The Most Ideal Team-Scheme Fits for NFL Draft's Top Prospects
Finding the right fit for a young NFL prospect is extremely important. We've seen high profile picks like JaMarcus Russell and Glenn Dorsey fail to fulfill their potential in part because they landed in the wrong situation.
The following list pinpoints several prospects and the perfect landing spot for their services. Unfortunately, the majority of these prospects won't land in a perfect situation.
Geno Smith to the Philadelphia Eagles
As soon as the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly the talk of what quarterback will lead his offense began. Because of Michael Vick's athleticism, it looks like he'd be the top option for the job. However, Vick doesn't make quick decisions with the football.
Kelly's offense needs a quarterback who can quickly locate the open target while also running the hurry-up offense. This isn't an offense that'll fit every quarterback, and it'd be a stretch to think Vick will make a smooth transition.
With Vick's ability to succeed in this offense in question, the Eagles could look to bring in a young quarterback through the draft. West Virginia's Geno Smith features all the skills needed to run Kelly's offense.
The fact he has experience running a similar offense at West Virginia is a major plus.
Smith is the type of quarterback who can quickly get the offense to the line of scrimmage and catch the defense off guard. His strong work ethic will also come in handy, as it'll take hard work to ensure he can operation Kelly's fast-pace offense.
Dion Jordan to the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of needs all across the roster. It’ll take more than this year’s draft to turn the franchise around. However, they have a chance to add a real difference maker with the No. 2 pick. A pass-rusher like Oregon’s Dion Jordan is a perfect fit for Gus Bradley’s unique attack.
Jordan would likely up as the rush defensive end who lines up opposite a five-technique like end. His long arms, explosive burst and high motor are what make him such a pass-rushing threat.
The ability to generate pressure on the quarterback is the type of think that can quickly boost the production of a defense. This would be especially true for the Jaguars, as they have several holes in the secondary that would receive an instant benefit from a player like Jordan.
Xavier Rhodes to the San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers’ secondary really struggled dealing with the bigger wide receivers on the Atlanta Falcons roster. This problem nearly cost them their playoff berth. Julio Jones and Roddy White aren’t going anywhere, so the 49ers would be wise to address this area.
Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes features the size and toughness to immediate help San Francisco handle these more physical wide receivers.
Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Chris Culliver would all be a great fit to bump inside and play the slot. This is how the 49ers could work Rhodes into the rotation.
The issue is that’s unlikely that Rhodes will last to the end of the first round. San Francisco might need to use their extra draft picks to move up in order to land Rhodes.
Sheldon Richardson to the Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys move to a 4-3 defense creates a major need along the defensive line. Monte Kiffin’s defense requires a defensive tackle capable of consistently working his way into the backfield. There isn’t a player on the current roster who fits that role.
Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson possesses the first step, snap awareness and ability to thin out and shoot the gap. His potential to wreak havoc in the backfield is exactly what the Cowboys need in order to successfully run this defense.
This inside pressure, combined with the edge rush of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, has the potential to be a very dangerous group.
Datone Jones to the San Francisco 49ers
Losing Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky-Jean Francois to free agency really hurts the depth of the San Francisco 49ers defensive line. These losses combined with the age of Justin Smith makes upgrading the talent along the line a priority.
UCLA’s Datone Jones is a versatile defender who excels at both stopping the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. Having Smith as a mentor would be a great asset for Jones and his development.
It’s important to note that depth along the defensive line is vital to a defenses success. Rotating in fresh players helps ensure the effectiveness of everyone on the field. This is especially necessary in a 3-4 attack because the defensive line is typically asked to play two-gap football.
Cordarrelle Patterson to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Wallace’s speed created a major mismatch for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. His ability to take the top off the defense helped open running lanes and draw coverage away from other receivers like Antonio Brown.
His loss significantly limits the explosiveness Pittsburgh’s offense. This can only be corrected by adding someone like Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson to the mix. Patterson has excellent speed and knack for making big plays.
He’s an even better fit for this offense than Wallace because he’s also dangerous after the catch. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley is the type of coach who’ll make sure to use all of Patterson’s abilities.
Eddie Lacy to the New York Jets
Rex Ryan and the New York Jets have focused employing a run-heavy offensive attack. The issue is that the Jets don’t have a running back on the roster capable of ensuring this attack is successful. Alabama’s Eddie Lacy would a great target for the Jets in the second round.
Lacy features both the ability to pick up the tough yards between the tackles and quickness to outpace angles.
Adding a talented running back to the mix would also be a great help to Mark Sanchez. His struggles weren’t all his fault, as the lack of a running game only made it tougher for the offense to find consistency.
Keenan Allen to the Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones excel at taking the top off a defense, but the Baltimore Ravens counted on Anquan Boldin to make plays over the middle. An offense can’t survive with only deep threats at the wide receiver position.
California’s Keenan Allen boasts the toughness and size to make the loss of Bolden easier to overcome. The Ravens’ decision to give Joe Flacco a big-money contract means they must ensure they surround him with the tools needed to be successful.
Baltimore might be willing to give Tandon Doss a chance to expand his role, but he has done little to guarantee a long-term place on the roster.
Chance Warmack to the Tennessee Titans
Despite signing Andy Levitre, the Tennessee Titans still have needs along the interior of the offensive line. Tennessee’s top playmaker is still Chris Johnson, and he struggle last season because of the issues on the offensive line.
Beefing up the offensive line will also help Jake Locker continue his development. Alabama’s Chance Warmack is a powerful blocker who’ll instantly improve Tennessee’s ground attack.
Locker’s development has been slow because of his struggles with accuracy and consistency. Being able to lean on a running game is a great way to help a young quarterback take a step forward.
DeAndre Hopkins to the Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings had a need at the wide receiver position before they traded away Percy Harvin. Even the signing of Greg Jennings doesn't make this position any less of a problem. With age an issue, Jennings will only offer help for a few more years.
Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins is a savvy and playmaking wide receiver who'd provide Christian Ponder with an excellent target. Hopkins' ability to attack the football at its highest point makes him the perfect weapon for a quarterback still developing.
It's important to note that the Vikings made the playoffs last year with Harvin out of the lineup with an injury. The combination of Jennings and Hopkins could do wonders to help the explosiveness of the offense.