With the 2019 NFL Draft fast approaching, mock drafts and prospect rankings are flying fast and furious. Let's take a moment to view this class through a slightly different prism: by finding the best NFL team fits for five of the top prospects at four key positions. The below list does not necessarily take into account where these teams are drafting and how many picks they hold; rather, this is about identifying the best match between prospect and team.
Below, we've paired five top receiver prospects (ranked in order) with the teams that best fit them. Click on the tabs above to see fits for running backs, quarterbacks and pass rushers.
Andrew Luck is back! The Colts made the playoffs! But they're still thin in the pass-catcher department, even if you take into account the signing of Devin Funchess and the sudden emergence last season of veteran tight end Eric Ebron as a prolific red-zone threat. T.Y. Hilton needs help. As a big, strong receiver, Metcalf would make an excellent complement to the speedy Hilton; the pair could create chaos for opponents. Metcalf, of course, has speed to burn in his own right, having posted a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, tied for fifth-best among all position groups this year in Indy. He showed great athleticism at Mississippi, demonstrating the potential to create mismatches with cornerbacks. He will lose concentration at times, which can lead to drops, but he tracks the ball well and posted a robust 21.9 yards per catch in seven games last year (before a neck injury prematurely ended his season).
JuJu Smith-Schuster is in place to take the No. 1 receiver reins from Antonio Brown. But who's going to fill in for Smith-Schuster as the No. 2 guy? The good news for Pittsburgh is that general manager Kevin Colbert has an established track record of uncovering pass-catching gold in the draft, including Martavis Bryant (fourth-round pick in 2014), Mike Wallace (third-round pick in 2009), Emmanuel Sanders (third-round pick in 2010) and, of course, both Antonio Brown (sixth-round pick in 2010) and Smith-Schuster (second-round pick in 2017). Marquise Brown projects as the perfect player to slot next to Smith-Schuster. The Oklahoma product has explosive quickness and is a proven playmaker, having posted 1,318 yards (at 17.6 yards per catch) in 2018. Though he was unable to run the 40 at the combine or his pro day after undergoing Lisfranc surgery (everything looked good at his medical re-check in Indianapolis), I'd peg him as having sub-4.4. speed. Every time he touches the football, the results are electric -- with Smith-Schuster as the muscle and Marquise Brown as the speed threat, this pairing would help take the sting out of Antonio Brown's acrimonious exit.
New England's failed attemptsto signAdam Humphries (who ended up in Tennessee) and Cole Beasley (who landed in Buffalo) speak to the team's awareness that the receiving corps needs bolstering, with Julian Edelman standing as the only receiver on the roster who tallied more than 50 catches in 2018 (Edelman posted 74, second to running back James White's 87). The retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski only compounded the challenge of giving Tom Brady the weapons he needs to flourish as a 42-year-old quarterback (which he'll be in August). Campbell just recorded the most catches (90) in a single season in Ohio State history -- and he probably would have caught more if not for the presence of the Buckeyes' other standout receivers. Campbell ran a lot of underneath routes; he catches at the high point. He can also really separate and run away from people; for a great example of this, re-watch his 78-yard touchdown against Michigan. Campbell looks a lot like fellow former Buckeye Curtis Samuel, who was picked in the second round in 2017 by the Panthers. The catch-everything prospect is Bill Belichick's type of guy.
Maybe it wouldn't be an issue if they were installing a wishbone offense, but the 49ers' RB-heavy roster is light on receiver depth; aside from tight end George Kittle, no San Francisco pass catcher topped 500 receiving yards in 2018. The team's interest in trading for Odell Beckham Jr. shows management is well aware of the need for someone to boost a receiver corps stocked with secondary talents like Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor and newcomer Jordan Matthews. Brown is the all-time leader in receiving yards at Mississippi, having posted 2,984 yards in three years. He also posted 12 games of 100-plus yards in his career there. He's very physical and makes good adjustments; he's a good hands-catcher who can make contested catches. He's also a strong route-runner. Eighty-five percent of his touchdown catches came out of the slot, and the Niners could definitely use a player like that.
The Ravens continue to seek stability at receiver after saying goodbye to veterans John Brown and Michael Crabtree, leaving Willie Snead and Chris Moore as the top two wideouts on the roster. Samuel is a very physical wide receiver who boasts good concentration and quickness, as you could see in his 210-yard effort against Clemson in 2018. The South Carolina product also excels at keeping his feet in-bounds while making catches along the sidelines. He's strong and fast, has a history of being productive and he can return kicks, having set a school record with four kick-return touchdowns.