Pro Football Focus put together an article for ESPN Insider that suggests one do-over pick in the 2016 NFL Draft for every team. The do-over pick can be in any round, not just the first.
Actual pick: Wendell Smallwood, RB (Round 5, pick 153)
New pick: Tyreek Hill, WR
Smallwood was fine as a rookie change-of-pace back but offered little in terms of a dynamic presence with a long run of only 19 yards on 77 carries. Hill (Round 5, pick 165), on the other hand, was arguably the most electric weapon for the Chiefs and in the league last season. He averaged 11.1 yards per carry on 24 handoffs and scored 12 touchdowns, including special teams.
Hill was selected 12 picks after Smallwood at No. 165. The Eagles also passed on Hill when they selected Halapoulivaati Vaitai (more on him later) one pick before at No. 164.
There’s no question Hill is a talented player. Due to off the field issues, however, there is a question if Hill is really a guy you want on your want football team. Hill pleaded guilty to punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend in 2015.
The Eagles drafted Smallwood knowing he came with character concerns as well. He was once arrested for alleged witness-intimidation related to a second-degree murder case. After a friend of his pleaded guilty to the murder crime, however, charges were dropped.
From a football standpoint, I don’t think Smallwood was a bad pick. I don’t think he was a great pick either, but he seems to be a fine rotational rusher. It’s a shame he probably doesn’t have long-term starting potential (as the Eagles seem to believe) but if he can be this era’s Correll Buckhalter (a role-player who is a solid runner and can also catch passes), that would be fine.
Smallwood was the Eagles’ do-over pick, he wasn’t the only Philadelphia rookie mentioned in this column. PFF had the Vikings taking the aforementioned Big V in the fourth round.
Actual pick: Willie Beavers, G/T (Round 4, pick 121)
New pick: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, T
The Vikings badly needed offensive line help in the draft, and though there wasn't a whole lot of that outside of the first round, Vaitai (Round 5, pick 164) improved dramatically during his stretch starting for a suspended Lane Johnson in Philadelphia, and was holding his own as a starter during the second half of his playing time. In two of his final three games, he earned impressive run-blocking grades and had cut down his struggles in pass protection.
This exercise has Vaitai going 43 picks higher than he did in reality. That’s a nice compliment for Big V.
Vaitai definitely showed some nice potential while filling in for Johnson, especially after getting off to such a rough start in his first career game. At the same time, the offensive line was clearly way better with Johnson in than Vaitai. I don’t think Big V is ready to be a starter yet as much as he’s a nice swing tackle to have off the bench. Maybe he can earn a job as the Eagles’ right tackle of the future, though, if he can step up when Jason Peters retires and Johnson moves to the left side.
So what do you think? If you could get a do-over for only one Eagles pick, what would you change? (Here’s a link to all the picks in the 2016 NFL Draft.)