The draft has officially concluded and, as always, some teams did really well and others did really poorly. There are also really talented players going to places where they’ll fit right in. There’s also the exact opposite. There are talented players going somewhere where they’re set up for failure. We’re going to look at both sides of the spectrum to see which draft picks are primed for success based on landing spot and which will have to work if they want to succeed.
BEST: Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Christian Kirk to the Cardinals is one of my favorite fits in this draft. Not only do the Cardinals have Josh Rosen and a talented quarterback to fill in until Rosen is ready to start in Sam Bradford but Kirk gets the opportunity to learn under Larry Fitzgerald, a future Hall of Famer. Kirk can develop a rapport with Rosen once he ends up starting which, based on the track record of previous first round quarterbacks, will be sooner than we think.
WORST: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Let’s start by saying that Allen is not a bad quarterback. However, now he’s been put in a spot where his best and only threatening weapon is a 30-year old running back in LeSean McCoy. His wide receivers aren’t talented in the slightest and his offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, couldn’t hold a job in the NFL, working for five teams before going back into the college ranks as an offensive coordinator for Alabama and now back into the NFL. It just doesn’t seem like the best situation for a rookie quarterback, especially one as closely scrutinized as Allen.
BEST: Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
There aren’t many spots that could be better for Freeman to land. The Broncos just released running back CJ Anderson and now Freeman’s only competition is Devontae Booker who has been underwhelimg over the past couple of years. The Broncos obviously cut Anderson with some solution to this backfield in mind so this pick of Freeman isn’t just a coincidence. Their vision on offense includes Freeman in one way or another whether it’s just as a back in a committee with Booker or whether it’s replacing Anderson as the lead back. Either way, Freeman is primed and ready to succeed in Denver.
WORST: J’Mon Moore, Marque Valdez-Scantling, Equanimious St. Brown, WRs, Green Bay Packers
I group all three of these players together because it just makes this Packers wide receiving core too crowded. Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison and now the additions of Moore, Valdez-Scantling, and St. Brown. Aside from winning the award for best names in a wide receiving corps, this group is a complete mystery and the rookies are pushed to the bottom of the pack seeing as there are already three players with solid places in that position group. Moore, Valdez-Scantling, and St. Brown can succeed, it’s just going to be an uphill battle for each and every one of them.
BEST: Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Indianapolis Colts
With the Colts employing a new defensive scheme next year, the entire defense has had to be shifted around. Turay is a valuable piece to the puzzle because he can do just about anything. He plays in coverage well and is an explosive edge rusher. He’s a sure tackler and will be a felt presence on the Colts defense as they try to find their identity in this new scheme.
WORST: Isaac Yiadom, CB, Denver Broncos
This pick came late in the third and it’s a puzzling one because despite losing Aqib Talib, the Broncos seem to have a nice set of cornerbacks in Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, and Tramaine Brock. Either the Broncos took Yiadom as an insurance policy to one of those guys in case they get hurt or end up disappointing in terms of play, but on the surface, he doesn’t seem to have a fit in the secondary unless it’s in specially designed packages.
Note that all of these players are talented. The fact of the matter is that some just got dropped into a better situation than others. The draft is as much a lottery for the drafters as it is for the draftees. Some of them get really lucky whike others don’t. It’s just the way life works out.