There is still plenty to sort out when it comes to evaluating the 2017 Draft class, but knowing what we know now, things would look a lot different. While they weren’t without warts as prospects, there’s no way Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson wouldn’t be the top two picks which sets off the entire landscape of the first round as we previously knew it.
What would that scenario look like? Chiefs and Texans fans won’t care much for this, but here we go.
1. Cleveland Browns: Patrick Mahomes, QB
2017 Pick - Myles Garrett, EDGE
If the entire NFL was re-drafted, Mahomes would likely be the No. 1 overall pick. Yes, the Garrett-Mayfield combination is taking shape quite well in Cleveland, but knowing what we know now, there is no way Mahomes wouldn’t be the pick here.
2. Chicago Bears: Deshaun Watson, QB
2017 Pick - Mitchell Trubisky, QB
The Year One to Year Two growth from Mitchell Trubisky was exciting and I’m eager to see his continued development in 2019. With that said, after seeing both Trubisky and Watson play for roughly two seasons, Watson has the higher ceiling.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Mitchell Trubisky, QB
2017 Pick - Solomon Thomas, EDGE
The 2017 draft happened before San Francisco traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers had a glaring need at the most important position in sports. While there is promise in Garoppolo, he’s still lacking game experience entering his sixth season in the league. Outside of some sound run defense, Thomas has yet to come anywhere close to making the impact expected of a top-3 NFL Draft pick.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Garrett, EDGE
2017 Pick - Leonard Fournette, EDGE
There are so many better ways to make the identity of your football team its power running game other than investing a top-5 pick on Leonard Fournette. With three quarterbacks flying off the board with the top-three picks, Garrett falls right into Jacksonville’s lap who went on to select defensive linemen with its first round picks in 2018 and 2019. Garrett, combined with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue would provide the Jaguars with the NFL’s best trio of edge rushers.
5. Tennessee Titans: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
2017 Pick - Corey Davis, WR
The Titans’ needed a top wide receiver and Davis started to show signs of becoming that in 2018. With 2,343 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns across his first two NFL seasons, Smith-Schuster has already become a premiere wide out in the league.
6. New York Jets: TJ Watt, EDGE
2017 Pick - Jamal Adams, S
Adams has been a fine selection for the Jets and is the tone-setter on the back end but New York still hasn’t shored up it’s EDGE defender group. A Pro Bowl selection as a sophomore in 2018, Watt is already one of the most productive and versatile outside linebackers in football. Racking up the splash over his first two seasons in the league, Watt has 120 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, 34 QB hits, seven forced fumbles, 10 pass breakups and an interception.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jamal Adams, S
2017 Pick - Mike Williams, WR
Derwin James is one of the most exciting defensive playmakers in the game, but he wasn’t in the mix when LA was making this pick. After an injury-plagued rookie season, Williams delivered 10 touchdown receptions in 2018 and is primed for an even bigger role this year. That said, I believe Adams would bring more value as a defensive tone-setter. His instincts, motor, physicality and versatility are exceptional.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB
2017 Pick - Christian McCaffrey, RB
Nothing to change here - McCaffrey is just what the doctor ordered in Carolina. His ability to win as a runner and receiver provides the Panthers with a versatile weapon that perfectly fits how offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s scheme has evolved.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: George Kittle, TE
2017 Pick - John Ross, WR
Y’all probably already knew this but in his second season, Kittle broke the NFL single-season record for receiving yards with 1,377 in 2018. A superstar in the making, Kittle is a dynamic receiver but he is also a superb blocker. Meanwhile, Ross has struggled with injuries and only caught 36.2 percent of his 60 targets across two seasons.
10. Kansas City Chiefs: Marshon Lattimore, CB
2017 Pick - Patrick Mahomes, QB
Kansas City probably doesn’t move from No. 27 to No. 10 in this scenario, given Mahomes should have been the No. 1 overall pick. With the benefit of hindsight, Kansas City's search for Alex Smith’s successor would’ve come from elsewhere. But if they did trade up, Lattimore would have been a great addition to a defense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season and allowed a 92.7 passer rating.
11. New Orleans Saints: Tre White, CB
2017 Pick - Marshon Lattimore, CB
No Lattimore this time around for the Saints, but White is one heck of a consolation prize. After a sensational rookie season where he arguably deserved to be the defensive rookie of the year over Lattimore, White starred for Buffalo’s No. 1 pass defense in the NFL in 2018. White is a lockdown corner and rising star.
12. Houston Texans: Ryan Ramczyk, OT
2017 Pick - Deshaun Watson, QB
With the benefit of hindsight, Watson doesn’t get to No. 12 overall and Houston likely doesn’t trade up. But if they did, how about the best offensive linemen in the draft? Houston’s offensive line issues are well-documented and Ramczky could be locking down the all-important left tackle spot.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Marlon Humphrey, CB
2017 Pick - Haason Reddick, LB
Starting 13 of the 30 games he’s played in across his first two NFL seasons, Humphrey has showcased the promise of a lockdown corner every time he’s been on the field. Securing four interceptions and 26 pass breakups over that span, Humphrey is already among the best press coverage corners in the league. Humphrey suffocates routes with his aggressive willingness to crowd receivers in the contact window and I love his physicality. Your top-10 NFL cornerback lists are wrong if it doesn’t include Humphrey.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Eddie Jackson, S
2017 Pick - Derek Barnett, EDGE
Imagine if this were the actual pick. A ball hawk like Jackson playing alongside Malcolm Jenkins behind THAT Eagles pass rush. We could be talking about the best defense in the NFL and not a unit that finished No. 23 in 2018.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Malik Hooker, S
2017 Pick - Malik Hooker, S
Hooker’s promising rookie season in 2017 was cut short due to injury, but he started to come into his own as a sophomore. Expected to take another step forward in 2018 as part of a loaded and well-coached Indianapolis defense, Hooker is primed to emerge as a big play safety and Indy’s center fielder.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Kenny Golladay, WR
2017 Pick - Marlon Humphrey, CB
Humphrey has been a stud and in this scenario, doesn’t make it to No. 16. But how about a height/weight/speed freak that just logged 70 receptions for 1,063 yards for the Lions in 2018? That’d be fun for Lamar Jackson.
17. Washington Redskins: Jonathan Allen, DL
2017 Pick - Jonathan Allen, DL
Allen’s rookie season was limited to only five games but he was outstanding for Washington in 2018. Racking up 61 tackles, Allen recorded eight sacks, 15 quarterback hits and 11 tackles for loss as a sophomore, Allen coming into his own is under-discussed. Nothing to change here.
18. Tennessee Titans: Adoree’ Jackson, CB
2017 Pick - Adoree’ Jackson, CB
Tennessee boasted the No. 6 pass defense in the NFL last season and the emergence of Jackson was a big reason why. Jackson was targeted heavily by opponents in 2018 (105 targets) and did well to limit receptions, allowing a catch rate of 62.9 percent per PFF.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alvin Kamara, RB
2017 Pick - OJ Howard, TE
Relative to his number of touches, Peyton Barber is coming off one of the least productive seasons in NFL history. In four of the previous five seasons, Tampa Bay’s leading rusher didn’t eclipse more than 560 rushing yards. In four of the last six seasons, the Bucs’ leading rusher averaged LESS than four yards per carry. Alvin Kamara sounds nice right about now.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT
2017 Pick - Garret Bolles, OT
Bolles has had his share of ups and downs over his two seasons of starting experience to begin his career, but I’m greatly encouraged over how well he performed towards the end of last season. Now paired with the highly regarded Mike Muchak as his offensive line coach, I think we see Bolles come into his own in 2018.
21. Detroit Lions: Desmond King, CB
2017 Pick - Jarrad Davis, LB
A first-team All-Pro selection last season, King graded as Pro Football Focus’ second best cornerback in the entire NFL in 2018. A dominant slot corner, King is also a standout punt and kick returner that averaged 13.8 yards per punt return and 23.7 yards per kick return last season. LA features on the league’s most scheme-diverse defensive units in the league and Kings’ consistency and astute coverage skills are a big reason why.
22. Miami Dolphins: Joe Mixon, RB
2017 Pick - Charles Harris, EDGE
A position of instability in recent years, Miami has featured a different team leader in rushing yards in each of the past four seasons. A multifaceted back, Mixon is emerging as the focal point of Cincinnati's offense and racked up 1,464 yards from scrimmage in 14 games last season behind a suspect offensive line.
23. New York Giants: Evan Engram, TE
2017 Pick - Evan Engram, TE
A matchup nightmare, Engram has showcased some really exciting flashes as a receiver across two seasons. Injuries derailed his progress as a sophomore but he converted over 70 percent of his targets into receptions while averaging nearly 13 yards per reception. Engram is primed for his first 1,000-yard campaign in 2019.
24. Oakland Raiders: Zach Cunningham, LB
2017 Pick - Gareon Conley, CB
Not sure what Oakland has against rangy linebackers but I cannot get behind these heavy-footed dudes they have roaming the second level. Claiming a starting job almost immediately in his career, Cunningham racked up his first 100-tackle season in 2018 and provides Houston with an every-down rangy linebacker on the second level of its defense. His ability to work sideline-to-sideline and win in pass coverage allows defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel scheme multiplicity. He'd be a welcomed addition in Oakland.
25. Cleveland Browns: OJ Howard, TE
2017 Pick - Jabrill Peppers, S
Securing Patrick Mahomes with the first of its three first-round picks, it is now necessary to surround him with weapons. Averaging 16 yards per reception and hauling in 11 touchdown passes so far in 24 career games, Howard has as much upside as any young tight end in football.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Dion Dawkins, OT
2017 Pick - Takkarist McKinley, EDGE
Utilizing two 2019 first-round selection on offensive linemen, Atlanta has invested heavily to fortify things in front of franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. An almost immediate starter at tackle for Buffalo, Dawkins had a stellar rookie season and continues to claim the left tackle spot for the Bills. He has Pro Bowl potential in what is expected to be an all-around improved Buffalo offense this season.
27. Buffalo Bills: Dalvin Tomlinson, DT
2017 Pick - Tre White, CB
Buffalo snatched one of the first-round steals when they traded back and secured Tre White, but he didn’t come close to making it this far in this scenario. In 2018, Buffalo’s run defense was too soft which led to committing $50 million across five seasons to Star Lotuelei to make the defense more stout up the middle. That could have also been fixed by a younger, cheaper and more dynamic option like Tomlinson.
28. Dallas Cowboys: John Johnson, S
2017 Pick - Taco Charlton, EDGE
If you aren’t familiar with Johnson, it’s time for that change. After a sound rookie campaign, Johnson looks like a star in the making after his performance in 2018 where he racked up 119 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions. Meanwhile, Dallas is still starting Jeff Heath on the back end.
29. Cleveland Browns: Corey Davis, WR
2017 Pick - David Njoku, TE
Inconsistency at quarterback and injuries have held Davis back, but he showcased flashes of a No. 1 NFL receiver last season. Adding to the mix of Mahomes and Howard with Cleveland’s first two picks, this would be an exciting young nucleus to build around for the Browns.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jabrill Peppers, S
2017 Pick - TJ Watt, EDGE
Pittsburgh proved its desperation for upgrades at safety when they surprisingly invested their 2018 first rounder on Terrell Edmunds. While Edmunds has exciting physical traits, he has several areas of his game to cleanup to prove it was a worthy investment for the Steelers. Peppers came into his own last season as a coverage safety to complement his overall physicality.
31. San Francisco 49ers: David Njoku, TE
2017 Pick - Reuben Foster, LB
Knowing what we know now, George Kittle got snatched up in the top-10 after falling to San Francisco in the fifth round in the actual draft. While Njoku hasn’t come close to Kittle in terms of production but he is an exciting young talent in his own right and could help build the weaponry around Mitchell Trubisky who the 49ers drafted earlier in the first round.
32. New Orleans Saints: Taylor Moton, OT
2017 Pick - Ryan Ramczyk, OT
The duo of Ramczyk and Lattimore was one heck of a haul for New Orleans in the real draft but they don’t come away with either in this scenario. After a year of seasoning, Moton really emerged for Carolina last season and he has the makings of a fixture up front for years to come.