I am a firm believer that you can't truly judge a draft class until at least three years have passed, but nine weeks into the 2007 season there have been plenty of impressive performances by rookies and many teams have seen their needs shift significantly.
With that in mind, we're having some fun and taking a look at how things might change if the slate were wiped clean and the NFL held a re-draft today. Knowing how things have changed, what might happen? Read on
1. Oakland Raiders -- JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Original pick: Russell
A contract holdout that lasted into the second week of the regular season has rendered Russell all but useless thus far, so it's easy to look back now and say the Raiders should have gone in a different direction. I disagree because there's no way of knowing the impact Russell could have made this fall had the Raiders been wise enough to work through a pre-draft deal. Regardless, drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall is a long-term investment, not a short-term fix, and I still believe Russell will be the best quarterback from the 2007 class when it's all said and done. Why not take Adrian Peterson? Because Oakland desperately needs a franchise quarterback and the Raiders have the fourth-best running game (140.0 ypg) in the NFL right now.
2. Detroit Lions -- Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Original pick: Johnson
Detroit's offense ranks in the top half of the league in total offense (12th, 339.0 ypg) and scoring (6th, 25.0 ppg) while the defense is giving up 23.1 points per game, so an argument could be made for a defensive player here. Adding to the skeptic's argument, a back injury has limited Johnson's production so far as a rookie. Knowing what we know now, DE Gaines Adams would be a consideration, and 19-year-old DT Amobi Okoye has been the most disruptive rookie defensive lineman to date with five sacks on the season.
When all is said and done, though, drafting Johnson with the No. 2 overall pick will prove to be the right move. Johnson has shown enough flashes when healthy to justify this selection, including an average of 17.8 yards per catch and an impressive touchdown run in Week 7 against Tampa Bay.
3. Cleveland Browns -- Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Original pick: Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
This is the toughest decision of any pick in this re-draft. Cleveland selected Thomas back in April and he has turned into one of the offensive leaders for the resurgent Browns. But I said it in April and what's happened so far this season has only reinforced my feeling: The Browns should have taken Peterson at No. 3 overall. Yes, Thomas is a key player along the offensive front and will likely have a longer career than Peterson, but Peterson has simply been too special early this season not to make this choice. Any of the six teams that passed on him originally might take a mulligan to get him this time around, but the Browns look like the best fit right now as they could use a little more running to balance the seventh-best passing game (254.5 ypg) in the league.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Original pick: Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
The team is currently in dire need of help at running back and wide receiver, but with Johnson and Peterson already off the board in this scenario there is no relief in sight. Neither RB Marshawn Lynch nor WR Dwayne Bowe has shown enough in half a season to climb into the top five, and most of the problems at those positions could be solved by players who should eventually return from injuries. While it's entirely too early to give up on original selection Gaines Adams, he hasn't cracked the starting lineup and he has just 1.5 sacks through nine games. That's why Thomas is as no-brainer here. He has exceeded expectations as a rookie for the Browns and would be a welcome addition to a Bucs offensive line that needs help at tackle following Luke Petitgout's season-ending knee injury.
5. Arizona Cardinals -- Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Original pick: Brown
Brown stepped immediately into the lineup at right tackle and started the first three games but then suffered an ankle injury that prevented him from getting on the field in the next four. He saw some snaps last week against the Redskins as a backup and could move back into the starting left tackle spot next week in light of Mike Gandy's recent injury. The Arizona offense has been anemic in recent weeks, including only 23 yards rushing in Week 9 against Tampa Bay, and getting Brown back on the field should provide a boost.
6. Washington Redskins -- LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Original pick: Landry
Were Thomas still available this would be a tough call because Washington is aging and ailing along the offensive line. But with Tampa Bay scooping him up at No. 4 the Redskins would have no problem picking Landry all over again. He is a natural playmaker who will only improve with more experience, and currently ranks third on the team with 57 total tackles. Landry's versatility has been instrumental in the improvement of the Washington defense as he frees up the team's other former first-round safety, Sean Taylor, to play the roaming style that suits him.
7. Minnesota Vikings -- Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Original pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
You would be hard-pressed to find a better pick than Minnesota's original selection of Peterson at No. 7, but knowing what we know now the only way the Vikings could get their hands on him right now would be to trade up. And while Minnesota's biggest weakness is at quarterback, the problem is that no signal-caller available would be worthy of the No. 7 pick, then or now. So with the Vikings needing to do something to address the 30th-ranked passing game in the league Bowe looks like the best fit. It would have seemed crazy at the time, but Bowe was the No. 2 receiver (behind Calvin Johnson) on our draft-day board and is currently the leading receiver among all rookies even after a slow start with the Chiefs due to a lengthy holdout.
8. Atlanta Falcons -- Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Original pick: Anderson
Fellow DE Gaines Adams would be a consideration here but Anderson has been better thus far, so why mess with a good thing? Anderson has been solid as a rookie, starting all eight games and notching 16 total tackles with one forced fumble and two passes defended.
9. Miami Dolphins -- Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Original pick: Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Yes, Miami's quarterback situation is an unmitigated disaster. However, the team didn't view Brady Quinn as a top-10 pick in April, so why would it now? John Beck is clearly the Dolphins' quarterback of the future and there isn't enough of a difference between second-rounder Beck and Quinn to warrant reaching for Quinn at No. 9 overall. Original selection Ted Ginn Jr. has shown some big-play flashes in the return game but is completely unpolished as a receiver and has only seven catches through Week 9. Miami needs help at nearly every position but the aging defensive line is something that needs to be addressed immediately, so rather than spending the No. 9 pick on an injury-riddled return specialist, Miami's best bet is Okoye, who has 24 total tackles with the Texans and currently leads all rookies with five sacks.
10. Houston Texans -- Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Original pick: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
The Texans are getting gashed by opposing ground games even with original pick Amobi Okoye playing at a high level for a rookie, and with him being snapped up one pick earlier the Texans would still be in the market for defensive tackle help. DT Adam Carriker would be a possibility, along with CBs Darrelle Revis, Leon Hall and Aaron Ross, but at this point Lynch might make the most sense. Once Ahman Green got hurt and the team abandoned the run, everything else began to crumble. Houston can't rely on a 30-year old back with lots of wear on his tires to carry the full-time load in the long run, and with the promise Lynch has shown for the Bills as a rookie he could team up with QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson as a potentially formidable offensive trio moving forward.
11. San Francisco 49ers -- Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
Original pick: Willis
Willis has exceeded what were already extremely high expectations as a rookie. He has been a full-time starter in San Francisco's 3-4 defense since day one, notching a team-high 83 total tackles (59 solo) with one forced fumble to this point. Willis can't do it alone, though, and the next step is for the Niners to upgrade the personnel around Willis to solve their considerable struggles against the run.
12. Buffalo Bills -- Jon Beason, MLB, Miami
Original pick: Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Lynch has been one of only a few bright spots for a Bills team that won four games, but with him off the board in this scenario and no other rookie running back worth considering this early, the team would have to change its strategy. With original selection Paul Posluszny out for the season and Beason emerging quickly in Carolina, the Bills might reach a bit for Beason here and then go after Willis McGahee's replacement in Round 2. The Buffalo defense in general, and the linebackers in particular, are much worse off than anyone could have imagined back in April and the Bills need to address that.
13. St.. Louis Rams -- Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
Original pick: Carriker
Carriker isn't putting up flashy statistics and the Rams have several other weaknesses that need to be addressed, but I would have no problem with their taking Carriker again today. He has added bulk and made a successful move inside after playing end at Nebraska, and Carriker shows weekly improvement for a defense that is quietly getting better and has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. Plus, Carriker is the type of emotional tough guy that the Rams will be able to rely on as a leader for years to come.
14. New York Jets -- Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
Original pick: Revis
The Jets and Revis got off to a rocky start thanks to his holdout, but all's well that ends well, or at least makes it to midseason well. Revis has more than lived up to the hype of being the top cornerback prospect in the 2007 rookie class, notching 48 total tackles and seven passes defended as a full-time starter. Simply put, there is no reason whatsoever the team should even think about swapping this pick for someone else.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Lawrence Timmons, LB, FSU
Original pick: Timmons
A lingering groin injury suffered in minicamp has meant limited action for Timmons, mostly on special teams. An argument can be made for going in a different direction, but Pittsburgh didn't make this selection for the immediate future. Timmons is a developmental player who will help with the eventual transition from a 3-4 to a hybrid version of the 4-3, and it's not as if the Steelers have any pressing personnel needs that absolutely must be addressed with this pick. So the patient and responsible choice is to stick with Timmons, who should eventually team up with second-round pick LaMarr Woodley to help carry on the Steelers tradition of outstanding linebacker play.
16. Green Bay Packers -- Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Original pick: Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Harrell displayed a fine blend of quickness and power during the preseason but has not been able to avoid the injury bug. He was inactive for the team's first four games, played sparingly as a reserve during the next two outings and has not seen the field since. And with
Nick Collins on the shelf due to a knee injury, safety is suddenly an area of need for the Packers. As such, they could certainly take advantage of Griffin's versatility, which has been a major plus for the Titans so far this season. Tennessee is trying Griffin at cornerback but he would obviously stay at free safety in this scenario. And in addition to providing depth in the secondary Griffin is also averaging 23.4 yards per kickoff return.
17. Denver Broncos -- Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Original pick: Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
Moss was drafted as a developmental prospect and the team must be pleased with his relative success to this point, but Adams has similar production thus far for the Buccaneers and his upside is considerably greater, which is why he was selected No. 4 overall back in April. But with Adams still on the board in our scenario he looks like a nice fit. DT Brandon Mebane is also a consideration as he has started quickly in Seattle and the Broncos are dismal against the run.
18. Cincinnati Bengals -- Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Original pick: Hall
The Bengals are a mess, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. And while they could use help at other positions, especially at linebacker after the season-ending injury suffered by Ahmad Brooks, there is no reason at this point to think Cincinnati would go in a different direction than Hall with the 18th overall selection. Hall has made 24 total tackles, broken up six passes and picked off three others while playing in all eight games (two starts) thus far.
19. Tennessee Titans -- Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Original pick: Michael Griffin, S, Texas
The team is excited about Griffin's future, but he's off the board here and Tennessee needs to provide franchise QB Vince Young with better weapons. After all, Roydell Williams leads the team with 23 receptions, which is tied for 76th among all pass catchers in the NFL. Ginn hasn't been great so far but it's tough to evaluate him considering Miami's quarterback issues. Young could better maximize the speed of Ginn, who is averaging 20.1 yards per catch, and Ginn would be able to step in as both a kickoff and punt returner.
20. New York Giants -- Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
Original pick: Ross
The Giants were unsuccessful in their attempt to move up in the '07 draft to take the two cornerbacks -- Darrelle Revis and Leon Hall -- selected before Ross. Good thing because there's no doubt the Giants would select Ross again in a heartbeat. He has emerged as the starting cornerback opposite Sam Madison and been everything New York hoped for and more. He has 23 tackles, seven passes defended and three interceptions in eight games played.
Jacksonville Jaguars -- 21. Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
Original pick: Nelson
The Jaguars couldn't be happier with their first-round pick. Nelson stepped into the starting free safety spot almost immediately and though he's had some rough spots, he continues to improve each week. The ball-hawking center fielder has been all over the field through the first seven games, notching 25 tackles, six passes defended and two interceptions.
Cleveland Browns -- 22. Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
Original pick: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
The verdict is still very much out on Quinn, but having taken Peterson instead of Thomas with the third overall pick and armed with the knowledge of QB Derek Anderson's emergence, Ugoh is the logical choice. When healthy, he's been outstanding for a rookie left tackle being asked to protect QB Peyton Manning's blind side. Ugoh should only continue to improve with better footwork and conditioning.
23. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brandon Mebane, DT, California
Original pick: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
The Chiefs broke their recent trend of boycotting wide receivers in the first round when they selected Bowe and for good reason. Bowe has been impressive, but with him off the board Green Bay's James Jones would be a possibility. But spending a first-round pick on Jones after watching just one half of one season is an awful risky move. That's why I think the Chiefs would likely go in a different direction with this pick. Stopping the run has been a problem this season, which is why Mebane makes some sense. He has made an instant impact as a starter for Seattle, notching 13 total tackles with two for loss and one sack.
24. New England Patriots -- Tanard Jackson, S, Syracuse
Original pick: Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
Running back depth has been an issue, but the Patriots certainly wouldn't reach for one here just to plug the dam while Laurence Maroney recovers. Meriweather has been bothered by injuries this season, so it's completely unreasonable to evaluate him at this point. With that said, New England would think long and hard about trading in Meriweather for Jackson, who has proved to be a fourth-round steal for the Buccaneers. In eight games, Jackson has 37 total tackles with 10 passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble.
25. Carolina Panthers -- Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Original pick: Jon Beason, ILB, Miami
The Panthers' quarterback situation has reached Code Red status thanks to the injuries suffered by Jake Delhomme, David Carr and 43-year old Vinny Testaverde. With Beason off the board and Matt Moore currently at the helm, drafting Quinn at No. 25 is a no-brainer at this point. Quinn showed potential during the preseason in Cleveland and could immediately help the Panthers.
26. Dallas Cowboys -- Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue
Original pick: Spencer
An argument could be made for going in a different direction -- either another edge rusher like Jarvis Moss or a different position entirely with S Brandon Meriweather. However, Spencer has already notched 20 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, and shows the potential to eventually emerge as a disruptive rush-linebacker opposite DeMarcus Ware.
27. New Orleans Saints -- Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
Original pick: Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Meachem showed up to camp 15 pounds overweight and subsequently suffered a knee injury that required surgery. He has yet to play in a regular-season game so needless to say, Meachem would free-fall in the redraft. The Saints are in desperate need of a playmaker in their defensive secondary, which is why Meriweather, bypassed by the Pats in this redraft, would make loads of sense with this selection.
28. San Francisco 49ers -- Joe Staley, OT, CMU
Original pick: Staley
The 49ers went 2-for-2 with their 2007 first-round picks. Staley, out of Central Michigan, has started every game and keeps getting better, including a season-best grade of just two minuses on 66 plays in Week 9 against Atlanta. He still has room to improve in terms of his technique and strength as a run-blocker, but . However, Staley is a hard worker with very good feet for his frame.
29. Baltimore Ravens -- Ben Grubbs, OG, Auburn
Original pick: Grubbs
Grubbs has exceeded the Ravens' high hopes so far as a rookie. He has displayed quickness, power and toughness and helped a line that has helped Baltimore average over 100 rushing yards per game. The Ravens thought so highly of him -- and obviously rightfully so -- that he become just the second lineman taken in the first round in franchise history (Jonathan Ogden was the other one in 1996 and that worked out pretty well). Grubbs should emerge as a Pro Bowl guard sooner than later.
30. San Diego Chargers -- Anthony Gonzalez, WR, OSU
Original pick: Craig Davis, WR, LSU
The Chargers are paying the price for reaching for Davis, who has only nine receptions in seven games played. They would have been far better served selecting Ohio State's Anthony Gonzalez, who has five more receptions and is averaging 4.5 more yards per catch as the Colts' No. 3 receiver behind Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Who knows, with Gonzalez maybe the Chargers wouldn't have been forced to give up a second-round pick to Miami for Chris Chambers, which would have allowed them to improve themselves even more in the '08 draft.
31. Chicago Bears -- Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
Original pick: Olsen
The knee-jerk reaction is to plug in a quarterback with this pick. But none of the available quarterbacks available screams upgrade. As it stands right now, Buffalo's Trent Edwards is the only rookie quarterback to see the field in 2007. While he shows promise, I would rather take my chances with the Bears' higher first-round pick in April's draft where Boston College's Matt Ryan, Louisville's Brain Brohm and Kentucky's Andre Woodson could all be viable options. In the meantime, Olsen is too much of a playmaker in the passing game to give away. He already has 21 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns and his production will improve as he becomes a savvier route runner and gets a better quarterback throwing him the ball.
32. Indianapolis Colts -- Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Original pick: Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio State
Gonzalez is a perfect fit as the team's No. 3 receiver, but he's no longer available in this scenario and don't expect the team to reach for another wideout here, either. Green Bay's James Jones is the only rookie receiver selected after Gonzalez with better production, but Jones also gets more opportunities with Brett Favre spreading the ball around so well this season. Instead, the Colts will go with the best value in the Packers' Harrell, who also could provide depth in the wake of Corey Simon's retirement and Booger McFarland's season-ending injury. Harrell was banged up earlier in the season but he's healthy now and is a good fit in the Colts' one-gap scheme.
33. Arizona Cardinals -- Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
The Cardinals originally picked Michigan DT Alan Branch, but Moss seems like the best pick as he could eventually help upgrade Arizona's perimeter pass rush.
34. Buffalo Bills -- Brian Leonard, RB, Rutgers
This would be a bit of a desperation pick after losing out on Lynch in the first round, but Leonard has shown good versatility while filling in for the injured Steven Jackson in St. Louis.
35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- James Jones, WR, San Jose State
Original pick Arron Sears has started every game at guard but the team could go in a different direction after taking Thomas in Round 1, and Jones has been a huge steal as big-play target for QB Brett Favre in Green Bay.
38. Oakland Raiders -- Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State
With Russell still on the bench Miller has been Oakland's top rookie performer. He is a full-time starter already and has 17 receptions and a touchdown.
39. Atlanta Falcons -- Justin Blalock, OG, Texas
The Falcons are better off sticking with Blalock, who has started every game at guard. They can use next year's high first-round pick on a top quarterback instead of using this pick on a much riskier prospect like John Beck.
41. Atlanta Falcons -- Nick Folk, PK, Arizona
The Falcons took CB Chris Houston in April and he shows promise, but Folk has been sensational as a rookie and the Falcons desperately need an upgrade over aging PK Morten Andersen.
42. Indianapolis Colts -- Craig Davis, WR, LSU
The Colts would miss original first-rounder Tony Ugoh, but there isn't another tackle worth drafting here. Davis would offer value and could develop into a No. 3 receiver after the Colts missed out on Anthony Gonzalez in the first round.
43. Detroit Lions -- Trent Edwards, QB, Stanford
The Lions took Michigan State QB Drew Stanton originally, but Stanton was placed on injured reserve during the preseason and Edwards has shown promise in Buffalo.
44. Minnesota Vikings -- Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Rice continues to improve on a consistent basis and has been very productive for a rookie, especially considering the Vikings' questionable quarterback situation.
45. Carolina Panthers -- David Harris, MLB, Michigan
Original pick Dwayne Jarrett hasn't been much of a factor due to a hamstring injury, while Harris has been a huge hit for the Jets. He could fill the void in the middle since the Panthers lost out on Beason in the first round.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers -- LaMarr Woodley, LB, Michigan
Woodley has developed quicker than first-round pick Lawrence Timmons and the Steelers love Woodley's motor and instincts as a situational outside linebacker in the 3-4.
47. New York Jets -- Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
This season is already a wash, so the Jets might as well take Posluszny and wait for him to heal. David Harris is one of the best value picks from the 2007 class and would never be available to them again in a do-over scenario.
48. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Meachem would slide considerably but would be worth the risk in the middle of Round 2, especially for a Jaguars team in desperate need of speedy receiver to stretch the field.
49. Cincinnati Bengals -- Brian Robison , DE, Texas
RB Kenny Irons was placed on IR after tearing his ACL during training camp and Robison, who has more sacks right now than any Bengals player, would help improve a dismal pass rush.
50. Tennessee Titans -- Eric Wright, CB, UNLV
Tennessee would obviously like a do-over on Arizona RB Chris Henry and Wright would be the choice. He slipped on draft day due to off-the-field issues, but Wright has shown maturity while becoming a full-time starter for the Browns.
52. St. Louis Rams -- Gerald Alexander, S, Boise State
Running back is the obvious need with Steven Jackson battling injuries and Brian Leonard off the board, but there isn't a back available who's worthy of the pick. Alexander, meanwhile, is starting in Detroit.
53. Cleveland Browns -- Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
With Eric Wright off the board, Houston is the next best option. He hasn't developed as quickly as Wright but Houston has impressive speed in man-to-man coverage.
54. Kansas City -- Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
Jarrett has been limited by a hamstring injury but he still has enough talent to warrant mid-second round consideration. Plus, Kansas City would have a huge void to fill at wide receiver if Bowe went elsewhere in the first round.
55. Seattle Seahawks -- Josh Wilson, CB, Maryland
Seattle can't run the ball effectively this season but there isn't a player available here who could improve that situation, and Wilson has been solid as a sub-package corner so far for the Seahawks.
56. Denver Broncos -- Clifton Ryan, DT, Michigan State
DE Tim Crowder has shown some promise in limited action but the Broncos need more help inside, and Ryan has been surprisingly productive playing in a rotation for the Rams.
57. Philadelphia Eagles -- Arron Sears, OG, Tennessee
The Eagles need more help along the offensive line and Sears has been a solid starter since Day 1 for the Buccaneers.
58. Detroit Lions -- Marcus McCauley, CB, Fresno State
DE Ikaika Alma-Francis hasn't done much, the Lions need to get younger at cornerback anyway, and McCauley is one of several Vikings rookies making an impact thus far.
59. Carolina Panthers -- Samson Satele, C, Hawaii
Same position, different player. Satele originally went one pick later but he has been more productive than original pick Ryan Kalil, starting all eight games for the Dolphins.
60. Miami Dolphins -- Jacoby Jones, WR, Lane College
Jones has shown promise thus far as a receiver and return specialist for the Texans, which is what the Dolphins would be looking for if they went away from Ginn in the first round.
61. Detroit Lions -- Martrez Milner, TE, Georgia
The Lions would certainly miss Alexander's presence at safety, but Milner could help improve their tight end depth. Milner is the third-leading receiver among rookie tight ends and he's proved to be an athletic target when given the opportunity in Atlanta.
62. Chicago Bears -- Aaron Rouse, S, Virginia Tech
Original pick DE Dan Bazuin was placed on the IR after undergoing his second knee surgery in a four-month span, while Rouse is beginning to see more action for the Packers and the Bears certainly lack depth at safety.
63. Green Bay Packers -- Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
It's too early to give up on original pick RB Brandon Jackson, but Branch has good size and would help improve the Packers' defensive line depth. Branch was originally taken 33rd overall by Arizona but this would be a better spot for him.
64. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Yamon Figurs, WR, Kansas State
Original pick S Sabby Piscitelli is on IR, so Figurs would be a good addition for a team in need of a boost in the return game. The rookie is averaging 28.7 yards per kick return and 12 yards per punt return, including a 75-yard touchdown.
Todd McShay is the director of college football scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998.