Editor's note: This draft do-over was first published on April 24, a few days before the 2017 NFL Draft. With the news Thursday that Derek Carr is now the NFL's highest-paid player after signing an extension with the Raiders, we thought it would be a good time to take another look at how the 2014 draft might play out in a redo.
A friend of the Mara family (Parcells' employers), Landry hit the Young Tuna with a few gifts of football wisdom. One that stuck with Parcells was the idea of a three-year plan in terms of how to evaluate young players. If a player hadn't shown much improvement by his third season, it was time to move on. Or, in business school vernacular, Don't throw good money after bad. Parcells would work off this axiom, while surely passing it on to his coaching descendants. You know, guys like Bill Belichick.
Three years is still the standard, though first-round picks are sure to get the benefit of the full 36 months. Well, the Class of 2014 has had that time frame to show what it can do, which makes this a perfect time to re-evaluate the pecking order from three years ago. If we were to "redo" the 2014 NFL Draft, how would teams change their picks? Which Day 2 picks would climb into Day 1? What would the Texans do in that top spot? The conjecture could go on for hours. Or 32 "new" picks, which is precisely what we did below, starting with ...
Carr going first overall is not indicative of him being the best player in the draft. Rather, it represents the value of the quarterback position. Aaron Donald, arguably the top player in the 2014 class, goes second to the team that originally drafted him, but not in this spot.
Original pick: Evans.
Not changing this pick -- no way. Mike Evans has been a blessing for the Bucs since arriving seventh overall out of College Station. The guy has snagged 238 passes in three seasons as one of the top possession targets in pro football.
Giving the Browns both a position of need as well as a player who's as talented as anyone coming up in this redo of the 2014 draft. He's already made two Pro Bowls in just three seasons, and taking him away from a division opponent (the Ravens) makes this more fun.
Original pick: Barr.
Why not another fly-around-the-field-and-make-plays linebacker who wears 50 for the Bears? Ryan Shazier might be a different style player than the legendary Mike Singletary, but pairing him with Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan would make that Chicago defense special (more than the offense, that's for damn sure).
The Cowboys haven't owned a pair of solid safeties since they had Darren Woodson and Roy Williams back in 2003. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Barry Church together might've made a difference in last year's Divisional Round loss to the Packers. Of course, Church is now gone, so Dallas could really use Clinton-Dix.
Despite signing Mike Wallace, and drafting Breshad Perriman two years ago, the Ravensstill need a wide receiver. Robinson would give Joe Flacco a pass catcher who can run the whole route tree. Flacco would provide Robinson with more catchable balls and fewer red-zone interceptions than the QB he currently plays with in Jacksonville. You see? It's a win-win.
Quite simply the most talented corner in the draft. Jason Verrett has been brilliant, with his only drawback being missed time due to injury. Heading into 2017, with Drew Brees still playing at a high level, and the defense getting (slightly) better, how great would it be to have an in-his-prime Verrett manning one of the CB spots? Especially considering the quality of the other quarterbacks in the NFC South.
Original pick: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M.
If you thought for a second that Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't going to the Browns in our 2014 draft redo, then you're probably also one of those people who thought J.J. Abrams wasn't going to kill off Han Solo in that "Star Wars" movie. Some things are too obvious. Well, kind of like Cleveland's demand for a quarterback every year since 1999.
Remember every sportscasters' favorite stat two years ago? The one about Chiefs wide receivers not scoring a single touchdown all year? Well, Matthews would've changed that dynamic. And while he is not perfect (SEE: drops, many), every quality player from this point on has some flaw.
Philip Rivers has been trying to carry the Chargers to the playoffs the last couple years despite having to throw footballs to CFL rejects, never-beens and 50-year-old tight ends. If only Keenan Allen could stay healthy. That's why Davante Adams, who has really improved, becomes a Charger in this Draft 2.0. Hopefully his hands come with him.
Call this a practical move for the Eagles -- drafting Timmy Jernigan in 2014 to fill out the interior of the defensive line and avoid having to trade for a DT later ... namely, Timmy Jernigan. The Ravens-Eagles deal certainly strengthens Jim Schwartz's defensive line now, but Jernigan could've also bolstered the oft-exhausted D-line during the Chip Kelly era.
General Manager Steve Keim has been swiping right on pass rushers for quite some time now, from drafting Markus Golden (Round 2, 2015 draft), to signing Dwight Freeney (October 2015), to trading for Chandler Jones (March 2016). In Ford, the Cardinals receive a slow-to-develop edge rusher who finally blossomed in 2016.
New GM John Lynch might want a quarterback, but I'm thinking that a former safety who would knock your block off wouldn't mind employing more building blocks on defense. Roby would instantly make one side of that 49ers defense more formidable.
Jackson has been dynamite enough in his young career to merit going higher in this do-over. However, it's hard to see more than a couple of guards going in the first round. His addition would upgrade the Broncos' offensive line, while simultaneously hurting the division-rival Raiders' unit. It also would allow John Elway to save the truckload of cash he delivered to Ronald Leary this offseason.
Everyone knows the Seahawks could use some workmen at the bookends, which is why Morgan Moses is the pick over Carlos Hyde and Preston Brown. What you might not remember is that this pick was originally traded to the Vikings so that Minnesota could draft Teddy Bridgewater. In this 2014 draft makeover, we lend Russell Wilson a bit of backside cover instead.