Matt Williamson is a former scout for the Cleveland Browns, and spent the last 10 years at ESPN as a scout and co-host of the podcast “Football Today.”
Sometimes great draft prospects end up in poor situations. We don’t want to see that happen, so below is a list of players expected to get picked in the first two days of the draft matched with a team that would fit them extremely well. In this exercise, the quarterbacks and Myles Garrett were ignored. By the way, Garrett, like all transcendent players, fits with any team and any situation. As for the top quarterbacks? Not so much.
D’Onta Foreman, RB ➡ Packers
Ty Montgomery is very talented and should only get better as a running back. But the Packers need someone more in the Eddie Lacy mold to complement the former wide receiver and close out games in the often harsh conditions they play in. Foreman’s stock is rising after posting impressive workout numbers and would be a great day two target for Green Bay.
Christian McCaffrey, RB ➡ Colts
The Colts should be actively looking to find Frank Gore’s replacement. While McCaffrey may or may not be a true every down back, he would be an immediate piece for Andrew Luck that simply has not been part of this offense since Luck took over. In that dome and with McCaffrey’s quickness and abilities in the passing game, the Colts’ offense would get an immediate boost.
O.J. Howard, TE ➡ Bills
The Bills’ biggest need is a wide receiver to start opposite Sammy Watkins. Their second need on offense is a right tackle. So how about we split the difference with the best tight end in this draft class? The Bills certainly could go with a wide receiver, but Howard would help the blocking and receiving while providing a much different type of player at the position than Charles Clay.
Evan Engram, TE ➡ Saints
With this fit, don’t think of Engram as a taller Jimmy Graham, but rather as a Marques Colston – or even someone in between Graham and Colston. Sean Payton and Drew Brees could do great things with Engram’s skill set. This is an undersized tight end that runs very well and can split the seam deep, and can operate from a typical wide receiver position. This offense has proven to use all shapes and sizes of pass catchers and Engram is very good at what he does.
David Njoku, TE ➡ Broncos
The Giants were another strong consideration here, but Denver selects ahead of New York in the first round. The Broncos should look to further enhance their offensive line, but this offense has lacked a presence from the tight end position for some time now. Denver’s new offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, had great success with Antonio Gates in their time together with the Chargers and used an early pick on Hunter Henry a year ago. Njoku is an even better prospect than Henry.
Dorian Johnson, G ➡ Vikings
After trading away their first-round pick for Sam Bradford, the Vikings aren’t scheduled to make a selection until the 48th pick in the draft. Their offensive line should be healthier in 2017 and they did sign two starting offensive tackles, but by no means should they rest on their laurels and think their line problems are solved. Others would fit the bill here, but Johnson’s size and athleticism should endear him to the Vikings with what they are looking for at the guard position.
Carl Lawson, DE ➡ Steelers
Amazingly, James Harrison is still playing at a high level and the Steelers just re-signed him to a two-year contract. But Pittsburgh will very likely draft his replacement early with Harrison acting as a mentor. In a very strong draft class for edge players, Lawson fits Pittsburgh’s mold very well with his shorter stature, but thick powerful frame and never-quit playing style.
Malik Hooker, S ➡ Chargers
For a team that went 5-11 last year, the Chargers really don’t have that many major needs. Their offensive line is in the process of being rebuilt and becoming more athletic, but the defense has switched to a Seahawks-like scheme. Such a scheme is dependent on a dominant center field type of safety. That is exactly what Hooker is and he could become the eraser and big playmaker, similar to what Earl Thomas is for Seattle.
Sidney Jones, CB ➡ Browns
Jones was projected as a very early pick and possibly the second cornerback off the board. But tragedy struck when he tore his Achilles tendon at his recent pro day. Cleveland has a huge need at this position, and while they are heading in the right direction, they are not a contender in 2017. This is the perfect team to wait for Jones’ hopefully full recovery while getting a top prospect at a discount rate.
Kevin King, CB ➡ Seahawks
There are rumors that Richard Sherman could be on the trading block. While those will probably never come to fruition, the Seahawks still need a cornerback to challenge for playing time opposite Sherman. Everyone knows what Seattle’s mold is at the position and King, at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, fits their prototype exactly. Keeping King in the Pacific Northwest would ideal for both player and team.
Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.