News & Analysis

Redrafting the NFL: Patrick Mahomes to the Bengals, Aaron Rodgers to the Jaguars and more

Last week, ESPN published an NFL redraft that saw NFL Nation reporters across the country redraft the foundations of all 32 NFL teams.

Inspired by this endeavor, PFF's Eric Eager and George Chahrouri set out to do their very own version of this redraft, only they brought some of the brightest minds in football analytics along for the ride.

On this special episode of the PFF Forecast, George and Eric are joined by PFF analysts Timo Riske and Kevin ColeEstablishTheRun.com‘s Evan Silva and FiveThirtyEight.com‘s Josh Hermsmeyer. Each analyst was given a set of NFL teams and had four rounds to select the best foundations for their franchises. The takeaways and analysis at the conclusion of this exercise came courtesy of OverTheCap.com‘s Brad Spielberger.

Here are the rules:

  • All current NFL players are available, and the order is the same as the 2020 NFL Draft
  • The goal for each team is to compete for a Super Bowl within a five-year window
  • Only one quarterback is allowed per team
  • Contracts do not matter

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Cincinnati Bengals

Drafted by George Chahrouri, PFF analyst

Round 1 (1): QB Patrick Mahomes
Round 2 (64): S Eddie Jackson
Round 3 (65): CB Jaire Alexander
Round 4 (128): LB Fred Warner

“Picking for the Bengals — and I'm not going to pick Drew Lock, despite the current upward trend — I'm going to go with Patrick Mahomes, and I don't think it's particularly close.” – George Chahrouri

Washington Redskins

Drafted by Josh Hermsmeyer, writer and football analyst at fivethirtyeight.com

Round 1 (2): QB Lamar Jackson
Round 2 (63): WR Tyler Lockett
Round 3 (66): T Ronnie Stanley
Round 4 (127): WR Will Fuller V

“The question becomes, for my mind, because you're looking at the players available, there's a lot of older quarterbacks who are quite good or at least have been good. But to me, it comes down to two players: Lamar [Jackson] and Russell [Wilson], both in systems that are going to ask them to support a running game. … Lamar is his own running game, so that's why he becomes the second overall pick.” – Josh Hermsmeyer

Detroit Lions

Drafted by Eric Eager, PFF analyst

Round 1 (3): QB Russell Wilson
Round 2 (62): WR Robert Woods
Round 3 (67): CB Byron Jones
Round 4 (126): CB William Jackson III

“You made my decision a lot easier because I was ready at [Pick] 3, picking for the Detroit Lions. … Wilson and Mahomes come off the board and I'm like, do I have to make this tough decision between Brees, Rodgers, Ryan? And I was going to go with Lamar at No. 3 — so we're on a similar wavelength — but I don't have to make that decision anymore because I'm going to go with Russell Wilson now that he's landed in my lap.” – Eric Eager

New York Giants

Drafted by Evan Silva, writer and football analyst at establishtherun.com

Round 1 (4): QB Deshaun Watson
Round 2 (61): WR D.K. Metcalf
Round 3 (68): Edge Joey Bosa
Round 4 (125): T Jedrick Wills Jr.

“I had all those guys in my top-four. The fourth member of my top-four is Deshaun Watson, who has really overcome a lot of factors working against him in Houston. … He's been a winning quarterback consistently going back to college, he's been a really high-pedigree player when he was coming out of high school on to becoming the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL draft, and I think he's a player that has shown the ability to elevate his team.” – Evan Silva

Miami Dolphins

Drafted by Kevin Cole, PFF analyst

Round 1 (5): QB Kyler Murray
Round 2 (60): S Jamal Adams
Round 3 (69): T Ryan Ramczyk
Round 4 (124): DI DeForest Buckner

“Here, I'm thinking about a couple of different things and can go a couple of different ways: youth vs. guys who are a bit older. Better quarterbacks may be available who are a bit older. If you want to go younger, you have Dak Prescott, who is available; Carson Wentz, who is not as young but is still available, and then Kyler Murray is probably the other guy where people would probably entertain taking him at this point. So anyway … I'm going to go ahead and go super young, go with Kyler Murray.” – Kevin Cole

Los Angeles Chargers

Drafted by Timo Riske, PFF analyst

Round 1 (6): QB Matt Ryan
Round 2 (59): Edge T.J. Watt
Round 3 (70): CB Desmond King II
Round 4 (123): WR A.J. Green

“The decision for me was whether to take Matt Ryan or Dak Prescott, but … I'm taking Matt Ryan, who might be underrated right now because he didn't have a good season last year, but I expect him to have maybe three or four more good years.” – Timo Riske

Carolina Panthers

Drafted by George Chahrouri, PFF analyst

Round 1 (7): QB Dak Prescott
Round 2 (58): WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Round 3 (71): CB Denzel Ward
Round 4 (122): T Tyron Smith 

“I have two guys ahead of Matt Ryan. I have Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott, both ahead of him, based on age. I'm also considering Baker Mayfield here. I think Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott are equally yolked in terms of what I think they can be as an NFL player from a production standpoint, but I'm a little more confident that Dak Prescott is the guy that I want to be the face of my franchise.” – George Chahrouri

Arizona Cardinals

Drafted by Josh Hermsmeyer, writer and football analyst at fivethirtyeight.com

Round 1 (8): QB Joe Burrow
Round 2 (57): S Jabrill Peppers
Round 3 (72): CB Quinton Dunbar
Round 4 (121): WR Jarvis Landry

“At least in the PFF era and the era in which I used statistics to study quarterbacks, there's been no one who has even touched Joe Burrow's last season. … Just on that hope, I think here when you're getting into the middle of the pack of quarterbacks that probably aren't going to take you to the promised land, that even a 15% shot at that type of outcome is worth the risk here at the eighth pick.” – Josh Hermsmeyer

Jacksonville Jaguars

Drafted by Eric Eager, PFF analyst

Round 1 (9): QB Aaron Rodgers
Round 2 (56): S Tyrann Mathieu
Round 3 (73): T David Bakhtiari
Round 4 (120): WR Adam Thielen

“As an alternative to Brees and Brady, Roethlisberger, Rivers, he [Rodgers] is still younger. … There are reasons why we like him more than maybe other people, and it's not like he's Drew Lock out there or Josh Allen … he hasn't been as good as of late, but he's still good.” – Eric Eager

Cleveland Browns

Drafted by Evan Silva, writer and football analyst at establishtherun.com

Round 1 (10): QB Carson Wentz
Round 2 (55): TE Mark Andrews
Round 3 (74): DI Grady Jarrett
Round 4 (119): T Andrew Thomas

“At No. 10 overall, I'm going to take Carson Wentz. I still can't believe that the Browns passed on Carson Wentz back in the day. We got to right that error and take Carson Wentz here at No. 10 overall when I think that he could have been justifiable as early as No. 5 overall. … In 2017 he played at a legitimate MVP level; in 2019 he showed the ability to put a team that was really deficient in the pass-catching corps on his back. When he's healthy, he's one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league, and he's one of the most aggressive passers in the league.” – Evan Silva

New York Jets

Drafted by Kevin Cole, PFF analyst

Round 1 (11): QB Baker Mayfield
Round 2 (54): Edge Nick Bosa
Round 3 (75): CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
Round 4 (118): WR Jalen Reagor

“I'm going to go back to younger. I'm going to go back to upside. I'm going to go back to someone who had one of the best rookie seasons we've seen in a long time, and in a valley of dysfunction last season did not perform well and is now seen as someone who may be playing for his job in a year or two. But I still believe in him, so I'm going to go with Baker Mayfield.” – Kevin Cole

Las Vegas Raiders

Drafted by Timo Riske, PFF analyst

Round 1 (12): QB Matthew Stafford
Round 2 (53): CB Marlon Humphrey
Round 3 (76): WR Courtland Sutton
Round 4 (117): WR Darius Slayton

“I don't go with an old guy here. I also can't go with a really young guy here. …  So I'm going right into the middle and I take the quarterback who was tied first in average depth of target last year. It's not Jameis Winston, it's Matthew Stafford.” – Timo Riske

Indianapolis Colts

Drafted by George Chahrouri, PFF analyst

Round 1 (13): QB Jimmy Garoppolo
Round 2 (52): WR Terry McLaurin
Round 3 (77): CB Marshon Lattimore
Round 4 (116): WR CeeDee Lamb

“If I were taking an old guy, I would take Tom Brady ahead of Drew Brees, and it wouldn't even be a question in my mind. I think Tom Brady could maybe play three more years, but that's still on the long end. … So I'm deciding between — as crazy as this may seem — Tua [Tagovailoa], Jimmy G and Kirk Cousins. I'm not not going to take Kirk Cousins over Jimmy G. And Tua, as much as I believe in him, I actually think that he's got some question marks that I don't have with Jimmy G. … I'm going to go with Jimmy Garoppolo.” – George Chahrouri

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Drafted by Josh Hermsmeyer, writer and football analyst at fivethirtyeight.com

Round 1 (14): QB Kirk Cousins
Round 2 (51): WR Allen Robinson II
Round 3 (78): WR Marquise Brown
Round 4 (115): S Adrian Phillips

“I'm glad you passed on Kirk Cousins because there's a narrative surrounding him, and a lot of it is justified because of his surrounding talent or the deficit of it with the loss of [Stefon] Diggs and other things. Cook, I don't think is that big a hit, but other people are viewing it that way. But I think that you plop him in the right system, there's no reason he can't do the kinds of things that Ryan Tannehill did last year. There's no reason. And the narrative of him not performing in big games has kind of been blown up at this point. I think he's a solid QB at this spot.” – Josh Hermsmeyer

Denver Broncos

Drafted by Eric Eager, PFF analyst

Round 1 (15): QB Drew Brees
Round 2 (50): WR Keenan Allen
Round 3 (79): S Justin Simmons
Round 4 (114): Edge Demarcus Lawrence

“Part of me really wants to take Ryan Tannehill here, because when you look at his performance since he's been drafted, he was trending in the right direction and then he had the injuries and then he had last season, which was amazing … but regression … it is what it is … so because I think he's going to play a couple more years, I'm going to go with Drew Brees.” – Eric Eager

Atlanta Falcons

Drafted by Evan Silva, writer and football analyst at establishtherun.com

Round 1 (16): QB Tua Tagovailoa
Round 2 (49): WR Stefon Diggs
Round 3 (80): DI Chris Jones
Round 4 (113): T Taylor Lewan

“I'm going to go with Tua [Tagovailoa] at age 22. I know that there are concerns about his injury history. … But I think the dude's a baller. You watch him play, he just operates with a lot of decisiveness and urgency — maybe too much urgency at times — but he was a prolific college passer and a very good athlete.” – Evan Silva

Dallas Cowboys

Drafted by Kevin Cole, PFF analyst

Round 1 (17): QB Jared Goff
Round 2 (48): Edge Myles Garrett
Round 3 (81): T Laremy Tunsil
Round 4 (112): WR D.J. Chark

“I'm going to take a guy who I think has been overshadowed by his draft class. … And now everyone sees him as far below Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott, but I think Jared Goff is someone who has shown that he can play at that high level if you build around him in the right way.” – Kevin Cole

Pittsburgh Steelers

Drafted by Timo Riske, PFF analyst

Round 1 (18): QB Tom Brady
Round 2 (47): WR Davante Adams
Round 3 (82): S Marcus Williams
Round 4 (111): TE Rob Gronkowski

“I'm going for win-now mode and taking Tom Brady.” – Timo Riske

Chicago Bears

Drafted by George Chahrouri, PFF analyst

Round 1 (19): QB Jameis Winston
Round 2 (46): WR Amari Cooper
Round 3 (83): CB Jeff Okudah
Round 4 (110): T Orlando Brown Jr.

“I'm going to go with Jameis Winston. … Here's the thing: I was swayed a little bit by what Josh just said [about Kirk Cousins] because he reminded me of something that Eric [Eager] often preaches, which is: When you make it to the playoffs, you win a Super Bowl because you can string together three, four great games. And Jameis Winston may not get me to the playoffs in four of the five years because he's a catastrophe, but if he gets me there one year, I at least think he's got a chance to string them together, whereas I don't feel that way about Teddy Bridgewater or Ryan Tannehill.” – George Chahrouri

Los Angeles Rams

Drafted by Josh Hermsmeyer, writer and football analyst at fivethirtyeight.com

Round 1 (20): QB Cam Newton
Round 2 (45): CB Stephon Gilmore
Round 3 (84): CB Richard Sherman
Round 4 (109): CB Adoree' Jackson

“I'm going to take Cam Newton, a guy who's standing on the sidelines without a team right now. I think he deserves to be on a roster right now. I think there's tons of ways you can utilize his talents to win, and I like him better than Tannehill; I like him certainly better than Carr and way better than [Daniel] Jones and [Josh] Allen.” – Josh Hermsmeyer

Philadelphia Eagles

Drafted by Eric Eager, PFF analyst

Round 1 (21): QB Ryan Tannehill
Round 2 (44): WR Julio Jones
Round 3 (85): S Kevin Byard
Round 4 (108): WR Deebo Samuel

“I'm going to go with [Ryan] Tannehill. … I think he was on a career arc that was pretty good. And then last season, he sort of made good on some of the promises he had made early in his career with Miami before the ACL [injury].” – Eric Eager

Buffalo Bills

Drafted by Evan Silva, writer and football analyst at establishtherun.com

Round 1 (22): QB Josh Allen
Round 2 (43): CB Tre'Davious White
Round 3 (86): Edge Shaquil Barrett
Round 4 (107): LB Darius Leonard

“It's Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Daniel Jones. I think that they're all in very similar territory. I wake up one day, I like Darnold the best. I wake up the next day, I like Daniel Jones the best. But I kind of think I know the best, and that's going to be the 2020 NFL MVP Josh Allen reuniting with the Buffalo Bills.” – Evan Silva

New England Patriots

Drafted by Kevin Cole, PFF analyst

Round 1 (23): QB Daniel Jones
Round 2 (42): WR Michael Thomas
Round 3 (87): WR Mecole Hardman
Round 4 (106): Edge Josh Allen

“I'm going to look for a young guy who's made some plays but has a lot of mistakes, some awareness problems in the pocket that maybe could be cleaned up. And that's Daniel Jones — I would've taken him before [Josh] Allen also. I think he's just shown more. I think he was probably a little underrated by the community coming out of college.” – Kevin Cole

New Orleans Saints

Drafted by Timo Riske, PFF analyst

Round 1 (24): QB Philip Rivers
Round 2 (41): WR Mike Evans
Round 3 (88): T Terron Armstead
Round 4 (105): S Tre Boston

“I was pretty sure I would take a non-quarterback at No. 24, but the last two picks, two guys went off the board that weren't even on my list. I feel like before I take a bet on Josh Allen becoming good, I can just draft quarterbacks next round and hope [they] will become good. So I will go with another oldie — this is Philip Rivers. – Timo Riske

Minnesota Vikings

Drafted by George Chahrouri, PFF analyst

Round 1 (25): QB Sam Darnold
Round 2 (40): WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Round 3 (89): T La'el Collins
Round 4 (104): WR Henry Ruggs III

“I'm going to take Sam Darnold, who I think just has had one of the worst situations in football. … I feel good about his chances to be decent with a decent supporting cast.” – George Chahrouri

Houston Texans

Drafted by Josh Hermsmeyer, writer and football analyst at fivethirtyeight.com

Round 1 (26): QB Dwayne Haskins
Round 2 (39): WR Kenny Golladay
Round 3 (90): Edge Khalil Mack
Round 4 (103): WR DeVante Parker

“I'm kind of left here with palatable choices between youngsters Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock. Based on both of those franchises and based on the power of my prior coming in from college, I have to give the edge to Dwayne Haskins.” – Josh Hermsmeyer

Seattle Seahawks

Drafted by Eric Eager, PFF analyst

Round 1 (27): WR Chris Godwin
Round 2 (38): TE Travis Kelce
Round 3 (91): QB Derek Carr
Round 4 (102): S Anthony Harris

“I think the marginal value of taking the next quarterback here is pretty minimal. But at the same time, you have to ask, ‘Is the difference between any of these next wide receivers that big, as well?' I do think there's a guy who, going into his fourth season, is ascending, can play both the inside and the outside, has made do with a quarterback who hasn't been the greatest in the world. And I only see him going up from here, so with the first non-quarterback pick, I'm actually going to take Chris Godwin.” – Eric Eager

Baltimore Ravens

Drafted by Evan Silva, writer and football analyst at establishtherun.com

Round 1 (28): QB Ben Roethlisberger
Round 2 (37): WR A.J. Brown
Round 3 (92): T Lane Johnson
Round 4 (101): T Taylor Moton

“I'm going to follow up Eric's possession slot receiver first-round pick with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. He's not the greatest guy, but he's won the big one before. … He was very good in 2018. I definitely worry about his health, but I think the health situation is sort of baked into his price at this point because he's going toward the end of the first round. You don't even need to hire an offensive coordinator — he saves your organization money because he will run the offense.” – Evan Silva

Tennessee Titans

Drafted by Kevin Cole, PFF analyst

Round 1 (29): CB Jalen Ramsey
Round 2 (36): TE George Kittle
Round 3 (93): QB Colin Kaepernick
Round 4 (100): Edge Danielle Hunter

“I'm going to go with a guy that we haven't been that high on for a couple of years. But if you look at the NFL and the trade value that he gets, they're very high on him. I'm going to go with Jalen Ramsey here. … You have a true lockdown, No. 1 cornerback that really provides a lot of value potentially for the defense. He's a guy who's young, and there just aren't many guys out there like him.” – Kevin Cole

Green Bay Packers

Drafted by Timo Riske, PFF analyst

Round 1 (30): S Derwin James
Round 2 (35): CB Casey Hayward
Round 3 (94): WR D.J. Moore
Round 4 (99): WR Jerry Jeudy

“I'm pretty confident I still get a stud receiver at No. 35 if I want to. So I also go defense here, but I'm going to the safety position — I'm taking Derwin James. I'm still pissed the Bucs didn't draft him back in 2018, so here I'll draft him right now for the Packers.” – Timo Riske

San Francisco 49ers

Drafted by George Chahrouri, PFF analyst

Round 1 (31): WR DeAndre Hopkins
Round 2 (34): WR Tyreek Hill
Round 3 (95): G Quenton Nelson
Round 4 (98): LB Isaiah Simmons

“I'm going to go with DeAndre Hopkins, who I believe is the best all-around person/wide receiver at the wide receiver position. I could have been convinced to look at Odell Beckham Jr. a little bit harder. I think Michael Thomas is really good but not quite as diverse. I think Julio is a little older there, and Tyreek Hill is obviously a huge question mark. So DeAndre Hopkins, to me, will give whatever quarterback I end up with in this draft the best chance.” – George Chahrouri

Kansas City Chiefs

Drafted by Josh Hermsmeyer, writer and football analyst at fivethirtyeight.com

Round 1 (32): DI Aaron Donald
Round 2 (33): Edge Chase Young
Round 3 (96): T Mitchell Schwartz
Round 4 (97): RB Saquon Barkley

“I love the idea of beefing up a secondary, but I'm at the turn here, and even two stud cornerbacks is leaving me at least one — and probably two — links short of having a dominant secondary. What I can do at this turn is make a devastating front line — an incredible D-line. And so what do you do? You take the best current defensive lineman in all the NFL in Aaron Donald, and then on the way back you take one of the best prospects that we've seen on the edge in whoever knows how long in youngster Chase Young.” – Josh Hermsmeyer


Key takeaways and analysis — by OverTheCap.com‘s Brad Spielberger

The average NFL team will be spending $62 million on the cap in 2020 for their four highest-paid players. While this exercise was obviously meant to be cap-blind, only three redraft teams topped this mark: the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars. All three clubs were managed by Eric.

Three teams did not draft a quarterback — those with picks 30-32. The Kansas City Chiefs, with Josh Hermsmeyer in charge, still managed to rank 10th in cap spend without a QB (49ers 17th, Packers 30th).

Position-by-position breakdown
Position No. of players picked
Quarterback 29
Wide receiver 35
Safety 13
Cornerback 15
Interior defensive lineman 4
Edge defender 10
Tight end 4
Offensive tackle 14
Interior offensive lineman 1
Running back 1
Linebacker 2

With 58 out of 128 total selections still on their rookie contracts (not including fifth-year options), adding young talent was clearly a priority.

On the other hand, Hermsmeyer's Rams team perhaps planned on tanking hard early to peak towards the end of the window, as the squad included an unsigned Cam Newton and two cornerbacks who will be over the age of 30 in 2020 in Stephon Gilmore and Richard Sherman.

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