PFF's 2009 First Round Re-draft
If you don’t learn from the mistakes of the past then you’re destined to repeat them, right? So while everyone is shifting focus to the incoming class of rookies, we’re spending some time looking back at previous draft classes, assessing just how good picks were, and what teams should have done.
Here I’ll be using the PFF grading scale, so anything from -2.0 (terrible) to +2.0 (excellent) is possible.
Let’s see how 2009 comes out.
1. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Key Stat: After finishing fifth in our Adjusted Accuracy Percentage signature stat in 2011 Stafford dropped to 25th a year later.
Notes: What can you say about Stafford? His yardage totals impress in fantasy football, but with a huge numbers of attempts, and huge number of bad plays he’s yet to live up to what was expected. Equipped with a cannon for an arm and one of the best receivers in the game, he’s flashed his top end talent on plenty of occasions. Still, the jury is out.
Re-Draft: The Lions desperately needed a quarterback and there’s no doubting the ceiling of Matthew Stafford. Right pick, even if he’s not the best player in this class by some distance.
2. Jason Smith, OT, St Louis Rams
Key Stat: Unfortunately, Smith would end up playing just six snaps of his Rams career at left tackle.
Notes: A massive bust, there were times when you thought Smith might develop into a competent player. However, with a questionable attitude, and struggling to stay on the field, a new regime in St Louis cut their losses. A big let down.
Re-Draft: This was a team going nowhere fast so going best player available made a lot of sense. You wouldn’t want Marc Bulger or Kyle Boller throwing to him in the long term, but Hakeem Nicks is a very nice choice.
3. Tyson Jackson, DE, Kansas City Chiefs
Key Stat: Jackson has never managed more than eight combined sacks, hits and hurries in a season.
Notes: A terrible selection with the benefit of hindsight. It became quickly apparent to all that Jackson couldn’t handle an every-down role as he lacked the ability to generate any pressure. Even a breakout 2011 year (where he was a force in the run game) looks more like the exception than the rule, with Jackson barely being an adequate early downs guy.
Re-Draft: The team was in the midst of converting to a 3-4 defense and who knew if Tamba Hali would transition successfully. Even so, pairing him with Clay Matthews would have really added something to this team.
4. Aaron Curry, OLB, Seattle Seahawks
Key Stat: Curry only earned a -11.8 grade in coverage in just over two years in Seattle.
Notes: Was considered by many to be the most NFL-ready player from the 2009 draft class. Shows what they know. A liability in coverage, Curry may have been an extraordinary athlete but he was a less than ordinary football player. A new regime and some schematic changes signaled the end for Curry as a Seahawk, despite Pete Carroll giving him a chance to prove his worth. He didn’t.
Re-Draft: This team didn’t have a running back on the roster it trusted. Arian Foster could have worked for this team in a number of ways.
5. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Key Stat: Finished in the bottom six of our Adjusted Accuracy Percentage every year he’s been in the league.
Notes: The Jets made a bold move to make Sanchez their quarterback of the future. On the surface of it two AFC Championship games might signal a decent return on investment. The truth is that the Jets were blessed with an excellent roster and he failed to take full advantage it. As the roster became older, his flaws were more exposed. A disappointment.
Re-Draft: You wouldn’t have traded up for him, but with the fifth overall pick the Jets would want a difference maker. Percy Harvin has proven he can be productive regardless of who’s playing quarterback.
6. Andre Smith, OT, Cincinnati Bengals
Key Stat: In 2012 Smith was our top ranked right tackle.
Notes: It certainly took Smith a while to get going. He was slow to his first camp with a holdout, and then continual weight issues kept him off the field. However, he got in better shape and has developed into a an elite right tackle. He’s much better going forward than back, and in that respect has become a perfect fit for Cincinnati. The character concerns haven’t gone away though.
Re-Draft: A team sorely lacking pass rush. Brian Orakpo could help that out for sure.
7. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland Raiders
Key Stat: Picked up just 1.19 Yards Per Route Run in 2012 — 11th lowest in the NFL.
Notes: The Raiders fell in love with “DHB” because of his speed, viewing him as being the receiver to get behind opposing defenses. It didn’t work out that way as he would spend his four years catching just 11 deep balls. To put that in perspective, 10 guys caught more than that last year alone. Just not a productive player and drafted far higher than he ever should have been.
Re-Draft: So you’re desperate for a speedy receiver? Just pick Mike Wallace.
8. Eugene Monroe, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars
Key Stat: Gave up 90 quarterback disruptions in his first two years in the league. Monroe then improved to 58 in the next two years.
Notes: Monroe may never be an elite left tackle, but he’s got the look of a guy who is going to be a very good one for a long time. He’ll get beat at times by some of the better pass rushers out there, but more often than not can keep his quarterback protected.
Re-Draft: Not a home run by most counts, but the Jags wanted a franchise left tackle and Eugene Monroe was that guy.
9. B.J. Raji, DT, Green Bay Packers
Key Stat: Managed 51 quarterback disruptions on the Packers’ run to the Super Bowl in 2010.
Notes: What to make of B.J. Raji? On one hand he’s a guy who can dominate at times, such as when he went on a tear in the 2010 postseason. However, too often he’s a guy who looks relatively invisible, leaning on offensive linemen rather than doing something… well, productive. The Packers have used him more at defensive end recently, with some more noteworthy performances, yet we’re left wanting to see more from him.
Re-Draft: The Packers could bring in Sebastian Vollmer and get him ready to take over from either Chad Clifton or Mark Tauscher.
10. Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Key Stat: Finished 2012 with 2.55 Yards Per Route Run, which was fifth-highest (and equal to Calvin Johnson) in the league.
Notes: For a while you wondered just what the 49ers had in Crabtree. A difficult rookie year was followed by a couple of seasons where he was good, but not great, with a tendency to drop passes. Then 2012 happened, and with a switch at quarterback he would finish the year our seventh ranked receiver. A player that’s getting better and better.
Re-Draft: Desperately low on talent at wide receiver, Michael Crabtree remains the right move.
11. Aaron Maybin, OLB, Buffalo Bills
Key Stat: Had 11 combined sacks, hits and hurries in two years with the Bills.
Notes: A true waste of a pick. The Bills had him on the field for 330 snaps in two years and received desperately little production. Woeful. What else can you say?
Re-Draft: A player like Brian Cushing would have given this defense a much needed boost.
12. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos
Key Stat: Averaging 4.0 yards per carry in his career.
Notes: When Josh McDaniels came in he had some pretty big shoes to fill. Mike Shanahan had built a running game that could plug in runners and get production, and so in a radical, symbolic departure from that, the Broncos picked up Moreno. That doesn’t make him worth the 12th pick in any draft, and given how easy the Broncos have found it to replace him at times, it’s something of a waste.
Re-Draft: If you want a running back so bad then Lesean McCoy is the kind of playmaker they could do with.
13. Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington Redskins
Key Stat: Owner of the sixth-highest Pass Rushing Productivity score of all 3-4 outside linebackers in 2011.
Notes: Orakpo was miscast in his rookie year as a 4-3 outside linebacker, but since switching to a more attacking role in the Redskins’ 3-4 defense he has flourished. Year after year he has has shown significant improvement, even if he may never be the most complete defender in the league. It’s a shame he missed so much of 2012 injured because his 2011 season, where he earned a +20.0 pass rushing grade, was something to really build on.
Re-Draft: The team could look toward thinking to the future with a guy who can be an explosive pass rusher. Like Michael Johnson.
14. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, New Orleans Saints
Key Stat: Missed one tackle in every 5.2 attempted which was the fifth-worst score for any safety in 2012.
Notes: The Saints drafted Jenkins to shore up their cornerback spot. In his rookie year he initially played sparingly as the Saints won the Super Bowl, but it was enough for him to be moved to safety full time. However, like many former cornerbacks, the switch to safety hasn’t been an easy one, despite his profile and it showed up big with a horrible 2012 season.
Re-Draft: A much better cornerback to select would have been Lardarius Webb.
15. Brian Cushing, ILB, Houston Texans
Key Stat: Has missed only 25 tackles in four years in the NFL. London Fletcher by comparison missed 21 last year alone.
Notes: After a stellar rookie season, Cushing had to battle suspensions and injuries in a disappointing second year. Still, he bounced back with an excellent 2011 where he showed himself to be an elite linebacker. He was well on his way to reinforcing that before an injury knocked him out of the 2012 season and severely impacted the Texans’ defense. He’s missed more time than you’d like, but Cushing remains an excellent player for the Texans.
Re-Draft: The defense had holes everywhere. In a division where they needed to make Peyton Manning uncomfortable, step forward Henry Melton.
16. Larry English, OLB, San Diego Chargers
Key Stat: After a rookie season where he managed a disappointing 25 quarterback disruptions, he has picked up only 19 since.
Notes: The Chargers saw English as a long-term replacement to the fading force that was Shawne Merriman. He wasn’t. Remarkably still with the team, he plummeted down the Chargers’ depth chart and has struggled to get playing time. Even when he has been on the field he’s failed to produce and must go down as a wasted pick.
Re-Draft: It may be a little high for him, but if you’re desperate for pass rush then Paul Kruger is the best guy to fit in their 3-4 scheme.
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17. Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Key Stat: Back in 2010 he threw six interceptions. Since then Freeman has thrown 39 picks.
Notes: At the back end of his sophomore season it started to look like Freeman was getting it. Then a horrible 2011, followed by a terrible end to 2012, leaves you wondering if he is the Bucs’ quarterback of the future. The best you can say is that there are questions that need answers.
Re-Draft: A ball hawking safety like Jairus Byrd couldn’t hurt.
18. Robert Ayers, DE, Denver Broncos
Key Stat: The past year was the was the first in which he earned a positive grade from us. Coincidentally, this was also the year he saw his fewest amount of snaps.
Notes: The current free agent looked an odd fit for the Broncos’ 3-4, and struggled to succeed as an outside linebacker. A move back to4-3 defensive end brought with it a little more production but not enough to keep him from being phased out as a backup and situational player in 2012. A decent player to have on your roster, but not one to spend a first-round pick on.
Re-Draft: A better defensive end would be Michael Bennett.
19. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Key Stat: Maclin has never averaged more than 2 Yards Per Route Run in a season. His best year was 2011 where he finished 30th for all receivers.
Notes: Maclin is certainly a talent, but has he ever stepped up and justified being a first-round pick? Arguably coming off his worst year as a pro, where he dropped nine passes, there are plenty of question marks as to whether he has it in him to be a big-time contributor.
Re-Draft: With Jamaal Jackson getting on, Alex Mack would prove the long-term option at center.
20. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions
Key Stat: This tight end has dropped 33 passes and been flagged for 29 penalties since entering the league.
Notes: The scouting report on Pettigrew read that he’d be a guy who could come in and contribute from Day 1 and that as a blocker or a pass catcher he’d make his team better. However, the blocking just hasn’t been there and while he has provided a big target, he’s too often let himself down with some silly mistakes.
Re-Draft: The Lions have been short on cornerback talent for a long time. They could do with someone like Vontae Davis.
21. Alex Mack, C, Cleveland Browns
Key Stat: Has graded among our Top 10 centers every year since entering the league.
Notes: Playing in Cleveland Mack doesn’t always get the attention he deserves. Yet from Day 1 he’s come in and produced the goods, both as a run blocker and in pass protection. What more could you ask for?
Re-Draft: With Alex Mack off the board, Max Unger isn’t a shabby selection.
22. Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Key Stat: Despite missing seven games in 2012 Harvin still led all receivers by forcing 22 missed tackles.
Notes: Is there a scarier offensive player in the league than Harvin? If there is it’s not by much as every time he gets the ball in his hands he’s likely to make the defense pay. Now, whether that makes all the off-field drama he brings worthwhile is another question. No longer a Viking, they did at least get four years out of him and an impressive haul of draft picks.
Re-Draft: The team finds the guy that makes Bryant McKinnie expendable in the long term. William Beatty.
23. Michael Oher, OT, Baltimore Ravens
Key Stat: He has given up more pressure (91 quarterback disruptions) in the 2011 and 2012 seasons than he did in his first two years in the league (70).
Notes: A fantastic story, but far from a fantastic player. Oher is a guy the Ravens desperately wanted to be their left tackle of the future, but after replacing Jared Gaither at the spot it was clear he just didn’t have the tools to be that guy. Merely a solid tackle.
Re-Draft: They get more punch at the tackle spot from Andre Smith.
24. Peria Jerry, DT, Atlanta Falcons
Key Stat: In 2012 Jerry managed a career best 503 regular season snaps for the Falcons.
Notes: When Jerry was drafted he was expected to be a disruptive force alongside Jonathan Babineaux at the heart of the Falcons’ defense. He hasn’t been that guy, and while you can blame some of that on an injury suffered in his second NFL game, he’s now a long time removed from that and the production just isn’t there.
Re-Draft: The need at defensive tackle was strong. A player like B.J. Raji would bring the necessary push they’re looking for.
25. Vontae Davis, CB, Miami Dolphins
Key Stat: Davis had 23 pass deflections with the Dolphins, while getting burned for 13 touchdowns.
Notes: Obviously he wasn’t deemed a fit for the new regime and was swiftly traded away (though a second-round pick and more wasn’t a bad return). Before that he was an incredibly frustrating player. Spent a lot of his career looking a very good player, but all too frequently was caught out in coverage. Still, the Dolphins got good usage out of him.
Re-Draft: Retooling the secondary sees them go the way of Keenan Lewis.
26. Clay Matthews, OLB, Green Bay Packers
Key Stat: Finished in the Top 6 of our 3-4 outside linebacker rankings every year since entering the league.
Notes: The ‘ClayMaker’ has come in for criticism at times when his sack numbers have dropped, but being the only constant pass rushing force on the Packers team he’s done a phenomenal job of keeping quarterbacks on their toes. A true every-down player, he’s been everything and more the Green Bay faithful could have hoped for.
Re-Draft: Having Glover Quin would give the Packers some much needed versatility.
27. Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Key Stat: Brown has never managed more than 134 carries in a season.
Notes: Brown was meant to make life easier for a Colts offense too reliant on an aging Peyton Manning. Unfortunately, he wasn’t that guy. The occasional game aside, he just couldn’t get more than what his below-average line gave him. That’s reduced him to the role of a complementary back as much as anything, which is not what you want from a first rounder.
Re-Draft: The Colts have perennially needed line help. Like Andy Levitre.
28. Eric Wood, C, Buffalo Bills
Key Stat: Flagged for 12 penalties in his first two years, and just four since.
Notes: The difference between Wood and Mack is noticeable, but that’s not to say he hasn’t been a solid pickup for the Bills. Despite battling injuries (including one pretty horrific one) he’s come back and held up even if you’d like to see a little more push from him in the run game.
Re-Draft: It’s extremely risky, but could Jared Cook have been the difference maker on offense for them?
29. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants
Key Stat: Nicks has 34 catches on balls aimed over 20 yards in the air in four years with the Giants.
Notes: A brutal blend of speed, power and physicality, Nicks is the kind of difference-making receiver all teams desperately crave. He can beat you all over the field, getting in behind you and running through you if needs be. The Giants are a worse team when he’s not on the field.
Re-Draft: A gamble but you hope the infrastructure in New York keeps Kenny Britt on the straight and narrow.
30. Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans
Key Stat: Was averaging a league leading 3.05 yards per route run in 2010 before injury ended his year.
Notes: Injuries and off-the-field drama. That’s what Britt is known for. The shame is that if he could stay healthy, and mature, then you may be looking at a guy with enough talent that he could walk into any starting lineup.
Re-Draft: They’d wind up with Jason McCourty, but in this re-draft they’d need to get him a lot earlier.
31. Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Key Stat: Wells ended 2012 with the lowest Elusive Rating of all running backs.
Notes: Lesson be learned, some running backs need a lot of help from their offensive line. Wells is one of those, and given that he never got it, he rarely was able to be the player he was drafted to be. Some of that was down to injury, but a lot of it was down to his own inability.
Re-Draft: If in doubt then the Cards need offensive linemen. Like Phil Loadholt.
32. Ziggy Hood, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Key Stat: Outside of a rookie year where he rushed the passer only 141 times, has never finished higher than 28th in our 3-4 defensive end Pass Rushing Productivity charts.
Notes: For a guy who is on the field as much as Hood, he doesn’t do an awful lot. His 2012 total of 18 defensive stops is a career best while his ability to get to the passer isn’t his strongest suit. Many who defend him suggest he eats up blockers, but it’s his play when one-on-one with an offensive player that has earned him negative marks from us.
Re-Draft: Their offensive line would be better for Louis Vasquez.
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