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’ve looked at the classes from 2017, 2018 and 2019 already. I abide to the three-year evaluating window before making a decision on first-round selections, so that means the last article in this series will cover the 2020 NFL Draft. In addition to three of the best quarterbacks in the league, there have been plenty of intriguing players to come out of that class. But where do all of those players end up? 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.
Original Pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Burrow is a Pro Bowler who’s turned the Bengals into AFC champions and a perennial contender. This was an easy pick.
2. Washington Commanders: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Original Pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Herbert is averaging nearly 4,700 passing yards per year in the three seasons he’s played in the NFL. A Pro Bowler with 94 passing touchdowns for the Chargers, he’s one of the game’s best passers and would give the Commanders the franchise quarterback they still desperately need.
3. Detroit Lions: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Original Pick: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Do the Lions go with a quarterback here knowing they’d trade Matthew Stafford, even though Jared Goff would end up as a solid starter for them? I think they would, when you consider Hurts is an NFC champion, a Pro Bowler and one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now.
4. New York Giants: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Original Pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Giants made a very good pick with Thomas here at No. 4, but Jefferson is arguably the best wide receiver in the game. With 324 receptions, 4,825 yards, 25 touchdowns and Pro Bowls in every season he’s played, he’s a bonafide superstar.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Original Pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Would the Dolphins commit to Tua again here? He’s a solid starter, but as it stands, I’m not sure. If they aren’t going with him as their quarterback, Wirfs is a stud offensive tackle with two Pro Bowls, a first-team and a second-team All-Pro to his name. That’s not a bad addition!
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Original Pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
It started off rocky, but Thomas has developed into a true star at offensive tackle for the Giants. The Chargers weren’t going to be able to get Herbert in this redraft, but a second-team All-Pro offensive tackle is a pretty good consolation prize.
7. Carolina Panthers: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Original Pick: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
With two consecutive Pro Bowls and a total of 260 catches, 3,396 yards and 20 touchdowns through his first three seasons, Lamb has developed into arguably a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL. He and DJ Moore would’ve been an insanely good duo in that Carolina offense.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Original Pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
It can be easy to forget with Ja’Marr Chase in Cincinnati, but Higgins is a fantastic receiver in his own right. Higgins and DeAndre Hopkins would be a phenomenal receiver duo in this alternate Cardinals universe and could help take that offense to another level.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Original Pick: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Jaguars got it right drafting a cornerback at No. 9; they just picked the wrong one. Terrell has 32 pass deflections in his career thus far and an allowed completion percentage of just 52.8 over the last two seasons — he’s a stud.
10. Cleveland Browns: Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
Original Pick: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
The Browns could’ve made worse picks than Wills here, but Winfield is a star safety with a Pro Bowl to his name and playmaking ability for days.
Original Pick: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
In 2020, the Jets’ top wide receiver had just 699 receiving yards. A talented weapon like Aiyuk who has consistently been improving might be able to thrive even more as a bonafide WR1 for an offense in this scenario.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Original Pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Young is a fantastic talent when healthy, so for that he still ends up in the first half of the first round. He’s only played in 12 games in the last two years, though. The Raiders will take the gamble and hope he stays healthy to maintain that elite level of play.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Original Pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (to Buccaneers)
The lows with Diggs are low, but the highs are as high as any cornerback in the NFL right now. He’s a true, aggressive playmaker who would feast with San Francisco’s defensive line generating pressure up front.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Original Pick: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina (to 49ers)
The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2020, and their defense put together a very strong season. Factor in another stud defensive lineman like Brown in the mix? Good luck stopping that.
15. Denver Broncos: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Original Pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Tua is certainly better than Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien and actual wide receiver Kendall Hinton. Those were the players who threw passes for the Broncos in 2020. Enough said.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Jonah Jackson, OG, Ohio State
Original Pick: A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Jackson has started 45 games through his first three seasons and has a Pro Bowl to his name. He’d be a damn good fit alongside Chris Lindstrom at guard for the Falcons.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Original Pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Cowboys miss out on Lamb here, but they pick up a physical specimen in Chinn who has been a rock-solid member of Carolina’s secondary over the last few years.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Original Pick: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Dolphins haven’t been able to fix the running back position over the years, and they couldn’t in 2020. A first-team All-Pro back like JT would be a fantastic addition to their offense.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Original Pick: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
Though Wills is a left tackle for the Browns in real life, he and Kolton Miller would be a good young starting duo at offensive tackle for the Raiders here.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Original Pick: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Pittman is a massive and gifted wide receiver who fills a skill set the Jaguars didn’t have in 2020, nor have they had any year since.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane
Original Pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Eagles could’ve had Justin Jefferson, but they passed on him. They won’t have the chance to make that mistake again with JJeff off the board, but a speedy weapon like Mooney — who’s been a solid weapon for the Bears over the last few years — would be a good addition to their offense.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Original Pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The Vikings needed an immediate starter at cornerback heading into the 2020 draft, and they get one in this redraft in Johnson, who hasn’t been flashy but has certainly been reliable for the Bears over the years.
23. New England Patriots: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Original Pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma (to Chargers)
Is Queen a star linebacker? Not necessarily, but he sure has been a solid starter for the Ravens over the last few years. He’s an athletic defender who would be fun to watch in a Bill Belichick-led defense.
24. New Orleans Saints: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
Original Pick: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Davis is a big receiver with a penchant for big plays, and even though the Saints didn’t know Michael Thomas would deal with injuries after the 2019 season, they still didn’t have a reliable, young WR2 alongside him.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Original Pick: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Highsmith is coming off of a career year which saw him finish with 14.5 sacks in 2022. It’s very possible he’d find himself even higher in a redraft if I came back to redo this in a few years.
26. Miami Dolphins: Michael Onwenu, OG, Michigan
Original Pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Onwenu hasn’t had a season with a PFF grade below 79. He’s a fantastic player who only fell this far because of positional value and need, and the Dolphins take advantage here.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Original Pick: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
Davis seems like a Seahawks type of defensive lineman. His pass rushing leaves a bit to be deserved, but he’s a reliable run stopper and has been a key piece for the Dolphins’ defense.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Original Pick: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Biadasz just finished a Pro Bowl campaign with the Cowboys last year, and he’s started in 33 games over the last two years. The future seems bright for him, and it likely still would be in Baltimore.
29. Tennessee Titans: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Original Pick: Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
It seems like a matter of time for Jeudy to top the 1,000-yard mark in a season. That said, he’s an extremely precise route runner who would’ve formed a dynamic duo with A.J. Brown in this scenario.
30. Green Bay Packers: L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Louisiana Tech
Original Pick: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn (to Dolphins)
With 8 interceptions and 26 pass deflections to his name over his first three seasons, Sneed might be the most underrated cornerback in the league right now. That would be a great addition for the Packers in this regard.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Original Pick: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU (to Vikings)
His 2022 season was a disaster, but Claypool had 1,733 receiving yards in his first two seasons at the NFL level. With no Brandon Aiyuk in this draft, the 49ers could still do significant damage with a fantastic size-speed weapon like Claypool.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Damien Lewis, OG, LSU
Original Pick: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
The Chiefs go back to the LSU well with the last pick in Round 1, but they go in another direction here. Lewis has started 45 games in the last three seasons and has been a more than serviceable interior offensive lineman in Seattle.