We’re in the middle of draft season, meaning that it’s a perfect time to dip our toes into the re-draft waters, looking back on where the rookies of yesterday would be selected if there were a chance at a draft do-over.
SB Nation did a 2018 re-draft, and the results are both favorable and amusing for the Atlanta Falcons. Naturally, in a re-draft, you want your team’s draft pick to go higher than where he originally went — that indicates a very savvy and smart selection. Conversely, if your draft pick goes later than where your team originally selected him, then that’s less than ideal.
Calvin Ridley was Atlanta’s original selection, at pick No. 26. In the 2018 season, he led all rookies with 821 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. The Alabama product also led all wide receivers in the NFL (not just rookies, all of them) in separation creation, via NextGen Stats. Translation: Ridley is already one of the best route runners in the NFL.
SB Nation had the following to say about the Ridley pick to the Buffalo:
Both Ridley and 2018 Panthers pick D.J. Moore would make sense for the playmaking-starved Bills. Buffalo gets a player who found the end zone 10 times as a rookie in the Alabama product and current Falcon. This is important, since the entire Bills roster combined for 13 receiving touchdowns in 2018.
Ridley going higher than 26 would be expected after the season he just had. He had no business falling to 26 in the first place. What’s really amusing, however, is who SB Nation has going to the Falcons at that pick in the re-draft.
Marcus Davenport, for whom the New Orleans Saints sacrificed their first-round pick in 2019 to move up, falls from 14 all to the way to Atlanta at 26. And hey, the Falcons would get him without trading their first rounder in 2019. What a concept.
Here’s what SB Nation had to say about the pick:
Ridley was a bit of a luxury pick to push alongside Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, and with him already off the board the Falcons can shore up their disappointing defense. Davenport gives Dan Quinn a high-upside project to mold while adding a little extra punch to his pass rush. He also provides an important insurance policy should Vic Beasley fail to ever return to his 2016 peak.
Davenport is a solid prospect, but he’ll have to transcend New Orleans’ pass rush for him to be worth the two first round selections they invested in him. That hasn’t happened yet — in his rookie season, Davenport played in 13 games and totaled 4.5 sacks, which would rank fifth on Atlanta’s roster. He also had 12 QB hits, which would be third among all Falcons.
The Saints sure could have used more pass rush than they got in the NFC Championship Game — they totaled just one sack of Jared Goff in a game where they lost in overtime. They also could’ve used more than the four receptions for 36 receiving yards Michael Thomas gave them, and they surely didn’t need the interception Drew Brees threw in the extra period, but I digress.
New Orleans will be without picks in the first, third, and fourth rounds come the NFL Draft. Not ideal for a team that just went all in to come up short this past season.