Hindsight is always 20/20. This is more true when it comes to the NFL Draft than any other aspect of the football world. Last year saw Saquon Barkley fit in perfectly with the New York Giants while Baker Mayfield more than made his mark with an emerging Cleveland Browns squad.
Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, there’s a certain number of prospects that seem to be perfect fits for NFL teams.
Fresh off adding Joe Flacco to the mix, the Denver Broncos should be thinking about one of two former Iowa tight ends. Meanwhile, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Nick Bosa would gel with the San Francisco 49ers.
These are among the 10 most logical fits for the 2019 NFL Draft.
D.K. Metcalf to the New York Giants
You could slide a number of receivers into the Giants’ No. 17 slot and the team would more than be happy with it. What makes Metcalf logical is that he’d be the perfect receiver to replace Odell Beckham Jr. as the Giants’ top option moving forward.
Teams might be split on what this 6-foot-3 receiver can bring to the table. But he has all the traits to be a true outside receiving threat. Now that the Giants have extended Sterling Shepard, this is the type of pass catcher they need for whoever is under center moving forward. We’ll tie that in together later.
Dwayne Haskins to the Cincinnati Bengals
It’s now looking like the Bengals and first-year head coach Zac Taylor are targeting a quarterback in Round 1. Whether Haskins is available at 11 remains to be seen. Though, there’s a scenario in play that suggests Cincinnati will do everything possible to help Taylor — a known quarterback guru — get his own guy under center.
No other signal caller makes more sense than Haskins. Being an Ohio State product, the in-state links are already well known. He’s also a similar quarterback to Taylor’s former pupil in Los Angeles, Jared Goff. It would make for an easy transition for a head coach that had never even been a coordinator prior to landing this gig.
Dalton Risner to the Houston Texans
There’s simply no way Houston can enter the 2019 season with struggling veteran Matt Kalil and one of the game’s worst offensive tackles from last season, Julie’n Davenport, battling for the starting left tackle job. Young quarterback Deshaun Watson deserves a lot more than that. It’s high time that these Texans exhaust a first-round pick on a tackle, even if it comes in the form of a reach.
A longtime starter at Kansas State, Risner is a plug-and-play option. He could start out on the right side of the line before ultimately moving to left tackle. He could also protect Watson’s blindside out of the gate, acting like an upgrade in the process. After all, Watson was hit a league-high 126 times last season. That must change.
T.J. Hockenson to the Denver Broncos
GM John Elway and the Denver Broncos have been linked to quarterbacks heading the draft. This team is also said to be looking to trade down. We’re here to call a bluff on all of that. Denver has committed to Joe Flacco at quarterback. Flacco himself has had the most success in his career tossing the rock to tight ends.
It’s in this that the ultra-athletic Hockenson seems to be a perfect fit in Denver. He can stretch the field between the hashes and is an absolute matchup nightmare. Adding Hockenson to the mix at No. 10 overall would also help young receiver Courtland Sutton on the outside. It truly is a match made in heaven.
Nick Bosa to the San Francisco 49ers
The hope for 49ers fans is that the John Lynch-led war room is not overthinking this one. Should Bosa be on the board with the second selection, San Francisco needs to run to the podium and select the draft’s top overall prospect without thinking twice about it. A trade down might be enticing. But short of another team offering up the farm, San Francisco must stand pat here.
Bosa would team up with Dee Ford to create two Pro Bowl-caliber edge rushers — turning a weakness into a strength in the process. Add in an elite defensive tackle, DeForest Buckner, and this would make one of the best front fours in the entire NFL. Just don’t overthink it. That’s all we ask.
Jonah Williams to the Carolina Panthers
We’re going to give Panthers general manager Marty Hurney credit for re-signing former All-Pro tackle Daryl Williams after an injury-plagued 2018 campaign. Hurney also deserves credit for moving on from the walking turnstile that is Matt Kalil. Even then, the Panthers must do more to help protect former NFL MVP Cam Newton after he’s been battered and bruised over the past several seasons.
Considered a top-five lock heading into the 2018 season, there’s been some concern over how Williams’ game translates to the NFL. With that said, he was a dominant force against elite-level SEC competition while at Alabama. Williams could immediately start at right takle with Williams moving to the left side. It would create solid book ends for Newton and Co. over the long term.
Noah Fant to the New England Patriots
It seems more than reasonable to expect New England to replace the recently-retired Rob Gronkowski early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson would be a perfect fit. Unfortunately, he’s going to be nowhere near available at 32 overall. That leaves the likes of Irv Smith Jr. and this former Hockenson teammate as options at the end of the first.
We’re going to go with Fant. He’s pretty much the most-accomplished pass-catcher in the draft and can be an immediate contributor. Tom Brady loves his tight ends. This would pay off immediately. Flush with multiple second and third-round picks, New England could even double down at tight end with either Mississippi’s Dawson Knox or Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M.
Cody Ford to the Minnesota Vikings
Adding Josh Kline in free agency was a decent depth move for Minnesota. In no way does that mean general manager Rick Spielman won’t be looking interior offensive line with the 18th pick on Thursday. Everything is set up well for Minnesota to draft a plug-and-play guard to help a quarterback in Kirk Cousins who struggles with pressure up the middle.
It’s in this that Minnesota has been the team most linked to Ford. He’s a bullish presence a long the interior of the line and has elite-level pass protection skills. That’s magnified by the fact that Ford played outside at times while with the Sooners. This one seems to be a no-brainer.
Josh Rosen to the New York Giants
The only non-prospect in this article, Rosen to the Giants seems to be more logical by the day. New York head coach Pat Shurmur has made it clear that he wants to add a quarterback of the future behind Eli Manning. In turn, Manning expects New York to do just that. The same can be said about others around the NFL.
Now linked to Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones, it seems that Rosen is a much better fit. New York wouldn’t be exhausting the equivalent of a first-round pick on the former top-10 selection. It could probably get away with offering up the team’s second-round selection (37th overall) to the Cardinals for Rosen, who would then sit behind Manning for a season.
Kyler Murray to the Oakland Raiders
From a pure football standpoint, this doesn’t seem logical. Oakland has a three-time Pro Bowler in Derek Carr under center. There’s much more this team needs to do at other positions to become relevant. But not everything Jon Gruden has done since taking over as the Raiders’ head coach and de facto general manager has made sense from an on-field perspective.
The logic here would be Oakland adding a franchise quarterback of Gruden’s choosing while moving on from a veteran that doesn’t seem to see eye-to-eye with the head coach. In turn, the Raiders could deal Carr for a valuable pick. The obstacle? Oakland would have to move up to No. 1 overall with the Cardinals. What might this cost to add a player that would define the Raiders’ move to Sin City?