ESPN's Mel Kiper revisited the 2006 NFL Draft and made the picks for every team in the first round based on what we know now (insider article). If you recall, that is the year that Cleveland drafted linebacker Kamerion Wimbley with the 13th overall pick in the draft. Kiper doesn't have the Browns taking Wimbley in his redraft; instead, he has them taking...Devin Hester?
Don't get me wrong -- Hester has proven to be an outstanding commodity as a punt returner, and it is really no surprise to see him get pushed up into the first round (he was originally a second round pick, but was taken as a cornerback that year). My issue is this: with all of the problems the Browns have, why pick a position where they already have Joshua Cribbs, who is arguably pretty darn close on a comparison scale. Here is what Kiper said about Hester:
It's hard to say where Hester will be viewed as a wideout, but he may be the greatest returner we've ever seen, played a huge role in a Super Bowl run and did all this after being drafted as a corner. He's made himself valuable, a great credit to him.
I still don't get it, and ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley agrees, suggesting the team would have been better off getting a linebacker (besides Wimbley) in hindsight:
Bad [re-pick] for Browns. Wimbley never lived up to expectations, and Hester is one of the greatest returners in NFL history. But the Browns already had Josh Cribbs at this time, and they couldn't stop anyone from running the ball. Selecting a linebacker like A.J. Hawk or DeMeco Ryans would have helped out more in the re-draft.
Kiper had the Browns' original pick at No. 13 overall, Wimbley, still going in the first round. This time, Wimbley was re-picked to go No. 23 overall to the Buccaneers.