The 2021 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, but a recent total NFL re-draft sheds light on how teams may value rookies among the whole league.
One of the most interesting hypotheticals in the football world is ‘what would a total NFL re-draft look like?’ If every player in the National Football League suddenly became available in one ultimate NFL Draft, who would be selected first?
As you can imagine, quarterbacks would fly off the shelf faster than toilet paper during a pandemic. There would clearly be a run on signal-callers early, as the success of the team rests on their shoulders. But what about the 2022 rookies who have yet to play a snap in the NFL? Where would NFL teams value them.
Recently, Chad Reuter of NFL.com wrote an article depicting the first seven rounds of a total NFL re-draft. For this particular hypothetical, Reuter had teams making their selections only to build Super Bowl roster for the upcoming 2022 season — not for the future.
If this were the case, where would the first rookie from the 2022 NFL Draft be selected?
2022 NFL Draft picks go late in re-draft
Surprisingly, Reuter didn’t have the first player from the 2022 NFL Draft coming off the board until the 170th overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals. This player was former Cincinnati superstar and current Jets cornerback, Ahmad Gardner.
A few picks later, Reuter had Aidan Hutchinson going to the Steelers with the 173rd overall selection, followed by Garrett Wilson at pick 177 to the Colts.
While the 2022 NFL Draft picks haven’t even had their first training camp yet, I do find it hard to believe that they would last this long in a total NFL re-draft — even if it was only for one season. Though rookies need to prove themselves, I’m not convinced that teams would take safe but unspectacular veterans like Marquise Brown, Aaron Jones, Ezekiel Elliott, or Tremaine Edmunds over gambling on the immediate breakout upside of a player like Gardner or Hutchinson.
In this hypothetical, however, I do believe that Hutchinson and Gardner would probably be the top two players taken for a single-season re-draft. These picks would probably be followed closely by players like Kayvon Thibodeaux and some of the top rookie receivers — positions we have seen make an immediate impact in the NFL in recent years.
Perhaps a year or two from now, we might already be talking about players like Ahmad Gardner and Aidan Hutchinson among the best in the league at their positions. As of now, however, it NFL.com seems to believe that rookies aren’t worth rolling the dice on early in a total NFL re-draft.