2019 NFL Draft: The 10 best prospect-team fits, including the Giants adding Dwayne Haskins
Let's pick the best prospect-team fits in the 2019 draft class
If you watch the 2019 NFL Draft when it kicks off in just one more day, you'll probably hear the word "fit" thrown around plenty. And with good reason.
Fit is vital to every prospect, the city and team where they land, the players around them, and the scheme in which they play. The fit is perfect for some, and those players almost always thrive. For others, the fit is bad, and it hinders proper development in the NFL.
But let's stick with the positive here and zero in on the best prospect-team fits in the 2019 NFL Draft.
As for the actual draft, you'll be able to stream our live coverage right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) breaking down all the picks and everything you need to know during draft weekend.
Kyler Murray to Cardinals
This is a match made in schematic heaven. Air Raid quarterback with an Air Raid head coach. No worries about learning new terminology or Murray trying to lead the Cardinals as a rookie while operating an offense with a philosophy completely foreign to what he ran in college.
For those still questioning his ability as a passer (and that group has seemingly shrunk over the past few months), remember that he managed to be more efficient as a thrower in 2018 than Baker Mayfield was at Oklahoma in 2017.
Beyond all that, there's a secondary but still important element to the excellence of this fit. That's Murray's running, and what Kingsbury's one season as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator coaching Johnny Manziel indicated about what the first-time head coach may ideally want to do with his quarterback.
For as much as Air Raid passers have almost strictly been purely in-the-pocket players -- think Jared Goff, Mayfield, Case Keenum, Geno Smith, Luke Falk, and a long line of Texas Tech signal-callers, including Kingsbury himself -- Kingsbury fully tapped into Manziel's capabilities as a runner in 2012 with the Aggies, and the quarterback accumulated 1,401 yards on a whopping 201 carries with a bonkers 21 scores on the ground.
Think Kingsbury's excited about Murray's athleticism? Uhhhh, yeah. Definitely. And it could very well be a major reason the Kingsbury-led Cardinals view Murray as better than Rosen.
Devin White to Buccaneers
This pairing became telegraphed when the Buccaneers let Kwon Alexander bolt in free agency and failed to sign his immediate replacement. While Alexander was a productive player for Tampa, he was wildly inconsistent and unfortunately dealt with injuries, so no one should be shocked the Bucs let him walk.
No one would bat an eye if Tampa Bay picked an off-ball linebacker at No. 5 overall, given the need, White's incendiary speed, dynamic athleticism, and two years of stellar production in the SEC at LSU.
I mean, at 237 pounds, he ran 4.42 at the combine, the same time as Buccaneers third-year wideout Chris Godwin, who was 209 pounds at his combine. White and under-appreciated star Lavonte David would formulate a ridiculously athletic pairing at the linebacker spot, something that'd be welcomed in a division with prolific quarterbacks who often test linebackers in coverage.
Dwayne Haskins to Giants
Haskins is my QB3. I have him slotted in the middle-to-back end of Round 2 on my Big Board, but I totally understand his position getting elevated in the draft because of its value.
Now the good about Haskins -- relative to his severe lack of experience, he's impressive moving through his progressions and clearly wants to be a pocket passer, the time-tested best way to achieve sustained success at the NFL level.
But when it comes to anticipation, he's just not there yet. The same goes for his intermediate and downfield accuracy. While he showed flashes of pocket-drifting skills, he also put many bad drop backs on film in which he wasn't able to elude pressure or simply ran from the pocket at the first sign of it. And that's ok! He started 14 games in college. Drew Lock started his 14th college game ... in 2016.
I can't stress enough how Haskins' lack of experience should temper the initial expectations for him in the NFL. He needs a redshirt season. And, presumably, he'd get that with the Giants behind veteran pocket passer Eli Manning. New York can't toy with its fans anymore. GM Dave Gettleman has to pick a quarterback somewhat early in this draft, and I'm taking Haskins over Daniel Jones every day of the week.
Ed Oliver to Bills
Will Oliver be available when the Bills go on the clock at No. 9? I won't say "slim chance," but it'd come as somewhat of a surprise. Then again, we all need to expect the unexpected on draft night.
After Kyle Williams' retirement, after Buffalo signed six unrestricted offensive linemen, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Frank Gore, Andre Roberts, tight end Tyler Kroft, and a pair of depth/short-term starters at corner, a hole at the play-making three-technique position remains.
Oliver was born to play that spot. While he's not as technically refined as Aaron Donald was with his hands, the Houston product has as dynamic of a first step and nearly an identical motor. Also, at basically the exact same size as Donald, Oliver routinely wins the leverage battle and converts quickness to power in the middle.
He's precisely the player Buffalo needs to round out its already sturdy defense and would represent nice value at No. 9 overall. "Undersized" penetrating defensive tackle Kawann Short blossomed in Carolina under Sean McDermott's tutelage. The Bills head coach would get an interior defensive linemen with a very comparable playing style but more natural talent if Buffalo lands Oliver in Round 1.
Cody Ford to Packers
For this glorious prospect-team pairing to come to fruition, the Packers will probably have to pick Ford with their first of two opening-round picks (No. 12). Chances are, the nearly 6-4, 329-pound offensive line won't be available when Green Bay is back on the clock again at No. 30.
Ford would be ideal for the Packers because it'd be a cinch for them to have a legitimate two-year plan to utilize his versatility. Side note on that topic: we always hear about some offensive linemen's ability to play multiple positions in the pros, but how often are they actually used in multiple spots, say, while they're on their rookie contracts? Not often.
With Ford, Green Bay could use his bulldozing power and surprisingly nimble feet at guard -- a clear weak spot up front -- in 2019, then, after right tackle Bryan Bulaga's contract expires in 2020, the Oklahoma alum can bump out to play right tackle long-term.
I think Ford will be a better guard than tackle in the NFL because I'm not sure if he's fast enough in his kick slide to consistently thwart speed rushers on Sundays, and he has to get better with his hand placement.
Daniel Jones to Redskins
Earlier this week, I wrote that Jones going in the top 20 -- which seems to be the consensus now --.
Buuuuut, as we all know, team fit/situation/environment all play a major role in ultimate success or lack thereof for quarterbacks more so than any other position on the field.
Aaaaand, if Jones really is going to go in the first round, landing in Jay Gruden's West Coast offense would be the most ideal development for him. The Duke signal-caller is simply not effective under pressure. He has a quick release, typically knows where to go with the football in the short areas of the field. Boom. West Coast quarterback.
Now, is Gruden on the hot seat in the nation's capital? Probably. Or least if he were the head coach of any other franchise, he most certainly would be. The Redskins' brass can be, ehhh, different though. But still, Jones getting to spend his first year in the NFL in a good system fit would provide the greatest likelihood all of his talented is maximized, and Washington's offensive line features an elite left tackle in Trent Williams, a quality right tackle in Morgan Moses, and reliable guard in Brandon Scherff.
That blocking trio would limit the frequency at which Jones would face pressure, another piece of evidence for this duo as a good Round 1 pairing.
Garrett Bradbury to Vikings
Should the Vikings give up on 2017 third-round selection Pat Elflein, the guy who, right now, is penciled in as the team's Week 1 starter at center? Nope.
Should his presence on the roster preclude them placing a relatively high priority on upgrading the interior offensive line -- including center -- in this draft. Nope.
Kevin Stefanski is the Vikings' offensive coordinator, but the team did hire long-time zone-blocking aficionado Gary Kubiak in January and adorned him with an "assistant head coach/offensive consultant" title. So, it's a relatively safe bet Minnesota's going to be stretching the defensive line laterally and incorporating a lot of play-action bootlegs for Kirk Cousins.
The best zone-blocking center in this class? That's Bradbury, and heck, he's the most impressive ZBS pivot in a long time. His feather-light feet and loose hips let him fly down the line of scrimmage effortlessly. Will the Vikings go in this direction in Round 1? Ehhh. Seems like tackle is more likely.
But Kubiak has probably had recurring dreams about Bradbury in Vikings' purple since he was brought on board a few months ago.
Brian Burns to Titans
Last year, in the second round, the Titans drafted Harold Landry from Boston College, a bendy, speed rusher who had a fair amount of flashes as a rookie. He finished with 44 tackles, five tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks on just 56.5% of the Titans' defensive snaps.
Why does Landry matter to Burns? Because Burns is a very similar edge rusher, and if the Titans' decision-makers were into Landry last year, I imagine they'd be super intrigued by Burns this year. The Florida State product is a Gumby-like speed rusher with actually more pass-rushing moves than Landry had in his arsenal as a prospect but someone who needs to add weight and strength to meet expectations at the next level.
Beyond the comparison, edge rusher is a obvious need for Tennessee, and after getting years of underrated production from Derrick Morgan and (now retired) Brian Orakpo, it's time for a youth movement on the outside with Landry and a high-end prospect from this draft class. Burns will probably be on the board at No. 19 when the Titans go on the clock. Gotta get after Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson, Titans.
Deandre Baker to Steelers
Whew, what an offseason for the Steelers. This is one of the, what, top three most recognizable, storied, and successful franchise in the history of the NFL, and they just lost their two colossal offensive skill position superstars in the aftermath of ghastly contract disputes that somewhat embarrassingly played out through the media.
So, yes, receiver could be on the table in Round 1 to reload after the departure of Antonio Brown. I wouldn't call it the biggest need in Pittsburgh. Would you? Corner, though ... that's another story. Joe Haden has been a godsend after stepping across enemy lines in the AFC North. But he's already 30 and in the final year of his contract. Pittsburgh signed Steven Nelson away from in free agency, yet with Artie Burns and Mike Hilton (sneaky good nickel guy) as the main depth behind Haden, it's pretty obvious the Steelers must add another starting-caliber corner in this class.
While you have a better chance to be struck by lightning than know who's going to be available at pick No. 20, Baker should be there after running in the 4.5s at the combine at under 6-0 while weighing less than 200 pounds. But my goodness is his film a treat. Patient and effective in press man, outstanding mirroring ability during each route, savvy play in zone, and excellent ball skills. Baker is the prospect the Steelers need to boost their pass defense.
Clelin Ferrell to Chiefs
The Chiefs seemingly are adopting a philosophy to not pay big money for their edge rushers and instead invest that cash into the offense and the secondary. Not a bad plan, given the state of today's NFL.
Right now, Kansas City's top outside pass rusher is ... Alex Okafor? Yeah, he had a respectable season playing second fiddle to Cam Jordan in New Orleans two seasons ago, but if he's your top edge rusher, that position needs a talent infusion.
As for the player, I like Ferrell as a middle-of-the-first-round guy, but he's had a fascinating pre-draft process. After Clemson's dominate performance in the College Football Playoff en route to the Tigers' second title in three years, Ferrell, who was integral in his team's suffocating defensive efforts in both games, seemed destined for the top 10.
But he didn't participate in the Senior Bowl and, compared to other prospects at the position like Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Rashan Gary, and especially Montez Sweat, he had a pedestrian combine.
At nearly 6-5 and 264 pounds with long arms, loads of power, and an improving collection of pass-rushing moves, he screams star defensive end in the 4-3 scheme of new Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
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