Going through and re-selecting a past NFL Draft can be a fun exercise if your team selects in the early or middle part of the first round. If you are picking on behalf of the Green Bay Packers, who held the 29th overall pick heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, it is an agonizing wait as all of the best players in that draft class ticked off the board.
This week, SB Nation’s NFL team blogs conducted a re-draft of 2017, leaving Acme Packing Company to select at 29. As one would expect, we did not trade down to select Kevin King, but at the same time the best players from both before and after the 29th spot had gone off the board earlier to other teams.
Dawgs By Nature, whose Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett at number one overall in 2017, took the expected route and grabbed Patrick Mahomes instead. Niners Nation picked Deshaun Watson for the 49ers, setting up a fun quarterback controversy. Then Windy City Gridiron reached deep into day three, plucking tight end George Kittle with the third pick before Bic Cat Country scooped up Christian McCaffrey for the Jacksonville Jaguars at four.
By the time APC finally got on the clock at 29, just about every player from the draft class who has made a Pro Bowl was gone. The only two exceptions were running backs Kareem Hunt, whose off-the-field problems kept him off our board, and Tarik Cohen, who earned that honor as a return man.
However, no players from the Packers’ actual 2017 draft class had been selected yet, so APC made sure that Green Bay would get its most accomplished player from that class: running back Aaron Jones.
Yes, picking a running back at 29 would seem antithetical to the Packers’ approach, but knowing what we know of the draft class through three years, we believed it to be the right selection. One primary reason for this is the fact that Jones leads all players from the 2017 class in career yards per carry average, sitting just above five. The Packers actually drafted Jones in the fifth round, picking him 182nd overall and doing so a round after grabbing fellow running back Jamaal Williams.
The one other player under strong consideration was Bengals running back Joe Mixon, who leads the class in total rushing yards and has a bit better receiving total than Jones. However, Jones’ superior efficiency — he ranked 7th in rushing DVOA each of the past two years compared to Mixon’s 13th and 20th in 2018 and 2019 — gives him the edge for us.
A wide receiver would have been a welcome addition here, as would a dynamic defensive back. However, the seven top receivers in the draft were all already gone — leaving the likes of Corey Davis and Evan Engram available — while two tempting DBs in Shaquill Griffin and Marcus Williams came off the board in the two picks immediately preceding APC’s selection. As a result, we chose to stick with a known commodity, one who ended up in the backfield on our All-2010s offense last week.
Here is the entire first round of this re-draft:
2017 Re-Draft Round 1
|1||Cleveland Browns||Patrick Mahomes||QB|
|2||San Francisco 49ers||Deshaun Watson||QB|
|3||Chicago Bears||George Kittle||TE|
|4||Jacksonville Jaguars||Christian McCaffrey||RB|
|5||Tennessee Titans||Myles Garrett||EDGE|
|6||New York Jets||Jamal Adams||S|
|7||Los Angeles Chargers||Tre'Davious White||CB|
|8||Carolina Panthers||Marshon Lattimore||CB|
|9||Cincinnati Bengals||Ryan Ramczyk||OT|
|10||Buffalo Bills||T.J. Watt||EDGE|
|11||New Orleans Saints||Marlon Humphrey||CB|
|12||Cleveland Browns||Chris Godwin||WR|
|13||Arizona Cardinals||Alvin Kamara||RB|
|14||Philadelphia Eagles||Eddie Jackson||S|
|15||Indanapolis Colts||Kenny Golladay||WR|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||JuJu Smith-Schuster||WR|
|18||Tennessee Titans||Adoree Jackson||CB|
|19||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Dalvin Cook||RB|
|20||Denver Broncos||Budda Baker||S|
|21||Detroit Lions||Cooper Kupp||WR|
|22||Miami Dolphins||Malik Hooker||S|
|23||New York Giants||Taylor Moton||OT|
|24||Las Vegas Raiders||Mike Williams||WR|
|25||Houston Texans||Desmond King||CB|
|26||Seattle Seahawks||DJ Jones||DL|
|27||Kansas City Chiefs||Shaquill Griffin||CB|
|28||Dallas Cowboys||Marcus Williams||S|
|29||Green Bay Packers||Aaron Jones||RB|
|30||Pittsburgh Steelers||O.J. Howard||TE|
|31||Atlanta Falcons||Dion Dawkins||OT|
|32||New Orleans Saints||Evan Engram||TE|