Best fits from 2019 NFL Draft
Not every draft pick is put in a position to succeed or contribute right away. They also may be going to a situation that asks to much of them at the beginning of their careers. Here are a few drafted players that I think were drafted into great situations that meet at least some of that criteria. (I tried not to include first round picks).
Benny Snell RB Kentucky- Pittsburgh Steelers
Justice Hill RB Oklahoma State- Baltimore Ravens
Justin Hollins LB Oregon- Denver Broncos
Miles Sanders RB Penn State- Philadelphia Eagles
Amani Oruwariye CB Penn State- Detroit Lions
Now for the list:
Justin Layne CB Michigan State- Pittsburgh Steelers
I said it in my draft analysis, this is a perfect fit. I immediately listed him for this post when he was drafted. Pittsburgh fans have been frustrated with the inconsistent play of Artie Burns, who had his 5th year option declined. Layne is the opposite. He sticks with receivers, is very physical, and is seldom beat. Haden and Nelson are penciled in as the starters, but Layne should push Burns and Mike Hilton for that third spot, although he’s more of an outside corner.
Kahale Warring TE San Diego State- Houston Texans
Warring is an intriguing player. San Diego State runs a run-heavy offense, so they don’t throw that much, but he was their leading receiver. He’s got good hands and speed plus great size for an NFL tight end. His athleticism really shows when he plays and he’s a more than willing blocker. Houston has a couple late round tight ends from years past and veteran Darren Fells, but Warring has the most potential to make an impact. Adding to him to a passing game that includes DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller brings an element the Texans’ tight ends have lacked.
Devin Bush LB Michigan- Pittsburgh Steelers
Okay, I included one first round pick, but this fit is too perfect to pass up. The Steelers have lacked the speed from the middle linebacker spot since Ryan Shazier’s injury. Bush is a little small, but plays bigger than he is. He plays sideline to sideline with great instincts and can cover passes well. He also rarely (if ever) misses tackles. This was a no-brainer pick for Pittsburgh.
Erik McCoy C Texas A&M- New Orleans Saints
Max Unger retired, and the Saints replaced him with one of the best available players. He plays with a good base and pad level, has good feet, and drives people into the ground consistently with tremendous power. McCoy is a day one starter. They were fortunate to grab him in the second round.
Mecole Hardman WR Georgia- Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City is likely losing their speedy play-making threat for at least the foreseeable future (I won’t comment on that situation). Hardman brings the same type of explosiveness. He’s got the speed to blow you away and take the top off the defense. With incredible return ability as well, he’s an instant contributor.
Josh Oliver TE San Jose State- Jacksonville Jaguars
Oliver was a bit of an unknown prospect to most casual fans. He didn’t play for a good college team and had to play with some questionable quarterbacks. Jacksonville has been much more of a defensive team and relied on the ground game recently and needed to add weaponry for Nick Foles and the air game. Oliver gives them a viable threat with catching ability and athleticism that their other tight ends sorely lack. He’s an instant redzone threat and may even be the best receiving threat Jacksonville currently has.
David Montgomery RB Iowa State- Chicago Bears
Chicago traded away Jordan Howard, but drafted a better version of him in Montgomery. I saw quite a bit of him last season and was constantly impressed with what I saw. He’s been compared to Kareem Hunt (on the field), and we’ve seen what that kind of back can do in this offense. He’s a great number two back and will eventually be the number one option.
Jace Sternberger TE Texas A&M- Green Bay Packers
What’s the one thing Green Bay’s passing game has been missing? A young tight end it can rely on for years to come. Jimmy Graham has been one of the best in the league for years but is getting up there in age. Sternberger is as a perfect receiving tight end but needs to become a better blocker. He makes a difference for this offense, and Graham is an incredible mentor for him.
Chase Winovich DE/OLB Michigan- New England Patriots
This is a culture fit for me. Winovich has an immense passion for the game and an equally high motor. He can play both defensive end and outside linebacker, which is something the Patriots LOVE to have in their players. He plays stronger than he actually is and sets the edge extremely well. His hard play causes him to misdiagnose and over-pursue from time to time, but he’s a dynamic edge player. He’s great for the scheme and will get the coaching he needs to last in the league.
Jarrett Stidham QB Auburn- New England Patriots
Stidham is a perfect developmental quarterback in this draft, and New England was looking for exactly that. I’m not going to call him the heir-apparent to Brady (yet), but you can’t help but think it with this pick. Stidham has shown that he can produce and was once considered a first round talent. Developing in New England is an ideal situation for him.