What if one or two plays last season had gone differently? How would those snaps affect the drama of last weekend, when the Falcons and Brownsengineered a blockbuster trade while the Titans pulled off the Jake Shocker? What are the plays and games that altered the draft to the point that it would've shaken up the whole kit and kaboodle?
While all the draft grades are being tallied, we thought it might be cool to take one last look at the season through the prism of the 2011 draft.
Below is a not-so-definitive list from this humble writer's brain. Your thoughts are welcome.
If the Bills' Steve Johnson catches a bomb to deep-six the Steelers in Week 12 (which he didn't), there are a lot changes for Ralph Wilson's boys. Buffalo goes 5-11, dropping them from the third to the sixth spot in the draft. Marcell Dareus likely would not make it that deep without being swiped off the board.
What Drew Brees did to the Bengals in Week 13 was stone cold. Down three, and facing fourth-and-2 from the Cincinnati 7-yard line, the Saints' quarterback did everything he could to make the defense think he was really going to call a play ... and not take the chip-shot field goal. Defensive tackle Pat Sims bought the mustard, Saints got a new set of downs, and New Orleans' win was Big Easy.
What can Browns do for you?
No pick-six, no Pick 32
Packers fans will defend their team to the nth degree no matter what, but it's hard to argue that Detroit didn't give the cheeseheads all they could handle last season. During Week 4, the Aaron Rodgers-led offense struggled in the second half vs. the upstart Lions, but thanks to a clutch defensive play, they could afford to.
A Christmas story
A Cardinals loss would have put them at 4-12, and with tiebreakers, in the two-hole behind Carolina. Would Ken Whisenhunt have spent that high of a pick on a corner, like he did with Patrick Peterson at five? If not, maybe Carson Palmer would have been throwing to Green after all, except out in the desert instead of Cincinnati.
Elliot Harrison is the research analyst for NFL RedZone on NFL Network.