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Ultimate NFL 5-Year Re-Draft Using 2020 Through 2024 Classes

BR NFL Staff

What would your favorite team do if every player from the last five drafts was put into a pool for an ultimate re-draft?

That's what Bleacher Report set out to do.

We divided the 32 teams among six drafters—NFL writer Maurice Moton, NFL editor Ian Hanford, associate editor Lucky Ngamwajasat and staff editors Jay Dunbar, Bryan Toporek and Joey Akeley. Dunbar, Toporek and Akeley then co-authored the article.

Each team was given one selection, and not surprisingly, quarterbacks ruled the top half of the draft. But it didn't take long for elite wide receivers and pass-rushers to get scooped up, and after that top-level offensive tackles and cornerbacks were selected.

Who went No. 1 overall? Which teams got better from this exercise, and which teams got worse?

Before we reveal the results, let's explain all the rules of our alternate reality and how the draft order was formed.

Methodology and How Draft Order Was Determined

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• Any player drafted from 2020 to 2024 is eligible to be chosen.

• The player's contract is inherited by the team that selects him.

• All players drafted before 2020 stay with their current teams, including all players acquired via free agency and trade.

• If a player is not selected, they return to their current team.

• The draft order was determined by a lottery for all 32 picks based on a combination of each team's projected win total and Super Bowl odds for the 2024 season. So the Panthers had the most virtual ping-pong balls, and the Chiefs and 49ers had the least. The Panthers ended up winning the lottery, but after that there was lots of movement. The Dallas Cowboys jumped about 20 spots into the top four, whereas the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos fell 10-plus spots.

• After 32 picks were made, every team that had two players poached from their roster got an extra pick. Eight extra picks were awarded, so in total this draft had 40 selections. To learn more about how this process works, check the "Comp Round" slide at the end of the article.

1. Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB

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Stroud's Remaining Contract: 3 years, $29.7 million (team option available for fourth year)

The Carolina Panthers could have taken C.J. Stroud with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but they went with Bryce Young instead. After seeing how their respective rookie seasons played out, this exercise gave them a redo on that decision.

Whereas Young scuffled as a rookie, Stroud went on to win Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions while helping to lead the Houston Texans to a surprise playoff berth. He led the league with 273.9 passing yards per game and ranked third in yards per pass attempt (8.2).

If contracts weren't in consideration here, Stroud wouldn't have been as much of a shoo-in. Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa are all far more proven. However, Burrow, Herbert and Hurts are all on new five-year contracts worth at least $250 million, while Tagovailoa is gearing up for a new megadeal of his own.

Meanwhile, Stroud is heading into only the second year of his rookie contract. He has a minuscule $8.2 million cap hit in 2024. The Panthers would have the ability to splurge at other positions for the next few seasons before signing Stroud to a new contract.

Building around elite quarterbacks on cheap rookie deals is the biggest team-building cheat code in the NFL. Stroud would give Carolina a wide-open Super Bowl window for the next few seasons.

- Toporek

2. Tennessee Titans: Joe Burrow, QB

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Burrow's Remaining Contract: Six years, $300 million

The last time Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending injury, he won Comeback Player of the Year, led the NFL in completion percentage and took the Cincinnati Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance.

That fact was certainly not lost on our Ran Carthon doppelganger, as B/R's fill-in Tennessee Titans GM replaced Will Levis with a 27-year-old quarterback who has averaged 4,543 yards passing, 34.5 touchdowns, a 104.2 rating and a 69.3 completion percentage over the two seasons he's played at least 16 games.

Sure, Burrow's coming off wrist surgery. And he doesn't have the advantage of a rookie contract—which likely kept him out of our top spot—having signed a five-year, $275 million extension last September. But he's healthy, and having one of the game's best QBs signed through 2029 isn't exactly a bad thing.

Tennessee also has the cap space ($26.8 million) to absorb Burrow's $19.0 million hit outright—not that Carthon wouldn't make it work regardless. With Joe Brrr in town, Levis becomes trade fodder to pad out the rest of the team, and as you'll see as we go along, plenty of franchises are about to find a sudden need at the game's most important position.

Burrow's ceiling is a Super Bowl title. The Titans might not be ready for that in 2024, but they'll be plucky, and the Texans showed last year how fast you can build up a roster with a few timely, talented additions.

- Dunbar

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Micah Parsons, EDGE

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Parsons' Remaining Contract: 2 years, $27 million

Had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers not just re-signed Baker Mayfield to a three-year, $100 million contract this offseason, Justin Herbert would have been the obvious pick here. The Bucs can escape from Mayfield's contract next offseason, but they'd be left with a $33.1 million dead cap hit if they waived him or a $23.1 million dead cap hit if they traded him.

Besides, we just saw Mayfield have a career year in Tampa Bay. He threw for a career-high 4,044 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions while guiding the Buccaneers to the NFC South title and a Wild Card Round victory over the free-falling Philadelphia Eagles.

Rather than splurge on Herbert and look to recoup value by trading Mayfield, the Bucs decided to beef up their pass rush with the No. 3 overall pick by selecting do-it-all linebacker Micah Parsons.

With Parsons rushing opposite YaYa Diaby, the Bucs would put quarterbacks under relentless pressure. That would help them cover up a patchwork secondary that lost Carlton Davis III in a trade with the Detroit Lions this offseason. The less time that opposing quarterbacks have to pick on 2022 fifth-round cornerback Zyon McCollum, the better.

Think of it this way: What would you rather have, Mayfield and Parsons or Herbert and whatever you could get for Mayfield via trade? In this exercise, the Bucs preferred the former.

- Toporek

4. Dallas Cowboys: Justin Jefferson, WR

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Jefferson's Remaining Contract: One year, $20 million

Going into this draft, it was inevitable that Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb would be top-10 picks. With Parsons already gone, the Cowboys could have selected Lamb, who had a career year in 2023 (135 catches, 1,749 yards, 12 TDs).

But the allure of Justin Jefferson was too much to pass up.

Since the beginning of the 2022 season, Jefferson has averaged 106.8 yards per game, while Lamb averaged a career-high 102.9 last year. Both of these numbers are outrageous, but Jefferson has a slight edge.

Perhaps the Dak Prescott-Jefferson combo would yield historic results—and elusive playoff success for Dallas.

The Cowboys could have taken Aidan Hutchinson to replace Parsons, but getting Prescott an elite weapon going into his contract year is more important. Dallas would look to extend Prescott and Jefferson this offseason to ensure a long-term partnership.

- Akeley

5. Arizona Cardinals: Ja'Marr Chase, WR

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Chase's Remaining Contract: Two years, $31 million

Kyler Murray has regressed since his breakout 2021 season—thanks in part to injuries—so there's an argument to be made that the Cardinals should have picked Justin Herbert here and looked to trade Murray.

Such a move would have resulted in a salary-cap mess for the Cardinals, but that wasn't the main consideration for going with Ja'Marr Chase. It was that Chase could unlock the best version of Murray we've ever seen.

Chase had 1,455 receiving yards as a rookie. He missed five games in 2022 and saw his numbers take a hit in 2023 due to poor quarterback play. He's primed for a career year in 2024, and the fact that he's a year younger than CeeDee Lamb was a factor in this selection.

The Cardinals could have taken Marvin Harrison Jr. here, as he's guaranteed to be picked later in this draft. Five years from now, passing on Harrison could be seen as a big mistake, but at this moment, it's hard to pass on the certainty that is Chase for a guy who hasn't played in an NFL game yet.

- Akeley

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB

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Herbert's Remaining Contract: 5 years, $262.5 million

The draft board couldn't have broken much better for the Los Angeles Chargers. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers passed up Justin Herbert at No. 3, the Chargers were all but guaranteed to have him fall to them at No. 6 since the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals were already set at quarterback.

Herbert began his NFL career by throwing for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions en route to the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. That wound up being his first of three straight 4,000-yard campaigns. In 2021, he topped the 5,000-yard mark while earning his first Pro Bowl berth.

Herbert backslid this past season, completing a career-low 65.1 percent of his throws for 3,134 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions, although injuries contributed to that decline. Veteran wide receiver Mike Williams tore his ACL in Week 3, leaving Herbert to rely on Keenan Allen and not much else.

The Chargers cut Williams and traded Allen this offseason, although they did replenish their receiving corps by signing DJ Chark Jr. and spending a second-round pick on Ladd McConkey. They appear ready to pivot into more of a ground-heavy attack under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, which might reduce their reliance on Herbert's cannon arm.

The Chargers could have gone with a more inexpensive option here such as Caleb Williams or Anthony Richardson. But after seeing how the first few years of Herbert's career in L.A. have gone, they should have zero regrets about running it back with him.

- Toporek

7. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB

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Love's Remaining Contract: 1 year, up to $22.5 million

The Packers had no choice but to take a quarterback, as Jordan Love was guaranteed to be selected at some point in this draft. Their options included Caleb Williams, Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy, among others.

But the Packers chose to stick with their guy, and it's hard to blame them.

Love threw for 4,159 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his first season as a starter. The 2020 first-round pick had an 18-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio in his last eight regular-season games. He's arguably a top-10 quarterback now, and the 25-year-old should get better with more experience.

In comparison to Hurts, Love is the better pocket passer. In comparison to Purdy, Love has more physical ability.

Statistically, Love wasn't as efficient as Purdy in 2023, but that could easily change this year with the Packers' young core of wide receivers one year older and Josh Jacobs in town. Whether Love has a better career than Williams is anyone's guess.

- Akeley

8. Minnesota Vikings: CeeDee Lamb, WR

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Lamb's Remaining Contract: 1 year, $18 million

The Vikings lost Justin Jefferson earlier in this exercise, which made wide receiver a big need. But they also had the option of taking a quarterback, such as Caleb Williams, if they felt one would be a significant upgrade over J.J. McCarthy.

Not knowing whether McCarthy would be taken later in this draft made the decision even tougher, but (spoiler alert) McCarthy ended up not being selected, which made the gamble to take CeeDee Lamb here more justifiable.

Lamb was the best receiver in the NFL last year. Though our panel unanimously agreed that Jefferson will be the slightly better player over the long term, Lamb is arguably the best possible replacement.

If McCarthy ends up being an above-average starting quarterback, this selection will look wise in hindsight. But if he struggles, we'll know a QB should have been taken here.

- Akeley

9. Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams, QB

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Williams' Remaining Contract: 4 years, $39.4 million (team option for fifth year)

It's been said over and over again that it's extremely difficult to win a Super Bowl with a quarterback taking up a big percentage of his team's cap space.

That's a core argument for taking Caleb Williams in this exercise.

By keeping Williams, the Bears are giving themselves a five-year contention window—the duration of his cheap rookie-scale contract—that they simply might never get if they had taken an expensive QB such as Joe Burrow (second pick in this draft), Justin Herbert (sixth pick) or Jalen Hurts (to be selected later).

Of course, there's no guarantee that Williams will reach the level of those three. But he has as good of a chance as any after throwing for 93 touchdowns and 9.2 yards per attempt in three college seasons.

If Williams has a C.J. Stroud-like rookie season, he'll be a top-two pick in the next iteration of this article, which would make this selection a steal.

- Akeley

10. Las Vegas Raiders: Jayden Daniels, QB

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Daniels' Remaining Contract: 4 years, $37.7 million (team option for fifth year)

The Las Vegas Raiders were unable to move up for Jayden Daniels or any of the other elite quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL draft. They're now poised to have an uninspiring quarterback competition between veteran journeyman Gardner Minshew II and 2023 fourth-round pick Aidan O'Connell.

This exercise gave them a chance to rectify that, and the board fell perfectly for them to do so.

Before taking over as the Raiders' linebackers coach in 2022, now-head coach Antonio Pierce served as the associate head coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for Arizona State. He helped convince Daniels to attend Arizona State in 2019, where he started for three seasons before transferring to LSU.

"Our relationship goes beyond football," Daniels told reporters at this year's NFL Scouting Combine.

Reuniting Daniels and Pierce would give the Raiders a long-term foundation under center that they currently lack. It would answer their biggest team-building question moving forward, and star wide receiver Davante Adams could ease Daniels' acclimation to the NFL.

- Toporek

11. Washington Commanders: Anthony Richardson, QB

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Richardson's Remaining Contract: 3 years, $27.8 million (team option for fourth year)

With Jayden Daniels coming off the board at No. 10, the Washington Commanders were back in a familiar spot: desperately scrambling to find a franchise quarterback.

They pivoted from one dual threat to another.

A shoulder injury prematurely ended Anthony Richardson's rookie campaign after only four games last season, but he briefly set the NFL ablaze before getting hurt. The Florida product ran for two first-quarter touchdowns in the Indianapolis Colts' Week 2 win over C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans before he suffered a concussion, and he forced overtime against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4 after falling into a 23-0 hole in the second half.

It's fair to wonder how long Richardson can hold up given his playing style. If he has to become more reliant on his arm and lean less on his legs, he'd have less upside moving forward. But in Washington, he'd have a skill-position corps that includes wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, running back Austin Ekeler and tight end Zach Ertz.

To keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, Washington needs a franchise quarterback of its own. While the real-life Commanders are banking on Daniels for that, Richardson isn't a bad consolation prize for this version of the Commanders.

- Toporek

12. Pittsburgh Steelers: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR

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Harrison's Remaining Contract: 4 years, $35.4 million (team option for fifth year)

The fourth receiver taken in our five-year mock could be the best of the bunch. That's how much talent Marvin Harrison Jr. has.

He has a statistical mountain to climb behind Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb, but he'd have at least adequate quarterback play to do so with Russell Wilson heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason. If Justin Fields takes over, MHJ could help revive the ex-Bear's career.

The No. 1 player on the B/R Scouting Department's final 2024 draft big board would take over a receiver room led by George Pickens—and his league-leading 18.1 yards per catch—but one that's in need of a true No. 1 target.

As B/R's Derrik Klassen put it, this year's No. 4 pick is just that: "Harrison is a slam-dunk prospect. He is a twitched-up athlete with polished route-running ability and elite ball skills. It's so easy to see how his game translates right away. Harrison would be an instant No. 1 WR for most offenses."

The other options here would've been to reset at quarterback with Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts, but the chance at a potentially generational receiver was the play over Tagovailoa's injury history and Hurts' $255 million pact with the Eagles combined with the potential for a Wilson or Fields turnaround.

- Dunbar

13. New York Giants: Jalen Hurts, QB

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Hurts' Remaining Contract: 5 years, $255 million

In this alternate reality, the New York Giants a) take Jalen Hurts from the Eagles and b) never have to watch Daniel Jones play again.

"Sign me up," says every Giants fan.

Hurts is coming off a rough season in which he threw 15 interceptions and the Eagles lost six of their last seven games (playoffs included). But even in a down year, he accounted for 38 touchdowns and led his team to 11 wins.

In 2022, Hurts accounted for 35 touchdowns with just six interceptions and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl. That version of Hurts would be worth a top-10 pick in this exercise.

Brian Daboll worked wonders with Josh Allen in Buffalo. It would be a good bet that Daboll would recapture the 2022 version of Hurts.

With the Cowboys losing Micah Parsons and the Eagles losing Hurts in this alternate reality, the Giants would arguably have the best long-term outlook in the NFC East.

- Akeley

14. New England Patriots: Tua Tagovailoa, QB

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Tagovailoa's Remaining Contract: 1 year, $23.2 million

The temptation to stick to the actual script in New England and build around rookie No. 3 pick Drake Maye was strong—especially considering the cheap contract at quarterback and high ceiling.

And yes, it's obvious that Tua Tagovailoa, a signal-caller who's suffered brutal concussions in his career, would be in great peril behind a New England line that was ninth-worst in sacks allowed last season and lost left tackle Trent Brown.

But the thing about rookie quarterbacks is that they don't always pan out, and Tagovailoa is a star. He's got a top-10 MVP finish from 2022 when he led the league with a 105.5 quarterback rating, 6.3 touchdown percentage, 8.9 yards per attempt and 13.7 yards per completion to go with 3,548 yards passing, a 64.8 completion percentage and 25 touchdowns against eight interceptions.

He's due to get a massive bag after this season—which will be the 2020 No. 5 pick's fifth—and that's OK. Locking down a 26-year-old signal-caller of his youth and talent is worth the bet on his health, especially considering he played in every one of the Miami Dolphins' contests last year. The Patriots also have the most cap space in the league with an absurd $49.3 million available.

It was too hard to pass up the more proven commodity at quarterback—and hurt an AFC East rival in the process—as Tua would speed up the rebuild for incoming head coach Jerod Mayo and personnel decision-maker Eliot Wolf immensely.

- Dunbar

15. New York Jets: Penei Sewell, OT

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Sewell's Remaining Contract: 6 years, $138.7 million

Four snaps. One Achilles injury.

Aaron Rodgers' Week 1 setback last season is all the justification the New York Jets need to snag Penei Sewell, the best offensive tackle in the game, at No. 15 in our five-year mock.

The Jets have a win-now roster, and the only way they can start actually winning now is to protect their 40-year-old future Hall of Fame signal-caller. They couldn't do that with a line that gave up 64 sacks a season ago, the NFL's fourth-worst mark.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas had the same idea, as he brought in Tyron Smith on a one-year deal to man left tackle, and the 33-year-old had the fourth-best Pro Football Focus grade among all offensive linemen at 83.3. But you know who had the top grade in the league and is nine years younger? Sewell.

The Detroit Lions tackle could step in for the newly acquired Morgan Moses (77.6 PFF grade)—who would turn into a solid rotational piece or a trade chip—and give the Jets two of the top four tackles from 2023.

That would be one heck of a resounding response to Rodgers' injury.

There's also this year's No. 11 pick Olu Fashanu, who will back up Smith as a rookie but could form one of the league's best set of bookends with Sewell in the long term.

As for the Detroit star, he only allowed three sacks combined over the last three seasons, was on the field for 100 percent of the Lions' offensive snaps and is an elite run-blocker. Oh, and the fourth-year pro is signed through 2029. While the Jets have a little over $6 million in cap space for 2024, it wouldn't be hard to finagle things to squeeze in Sewell's $8.2 million hit for this season.

Considering Rodgers' age and the possible loss of Sauce Gardener in this exercise, a QB of the future or a lockdown cornerback were considerations here, but Sewell's stratospheric ceiling and ability to anchor Gang Green's line for at least the next half-decade pushed the needle in his direction.

- Dunbar

16. Atlanta Falcons: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE

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Hutchinson's Remaining Contract: 2 years, $21.1 million (team option for third year)

As tempting as it was to take Michael Penix Jr. here, the Atlanta Falcons decided not to double down on quarterback this time. After signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract in free agency, they instead pivoted to finding more win-now help.

The Falcons racked up only 42 sacks last season, which was tied with the Denver Broncos for the 11th-fewest leaguewide. Bud Dupree and Calais Campbell led them with 6.5 sacks apiece last year, but neither are currently on this year's roster. Dupree signed with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency, while Campbell remains a free agent.

Atlanta thus beefed up its pass rush here with Aidan Hutchinson, who finished as the Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2022 and earned his first Pro Bowl nod this past season.

Hutchinson burst onto the scene as a rookie with 9.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and three interceptions, and he was even better this past season. He tallied 11.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 33 quarterback hits, the latter of which ranked third leaguewide.

Although the Falcons later lost No. 1 wide receiver Drake London in this exercise, they'd still have a skill-position corps featuring running back Bijan Robinson, wideouts Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore and tight end Kyle Pitts. Having Cousins throw to those weapons on offense while Hutchinson anchored a rising defense could push the Falcons firmly into the Super Bowl mix.

- Toporek

17. Seattle Seahawks: Brock Purdy, QB

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Purdy's Remaining Contract: 2 years, $2.1 million

Is Brock Purdy a product of the talent and coaching surrounding him in San Francisco? Or is he good enough to record comparable numbers in a worse situation?

In this alternate reality, we'd be about to find out.

The Seahawks don't have Kyle Shanahan calling plays or Christian McCaffrey dominating in the backfield. But they do have a great receiver trio in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and frankly they could be a dominant offense with better QB play than they are getting from Geno Smith, who would become a trade chip in this scenario.

Purdy led the NFL in passer rating (113.0), yards per attempt (9.6) and a number of other categories last year. The Seahawks would be betting on Purdy having similar success with Ryan Grubb calling plays and Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet doing their best McCaffrey impression.

The added bonus of getting Purdy is his outrageously cheap contract for the next two seasons. The Seahawks would have more financial flexibility in next year's free agency to load up the rest of their roster for a Super Bowl charge.

- Akeley

18. Cleveland Browns: Sauce Gardner, CB

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Gardner's Remaining Contract: 2 years, $19.7 million (team option for third year)

We have our first cornerback off the board, and he comes equipped with perhaps the best nickname in the NFL.

Sauce Gardner is a pretty good player, too.

The 2022 No. 4 overall pick by the New York Jets led the league with 20 pass deflections, earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods and won Defensive Rookie of the Year, and followed that with this second All-Pro selection last season. Pro Football Focus had the 23-year-old rated as a top-three corner in '23, giving him a grade of 88.6.

Given that the Cleveland Browns are stuck with Deshaun Watson's contract at $63 million-plus per season through 2026 (and an $8.9 million cap hit for a void year in 2027), hitting the QB reset button with Trevor Lawrence, Drake Maye or Bryce Young wasn't an option for our Andrew Berry fill-in.

The Browns would be leaning into a strength with Gardner, as the team finished No. 1 in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game last year at 164.7. Still, he would step in as the clear lockdown option for a group that would include Denzel Ward and Martin Emerson Jr.

- Dunbar

19. Detroit Lions: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE

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Anderson's Remaining Contract: 3 years, $28.8 million (team option for fourth year)

The Detroit Lions didn't have any glaring needs entering this draft. But then they lost Penei Sewell and Aidan Hutchinson, so this pick came down to an offensive tackle or a pass-rusher.

The top tackles available—Tristan Wirfs, Christian Darrisaw, Rashawn Slater and Joe Alt—are not in the same talent tier as Will Anderson Jr.

The 2023 No. 3 pick won Defensive Rookie of the Year with 22 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Expect his sack total to climb into double digits during his sophomore season.

Micah Parsons, Hutchinson and Anderson had a significant advantage on the next tier of pass-rushers—led by Kayvon Thibodeaux and Alex Highsmith—which is another reason it was worth grabbing Anderson here.

- Akeley

20. Denver Broncos: Trevor Lawrence, QB

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Lawrence's Remaining Contract: 2 years, $37.4 million

The Denver Broncos have been searching for a long-term answer at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired. After cycling through enough Trevor Siemians, Case Keenums and Drew Locks for one lifetime, desperation led them to trade for a past-his-prime Russell Wilson and immediately give him a nearly quarter-billion-dollar extension that they'd quickly grow to regret.

In other words, Trevor Lawrence falling into the Broncos' lap here would be like manna from heaven for them.

Lawrence had a rocky rookie season under the short-lived Urban Meyer, but he bounced back resoundingly in 2022 after Doug Pederson took over. After throwing for 4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns and only eight interceptions during the regular season, the No. 1 overall pick led one of the most thrilling comebacks in NFL playoff history, rallying his Jacksonville Jaguars from a 27-point first-half deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers.

Lawrence was more inconsistent this past season while trying to work in the newly reinstated Calvin Ridley. He's now entering a pivotal fourth season and became eligible to sign an extension this offseason.

Lawrence told reporters in mid-April that he and the team had held some "conversations" about an extension, but he didn't want to focus on those negotiations. Although the Broncos wouldn't get to benefit from building around a quarterback on a rookie contract for long, Lawrence's upside could help expedite their ongoing rebuild.

- Toporek

21. Los Angeles Rams: Puka Nacua, WR

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Nacua's Remaining Contract: 3 years, $3.3 million

Puka Nacua was arguably the best player available and the cheapest, so this was a no-brainer selection.

Nacua set rookie records last year with 105 receptions and 1,486 yards. There's no reason to expect him to slow down in 2024.

Had Matthew Stafford shown signs of decline last year, the Rams would have had to consider a quarterback like Drake Maye here. But Stafford led Los Angeles to the playoffs while finishing eighth in MVP voting. The 36-year-old should have a few good years left.

The Rams have a bloated cap sheet for the 2025 season, so keeping Nacua helps give them some flexibility for 2025 free agency.

- Akeley

22. Miami Dolphins: Derrick Brown, DT

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Brown's Remaining Contract: 5 years, $107.7 million (potential out after 2027)

Tua Tagovailoa's loss to the rival Patriots earlier in our first round was brutal. There's no getting around that.

So the first thought for the Miami Dolphins' selection was a QB succession plan. But the pickings were slim at No. 22, given that Drake Maye was the best remaining option—unless you believe in other rookie signal-callers not named Jayden Daniels or Caleb Williams—and as a potential contender, Mike McDaniel's squad doesn't have the time to wait around for a developmental prospect.

GM Chris Grier also saw star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins leave for Las Vegas on a four-year, $110 million deal this offseason.

Enter: Derrick Brown.

The four-year pro rocked a 90.1 PFF grade last year and was ranked fifth among all interior defensive linemen behind Dexter Lawrence, Aaron Donald, Chris Jones and Quinnen Williams.

Brown is an elite run defender, and they'll need that to maintain a unit that was top-seven in total rushing yards allowed (1,650) and yards allowed per carry (3.8). He's also 26 and just signed a four-year, $96 million extension, and it won't be a problem to fit in his $6.6 million cap hit for this season after Tua's loss—though that payment will balloon once the new deal kicks in after 2024.

Still, $24 million per year is a reasonable price to pay for a player who set the NFL record in tackles by a D-lineman (103) and led all interior defenders last year with 53 stops and 73 solo tackles, per PFF.

In this scenario, Grier will have to work the phones in an attempt to pry loose a veteran signal-caller via trade—perhaps Geno Smith from Seattle, which took Brock Purdy in our redraft, or Derek Carr from New Orleans, which ended up with Maye.

- Dunbar

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Queen, LB

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Queen's Remaining Contract: 3 years, $41 million

Losing Jalen Hurts to the New York Giants in this re-draft was an undeniable blow for the Philadelphia Eagles. They could have taken Drake Maye here as his potential replacement, but they instead opted to put their faith into 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett and looked to bolster their roster elsewhere.

The one silver lining to losing Hurts was that the Eagles could splurge on other positions. While general manager Howie Roseman tends not to invest significant resources into his linebacker corps, this past season demonstrated the drawback of that approach. Thus, the Eagles opted to take Patrick Queen here to fortify the middle of their defense.

The Eagles' inability to defend Deebo Samuel last year sparked a domino effect that led to them demoting their defensive coordinator midseason. Their defense crumbled from there, allowing at least 20 points in each of their final seven games (six of which were losses).

Meanwhile, Queen was busy in Baltimore tallying a career-high 133 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six pass breakups and one interception. That resulted in his first Pro Bowl appearance and a second-team All-Pro nod.

The Eagles have poured resources into their defensive line and secondary in recent years, but their linebackers remain the potential weak link in their defense. That won't be the case any longer with Queen in town.

- Toporek

24. New Orleans Saints: Drake Maye, QB

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Maye's Remaining Contract: 4 years, $36.6 million (team option for fifth year)

The New Orleans Saints still have quarterback Derek Carr under contract for three more seasons, but it's a stretch to call him their long-term answer under center. The 33-year-old has a career record of 72-89 as a starter and hasn't topped 30 touchdown passes in a season since his second NFL campaign in 2015.

While Carr has a manageable cap hit of $12.7 million this season, it balloons to $51.5 million in 2025 and $61.5 million in 2026. That's unsustainable for a Saints team that's already projected to be nearly $100 million over the 2025 salary cap.

The real-life Saints spent a fifth-round pick on Spencer Rattler, giving themselves a cheap swing at a developmental quarterback. Here, they decided to give themselves an even better shot at a potential Carr successor by selecting Drake Maye.

Maye was the top-ranked quarterback on the B/R Scouting Department's final big board—yes, above even Caleb Williams. B/R scout Derrik Klassen called him the "prototypical quarterback prospect" and said he has "the athleticism, arm talent and baseline processing skills to become a weapon" in the NFL.

Selecting Maye wouldn't help the Saints win right now, but they can't keep kicking the can down the road forever. This would help them launch a long-overdue reset.

- Toporek

25. Indianapolis Colts: DeVonta Smith, WR

Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Smith's Remaining Contract: 5 years, $92.7 million

Losing Anthony Richardson was a huge blow for the Indianapolis Colts, particularly since Drake Maye came off the board one pick before them. The only notable quarterbacks remaining were Bryce Young, J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix.

Rather than reach on one of them, the Colts decided to go with the Joe Flacco Band-Aid approach at quarterback and load up elsewhere on offense instead.

As a rookie in 2021, Smith led the Philadelphia Eagles in catches (64), receiving yards (916) and receiving touchdowns (five). He slid into a 1B role after the Eagles acquired A.J. Brown in 2022, but that hasn't stopped him from posting back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns with seven touchdowns in each.

The Slim Reaper is both a smooth, precise route-runner and a dangerous deep threat. He has six touchdowns of 30 or more yards since entering the NFL, which puts him in a tie for the 10th-most leaguewide over that span. Smith has also increased his catch percentage in each of his three seasons, topping out at 72.3 percent this past season.

Smith just signed a three-year, $75 million extension this offseason, but the deal doesn't kick in until 2026. While he has one of the highest annual salaries of any wide receiver for now, that won't be the case for long. Having him locked up long term on what might wind up being a below-market rate only increases his appeal here.

- Toporek

26. Jacksonville Jaguars: Devon Witherspoon, CB

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Witherspoon's Remaining Contract: 3 years, $26.1 million (team option for fourth year)

With Trevor Lawrence on his way to Denver in our bizarro world, the Jacksonville Jaguars are left without a plan at quarterback. It's the maddening reality of this sort of exercise, when all of the top signal-callers are gone well before the mid-20s.

So instead of reaching on a project such as Michael Penix Jr. or J.J. McCarthy, or hoping for a Bryce Young turnaround, our impostor Trent Baalke took cornerback Devon Witherspoon and bolstered his defense.

You know, the one that ranked No. 22 overall and an abysmal 26th in passing yards allowed at 239.8 per game.

The 26-year-old Witherspoon was a Pro Bowler as a rookie last year, having accrued 16 pass breakups, an 87.9 opponent passer rating and an 84.1 PFF grade, which helped land him at No. 75 on the site's top 101 players of 2023. He can serve as the lockdown No. 1 corner Jacksonville desperately needs, and he was the best option on the board with Sauce Gardner having gone to Cleveland at No. 18.

The Jags have the third-most cap space as it is, and after the team lost its QB, his $7.9 average annual salary (No. 23 among all corners) clearly won't be a problem to squeeze in. Jacksonville would also be set at the spot through 2026 with last year's No. 5 pick in tow.

Given that this is a middling roster with fringe playoff hopes, Baalke could play his QB plan several ways. The first would be to trade for a veteran such as Geno Smith and push for the postseason and a likely Wild Card Round exit. But given the loss of his franchise centerpiece in Lawrence, Baalke could roll out Mac Jones in '24, embrace the tank and hope to land a talented signal-caller in the '25 draft.

- Dunbar

27. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE

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Thibodeaux's Remaining Contract: 2 years, $18.5 million (team option for third year)

After losing C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. in this draft, the Texans would have to decide whether taking a young, unproven quarterback would make more sense than taking an already-established pass-rusher.

Realistically, the Texans would pursue a trade for a veteran QB instead of handing the keys to Bryce Young, Michael Penix Jr. or J.J. McCarthy.

With the assumption that they would land a player like Derek Carr or Geno Smith (their teams took younger QBs in this exercise), they would use this pick to get an Anderson replacement.

Kayvon Thibodeaux had 11.5 sacks last season, and he did that without a quality running mate. Imagine what he can do with Danielle Hunter taking on double-teams.

The 2022 fifth overall pick won't turn 24 until December, so he's likely still developing.

- Akeley

28. Cincinnati Bengals: Brock Bowers, TE

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Bowers' Remaining Contract: 4 years, $18.1 million (team option for fifth year)

The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the most heavily hit squads in this redraft, having lost Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase. That's just a testament to the talent Bengals decision-maker Duke Tobin has collected over the last five drafts.

There was no making up for those losses at No. 28, but uber-tight end prospect Brock Bowers would be a nice step toward filling some of Chase's production, with Tee Higgins staying in town and sliding up to the No. 1 receiver spot in this scenario.

As for Bowers, B/R's Derrik Klassen wrote of this year's No. 13 pick: "Brock Bowers is a rare, explosive play threat from the tight end position. Anytime he touches the ball, he could go for a house call."

Sign us up.

Our panel didn't buy into Bryce Young enough to pick him in our first round, though the 2023 No. 1 overall pick could make for a nice trade target and Burrow replacement, with our multiverse Panthers ending up with C.J. Stroud at No. 1 in this redraft.

- Dunbar

29. Buffalo Bills: Rome Odunze, WR

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Odunze's Remaining Contract: 4 years, $22.7 million (team option for fifth year)

No Stefon Diggs? No problem.

While it might've been ideal to grab a more established receiver to replace the four-time Pro Bowler, considering the Buffalo Bills' win-now state, 2024's No. 9 pick still heads into the league as a readymade No. 1 target.

As B/R's Derrik Klassen pointed out in his scouting report: "Odunze is a quarterback's best friend. He's a reliable route-runner with good size and an accuracy-erasing catch radius. Odunze can be a classic X receiver who moonlights as a slot receiver from time to time thanks to his awareness and ability to play in traffic."

Sounds like a great fit with Josh Allen, a QB who entered the NFL with accuracy issues and didn't fix them until Diggs entered the fray in 2020.

With Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, CeeDee Lamb, Marvin Harrison Jr., Puka Nacua and DeVonta Smith all off the board, this pick came down to Odunze or fellow rookie Malik Nabers. The Washington product's contested-catch ability and the B/R Scouting Department's slightly higher ranking on him tipped the scales in his favor.

The rookie-scale contract will also look great on Buffalo's books, as the team sits 28th in available cap space with $2.2 million.

- Dunbar

30. Baltimore Ravens: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR

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St. Brown's Remaining Contract: 5 years, $123.6 million

Some might see Amon-Ra St. Brown's tumble to No. 30 as straight up disrespectful following his All-Pro campaign—one that PFF rated as being the 15th-best among all NFL players last year.

Regardless of perception, our fake Baltimore Ravens GM was hyped to step in for Eric DeCosta and grab the 24-year-old Lion, who finished top-four in receiving yards (1,515), catches (119) and receiving touchdowns (10) in 2023.

He would arrive as Lamar Jackson's top target and lead a group that includes Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman. The two-time MVP has lacked a true No. 1 receiver throughout his career, and the 2021 fourth-rounder would help a passing attack that ranked just 21st a year ago at 213.8 yards per game.

Given that, it was an easy choice to grab a receiver, with Malik Nabers, Garrett Wilson, Brandon Aiyuk and Chris Olave serving as other viable options in this spot.

- Dunbar

31. San Francisco 49ers: Tristan Wirfs, OT

Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Wirfs' Remaining Contract: 1 year, $18.6 million

After losing Brock Purdy earlier in this draft, the 49ers would consider taking a quarterback. But there's no guarantee that a young QB like Michael Penix Jr. would be an immediate upgrade on Joshua Dobbs. And besides, this selection would give San Francisco a chance to finally bolster its tackle situation.

Colton McKivitz is arguably the 49ers' weakest link. Trent Williams is the best tackle in the league, but he's 35. Retiring after this upcoming season wouldn't be a shock.

Wirfs would replace McKivitz at right tackle in 2024 before taking over for Williams on the left side when he hangs up the cleats.

Without having to worry about an extension for Purdy in this alternate reality, the 49ers would have the long-term money to give extensions to Wirfs and Brandon Aiyuk. As an aside, the 2023 second-team All-Pro WR is perhaps the best player to not be picked in this exercise, which is a huge plus for San Francisco.

Would an offense featuring Wirfs, Williams, Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle be good enough to carry Dobbs to a Super Bowl? It's impossible to know, but it would be fascinating to find out.

To all the 49ers fans who wanted Wirfs over Javon Kinlaw in the 2020 draft, you're welcome.

- Akeley

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Garrett Wilson, WR

Elsa/Getty Images

Wilson's Remaining Contract: 2 years, $12.1 million (team option for third year)

How did we allow this to happen? Couldn't someone have stopped this? The Chiefs got to this point on the board having lost no one, and now they're about to pick up Garrett Wilson?

Congrats on the three-peat in advance, Patrick Mahomes and Co.

The Chiefs already spent the offseason loading up at wide receiver after the Kadarius Toney experiment went bust. They signed Marquise Brown to a one-year, $7.0 million contract in free agency, and they traded up in the first round to land Texas speedster Xavier Worthy, who broke the NFL Scouting Combine record with a 4.21-second 40-yard dash.

And now they're adding Garrett Wilson, who began his NFL career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons despite catching passes from Zach Wilson for most of those two years? Wilson already jumped up from Wilson to Aaron Rodgers last season. Now he's going from Rodgers to three-time Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes?

No matter what happens to Rashee Rice amid his legal issues, a pass-catching corps of Wilson, Brown, Worthy and Travis Kelce would stack up to the best in the league.

- Toporek

Comp Round (Picks 33-40)

Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The following seven teams had at least two players poached from their rosters. They get one extra pick for every extra player they lost.

The catch is they can only choose from teams that did not have a player taken. For example, with the 33rd pick the Bengals had their choice of any player (drafted between 2020 and 2024) from the Ravens, Saints, Falcons, Broncos, Titans, Chiefs, Browns and Bills.

The other catch is only one player can be taken from those eight teams. So once the Bengals selected Kyle Hamilton 33rd, no other Raven could be selected.

The Lions had three players taken in the first 32 picks, so they get two comp picks.

33. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyle Hamilton, S

Players lost: Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase

Player added: Brock Bowers

The Bengals add the top safety in this exercise. At only 23 years old, Kyle Hamilton is a player Cincinnati could build around for the next decade.

As talented as Bowers and Hamilton are, I'm sure Bengals fans will enjoy the reality of having Burrow and Chase for the next decade.

34. Dallas Cowboys: Chris Olave, WR

Players lost: Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb

Player added: Justin Jefferson

An Olave-Jefferson pairing could make the Cowboys the most explosive offense in football. And though the defense might struggle without a replacement for Parsons, there wasn't a pass-rusher available who could have the type of impact Olave could for Dallas.

35. Detroit Lions: Drake London, WR

Players lost: Penei Sewell, Aidan Hutchinson, Amon-Ra St. Brown

Player added: Will Anderson Jr.

This exercise shows how loaded the Lions are with young talent. They were the only team with three players poached, and Sam LaPorta easily could have been selected as well.

Detroit already found its Hutchinson replacement in Anderson, and now it gets a St. Brown fill-in. Drake London hasn't had a prolific season yet (1,771 receiving yards in two seasons), but with quality QB play, he should have a breakout year in 2024.

36. Houston Texans: Patrick Surtain II, CB

Players lost: C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr.

Player added: Kayvon Thibodeaux

As noted on the Thibodeaux slide, the Texans would surely attempt to trade for a veteran QB so as to not waste a year of this loaded roster.

Assuming they would be successful in their veteran QB quest, the Texans would then shore up their CB room by taking Patrick Surtain II, who would form an amazing tandem with Derek Stingley Jr.

37. Philadelphia Eagles: JC Latham, OT

Players lost: Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith

Player added: Patrick Queen

If there's one thing Howie Roseman and Jeff Stoutland love, it's drafting long-term succession plans along the offensive line. They're set long-term at left tackle with Jordan Mailata, but 34-year-old right tackle Lane Johnson is entering the twilight of his career.

B/R scout Brandon Thorn said Latham has a "striking blend of size, play strength, power and competitive toughness to overwhelm defenders in the run and pass game." Put him in Stoutland University behind Johnson for the next year or two, and the Eagles would have their tackle spots squared away for the next half-decade or more.

38. Chicago Bears: Creed Humphrey, C

Player lost: WR Rome Odunze

The Bears selected Caleb Williams with the ninth pick of this re-draft, and the question here is whether to build around him with a wide receiver or an offensive lineman.

This was a difficult choice between Xavier Worthy and Creed Humphrey, but Humphrey would instantly replace Ryan Bates at center, whereas Worthy would likely not make a big immediate impact while competing for targets with Keenan Allen and DJ Moore.

39. Detroit Lions: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB

Players lost: Penei Sewell, Aidan Hutchinson, Amon-Ra St. Brown

Players added: Will Anderson Jr., Drake London

In this alternate reality, the Lions would likely trade for a veteran offensive tackle to replace Sewell—perhaps Morgan Moses, who would be available because the Jets took Sewell—and fix their only major weakness. That would clear the way for them to upgrade at linebacker.

The PFF grades of Alex Anzalone (68.1), Derrick Barnes (62.1) and Jack Campbell (57.3) show they were serviceable last year, and Campbell could break out in his second season. But Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (75.3) would be their best linebacker and immediately turn this unit into a major strength.

40. New York Jets: Keon Coleman, WR

Players lost: Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson

Player added: Penei Sewell

Coleman is already a media (and fan) darling in Buffalo. Just imagine this man in the New York City market. On the field, the 2024 No. 33 pick out of Florida State has the skills to address Wilson's loss and become a go-to target for Aaron Rodgers as a younger version of Allen Robinson.

As B/R's Derrik Klassen noted: "Coleman is a throwback X receiver. ... For teams looking for a top target outside the numbers, he fits the bill. Coleman's physicality and ball skills give him a high floor, and he has just enough pop down the field and with the ball in his hands to be a real difference-maker." Much like Josh Allen-to-Coleman figures to be in real life, Rodgers-to-Coleman would be lethal—especially with Sewell anchoring the O-line.


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