Written By: Collyn Foster
The draft is an interesting time for every team, and selecting a player that will fit an organization’s scheme and culture is arguably the most important factor in a pick. Almost every prospect has a chance to become a good contributor to an NFL roster, but the situation they are placed is what matters the most. For example, Dak Prescott was brought into a fantastic situation with the Cowboys, with an All-Pro offensive line, a stud running back, and dangerous weapons on the outside. Prescott flourished as a rookie because of his situation. I’m one of many who firmly believe that Prescott would not be nearly as successful if he was taken by another team. The situation makes or breaks most prospects. Below, I will give you my top 5 favorite team fits coming out of this year’s draft. This is based on how much I like the prospects and also the team situations they will be heading to. I believe that all of these players will have a chance to flourish and show their true abilities in their own respective situations.
The Redskins have not had a consistent power runner in their offense since Clinton Portis, and I think they got an absolute steal with this pick. Taking Guice at pick 59 was a phenomenal value, as he was my second best running back in this class. I think Guice can come in and be their early down bulldozer to grind away at defenses, opening up the passing game and setting up pass-catching running back Chris Thompson who had a breakout season last year. There were some off-field concerns with Guice and many teams felt like he wouldn’t fit their organization, but after watching extensive amounts of his tape, I can confirm that his play on the field outweighs whatever immaturity concerns he might have.
Courtland Sutton/Daesean Hamilton
The Broncos had one of my favorite drafts this year, building on their already stout defense and also adding young, cheap weapons on offense. They solidified their receiving corps with solid receivers at great value. Denver selected Sutton with the 40th overall pick and Hamilton with the 113th overall pick, and I believe that both of these players can immediately make an impact on this offense. The Broncos already have the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but outside of that they were running a bit thin when it came to playmakers. I think this is one of the best possible situations for Sutton, who doesn’t have to produce at a high level right away and can learn under his pro comparison Thomas. Hamilton, who is a refined route runner and a solid receiver, may see action even before Sutton due to his experience separating and finding holes in the defense.
At pick 26, the Falcons had a number of different positions to choose from. They didn’t have a ton of holes to fill, so they boosted their receiving corps with arguably the best receiver in the draft. Adding Ridley to this already potent offense is going to be scary. The question now is who will defenses try to game plan against? With Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the backfield, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper and Ridley outside and with Matt Ryan under center, this offense can easily be one of the top units in the league. Ridley, whose stats weren’t all that great in college, has excellent route running ability and can create separation with ease. His 4.43 speed may be his biggest strength and also his greatest weakness. Watching him on film, he looked too fast for himself, sometimes slowing or even stopping to catch the ball. This may be because he essentially had a running back throwing him the ball the past few seasons. Nonetheless, I think that he will quickly become a favorite target of Matt Ryan’s when teams decide to double team Julio and leave him one-on-one.
With Greg Olsen aging and Cam Newton entering the prime of his career, Carolina’s goal this offseason was to continue to add pieces to their defense and, more importantly, add weapons on offense. The Panthers added DJ Moore in the first round and grabbed Thomas in the fourth. Thomas is an athletic specimen that needs time to develop, and will have the opportunity to do so under a future Hall of Famer. Thomas is in line to become the next great tight end in Carolina, and his fourth round selection just adds to his value. I expect Thomas to make an occasional impact on the pass game to start, but truly take over the position once Olsen decides to call it quits.
The Colts had a ton of holes to fill in this team this offseason, and GM Chris Ballard made it clear that their focus was to build their team from the inside out. They did just that, by adding two guards with their first three picks. They did not address a skill position until the later rounds, but still managed to grab one of the biggest steals in the draft. Cain, who was projected to be a 2nd-3rd round prospect, fell to them all the way in the 6th round, likely due to off-field issues and inconsistent play at times. His best tape came with Deshaun Watson under center at Clemson, and he struggled to make the same connection with Kelly Bryant. Adding Cain to the Colts’ offense could pay huge dividends for the team in the future. Cain possess good size at 6’2” and 200 lbs, has 4.43 speed, and his ability to go up and win 50/50 balls will allow him to become a difference maker early on in Indy. Pairing Cain with T.Y. Hilton and the other weapons on offense is going to be a headache for opposing defenses. The one deciding factor in this offense is Andrew Luck. If he can come back and be the same, if not better, player than he previously was, this offense along with Cain could be very dangerous.