NFL Draft News & Analysis

Re-drafting the 2019 NFL Draft: Four WRs go in top 10, including A.J. Brown to Jets and Terry McLaurin to Giants

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) celebrates after a touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

You know it’s the NFL offseason when you’ve clicked on a re-draft article.

The general rule is to wait three seasons before judging a draft class and its selections. Luckily for us, the 2019 class is one with a ton of fun names to move around, from the very top to the very bottom of the first round.

This redraft removes draft-day trades, as it feels right to not have a team jumping up or down since the players available are completely different from how things played out on draft night. Each selection was also made after keeping in mind what teams were looking for back in 2019. Hindsight of talent matters most, but it wouldn’t be as true to the exercise if I didn’t at least take into consideration the makeup of each team’s rosters at the time.

So, with that, here’s how I would re-draft the 2019 NFL Draft.

1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray

Actual pick: QB Kyler Murray

This one was easy. Despite picking Josh Rosen in the first round the year prior, the Cardinals needed a quarterback, and Murray, coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season, was an easy choice. Three years later, it still remains the correct selection. Murray has only gotten better as his NFL career has progressed. He earned an 84.0 overall grade and an 88.1 passing grade in 2021, both top-10 marks among quarterbacks.

2. San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Nick Bosa

Atual Pick: EDGE Nick Bosa

Bosa got off to a great start in the NFL with nine sacks as a rookie. An ACL tear took out most of his 2020 season, but he bounced back in a huge way with 15.5 sacks and an 89.8 pass-rushing grade in his third season. He was the Niners’ pick three years ago, and they made the right choice.

3. New York Jets: WR A.J. Brown

Actual pick: DI Quinnen Williams

Though I don’t hate the original Quinnen Williams pick, and believe his best football is still ahead of him, with the benefit of hindsight, one of the elite receivers in this class would have been a better choice for the Jets. We've seen recently how aggressive the team has been in attempts to improve its passing weapons. Brown may have missed some time over the past three seasons due to injury, but his cumulative 91.7 offensive grade over the past three years is the highest of any receiver in this class.

4. Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Maxx Crosby

Actual pick: EDGE Clelin Ferrell

The Raiders were on the right track with the selection of an edge rusher at No. 4, but of the many incredible players at the position this class produced, it was the one they chose in the fourth round who should have come off the board here. Crosby’s 193 career pressures are the most of any player in this class, and his 100 pressures in 2021 were the most of any player in the NFL.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DI Jeffery Simmons

Actual pick: LB Devin White

This re-selection might be divisive. On one hand, the Bucs probably don’t win their 2021 Super Bowl without Devin White. His speed and playmaking ability as a blitzer and around the line of scrimmage (especially in Todd Bowles' defense) were key parts of why Tampa Bay was able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. On the other hand, was the individual return on investment of an off-ball linebacker at No. 5 the best choice? Adding the benefit of hindsight, I’d say no.

Trying to keep things somewhat realistic regarding what each team would have been looking at on draft night in 2019, the Bucs were just months away from moving on from Gerald McCoy, which means this draft was well before they acquired Ndamukong Suh. Drafting Simmons instead means they’d have the best young defensive line in football in 2022.

6. New York Giants: WR Terry McLaurin

Actual pick: QB Daniel Jones

At the time, the Giants still had Eli Manning on the roster, but the then-38-year-old was in the last year of his contract and had led the team to a 5-11 record the season before. New York needed a quarterback, but re-drafting one here wouldn’t be fun.

Instead, I’ll anger the entire Washington fanbase by giving the Giants a player who should have gone top 10 in this class. McLaurin has averaged more than 1,000 yards a year through his first three NFL seasons. There's plenty of reason to believe this upcoming campaign will be the best yet for McLaurin.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Deebo Samuel

Actual pick: EDGE Josh Allen

Though I wouldn’t say the Jaguars are unhappy with their selection of Allen by any means, Deebo Samuel has proven to be one of the top offensive weapons in all of football. There aren’t many NFL teams, if any, over the past three years who could have used a playmaker like that more than the Jaguars.

8. Detroit Lions: EDGE Rashan Gary

Actual pick: TE T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson has been fine to this point, and his best days certainly could be ahead of him, but there were too many talented players in this class for him to stay as the pick here. The Lions needed pass rush then, and they still desperately need it now (hence the Aidan Hutchinson pick at No. 2 this past year). Gary doesn’t have as many sacks as some other 2019 edge rushers, but his 20.5% pass-rush win rate over the past three seasons is the best among all defenders in the class. After earning an elite 89.1 PFF grade in 2021, Gary should have double-digit sacks on the horizon.

9. Buffalo Bills: WR D.K. Metcalf

Actual pick: DI Ed Oliver

The Bills could have kick-started their offensive juggernaut with a Metcalf selection back in 2019. If you look at the team's receiver room on draft night, it’s not that crazy to think it could've happened if they believed in the class enough. Though hindsight is heavily involved here, imagine Josh Allen of today with Metcalf, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis to headline their receiver room heading into 2022.

10. Denver Broncos: LB Devin White

Actual Pick: LB Devin Bush (to Pittsburgh Steelers)

This is the first different pick in the order due to our no draft-day trades rule. If the Broncos would have stayed at No. 10 in this draft, and if Devin White would have still been on the board, he would have been the pick. In fact, if you look at the Broncos' current roster, they’ve built up just about every other position to a championship level yet are still searching for a high-impact linebacker.

White would have been their guy.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: OL Elgton Jenkins

Actual pick: OT Jonah Williams

At the time, Williams was absolutely the right pick. He’s still a solid starter for the Bengals, but I’d swap this one for Eglton Jenkins, who has shown he’s a little better and a lot more versatile. Jenkins has played snaps at right tackle, left tackle, center and left guard for the Packers, and he's maintained good PFF grades throughout. This past season, with most of his snaps coming at left tackle, Jenkins recorded a career-best 82.1 overall grade.

12. Green Bay Packers: EDGE Brian Burns

Actual pick: EDGE Rashan Gary

The Packers definitely needed pass rush in the 2019 NFL Draft. With Gary already off the board in this re-draft, they’ll settle (that word is used very sarcastically since Burns is so good) for Burns. He has recorded 7.5, nine and nine sacks, respectively, over the past three seasons. His 26.5 sacks are second-most of any player in this class.

13. Miami Dolphins: EDGE Josh Allen

Actual pick: DI Christian Wilkins

Wilkins has turned into a great pro for the Dolphins, so the switch at this pick from interior defensive line to edge is more for the fun of it. Allen recorded 10 sacks as a rookie but has 10 sacks combined over the past two seasons. A fully healthy Allen should certainly yield more double-digit sacks seasons.

14. Atlanta Falcons: DI Quinnen Williams

Actual pick: OG Chris Lindstrom

Chris Lindstrom is one of the few steady offensive linemen left for the Falcons, so it feels odd replacing him. But for the sake of mixing it up in this re-draft, let's go with Quinnen Williams to Atlanta. The former No. 3 overall pick still has yet to truly break out in the NFL, but he’s now had two straight years with 70.0-plus pass-rushing grades, and with seven and six sacks in the past two seasons, respectively, his big break could be coming in 2022.

15. Washington Commanders: EDGE Montez Sweat

Actual pick: QB Dwayne Haskins

Washington’s top contributors from this draft were wide receiver Terry McLaurin and edge rusher Montez Sweat, neither of whom was the team's first selection. With McLaurin already off the board, the best option for Washington at the time with hindsight would have been Sweat. That's a bit boring since he’s on the team in real life, but with back-to-back seasons above a 75.0 overall grade, Sweat is coming into his own and could just be getting started.

16. Carolina Panthers: OT Jonah Williams

Actual pick: EDGE Brian Burns

The Panthers got a steal in Brian Burns at No. 16 back in 2019. But with Burns long gone in this draft, they should have looked toward a position group they are still trying to figure out in 2022: offensive line. Williams was picked earlier than this in 2019, but when healthy, he’s still a solid young offensive tackle — one the Panthers could certainly use today.

17. New York Giants: DI Dexter Lawrence

Actual pick: DI Dexter Lawrence

The Giants still would have this pick, as it wasn’t a draft-day trade; this was the selection they received in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. They took Lawrence here back in 2019, and that's still the right choice in this re-draft. The bigger-bodied Lawrence recorded a 73.3 pass-rushing grade in 2021, which was the fifth-best of any defensive lineman in the class.

18. Minnesota Vikings: OG Chris Lindstrom

Actual pick: C Garrett Bradbury

The Vikings certainly needed interior offensive line help back in 2019. They went with Bradburry to shore up their center position, but Lindstrom has been the better offensive lineman each step of the way in the NFL, especially more recently. If Minnesota had a do-over, I think they would go in this direction.

19. Tennessee Titans: DI Christian Wilkins

Actual pick: EDGE Jeffery Simmons

It’s a bit odd to have Wilkins going later in this draft than where he was originally selected, as he has become a really good player for the Dolphins, recording an 83.3 overall grade this past season. But that speaks to the talent at the top of this class. The Titans needed interior defensive line help back in 2019, and I think they’d stick with that spot in Wilkins with Simmons long gone.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Diontae Johnson

Actual pick: TE Noah Fant (to Denver Broncos)

The Steelers traded from No. 20 to No. 10 on draft day to move up for linebacker Devin Bush, who is still available here at No. 20 in the reset of the order. Bush hasn’t exactly lived up to a first-round billing, both in play and availability. The player Pittsburgh selected later in this draft, Diontae Johnson, actually feels perfect for them here at No. 20 given the players who are left. Johnson has quietly, at least it seems, recorded over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns as a pass-catcher over the past two seasons with sub-par quarterback play.

21. Seattle Seahawks: TE T.J. Hockenson

Actual pick: S Darnell Savage (to Green Bay Packers)

The Seahawks traded this pick to the Green Bay Packers on draft night and then later selected interior defender L.J. Collier in the first round. The big hit for them in this class was D.K. Metcalf in the second round, but there was no chance he was making it this far in a re-draft. Instead, with all of the good edge rushers also gone, this is a comfortable spot for a player like Hockenson.

22. Baltimore Ravens: CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

Actual pick: OT Andre Dillard (to Philadelphia Eagles)

Gardner-Johnson is a hybrid safety/slot defender who, at his best, can be one of the better slot defenders in the league. The Ravens didn’t need an outside cornerback in this draft, but they did need a slot cornerback. They took wide receiver Marquise Brown at No. 25 back in 2019 and could have done so again here at No. 22. But for fun, I’m giving them CGJ, who would talk a hilarious amount of smack as a member of that Ravens defense.

23. Houston Texans: CB Jamel Dean

Actual pick: OT Tytus Howard

On draft night, the selection of Howard at No. 23 was one of the more shocking picks of the first round. If the Texans had to do it over again, they’d likely look to their secondary, especially given how bad it is currently. With a handful of cornerbacks to choose from, Dean stands out as the one with the highest ceiling. He’s recorded a 76.0-plus coverage grade in each of his first three NFL seasons.

24. Las Vegas Raiders: DI Ed Oliver

Actual pick: RB Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs has been good for the Raiders, especially given the turmoil their offense has endured from players to coaches. However, in this re-draft, I’d probably look elsewhere knowing they could have added to their running back room at any point over the past three years. With Oliver still on the board, he is the pick. Oliver had his best season as a pro this past season with a 70.9 overall grade and a 73.7 pass-rush grade.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: S Amani Hooker

Actual pick: WR Marquise Brown (to Baltimore Ravens)

To this very day, the Eagles are still searching for reliable play on the back end of their secondary. At the time, they still had Malcolm Jenkins, but the following year would be his last in Philly. Hooker has blossomed into one of the better and more versatile young safeties in the league. He recorded a 75.2 run-defense grade, 83.4 coverage grade and 83.3 overall grade in 2021. He would be a welcomed building block for the Eagles — both in 2019 and now. 

26. Indianapolis Colts: WR Marquise Brown

Actual pick: EDGE Montez Sweat (to Washington Commanders)

With Brown still on the board, and with the Colts still having this pick, he would be a fun addition to the team. The Colts took Parris Campbell later in this draft, but injuries have kept them from seeing much of the speed they desired from him. Brown could have given Indianapolis that speed element with more reliability.

27. Las Vegas Raiders: S Juan Thornhill

Actual pick: S Johnathan Abram

I once again think the Raiders were on the right track with the position they targeted, they just drafted the wrong player. Abrams was an athletic thumper, but time proved what Las Vegas really needed: an athlete on the back end with good range to play free safety. That is what Thornhill, who has earned two 70.0-plus grades across three seasons, could have brought them. 

28. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Hunter Renfrow

Actual pick: DI Jerry Tillery

If you look at Renfrow’s pre-draft measurements and combine results, you’ll see why he wasn’t a first-round pick. On the other hand, his 1,038 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns and 82.3 receiving grade from this past season say otherwise. He sneaks into this re-draft, and I think it’s warranted for how reliable a slot receiver he is.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: S Nasir Adderley

Actual pick: EDGE L.J. Collier (to Seattle Seahawks)

The Chiefs picked up Juan Thornhill in the second round of this draft, so with the chance to grab a safety earlier (and with Thornhill already off the board), Adderley makes a ton of sense. His career has been hampered by injury a bit three years in, but he had his best coverage season yet this past year.

30. Green Bay Packers: S Darnell Savage

Actual pick: CB DeAndre Baker (to New York Giants)

This pick changed hands a few times, first from Green Bay trading it to Seattle, then Seattle trading it to New York. The Packers used the selection to move up to take Savage back in 2019, and with Savage still on the board, I think that’s where they’d stay. He’s flashed quite a bit over the past three years, and 2022 feels like it could be his best year yet of consistently good play.

31. Los Angeles Rams: OG/C Erik McCoy

Actual pick: OT Kaleb McGary (to Atlanta Falcons)

The only way the Rams would have a first-round pick in a first round is if it were a re-draft with no trades. The versatile McCoy probably should have gone much higher than this. But I’ll make Rams fans happy to read a draft article since they don’t get that feeling very often anymore (they’ll take it for their Super Bowl, I’m sure). McCoy has allowed just two sacks and six quarterback hits across 1,600-plus career pass-blocking snaps.

32. New England Patriots: TE Noah Fant

Actual pick: WR N’Keal Harry

Fant hasn’t been a major difference-maker yet in the NFL. But he has been consistent, racking up over 500 yards receiving in each of his past three seasons. This pick also could have stopped New England from spending all that money on Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry two offseasons later.

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