Re-Drafting the Ridiculously Great 2011 NFL Draft

32. Green Bay Packers – Colin Kaepernick – QB

Original Spot For Kaepernick: 36th Overall (San Francisco 49ers)
Original 32nd Pick: OT Derek Sherrod
The Packers don’t really need another quarterback. In 2011, Aaron Rodgers posted the best statistical season of his career — accruing a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 45-to-6. Rodgers also accumulated career highs in completion percentage (68.3) and passing yards (4,643).

With that said, Kaepernick is the most talented player left on the board. It never is a bad thing to have ample depth at the position, especially considering the frequency with which football players get injured. While Kaepernick is currently without a team, his statistical outputs are nothing to scoff at. For his career, the former 49ers star has thrown 72 touchdowns and only 30 interceptions in parts of six seasons. As a second-year player, he helped lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl. Despite the 49ers’ struggles, Kaepernick still managed a 16-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dion Lewis – RB

Original Spot For Lewis: 149th Overall (Philadelphia Eagles)
Original 31st Pick: DL Cameron Heyward

After beginning his career in Philadelphia, Lewis transitioned to New England — where he’s been an integral cog in the juggernaut that is the Patriots’ offense. Lewis has been dynamic as a three-down back with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. His ability to evade defenders with quickness and agility has been immense. While injuries have hindered his ability to stay healthy for long durations of time, Lewis’ effectiveness on the field cannot be questioned. When he plays, New England is 17-0.

While he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler, Heyward has been a very solid player for the Steelers. He’s accrued 25.0 sacks in six seasons with the team.

30. New York Jets – Pernell McPhee – OLB/S

Original Spot For McPhee: 165th Overall (Baltimore Ravens)
Original 30th Pick: DL Muhammad Wilkerson

The Mississippi State product is a rising star within the league. McPhee’s numbers don’t scream “All Pro.” With that said, he’s emerged as a very versatile player in a league starved for effective pass rushers. McPhee is equally comfortable with his hand in the ground as he is standing up. Functioning as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker, McPhee is one of the league’s best edge defenders — meaning he holds up against the run quite well.

Over his career’s he’s notched 27.0 sacks as primarily a reserve. Expected to take on a much bigger role with the Bears, look for McPhee’s numbers to steadily increase. Wilkerson has proven to be a very good pick. Within this piece, he’s been drafted earlier in the round — thus preventing the Jets from taking him.

29. Chicago Bears – Julius Thomas – TE

Original Spot For Thomas: 129th Overall (Denver Broncos)
Original Pick: OT Gabe Carimi

The Bears haven’t had a dynamic threat at the tight end position since Greg Olsen. Selecting Thomas would give the Bears one of the better tight ends in the league.

While he played sparingly in his first two years with the Broncos, Thomas broke out in his third season — catching 65 balls for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. He followed that up with another 12-touchdown season. Selecting a two-time Pro Bowler at this point in the draft would certainly be a boon for any franchise, and especially one in need of a dynamic pass-catching option.

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