The Perfect Prospect at the Scouting Combine for Every NFL Team

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2019

The Perfect Prospect at the Scouting Combine for Every NFL Team

0 of 32

    Thomas Graning/Associated Press

    The biggest landmark in the NFL draft journey has arrived. 

    Whether you call the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine the "underwear Olympics" or something else, it stands as one of the biggest reasons the draft process has ballooned into a year-round event. 

    Teams want to see how prospects look among their elite peers and to compare their measurables and their performances with the tape they have studied. Unexpected measurements send the franchises back to the tape. Interviews can clear up concerns about a player or lead to more questions. 

    The goal for participants is to quell any potential concerns before the combine ends Monday in Indianapolis.

    Based on team need, the combine invite list and a case-by-case basis, these are the perfect prospect fits for each NFL team. 


Arizona Cardinals

1 of 32

    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

    No matter how much new head coach Kliff Kingsbury may like Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray, who has chosen football over baseball, the Arizona Cardinals can't do anything short of taking the best player available with the No. 1 overall pick. 

    And that player figures to put on a show at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

    Arizona has a host of needs but won't be able to ignore Ohio State's Nick Bosa, who should be "good to go" for drills after falling off the radar thanks to a core muscle injury suffered last season, via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. And the explosive edge defender is not too unlike his brother, Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa. 

    While the Cardinals need much better protection for 2018 first-round quarterback Josh Rosen, only a trade down would put them in realistic range for an offensive lineman. With a foundational building block like Bosa available, the trenches can wait until later picks. 

Atlanta Falcons

2 of 32

    Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson 

    Whether the Atlanta Falcons retain soon-to-be free agent Grady Jarrett—and they should, almost no matter the cost—they need to have an eye on pressure-applying prospects.

    While the Falcons should have plenty of options at No. 14, Clemson's Clelin Ferrell might be most appealing because he's one of the most pro-ready players at his position. 

    Ferrell played with and against NFL-level talent with the Tigers, improving over the course of his three seasons. He finished 2018 with 20 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. This sort of resume is sure to stick out at the combine, even among a star-studded class alongside him. 

    Adding a pro-ready prospect like Ferrell will only make the job easier for third-year defensive end Takkarist McKinley and all involved. 

Baltimore Ravens

3 of 32

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Perfect Prospect: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

    It's all about Lamar Jackson after the Baltimore Ravens agreed to trade Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos earlier this month. 

    In theory, the Ravens will use this offseason to get Jackson better adjusted to the pro passing game so he isn't putting his body at risk so much as a runner.

    Getting some high-upside weapons who can grow alongside the second-year signal-caller makes a ton of sense, and Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf should be available when Baltimore makes its first-round selection at No. 22.

    It's hard to imagine a guy who went viral after appearing to put on a lot of muscle won't be impressive. It helps that Metcalf is a 6'4" wideout who averaged at least 16.6 yards per catch over his last two seasons in the SEC and scored 12 times in the process. 

    If Metcalf can come in right away and open things deep for someone like Willie Snead IV, Jackson will benefit as he develops, and the Ravens should remain in playoff contention.

Buffalo Bills

4 of 32

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma 

    It's a "protect Josh Allen at all costs" season for the Buffalo Bills. 

    The Bills drafted the promising passer out of Wyoming a year ago and saw some fun hints of his skill set despite the miserable surroundings. While Allen's lack of weapons hurt, more importantly, so did the quality of protection. Allen needs time (on each play and health-wise) to develop into the franchise player Buffalo thinks he can be. 

    There isn't a guarantee the Bills can get their hands on someone like Alabama's Jonah Williams with the ninth overall pick. That shifts the attention to someone like Oklahoma's Cody Ford, a 6'4", 338-pound mauler. 

    Forget positional distinctions in the trenches—the Bills need help across the board after their offensive line allowed 41 sacks in 2018 (14th-worst in the league). If Ford plays on the interior, fine. The Bills should be interested in Ford's interviews and not necessarily his measurables. The tape speaks for itself in that regard. 

Carolina Panthers

5 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State 

    In the middle of the first round at No. 16, the Carolina Panthers seem to be guaranteed a quality offensive line prospect who can quickly jell with his new unit. And if the front office is smart, it will have already addressed the O-line in free agency. 

    Matt Kalil struggled at left tackle last year, and right tackle Daryl Williams is a free agent. It's a dangerous brew, and franchise quarterback Cam Newton is coming off a January shoulder surgery that puts his 2019 season in doubt. 

    This means Carolina will have a close eye on someone like Dalton Risner out of Kansas State. The 6'5", 300-pound offensive lineman isn't the biggest name, but consistency and versatility are key for the Panthers to get the most bang out of their pick. 

    As's Lance Zierlein noted, he has both: "Risner is the same player on every snap with core strength, body control and strong hands, allowing him to succeed on a relatively consistent basis. His position flexibility (started at right tackle and center) and play traits mirror those of former KSU standout Cody Whitehair."

    The tape doesn't lie, so the Panthers will be looking for Risner to remain steady in a high-pressure environment.  

Chicago Bears

6 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion

    The Chicago Bears are one of the funnier teams in the upcoming draft: They don't have a pick until the third round, and kicker looks like their biggest need after Cody Parkey's struggles last season (76.7 percent on field goals) and in the playoffs. 

    Yet, a kicker can wait. In the third round, the value needs to be from a positional standpoint, which could mean the Bears look at a pass-rusher such as Oshane Ximines from Old Dominion. 

    The 6'4", 255-pound defensive end received a 99.9 overall game grade from Pro Football Focus, but his stock is all over the place since he played at a smaller program. Ximines could be there when Chicago picks 24th in the third round. 

    That is great, since the Bears need a running mate for Khalil Mack, who posted 12.5 of the team's 50 sacks last year and didn't get much help opposite him from Leonard Floyd. Provided the Bears bring back pieces such as safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Bryce Callahan, deepening the pass rush with an upside prospect would work wonders. 

Cincinnati Bengals

7 of 32

    Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Devin White, LB, LSU

    This is one of the more obvious player-team fits in April's draft. 

    The Cincinnati Bengals need to rebuild the linebacker core of a defense that at one point last season was on pace to give up the most yardage of all time. The unit saw coordinator Teryl Austin fired, and head coach Marvin Lewis took over the job before the team fired him at the end of the year.

    Devin White can't fix all of these problems on his own, but his leadership and thumping play are things a changing culture in Cincinnati could use. Best of all, the Bengals could win in the value department by landing the best inside linebacker in the class at No. 11 overall. 

    Rest assured, as the combine unfolds, there will be reports linking Bengals reps and the prominent LSU linebacker.

Cleveland Browns

8 of 32

    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

    Denzel Ward worked out wonderfully for the Cleveland Browns last year, though he did suffer a pair of concerning concussions. And the depth behind him hasn't been encouraging, which compounds the concern. 

    The Browns are finally in something of a position of luxury, however, and can afford to target someone at No. 17 like LSU's Greedy Williams, who is one of a few possible first-round corners. 

    At 6'3" and 184 pounds, Williams is a fun boundary prospect for Cleveland's 25th-ranked pass defense and could give opposing quarterbacks a hard time figuring out what side of the field to attack. Granted, the Browns will want to see if his measurements and drills ring true and match the film.

    If they do, he figures to be high on the big board. 

Dallas Cowboys

9 of 32

    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

    The Dallas Cowboys could be quite aggressive in free agency, especially if that means patching holes on defense. 

    That's great, as they don't have a first-round pick after trading for wide receiver Amari Cooper. 

    Cooper can't do it all on his own for fourth-year quarterback Dak Prescott, who loves to target tight ends. Addressing that position in the second round would work, especially if someone like Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. is still on the board. 

    One of the more complete tight ends in the class, Smith figures to see his stock rise at the combine due to his strong blocking skills and underrated big-play ability. That will have the Cowboys watching him closely. 

Denver Broncos

10 of 32

    Sean Rayford/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia 

    It isn't unreasonable to expect the Broncos to select a quarterback with the 10th overall pick. Yet the combo of Case Keenum and Joe Flacco, for better or worse, could leave the team content to attack a different position in the first round. 

    If so, going with a premium spot like cornerback could represent a good value. Bradley Roby's contract is up, and Tramaine Brock will turn 31 in August and will be a free agent March 13. Chris Harris Jr. is still one of the NFL's best, but he's hitting the age of 30 in June. 

    That makes Deandre Baker an enticing fit for the Broncos.'s Gil Brandt listed the Georgia Bulldogs product as the third-best defensive back "worth pursuing via free agency/NFL draft" on a list that includes current pros such as Earl Thomas. 

    He wrote:

    "He can play all three positions in the secondary and excels at press coverage. If his time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine demonstrates an ability to keep up with NFL-caliber wideouts, that would go a long way toward cementing his predraft stock. He could be a smart pick for the Broncos, who will be looking to replenish their secondary, especially if Bradley Roby leaves as a free agent."

    If Baker looks good in Indianapolis, he might have a predictable landing spot. 

Detroit Lions

11 of 32

    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston 

    With Ezekiel Ansah likely out of the picture, the Detroit Lions figure to heavily focus on the pass rush this offseason. 

    While free agency has plenty of players who can stand up and rush or put their hands in the dirt and do the same, it doesn't have many interior disruptors outside of Grady Jarrett. 

    Regardless of what the Lions do in free agency, Houston's Ed Oliver looks like a dynamite prospect to target at No. 8 overall. The "undersized" lineman (6'3", 292 lbs) could help a unit that tallied 43 sacks last year (tied for 11th), freeing linebackers to do other things besides pressure up the middle. 

    Provided Oliver tests and interviews well, his top-10 status will remain in a holding pattern, setting him up nicely to land with a team that hasn't had a dominant interior force since Ndamukong Suh left following the 2014 campaign.

Green Bay Packers

12 of 32

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Perfect Prospect: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State 

    It isn't hard to see which way the Green Bay Packers should lean with at least one of their two first-round picks (Nos. 12 and 30). 

    After all, Clay Matthews heads to free agency in March, and Nick Perry hasn't been able to carry the load from a pressure standpoint. The pair combined for only five of the team's 44 sacks in 2018, and the lack of consistent presence on the edge backfired. 

    Luckily for the Packers, this year's class is littered with good prospects on the edge, and Florida State's Brian Burns is someone who might be available to them in the opening round. An explosive edge player a bit on the lighter side (6'5", 227 lbs), Burns can at least contribute situationally as a rookie while he develops. 

    Green Bay did a good job of shoring up the secondary a year ago, but even the best defensive backs can only hold up in coverage so long. A prospect like Burns accelerates the opposing offense's clock and helps the secondary, so he's an ideal fit. 

Houston Texans

13 of 32

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

    The Houston Texans can only move forward if they upgrade in the offensive trenches. 

    The team appeared to hit the lottery with quarterback Deshaun Watson in 2017, but the front office hasn't done a good enough job of protecting him. Watson suffered a league-high 62 sacks last season, most of which fell on the shoulders of the line in front of him. 

    The Texans pick 23rd, so they won't get one of the top-end prospects on the edges. But it doesn't rule them out from a potential instant starter like Florida's Jawaan Taylor.

    Taylor, at 6'5" and 328 pounds, looks like a prototypical right tackle but also seems to have feet quick enough to keep up with speed defenders on the edge. Worst-case scenario, he can probably kick inside and start. 

    Granted, this hinges on the Texans' ability to bring back or replace Tyrann Mathieu and Jadeveon Clowney. Even then, Taylor is a hard fit to ignore given the circumstances. 

Indianapolis Colts

14 of 32

    Holly Hart/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

    In theory, the Indianapolis Colts will use some of that $106.8 million in cap space to tackle problems on the defensive side of the ball. Or maybe a Le'Veon Bell. Or maybe both. 

    So what about looking toward the future with a high-end prospect like Noah Fant? 

    The Colts got franchise quarterback Andrew Luck a massive weapon by signing Eric Ebron last offseason, and the 6'4", 253-pound tight end put up 13 touchdowns on fewer snaps than that number would suggest because of his problems as a blocker. But he's only under contract for one more season and could net a massive deal on the open market after the 2019 campaign. 

    Someone like Fant could eventually step into the same role, as he's a big-play artist who put up 18 touchdowns over his last two seasons at Iowa. Fant, billed at 6'5", probably won't blow away teams with his blocking work at the combine, but everything else should scream first round.

    A prospect who can help in sub-packages right away and provide some insurance against a monster contract down the road would be a nice balance to strike. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

15 of 32

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

    The Jacksonville Jaguars' need at quarterback isn't a surprise. 

    How they address it might be. 

    Generally speaking, getting away from Blake Bortles will help the team. But the crown jewel the front office should have its eye on is undoubtedly Kyler Murray. 

    The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner put up 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns against just seven interceptions last year and ran for another 1,001 yards and 12 scores. While the conversation will center on Murray's height (listed at 5'10"), the reality is the film and numbers don't lie. The Jaguars, who have the seventh overall pick, will be more interested in how he negotiates traffic and creates throwing lanes, not to mention the quality of his throws. 

    Someone versatile like Murray would work wonders in Jacksonville, where Leonard Fournette (6'0", 228 lbs) is the big bruising type who could punish defenses if they worry about the possibility Murray will go outside of the pocket.

    Don't forget the Jags' quality defense is in need of a strong complement to be effective. 

Kansas City Chiefs

16 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware 

    It seems like the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the more obvious needs thanks to their problem in the secondary.

    The Chiefs seem capable of winning it all thanks to Patrick Mahomes, yet they managed to lose games last season despite putting up at least 40 points. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick will be a free agent in March, while safety Eric Berry is still an unknown after tearing his Achilles in 2017—and he has a bloated salary that looks bad. 

    Nasir Adderley is one of those prospects who isn't a household name, but he could have a massive impact as soon as he arrives. 

    Thanks to his consistency question marks as a safety, Adderley could move to corner and start right away for a team like the Chiefs. But the fact that he has that sort of versatility is what should have plenty of teams knocking on his door. 

    Given the wealth of challenges the Chiefs are facing on defense this offseason—such as Dee Ford's trip to free agency—the front office has to concentrate on filling an immediate need with the No. 29 overall pick. 

    Adderley should be there. 

Los Angeles Chargers

17 of 32

    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

    One might think a team with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram would be content to practically ignore defense early in the upcoming draft. 

    Not the Los Angeles Chargers, who are projected to have $25.9 million in cap space. 

    Underrated interior pass-rusher Darius Philon is headed to free agency. So are fellow interior pieces Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget, so restocking through the draft is a must. 

    Why not get immense upside in the process? Clemson's Christian Wilkins is a fun 3-technique prospect who gets low enough to disrupt running lanes but is explosive enough to provide a rush of his own. 

    On an attacking front already boasting Bosa and Ingram, among others, Wilkins would make some serious noise as a rookie. All that stands in his way of landing in the first round is an expected strong performance at the combine. 

Los Angeles Rams

18 of 32

    Jim Lytle/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

    The Los Angeles Rams have a few ways they could go in the draft, especially with bigger names such as Ndamukong Suh and Lamarcus Joyner heading to free agency. 

    Yet, as the Rams surely learned in their Super Bowl 53 defeat to the New England Patriots, being able to apply consistent pressure is important. 

    OK, a slight revision—maybe they knew that and just whiffed with the October move for Dante Fowler Jr., who recorded just two sacks after arriving via Jacksonville. 

    The Rams can't afford to make more mistakes in this regard if they want to get over the proverbial hump or at least remain consistent. Montez Sweat (6'6", 241 lbs) looks like a pro-ready player who needs to pack on some muscle but can otherwise be disruptive at worst in a rotation to start his career. 

    Sweat should be a force in Indianapolis when it comes to measurements and drills, though a deep class should push him to the bottom of the round. 

Miami Dolphins

19 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

    If the new-look Miami Dolphins want to avoid purgatory right out of the gate, a first-round quarterback might be the way to go. 

    Technically speaking, the Dolphins could hang on to the perennially mediocre Ryan Tannehill and tough it out, though he's coming off another string of injuries and missed games. They could also bring in a veteran, though the current crop of potential free agents outside of Teddy Bridgewater doesn't look great. 

    Instead, the Dolphins could look to a strong upside prospect like Daniel Jones, who completed 60.5 percent of his passes with 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year with the Blue Devils. 

    A three-year starter with good mechanics is just what Miami could use. Jones would enter an offense begging to feature Kenyan Drake out of the backfield while still hitting intriguing weapons such as Kenny Stills and Mike Gesicki. 

    Keep in mind that the Dolphins might only have the third quarterback available to them if they don't move up from No. 13. But given his mentioned traits, Jones might fit the best anyway. 

Minnesota Vikings

20 of 32

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

    The Minnesota Vikings look like one of the more predictable first-round teams, and as a middle-of-the-round squad, it should have a front-row seat to Yodny Cajuste at the combine. 

    After all, Kirk Cousins fell apart when it mattered last year despite a host of weapons flanking him. This was mostly thanks to a middling offensive line that coughed up 40 sacks. Like a few teams on this list, the Vikings have spent quite a bit on resources only to let the quarterback get hammered behind a bad line. 

    Cajuste is one way to start changing the outlook for Cousins and the offense. 

    Based on the film so far, Cajuste isn't going to have problems grabbing attention in Indianapolis. Here's what Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had to say: "Cajuste is a top-tier athlete at left tackle, showing excellent footwork combined with good length and strength to handle power and speed rushers. He's a bit raw in the run game but has the traits to be fine there with some coaching by a pro staff."

    Cajuste is perfect for many reasons, one of them being he can help fix two problems. If the West Virginia product starts at left tackle, Riley Reiff could kick inside and be an upgrade there. 

New England Patriots

21 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

    With the way head coach Bill Belichick churns out quality units in an unorthodox fashion, the only real weakness on the Patriots over the next few years might be Tom Brady's age. The six-time Super Bowl champion turns 42 in August. 

    A prospect like Jarrett Stidham would address the problem nicely. 

    Last season, Stidham fell off the radar a bit on an average Auburn offense still tailored toward the running game. He still threw for 18 touchdowns and just five interceptions, flashing first-round intangibles, but the stock hit could push him to the second round. 

    Not that the Patriots would have any problem with the value there. A mobile quarterback who can move the pocket and make the most of his throws downfield doesn't usually last long during the draft. 

    Stidham could learn for a few years behind Brady before taking over, making it a wise resource expenditure. Granted, that has been written before in the past, but the Patriots are usually forward-thinking, so don't expect anything different this time. 

New Orleans Saints

22 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

    The New Orleans Saints are in a similar position to the Patriots. 

    Drew Brees turned 40 years old in mid-January, even though he didn't show many signs of aging in 2018 while tossing 32 touchdowns against five interceptions with a better defense than he's had in years. 

    The completeness of the Saints roster gives them some wiggle room to think about the future. It's hard not to, especially in a class with no major breakaway quarterback, but plenty of names are jammed together in the possible first- to second-round range. 

    West Virginia's Will Grier threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns against just eight interceptions in 2018, rushing for another three scores. Grier is mobile with a big arm and confident—just wait for the Baker Mayfield comparisons—though his scattershot ways at times need refinement, which could push him to the second round.

    The Saints can do that with Grier behind Brees and head to the combine with the understanding they probably aren't convincing Teddy Bridgewater—who wants to be a starter—to stick around for a few more years. 

New York Giants

23 of 32

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

    The New York Giants can publicly posture as though they love the idea of Eli Manning starting a few more years.

    But the sixth overall pick is prime territory to get a premium prospect under center. 

    Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins classifies. His superb pocket-passing ways and booming arm earned him nearly 5,000 passing yards last season to go alongside his 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Were it not for Kyler Murray (both for his talent and the MLB saga), Haskins would be the most talked-about quarterback prospect. 

    Granted, drafting the former Buckeye would create a problem for the Giants. Fans aren't going to be too kind if Manning starts struggling again despite the droves of talent surrounding him. But that talent—Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr. and others—is capable of propping up a rookie.

    Haskins has a big enough presence to handle the Big Apple, not to mention the combine, and it's hard to imagine the Giants don't come out of Indianapolis impressed enough to bring Haskins to New York. 

New York Jets

24 of 32

    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

    With their possible franchise quarterback under center in Sam Darnold, the New York Jets are free to use a top-three pick on the best player available. 

    Josh Allen figures to be the guy there, which is fitting because the Jets need some help boosting their 39-sack defense from a year ago. The unit got seven sacks from Jordan Jenkins, but he's going to need some help to remain consistent as opponents figure out he's a threat. 

    But Allen will instantly become the best pass-rusher on the Jets roster. He has an arsenal of pro-ready moves to go alongside his elite athleticism, and he has shown good flashes of coverage ability. Lance Zierlein at summed it up well: "Allen's diverse skill set could offer a creative defensive mind a fun toy to deploy around the field, but his NFL value will rest in his ability to menace the pocket as 3-4 rush linebacker."

    The Jets need plenty of help on the offensive side of the ball to help their second-year quarterback. But free agency and later picks can accomplish this feat, whereas rebuilding teams will make the most headway by taking the best talent available.

Oakland Raiders

25 of 32

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington 

    The Oakland Raiders have been fun and a little zany under head coach Jon Gruden, who did some wild things such as trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. 

    But don't expect it to continue. 

    The Raiders have plenty of ways to restock at affordable numbers while looking two or three years down the line, including a trio of first-round picks. 

    One of those selections figures to address a sour cornerback spot, making Byron Murphy hard to ignore. The Washington product might make his case at the combine as the top player at his position, which would be tough to argue. 

    PFF graded Murphy as the top corner in college last year for a reason. He's a ball hawk who can work through the mess and stop the run. He's a do-it-all type a rebuilding team like the Raiders needs—not to mention he has immense upside. 

    If the Raiders roll the dice at a premium position on a prospect like Murphy, they will have to feel good. 

Philadelphia Eagles

26 of 32

    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Joshua Jacobs, RB, Alabama 

    Running backs won't make a ton of headway on a list like this. For one, most teams have at least one back in a committee they are comfortable with. And two, the 2019 class isn't superb at the top. 

    Joshua Jacobs is the exception. 

    Jacobs' numbers don't flash off the page, despite his 5.3 yards per carry on the way to 640 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. But he didn't get the workload his talent deserved thanks to a deep backfield at Alabama. 

    The film is what pops. Jacobs is a 5'10", 216-pound bully of a runner who can bowl over opponents with a deceptive slash to get upfield. He'd join a Philadelphia Eagles backfield committee that averaged fewer than four yards per carry last season while featuring a shrug-worthy number of names. 

    The Eagles have the No. 25 overall pick, and taking the first running back off the board wouldn't be a bad development for either party. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

27 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan 

    While it's easy to focus on all the drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers, the draft outlook hasn't deviated much from the middle of the season. 

    The Steelers need linebackers. The defense is still feeling the effects of losing Ryan Shazier to injury, which in part explains why Pittsburgh tied Cleveland and lost to teams like Denver before finishing the season with four defeats in six games.

    Both the outside and the inside are problems, though the best player available at No. 20 figures to be Devin Bush.

    The 5'11", 233-pound Michigan product is another prospect who will have to hear silly media analysis about his size while the NFL shifts toward smaller, quicker linebackers. He's a solid defender in coverage and still reads and reacts to the run well, so starting in an attacking scheme right away isn't out of the question. 

    While Bush might not make headlines in Indianapolis, the Steelers figure to keep a close eye on him. 

San Francisco 49ers

28 of 32

    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

    The San Francisco 49ers know they won't be in a position to get cute at No. 2. 

    They already think they have a franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo and will need to take a best-player-available approach, barring a trade out of their spot. 

    It'll likely be Quinnen Williams, a ferocious 3-technique rusher who landed with coach Nick Saban at Alabama and still managed to stand out. Williams is quick and wins at the point of attack often, and he is an instant starter who could balloon into something even more special in a pro program. 

    The 49ers know this is a major need, with Solomon Thomas struggling to live up to his top-three potential. In theory, there is an outside chance a talent like Williams can help breathe new life into Thomas. 

    For the 49ers, few prospects figure to shine brighter in Indianapolis.

Seattle Seahawks

29 of 32

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

    In 2018, the Seattle Seahawks surprised on the defensive side of the ball despite losing a handful of recognizable names, not to mention Earl Thomas to injury in Week 4. 

    Still, the line was basically Frank Clark and then some guys. Clark is a free agent in March, and there's likely zero chance the front office will let him walk. But the front office surely understands things can improve tenfold if it gets another efficient rusher to help the unit. 

    Jachai Polite looks like a good target for a team drafting at No. 21. He's not an every-down player just yet, but the Seahawks will like that they can stand him up or set him on the line to rush. Last season, he had a pass-rushing win percentage of 18.4 and a pass-rushing grade of 91.0, per PFF

    The Seahawks need a realistic target who can make an immediate impact and offer major upside. Polite checks all the boxes. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30 of 32

    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama 

    Every year, at least one team's fanbase understands its top-10 pick must go toward something boring like offensive line. 

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are that team this year. 

    With the fifth pick, the Buccaneers are going to have an eye on Jonah Williams, a three-year starter at Alabama and a master of angles. His nearly perfect technique allowed him to excel in the SEC against the best of the best. 

    Williams figures to be a hit in drills because of the traits he put on tape against SEC competition. That's good news for a team that seems confident enough to roll the dice on another year of quarterback Jameis Winston under new head coach Bruce Arians.

    Williams is a natural fit, especially if the Buccaneers let Donovan Smith walk in free agency. 

Tennessee Titans

31 of 32

    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

    The Tennessee Titans have a good thing going on defense thanks to generally underrated studs like Jurrell Casey. 

    The offense is a different discussion. Franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota has struggled to stay on the field, but wide receiver Corey Davis has slowly been working his way into meeting draft expectations. 

    A prospect like N'Keal Harry is an obvious target. Harry, at 6'4" and 216 pounds, has consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to his name and has scored at least eight times in each of the past two campaigns. 

    A big-play threat because of his climb-the-ladder abilities, Harry would project as an obvious fit across from Davis. For Titans brass in Indianapolis, it might be hard to ignore any fireworks from Harry that are reminiscent of his film. 

Washington Redskins

32 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Perfect Prospect: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

    The Washington Redskins have a brutal task entering the combine. 

    They can't afford to move forward with Colt McCoy under center in the wake of Alex Smith's injury. But given the promising state of their defense, they'll want to be competitive in 2019. Washington has one of the NFL's best defensive lines, and its offensive line should be impressive as well if it can shake the injury bug it encountered last season. 

    But sitting 15th in the draft order is tough, as that likely means no Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray. It might all work out if they get Missouri's Drew Lock, who threw for 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season while adding another six scores as a rusher. 

    Provided Lock performs and interviews well at the combine, the Redskins might come out of the event feeling better about their outlook.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.