtedly one of the worst picks in this draft class. The Eagles reached for him at the time, and ultimately, it gave Chip Kelly his walking papers. In this re-draft, Philadelphia rights their wrong and gets Dee Ford, who would've been a perfect fit in that defense.

27. Arizona Cardinals - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Original Pick: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

Instead of picking hybrid safety/linebacker Deone Bucannon here, the Cardinals make a serious push for offensive firepower with tight end Eric Ebron. Surrounded by Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, and Larry Fitzgerald, it is very likely Ebron would have had a different career arc in Arizona.

28. Carolina Panthers - Trai Turner, OG, LSU

Original Pick: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Interestingly enough, the Carolina Panthers stick with one of their original picks in LSU guard Trai Turner, who was selected in the third round. He's been to four straight Pro Bowls, and Carolina has to be ecstatic they can keep him in this re-draft.

29. New England Patriots - Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame

Original Pick: Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

The Patriots took Dominique Easley originally to be a gap-penetrating rusher for their defense, but in this re-draft, they right their wrong by drafting productive starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Stephon Tuitt, to fill the same role.

30. San Francisco 49ers - Lamarcus Joyner, S, Florida State

Original Pick: Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois

I really liked Jimmie Ward coming out of Northern Illinois, but his entire career to this point has been a big learning curve. Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner ended up becoming what San Francisco thought they were getting in Ward with his versatility and playmaking ability.

31. Denver Broncos - Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State

Original Pick: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

The Denver Broncos were fresh off losing the Super Bowl to Seattle with one mindset: Get back to the big game. The best way to do that with an aging Peyton Manning was to solidify the running game. Devonta Freeman far and away became the best running back from this draft class, and this pairing makes too much sense given the circumstances.

32. Minnesota Vikings - Andrew Norwell, OG, Ohio State

Original Pick: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

A notable undrafted free agent, Andrew Norwell has worked his way into becoming one of the league's highest-paid offensive linemen, and given Minnesota's interior offensive line depth at the time, this a no-brainer pick.