Six years in and the 2014 NFL Draft class has already produced 27 Pro Bowlers — 13 of whom have made three or more. At the same time, many of those star players weren’t selected with the first couple of picks in the draft.
This classes’ mix of stellar overall talent and early draft busts make 2014 an excellent draft to look back on.
Original Pick: Jadaveon Clowney
New Pick: Aaron Donald
In terms of impact, Donald is exactly the player that Clowney was supposed to be coming out of South Carolina.
That’s not to say that Clowney has been bad per say but when you compare it to Donald, he doesn’t match up.
Size concerns forced Donald to slip to pick No. 13 but now the Texans get arguably the best defensive player in the NFL today to pair up next to J.J. Watt on the defensive line.
2. St. Louis Rams
Original Pick: Greg Robinson
New Pick: Khalil Mack
Robinson, an athletic left tackle out of Auburn, was a big riser in the months leading up to the draft and looked like a future star at the position. He wasn’t.
The Rams went with a pass-rusher with pick No. 13 when they selected Donald but since he is now off the board, the team needs to fill that board.
Mack has been a nightmare for opposing offensive lines since entering the league and while the Rams lose Donald, they’re still getting a future Defensive Player of the Year in the Buffalo product.
Original Pick: Blake Bortles
New Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo
Bortles looked like he could’ve been the Jags answer at QB early on in his career but as we know now, that was simply not the case. While I almost went picked three-time Pro Bowler David Carr here, recency bias got the best of me, going with the guy who helped lead his team to the Super Bowl this past season.
Jimmy G tossed nearly 4,000 yards and 27 TDs in his first full season as an NFL Starter and has a knack for winning games that is desperately needed in Jacksonville.
Original Pick: Sammy Watkins
New Pick: Mike Evans
Watkins was supposed to be a cant-miss NFL Draft prospect at receiver. And while he did win a ring with the Kansas City Chiefs this year, it’s clear that his career has been fairly disappointing thus far.
While college teammates Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are also great options here, it’s hard not to salivate over the potential of a big-bodied wideout like Evans’ potential with a QB like Josh Allen.
5. Oakland Raiders
Original Pick: Khalil Mack
New Pick: Odell Beckham Jr.
The Raiders needed help at just about every position at this point. The prior season, Oakland’s leading receivers were Rod Streater and Denarius Moore. Although they would address that need in 2015 in the NFL Draft by snagging Amari Cooper, in the redraft, the team adds a star receiver a year early.
When he’s healthy and focused, you can argue that Beckham is the league’s top receiver and although his production has dipped slightly in the past two seasons, it’s hard to argue his talent.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Original Pick: Jake Matthews
New Pick: Zack Martin
While Matthews did make a Pro Bowl in 2018, he simply doesn’t match up when compared to Martin. If the Falcons wanted to go offensive line here, Martin is a much better option.
The Notre Dame product has been arguably the best guard in all of football since being drafted and just last season, Martin joined Lou Creekmur, Jon Morris, Richmond Webb and Joe Thomas as the only offensive linemen to make the Pro Bowl in each of their first six seasons.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Original Pick: Mike Evans
New Pick: Jarvis Landry
With Evans now gone by pick number seven, the Buccaneers have a lot of options. Do they draft a QB to replace then-starter Mike Glennon, do they take a talented pass-rusher like Clowney.
I decided to keep Tampa Bay’s position choice here and gave them wideout Jarvis Landry. Landry has been one of the most underrated WR in the league for years and while he may not have the star power of Evans or Beckham Jr., the former LSU star has recorded more than 80 catches in each of his six seasons and has failed to surpass 975 receiving yards just once.
A player like Davante Adams may have a higher ceiling than Landry but Landry’s consistency and dependability are what puts him so high on this list.
Original Pick: Justin Gilbert
New Pick: Derek Carr
Gilbert was a massive bust out of Oklahoma State that I feel like we don’t talk about enough. The talented cornerback was out of Cleveland in just two seasons and out of the league as a whole in three.
On the other hand, it’s easy to forget that Carr is already a three-time Pro Bowler and looked like a future MVP candidate before his 2016 injury. Still, Carr is vastly underrated as a QB in today’s league and is a way better pick than the Brown’s selection of Johnny Manziel at No. 22.
9. Minnesota Vikings
Original Pick: Anthony Barr
New Pick: Anthony Barr
The first pick on this NFL Draft list to go chalk, Barr was an excellent selection by the Vikings at No. 9. The former UCLA star has been an anchor for the Minnesota defense for the past half-decade
Barr has started 85 (regular-season) games for the Vikings over the past six seasons and has racked up 417 tackles, 36 tackles for a loss and four Pro Bowls.
10. Detroit Lions
Original Pick: Eric Ebron
New Pick: Jadeveon Clowney
Ebron is a cautionary tale of the dangers of drafting a tight end too early in the draft as other than an excellent 2018 campaign with the Colts, the former top-10 pick has been a major disappointment.
While Clowney has failed to live up to the impossible hype he received pre-draft, there’s no doubt that he is one of the most talented pass-rushers in the league today.
While there are likely more productive players I could’ve put on this list, it’s hard to imagine Clowney falling outside the top 10. It was tempting to go offensive line here (Taylor Lewan, Trai Turner, Jake Matthews, etc.) but I just couldn’t do it.