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2017 NFL redraft: Mahomes goes to Cleveland

WCG’s lead draft analyst tries out a redraft for the 2017 NFL Draft.

NFL Pro Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The exercise of going through and redrafting selections in the NFL Draft is a fun “what if?” game that messes with the idea of alternate football realities.

What if Tom Brady didn’t end up with the Patriots? What if the Raiders didn’t take JaMarcus Russell with the first pick in 2007? There are many draft picks over the years that have had major consequences on the NFL landscape, for better or worse.

I’ll be exploring a handful of recent drafts over the next few weeks, but let’s start with the 2017 NFL Draft. This class had plenty of top-tier running backs, a handful of All-Pro defensive talents, and — oh, yeah — the best quarterback in the NFL today. What would this class look like if you involve the power of hindsight? Let’s take a look.

Note: The draft order used for these selections consisted of the pre-draft order, not involving Draft Day trades. These picks don’t keep in mind future selections teams made to solve positions of need, and future redrafts on this site will not keep the picks from previous redrafts in mind.

1. Cleveland Browns: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Original Pick: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M

Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL right now. Enough said.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Original Pick: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina (to Bears)

The 49ers traded out of the second pick in real life, but they likely wouldn’t do so if they had the chance to do it all over again. Watson is a three-time Pro Bowler and was tremendous in Houston.

3. Chicago Bears: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin

Original Pick: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford (to 49ers)

You could really go either way with the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year in Watt or Myles Garrett here, but either way, the Bears find themselves with an All-Pro pass rusher in this alternate reality.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M

Original Pick: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

This draft happened months before the Jaguars ran to the AFC Championship with a stellar defense. Now, imagine adding Garrett to that stacked unit.

5. Tennessee Titans: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington

Original Pick: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

It feels weird that Kupp only has one Pro Bowl to his name, seeing that he’s firmly established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. The Titans could’ve made much worse picks than Corey Davis here, but Kupp is a massive upgrade.

6. New York Jets: George Kittle, TE, Iowa

Original Pick: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

The Jets didn’t make a bad pick by any means here, but a four-time Pro Bowler and an elite talent at tight end like Kittle would’ve also been a fantastic addition to an offense that needed more dynamic weapons at the time.

7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

Original Pick: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Allen is one of the best pass-rushing interior defensive linemen in the NFL, and he’s been a reliable run-stuffer for Washington since entering the league. He would’ve been a welcomed addition to a Chargers defensive line that has since struggled to find continuity.

8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Original Pick: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Even though the Panthers ended up trading McCaffrey to the 49ers for a decent haul in 2022, they got tremendous use out of him. He’s a multi-faceted running back well worth the top-10 selection, both at the time and in retrospect.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State

Original Pick: John Ross III, WR, Washington

With three 1,000-yard seasons to his name, Godwin has been one of the most reliable receivers in the league in recent years. He would’ve helped form a tremendous bridge from the A.J. Green era into a new, dynamic era of Bengals offense.

10. Buffalo Bills: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

Original Pick: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech (to Chiefs)

The Bills ended up selecting White in Round 1 in real life, and they don’t regret their decision. They stick with their man and secure him with the No. 10 pick.

11. New Orleans Saints: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Original Pick: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Similar to Buffalo’s situation, the Saints landed a top-notch cornerback in Lattimore in the real 2017 draft. They’d make this same selection over again if they could.

12. Cleveland Browns: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Original Pick: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (to Texans)

With Mahomes in tow, the Browns address another premier position by selecting Humphrey, a three-time Pro Bowler who would’ve been a great addition to help Cleveland change their losing ways.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Budda Baker, S, Washington

Original Pick: Haason Reddick, EDGE, Temple

Arizona drafted Baker in Round 2 in the 2017 draft, but they wouldn’t get so lucky in this redraft. They secure their man and lock down one of the best safeties in the NFL today.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

Original Pick: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee

The Eagles won the Super Bowl in the 2017-18 season with so-so rookie production from Barnett and a lack of a true star at running back. Just imagine what they could’ve done with a 5-time Pro Bowler and that year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in the backfield in Kamara.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

Original Pick: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

The Colts woefully mismanaged their offensive line when Andrew Luck was at quarterback, which helped lead to physical breakdown and his eventual retirement. If you throw in a star offensive tackle like Ramczyk into the mix, who knows? Maybe that changes.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Haason Reddick, EDGE, Temple

Original Pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

It took Reddick a little bit of time to get into a groove, but he’s now coming off of three straight double-digit sack seasons. The Ravens would’ve had fun working with such an athletic ball of clay like him.

17. Washington Commanders: Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Original Pick: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

His play has fallen off a bit, but Adams’ run from 2017 to 2020 was tremendous. A hard-hitting safety who could blitz and make plays on the ball, he would’ve been a fun addition to Washington’s secondary.

18. Tennessee Titans: Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama

Original Pick: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

Sorry, Bears fans. Jackson doesn’t fall all the way to Round 5 in this redraft, as the Titans instead snag the two-time Pro Bowler to boost their secondary.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Original Pick: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Though falling a bit due to positional value, there’s no denying Cook has been one of the league’s best running backs for most of his career. Doug Martin was on his way out in Tampa, so this pick works perfectly for the Buccaneers.

20. Denver Broncos: Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple

Original Pick: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

There’s a good argument that the Broncos could make the same pick they made in real life, but Dawkins is coming off of consecutive Pro Bowl seasons and has really come into his own.

21. Detroit Lions: Trey Hendrickson, EDGE, Florida Atlantic

Original Pick: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

The Lions avoid their bad stretch of linebacker draft picks here, instead opting to add a player in Hendrickson who’s had a combined 35.5 sacks in the last three seasons.

22. Miami Dolphins: Matt Milano, LB, Boston College

Original Pick: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri

He fell under the radar for a while with Tremaine Edmunds stealing the spotlight at linebacker in Buffalo, but Milano has been a steady defender who earned first-team All-Pro recognition for the first time in 2022.

23. New York Giants: Austin Ekeler, RB, Western Colorado

Original Pick: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss

An undrafted free agent in real life, Ekeler is one of the league’s better running backs and a valuable pass-catching threat, which would’ve made him a strong addition to the Giants’ offense.

24. Las Vegas/Oakland Raiders: Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma

Original Pick: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Mixon has three 1,000-yard seasons to his name and has played a big role in Cincinnati’s turnaround in recent years. The Raiders had Marshawn Lynch at the time, but they would likely know better than to put all their eggs in the basket of a then-31-year-old running back who had just come out of retirement.

25. Houston Texans: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

Original Pick: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan (to Browns)

Bolles’ improvement over the years has really been impressive to watch. He would be a nice addition to Houston’s offensive line in this hypothetical.

26. Seattle Seahawks: Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF

Original Pick: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA (to Falcons)

Griffin ended up with the Seahawks in the real 2017 draft — albeit later than Round 1 — and Seattle would likely still welcome a new young stud to their secondary as they fazed out the Legion of Boom.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Original Pick: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU (to Bills)

Williams falls a bit in this draft, and though there’s been some inconsistency with him, the highs have been incredibly high. Just imagine him alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

28. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Moore II, CB, Valdosta State

Original Pick: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan

The second undrafted free agent to earn a first-round pick in this redraft, Moore is a Pro Bowl talent who has been one of the league’s best slot corners for some time.

29. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Jones, RB, UTEP

Original Pick: David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL) (to Browns)

The Packers have gotten three 1,000-yard seasons out of Jones since they drafted him in 2017. Odds are they’d be more than happy with securing that output by using a late first on him in this redraft.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Williams, S, Utah

Original Pick: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin

One of the league’s best playmakers at safety, Williams has never quite reached stardom but certainly makes an impact with his plays on the ball. That’s a pretty good consolation prize for the Steelers, who obviously wouldn’t have Watt falling to them this late in a redraft.

31. Atlanta Falcons: Dalvin Tomlinson, DL, Alabama

Original Pick: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama (to 49ers)

Tomlinson isn’t the sexiest pick out there, but he’s been a rock-solid defensive tackle for quite some time. He would be a great complement as the powerful run-stuffer to Grady Jarrett’s explosiveness on Atlanta’s defensive line.

32. New Orleans Saints: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

Original Pick: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

It hasn’t come without a few bumps in the road, but Smith-Schuster has put together a solid career for himself as a nice WR2 who also earned Pro Bowl recognition in 2018. Having him alongside Michael Thomas would really help the Saints push for the Super Bowl they didn’t get in Drew Brees’ final years.