Hindsight is always 20/20, but the 2005 NFL Draft had a lot of early misses, and if teams could have a redraft now, making different moves could have changed the entire direction of their franchise. Everyone remembers Aaron Rodgers’ draft-day fall, but in this redraft, the wait wouldn’t have been quite as long.
Here, we re-draft the top 10 of the 2005 NFL draft.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Original Pick: Alex Smith
New Pick: Aaron Rodgers
All things considered, Alex Smith wasn’t the worst pick at No. 1 overall, but if the San Francisco 49ers were to redo it, they likely would have selected Aaron Rodgers. Could the 49ers have surrounded him with more talent than the Green Bay Packers have to set him up for more success? Who knows; but there is no doubt he probably could have led the team to at least one Super Bowl championship, something that didn’t happen with Smith.
2. Miami Dolphins
Original Pick: Ronnie Brown
New Pick: Demarcus Ware
Ronnie Brown was a decent running back for the Miami Dolphins after being selected second overall, but Demarcus Ware would have been the right selection instead. Ware was a problem for offensive lines, frequently getting to the quarterback, and he could have been a game-changer on a defense that needed it.
3. Cleveland Browns
Original Pick: Braylon Edwards
New Pick: Shawne Merriman
Shawne Merriman was originally selected 12th overall by the then-San Diego Chargers but he quickly proved he was taken too late. He was named the Rookie of the Year in 2005. Merriman only played seven seasons in the NFL, but that doesn’t take away from how much of a game-changer he was when he was on the field. He would have brought a winning attitude to the Cleveland Browns defense, something they needed desperately.
4. Chicago Bears
Original Pick: Cedric Benson
New Pick: Frank Gore
The 2005 draft for the Chicago Bears was all about getting a bell-cow running back. The hope was that Cedric Benson would be that guy, but that clearly didn’t work out, having lasted only three seasons in Chicago. Frank Gore would have been everything that the Bears were looking for and more. He was an every-down back early in his career, something that would have been a boon for the Bears. He’s also still in the league, currently playing for the New York Jets, displaying the kind of career longevity that’s rare for his position.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Original Pick: Cadillac Williams
New Pick: Justin Tuck
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also decided they needed to address running back with their first-round selection, drafting Cadillac Williams. With Gore off the board, there wasn’t another running back worth rating here though, so they would have gone after the best remaining pass rusher in the class, Justin Tuck. Tuck’s best season was in 2008 with the New York Giants when he totaled 12 sacks.
6. Tennessee Titans
Original Pick: Adam Jones
New Pick: Jammal Brown
The Tennessee Titans selected Adam “Pacman” Jones with their first-round pick. Although the selection wasn’t as bad as some of the running backs taken the two picks prior, there is no doubt the Titans would have went a different direction if they could get a re-do. Titans right tackle Brad Hopkins was 35 years old at the time of the draft, so replacing him would have been a great option. Jammal Brown didn’t have a Hall of Fame type of career, but he was an above-average player who would have been a great addition to their offensive line.
7. Minnesota Vikings
Original Pick: Troy Williamson
New Pick: Roddy White
The Minnesota Vikings were looking for a star wide receiver when they selected Troy Williamson with the seventh-overall pick. The Vikings made the wrong selection, but with the re-draft, they would have found the right guy. Roddy White was initially selected 27th overall by the Atlanta Falcons and had a standout career, catching 808 passes for 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns.
White would have been fun to pair with Brett Favre on the Vikings’ 2009 team.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Original Pick: Antrel Rolle
New Pick: Antrel Rolle
The Arizona Cardinals originally selected Antrel Rolle, and even a decade-plus later, the Cardinals made the right decision.
Rolle was a great safety throughout his career and spent his first five seasons with the Cardinals. In 2007, Rolle had five interceptions, three of those being returned for a touchdown. In 2013, with the New York Giants, Rolle also had six interceptions.
9. Washington Redskins
Original Pick: Carlos Rogers
New Pick: Vincent Jackson
The Washington Redskins were happy with their selection of Carlos Rogers, and there is a chance they would have selected him again, something that probably isn’t a bad idea.
With this redraft, though, the Redskins select Vincent Jackson, a great addition to the offense. Jackson finished his career catching 540 passes for 9,080 yards and 57 touchdowns after spending seven years with the Chargers and five with the Buccaneers.
10. Detroit Lions
Original Pick: Mike Williams
New Pick: Heath Miller
The Detriot Lions struck out selecting receiver Mike Williams, but tight end Heath Miller would have been a great addition to their team. Miller was originally selected 30th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Miller would have been a perfect fit for the Lions offense.
He also would be a great presence in Detroit’s locker room. Who knows if it would have been enough to push for a Super Bowl, but Williams certainly wasn’t what the team needed to reach their ultimate goals.