Garbage. Seriously. Gar-BAHZGE.
That was my thought after looking over the 2009 NFL Draft. My esteemed editor asked (mandated) that I redo the entire first round. Truth be told, I had never fully examined this four-year-old raid of the great college marketplace.
I wasn't missing anything.
Then again, so was the rest of the draft. None of the first 25 players taken have ever been named first-team All-Pro. (Matthew Stafford, Brian Orakpo and Brian Cushing have come the closest.) Only one guy from the entire first round has received the honor: Clay Matthews (26th overall pick) following the 2010 season. In fact, the saving grace of this draft might be the number of decent players who came after Pick 200, including Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop.
Sure, there are some quality names below. And we did our best to fill each team's needs (except for the Cowboys, Patriots and Bears, who didn't have first-round picks). Still, compared to say, the 2008 NFL Draft, the '09 version bites the big one. That year boasted Jake Long, Chris Long, Matt Ryan, Jerod Mayo, Ryan Clady, Joe Flacco, Chris Johnson, Duane Brown, Brandon Flowers, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, Cliff Avril, Brandon Carr, Carl Nicks and Stevie Johnson, to name a few.
So with that in mind, please hesitate before complaining about your team's do-over pick lacking typical first-round flashiness -- there just wasn't much of it to go around in 2009. That is, unless you have a Mark Sanchez Fathead on your wall.
Without further ado, let's re-draft that first round from four years ago. Per the usual, your thoughts are welcome ... @HarrisonNFL is the dropbox.
1) Detroit Lions
Pick:Matthew Stafford, QB
By and large, Stafford has been an excellent top pick. Yes, he was hurt for much of his first two seasons, but over the last two, he's started every game and proven incredibly productive. He took the Lions to their first playoff berth since 1999 on the strength of 41 touchdown passes in 2011.
2) St. Louis Rams
Pick: Jason Smith, OT
Do-over:Mike Wallace, WR
Seriously, how long have the Rams needed help at wide receiver, specifically a deep threat? No. 2 overall might seem a little steep for Wallace, who has his problems holding onto the ball, but not when you see how thin the 2009 draft was/is. By the way, the Rams' leading wideout that year (Donnie Avery) had all of 589 yards receiving.
4) Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Aaron Curry, LB
Do-over:Brian Cushing, LB
Curry was a bust. The choice at linebacker comes down to Cushing and Clay Matthews, two of the prizes of the '09 draft. Cushing's ability to play inside or outside makes him the choice here. Seattle has made hay as a high-pressure 4-3 team, whereas Matthews fits better as an outside backer in the 3-4.
5) New York Jets
Pick:Mark Sanchez, QB
Do-over:Percy Harvin, WR
The Jets certainly needed a quarterback in 2009, yet the only two decent QBs -- Stafford and Freeman -- are off the board. Enter Harvin, who would have eliminated the need to acquire Santonio Holmes in 2010. Let's be honest: Holmes has been mostly a distraction in New York without the production to offset it.
6) Cincinnati Bengals
Pick:Andre Smith, OT
Do-over:Arian Foster, RB
Foster, who amazingly went undrafted in 2009, goes sixth overall in the re-draft. Still too low? Well, I have my reasons ... Steven Jackson was outstanding in 2009 for the Rams, Jamaal Charles has been a great pick for the Chiefs, and the Marshawn Lynch deal worked well for the Seahawks. The issue: the Jets. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene provided a real 1-2 punch for a club that landed in the AFC Championship Game. It's the passing game that's been the HUGE problem. Thus, the Jets snag Harvin, and Foster lands in Cincy, which ultimately makes re-signing Cedric Benson unnecessary. Or, Foster beats out Benson sometime in 2010, allowing the Bengals to shop Benson for extra picks.
7) Oakland Raiders
Pick:Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR
Do-over:Hakeem Nicks, WR
Trying to stay true to the Raiders' M.O. under Al Davis, Oakland takes Nicks, a wide receiver who excels in both the short and long games. Of course, Nicks' main problem has been staying healthy. Nonetheless, 60 percent of him has been better than 100 percent of DHB.
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8) Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick:Eugene Monroe, OT
Do-over:Sebastian Vollmer, OT
Vollmer gets the nod here, as he has been more consistent over the course of his young career than Monroe. The consistently struggling Jaguars need players to be effective sooner than later. Monroe and Andre Smith have become fine football players now, but both struggled early on.
9) Green Bay Packers
Pick:B.J. Raji, NT
Do-over:Clay Matthews, LB
Matthews is probably the top player on the board when the Packers come around turn nine. So instead of taking Raji, they select the long-haired pass rusher, he of the 42.5 career sacks. Ironically, Matthews actually was taken by the Packers later in the first round (26th overall).
10) San Francisco 49ers
Pick:Michael Crabtree, WR
The 49ers stick with Crabtree in our 2009 NFL Draft Do-Over. Crabtree also began his career at a snail's pace, but boy has he turned it on. Over the last five games of 2012, Crabtree caught 35 balls for 538 yards and four touchdowns. Overall he caught 85 passes in a power-running offense. And he didn't fare too poorly in last season's playoffs, either, with a pair of 100-yard games and three touchdowns.
11) Buffalo Bills
Pick:Aaron Maybin, DE
Do-over:Brian Orakpo, DE
The Bills switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and back again in 2012. The beauty of drafting Orakpo is he can excel in either, as a defensive end or outside linebacker. The two-time Pro Bowler's only downside in his young career is last year's season-ending injury.
13) Washington Redskins
Pick:Brian Orakpo, DE
Do-over:Jairus Byrd, S
After the death of Sean Taylor, the Redskins tried to fit in several safeties with LaRon Landry before the latter's departure last year. In a related note: The Redskins' secondary got torched for 4,720 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2012. Byrd would give Washington one of the best free safeties in pro football.
16) San Diego Chargers
Pick:Larry English, LB
Do-over:Andre Smith, OT
Smith has become a quality tackle in the NFL. His presence would have been a luxury during the Marcus McNeill-A.J. Smith contract staredown in 2010 ... and then a necessity when injuries sent McNeill into early retirement. Left tackle has been a tough spot to fill in at The Murph (still can't say Qualcomm). Problem solved.
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18) Denver Broncos
Pick:Robert Ayers, DE
Do-over:William Moore, S
Broncos fans would've gotten more out of last season if William Moore was playing deep right field instead of Rahim Moore. Actually, the latter Moore has acquitted himself well, but William Moore would have paired nicely with Brian Dawkins prior to Rahim's development last year. The Mike Adams signing in 2012 becomes unnecessary with this selection.
19) Philadelphia Eagles
Pick:Jeremy Maclin, WR
Do-over:Alex Mack, C
Since we're crystal balling this draft deal, it sure would have been nice if the Eagles could've drafted Mack, who has been rock solid in Cleveland. Jamaal Jackson was an effective center for the Eagles before getting hurt in 2010. His career was never the same. Jason Kelce looked decent before getting hurt, as well. Mack has never missed a game.
20) Detroit Lions
Pick:Brandon Pettigrew, TE
Do-over:Jason McCourty, CB
In the interest of full disclosure, this writer is a little biased towards McCourty. If a guy performs well every time you watch him, wouldn't you respect the man? That's Jason McCourty, who has held his own despite being thrown at over 100 times in each of the last two seasons. The Lions really could've used him in the 2011 playoffs.
23) Baltimore Ravens
Pick:Michael Oher, OT
Do-over:Eugene Monroe, OT
Monroe edges out Phil Loadholt in this slot. In a rough draft of this take, we had Loadholt. But editing and revisionist thinking led us to Monroe, who's had a little tougher go of his career with Blaine Gabbert's struggles in the pocket and Maurice Jones-Drew on the shelf. Monroe has overcome everything working against him in Jacksonville, and that gives him the nod here.
25) Miami Dolphins
Pick:Vontae Davis, CB
Do-over:Michael Johnson, DE
The Dolphins could've stood Johnson up as an OLB in their pressure-based 3-4, where he would've benefitted from the tutelage of both Jason Taylor and Joey Porter. Cameron Wake and Johnson on the edges would make playing the Dolphins not fun.
26) Green Bay Packers
Pick:Clay Matthews, LB
Do-over:Andy Levitre, OG
Levitre has developed into a quality guard; he would've been an upgrade to the interior of the Packers' line over the last several seasons. Since we're re-doing the 2009 draft, it's important to note that Aaron Rodgers was sacked 50 times that year.
27) Indianapolis Colts
Pick:Donald Brown, RB
Do-over:Sean Smith, CB
The Colts sorely needed a running back in 2009 to balance the Peyton Manning-led attack, but Brown just hasn't been able to stay on the field. Shonn Greene is available with this pick, but doesn't really fit the offense. Thus, Indianapolis selects Smith, who would contribute immediately in nickel packages and eliminate the need to acquire Greg Toler in free agency this year.
28) Buffalo Bills
Pick:Eric Wood, C
Do-over:Louis Vasquez, OG
Another tough call here. Wood has been a decent player for the Bills, but Vasquez got off to a better start in his career. The Bills desperately have needed linemen to play well early on both sides of the ball, and it just hasn't happened enough over the 2000s.
30) Tennessee Titans
Pick:Kenny Britt, WR
Do-over:Max Unger, C
Drafting Unger, who earned first-team All-Pro honors last season, would allow the Titans to play Fernando Velasco at guard along with new free-agent acquisition Andy Levitre. Either way, Unger wins out in being a more reliable teammate -- by just a smidge -- than Britt.
31) Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Beanie Wells, RB
Do-over:Jared Cook, TE
When is the last time the Cardinals had a truly productive tight end? The position has been voidable over the last several seasons for the most part (although the club carries some hope for Rob Housler). Cook has averaged 641 receiving yards over the last two years. A Cardinals tight end hasn't compiled that many yards in a season in 43 years. Read that again.
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32) Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick:Ziggy Hood, DE
Do-over:B.J. Raji, NT
Shonn Greene is an option here, considering the Steelers like to pound the ball in spots, so as to not put the whole game on Ben Roethlisberger's shoulders. T.J. Lang is a possibility, as well. Connor Barwin would be a nice add, with James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley combining to miss 17 games over the last two seasons. Derek Cox could help the secondary. But Raji is the winner, as finding even a viable nose tackle is one of the toughest assignments in personnel. With Casey Hampton on the roster, Raji would've received quality mentoring while not having to play so many snaps.