By the time the new league year begins in March, we could have seen the top two selections of the 2016 NFL Draft traded away by the teams that drafted them. What if the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams had their time on the clock again? Would they still make the blockbuster trades that acquired Carson Wentz and Jared Goff? In this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft, we right some wrongs five years down the line.
The 2016 NFL Draft Redraft | Picks 1-16
1) Tennessee Titans: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Rewind five years and the Tennessee Titans were involved in a blockbuster trade that would see the Los Angeles Rams select Jared Goff with the first overall pick. However, in this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft, that trade never happens. Instead, the Tennessee Titans select Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa first overall.
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I don’t think anyone could argue that the dominant Bosa deserved to be the first pick in 2016. The then-San Diego Chargers got a steal with the third overall selection. Although Jack Conklin — who the Titans used their original first-round pick on — worked out well, Bosa would provide the pass rush that the Titans so badly craved.
2) Cleveland Browns: Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
Another pre-draft trade that never happens in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft is the Cleveland Browns trading the second overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. Arguably, the Browns’ quarterback need was bigger than the Eagles. Perhaps their decision to trade out of the spot was reflective of their thoughts on Carson Wentz.
In this 2016 NFL Draft redraft, they benefit from hindsight to select Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. Replacing Tony Romo for the Dallas Cowboys, there’s no denying that Prescott outplayed his fourth-round selection. He was selected as the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Browns got a first-hand taste of Prescott’s talent in a 35-10 loss to the Cowboys during the 2016 season.
3) San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers: Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
Protecting Philip Rivers has been a problem as old as the quarterback himself. In this 2016 NFL Draft redraft, they resolve that problem with Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.
The pick may not be viewed as sexy by Chargers fans. However, Stanley has become one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. His loss to injury this season has been dramatically felt by the Baltimore Ravens, who originally landed Stanley with the sixth overall pick.
4) Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, CB, FSU
Although the Dallas Cowboys have seen good returns out of their original fourth overall pick — Ezekiel Elliott — their biggest need coming into the 2016 NFL Draft was at cornerback. As we head into the 2021 NFL Draft, that need remains the same.
For that reason, the Cowboys select Jalen Ramsey in this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft. Originally the fifth overall selection, Ramsey has gone on to become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Running backs can be found elsewhere in the draft, exceptional cornerbacks cannot.
5) Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Cornerback was also the most significant need for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, their original pick is already gone in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft. Over the next five years, no other cornerback would play to the level where you would feel comfortable selecting them with the fifth overall pick.
Instead, they address the interior of the offensive line. For a team that was focusing more on the ground game, what better selection than a center who would become one of the most consistent interior linemen in the NFL? Alabama’s Ryan Kelly is clearly an instant upgrade at the heart of the Jaguars’ offensive line.
6) Baltimore Ravens: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
With Ronnie Stanley no longer available in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft, the Baltimore Ravens turn to Laremy Tunsil. The reasons for the slide of the Ole Miss offensive tackle are well documented. However, the Ravens still land a player who was touted as a potential first overall pick prior to the draft.
Tunsil impressed enough during his time in Miami to be traded — alongside Kenny Stills — for multiple future first-round draft picks.
7) San Francisco 49ers: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
With Colin Kaepernick out of favor in San Francisco, and with no obvious succession plan, the San Francisco 49ers turn to North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft. I appreciate this might not be overly popular with 49ers fans. However, let’s not forget what Wentz achieved during his time in Philadelphia.
Prior to his season-ending injury in 2017, Wentz put together an MVP-type season. Although Nick Foles got recognition as the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Wentz got them to the postseason. His athletic ability would have been an excellent fit for Chip Kelly’s 49ers offense during the 2016 season.
8) Philadelphia Eagles: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Rather than trade up to take Carson Wentz in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft, the Philadelphia Eagles hold station at eight and take the best available remaining player.
Let’s not forget that Philadelphia tried to make a success of the running game trading for Jay Ajayi and Jordan Howard. Imagine what they might have done with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed to address the cornerback position five years ago. They traded back two spots with the Chicago Bears and drafted Vernon Hargreaves out of Florida. Following a less than stellar career with the team, Hargreaves was eventually released.
In this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft, they select Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard. Originally the 38th overall selection of the Miami Dolphins, Howard is coming off a season where he led the NFL in interceptions and was a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
10) New York Giants: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
A serious injury impacted Jaylon Smith’s stock coming out of Notre Dame. Ultimately the best linebacker in the class, Smith fell to the Dallas Cowboys in the second round. He has overcome his injury history to become a midfield enforcer in Dallas.
That is exactly what the New York Giants needed. In this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft, Smith crosses the barricades of the NFC East rivalry. Their original selection — Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple — is currently a free agent.
11) Chicago Bears: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
The Chicago Bears desperately needed pass rushers from the 2016 NFL Draft. They attempted to address the need with Georgia’s athletic outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the impact that the Bears expected. In this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft, DeForest Buckner is still available, and the Bears rush up to the podium to secure the former Oregon defensive end.
Buckner continues to be a dominant force in the NFL, earning first-team All-Pro honors for the Indianapolis Colts in 2020.
12) New Orleans Saints: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
The New Orleans Saints addressed their defensive line need in 2016 by drafting Sheldon Rankins. Although Rankins has become an important part of the Saints’ defensive line, he has missed time with injury in all but one season since being drafted.
In this redraft of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Saints replace Rankins with Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones. Initially a second-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jones has become one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the NFL.
13) Miami Dolphins: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
The Miami Dolphins were the beneficiary of the Laremy Tunsil draft day slide. Offensive tackle was one of their primary needs, and therefore, they still address the position in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft. Michigan State’s Jack Conklin is the top remaining tackle on the board.
Although Conklin has played right tackle during his NFL career, he has experience playing both sides of the line during his Michigan State career. As a result, he provides versatility, although he would most likely have replaced Ja’Wuan James at right tackle.
14) Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
The then-Oakland Raiders selected Karl Joseph with their first-round pick five years ago before adding a running back later in the draft. Although it wasn’t their primary need at the time, selecting Derrick Henry in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft alters the course of history quite significantly.
Henry has become the most dominant running back in the NFL. Drafting him in 2016 means the Raiders wouldn’t use a 2019 NFL Draft selection on Josh Jacobs. Oakland would undeniably have the better of the two Alabama running backs.
15) Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California
The Los Angeles Rams still land Jared Goff, but they don’t trade the cosmos to go up and get him. For the quarterback-needy team, that is about as good as a result as they could hope for in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft.
Despite being recently traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford, Goff took the Rams to the Super Bowl. That is more than can be said for multiple quarterbacks drafted since then.
16) Detroit Lions: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
Offensive tackle was the biggest need for the Detroit Lions. In Ohio State’s Taylor Decker, they found him. The Lions are one of just four teams that stick with their original selection in this 2016 NFL Draft redraft.