April 16 isn’t quite as joyous of an occasion in New England now that Tom Brady is no longer on the Patriots, but it’s certainly still a day worth acknowledging and celebrating for fans.
Twenty years ago today, the Patriots’ franchise changed forever when they selected Brady 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. In recognition of the 20th anniversary, let’s do the 2000 NFL Draft over again. Brady will NOT go 199th, but he also won’t be taken first overall.
As a note: We reversed day-of trades. We kept all trades in place from past years and for players/coaches. So, the Patriots do get to keep Bill Belichick.
Let’s see how it all shakes out:
1. Cleveland Browns: LB Brian Urlacher
Original Pick: DE Courtney Brown
The Browns just drafted Tim Couch first overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. So, they’re not looking for a quarterback here (classic Browns to pass on the greatest quarterback of all time). They’ll do all right for themselves by taking a hall of fame linebacker, but they don’t get the six Super Bowls that come with Brady.
2. Washington Redskins (from New Orleans): OT Chris Samuels
Original pick: LB LaVar Arrington
Washington traded first-, second- and third-round picks for quarterback Brad Johnson in 1999, and he’s coming off of a Pro Bowl campaign, so the Redskins also are not looking to take a quarterback here. Instead, they’ll grab a franchise left tackle in Samuels, who they wound up taking a pick later in real life. Is this not on-brand for Washington to pass on Brady for Johnson?
Washington received this pick as part of the Ricky Williams trade during the 1999 NFL Draft.
3. San Francisco 49ers: QB Tom Brady
Original pick: Traded to Redskins for 12th and 24th overall picks. Washington took OT Chris Samuels.
The 49ers get a do-over and get to grab the hometown kid in Brady. The pick works out pretty well, as Brady beats out Jeff Garcia for the starting job in training camp, and the 49ers don’t have to worry about the quarterback position for 20 years.
In this alternate universe, Jimmy Garoppolo stays with New England if that makes Patriots fans feel any better.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: DE John Abraham
Original pick: WR Peter Warrick
Warrick was only a starter for four NFL seasons. Abraham went on to make two All-Pro teams and earn five Pro Bowl nods.
5. Baltimore Ravens (from Atlanta Falcons): RB Jamal Lewis
Original pick: RB Jamal Lewis
The Ravens did pretty well by taking Lewis. They’ll take him again with the chance to do this pick over again.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: DL Shaun Ellis
Original pick: DT Corey Simon
Simon was a solid player and made one Pro Bowl. Ellis started for 11 seasons and made two Pro Bowls. He, uh, wasn’t very good with the Patriots, however.
7. Arizona Cardinals: RB Shaun Alexander
Original pick: RB Thomas Jones
Jones had better longevity, but Alexander had a much better apex to his career.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Plaxico Burress
Original pick: WR Plaxico Burress
This is the point in the re-draft where you might be noticing this isn’t the strongest draft class. The Steelers did pretty well for themselves here with Burress. They’ll take him again.
9. Chicago Bears: LB LaVar Arrington
Original pick: LB Brian Urlacher
The Bears can’t grab Urlacher, so they’ll snag another Pro Bowl linebacker in Arrington.
10. Denver Broncos: LB Julian Peterson
Original pick: Traded to Baltimore Ravens for 15th and 42nd picks. Baltimore took WR Travis Taylor.
Peterson had a solid career with one All-Pro selection and five Pro Bowl nods. Taylor was a serviceable wide receiver for eight seasons.
11. New York Giants: OT Chad Clifton
Original pick: RB Ron Dayne
After Samuels, Clifton was the best offensive tackle in the draft. He made two Pro Bowls with the Green Bay Packers. Dayne lasted seven seasons but never regained his Heisman glory.
12. Washington Redskins (from Carolina Panthers): LB Keith Bulluck
Original pick: Traded to 49ers (see No. 3). San Francisco traded it to the New York Jets for the 16th and 48th picks. New York took DE Shaun Ellis.
Washington didn’t wind up with Arrington, so we’ll give them Bulluck. He earned All-Pro honors and played in one Pro Bowl.
13. New York Jets (from San Diego Chargers through Tampa Bay Buccaneers): WR Laveranues Coles
Original pick: DE John Abraham
Abraham is off the board, so the Jets will take Coles two rounds earlier. He leads this draft class with 674 receptions and 8,609 career yards.
The Jets got this pick and No. 27 overall from the Buccaneers for wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
14. Green Bay Packers: TE Bubba Franks
Original pick: TE Bubba Franks
Franks made three Pro Bowls with the Packers from 2001 to 2003. He never topped 442 yards in a season, but he was a solid addition at 14th overall.
15. Baltimore Ravens: CB Deltha O’Neal
Original pick: Traded to Broncos (see No. 10). Denver took CB Deltha O’Neal.
O’Neal still winds up going 15th overall but to a different team. He leads this class with 34 career interceptions.
16. New York Jets (from New England): LB Adalius Thomas
Original pick: Traded to 49ers (see No. 12). San Francisco took LB Julian Peterson.
This was the pick the Jets netted for head coach Bill Belichick. New York grabs a former Patriots linebacker in Thomas.
17. Oakland Raiders: P Shane Lechler
Original pick: K Sebastian Janikowski
In a do-over, the Raiders still take a specialist but draft Lechler over Janikowski. Lechler was one of the best punters of all time.
18. New York Jets: QB Chad Pennington
Original pick: QB Chad Pennington
Pennington still winds up going in the first round as the second-best quarterback in the class.
19. Seattle Seahawks (from Dallas): RB Thomas Jones
Original pick: RB Shaun Alexander
Thomas finished his career with 1,641 more total yards than Alexander but 41 fewer touchdowns.
The Cowboys traded this pick for Joey Galloway.
20. Detroit Lions: S Mike Brown
Original pick: OT Stockar McDougle
Brown earned first-team All-Pro honors as a second-year player and earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2005. McDougle started just 56 career games.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: C Shaun O’Hara
Original pick: WR Sylvester Morris
O’Hara went undrafted out of Rutgers but made three Pro Bowls in his 11-year career. Morris played just one season as his career was cut short by knee injuries.
22. Seattle Seahawks: C Brad Meester
Original pick: OT Chris McIntosh
Meester started for the Jacksonville Jaguars for 14 seasons (!) before retiring in 2014. McIntosh lasted two seasons before a neck injury ended his career early.
23. Carolina Panthers: S Deon Grant
Original pick: CB Rashard Anderson
The Panthers grabbed Grant in the second round. They’ll take him a round earlier this time around. He had 30 career interceptions.
Anderson played just two seasons. He was suspended two entire seasons for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and never resurfaced again in the NFL.
24. Washington Redskins: DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
Original pick: Traded to 49ers (see No. 3). San Francisco took CB Ahmed Plummer.
Gbaja-Biamila was selected by the Packers in the fifth round and put together four straight double-digit sack seasons from 2001 to 2004.
25. Minnesota Vikings: DT Chris Hovan
Original pick: DT Chris Hovan
The Vikings did pretty well here with Hovan. He was an NFL starter for 10 seasons.
26. Buffalo Bills: OT Mark Tauscher
Original pick: DE Erik Flowers
Tauscher wound up being the third-best offensive tackle in the 2000 draft. The Packers found him in the seventh round, and he started for eight years on the right side.
27. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay): DE Adewale Ogunleye
Original pick: TE Anthony Becht
Ogunleye went undrafted but wound up making a Pro Bowl in 2003 after registering 15 sacks. He had 67 career sacks.
28. Indianapolis Colts: DE Darren Howard
Original pick: LB Rob Morris
Howard had double-digit sack seasons in his first, fifth and ninth seasons in the NFL.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Corey Simon
Original pick: WR R. Jay Soward
Simon made a Pro Bowl in 2003 when he had 7.5 sacks. He started for six seasons in Philadelphia.
Soward only played one season. Substance-abuse issues derailed his career. This draft was brutal.
30. Tennessee Titans: OT Marvel Smith
Original pick: LB Keith Bulluck
Smith was a second-round pick. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2004 and won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
31. St. Louis Rams: QB Marc Bulger
Original pick: RB Trung Canidate
The Rams won’t miss Canidate when they take Bulger six rounds earlier. Side note: Canidate was a beast in “NFL Madden” because of his speed.
46. New England Patriots RS Dante Hall
Original pick: OT Adrian Klemm
The Patriots will pass on Klemm to take one of the best return specialists of all time. We couldn’t give them a quarterback. Billy Volek was probably the fourth-best passer in this class.