2018 NFL Draft: One good fit for each team

After the first round is over, there are six rounds to go in the NFL Draft. Teams sometimes go with the “best player available,” but in many cases they look for the best fit and, at times, hometown stars. Below, take a look at one good fit for each team in the 2018 NFL Draft.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills – RB Justin Jackson, Northwestern

Buffalo gets a cold-weather running back to ease the load on LeSean McCoy. Jackson is a solid change-of-pace who is more versatile than is Mike Tolbert.

New England Patriots – WR Keke Coutee, Texas Tech

Like Danny Amendola and Wes Welker before him, Coutee is a Texas Tech star receiver who can run routes as well as anyone. He could be a prolific wideout in Bill Belichick’s scheme.

New York Jets – DT Foley Fatukasi, Connecticut

Fatukasi can line up next to Leonard Williams and help a Jets defensive line that lost Sheldon Richardson last season. The former UConn standout is actually a New York native, too, hailing from Far Rockaway.

Miami Dolphins – OT/G K.C. McDermott, Miami

The Dolphins could use help on the offensive line. Whether adding McDermott allows them to kick Laremy Tunsil back inside to guard or the UMiami product can play guard himself, selecting this player would serve Miami well.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – QB Kurt Benkert, Virginia

A Baltimore native, Benkert would add young depth to a quarterback room that is getting older. Currently, the Ravens’ backup to Joe Flacco (who has struggled in recent years) is Robert Griffin III.

Cincinnati Bengals – OT Geron Christian, Louisville

The Bengals just acquired Cordy Glenn, but it is tough to see Glenn filling the hole that Andrew Whitworth left in Cincinnati. Christian played college ball just down the road in Kentucky, and he excelled.

Cleveland Browns – DT Steven Richardson, Minnesota

Much of the focus is on the Browns’ first few picks, as it should be, but Cleveland has a wealth of picks and can add a stout defensive lineman in the late rounds. Richardson would be a good pick from the Midwest.

Pittsburgh Steelers – EDGE Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State

Holmes is one of the rawest players in the draft. Mike Tomlin needs pass rushers, and can achieve this goal in part by developing Holmes into a member of a more modern version of the Steel Curtain.

AFC South

Houston Texans – OG K.J. Malone, Louisiana State

Just across the state line in Louisiana is an answer to Houston’s offensive line woes. Whether that is Malone or another LSU lineman like Will Clapp is up for some debate, but the Texans have an opportunity in the draft to address the issue.

Indianapolis Colts – LB Tegray Scales, Indiana

A Cincinnati native who played college football in Bloomington, Scales would be a key piece on a Colts defense that has few key pieces right now.

Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida

Many UCF fans are also Jaguars fans by virtue of geography, and this pick would be a home run for the fanbase. Griffin is one of the most inspirational stories in this year’s class, but he is also a speed demon who would fit in well with “Sacksonville.”

Tennessee Titans – LB Micah Kiser, Virginia

Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel’s first ever draft as a head coach can likely be expected to bring in some players who play Vrabel’s former position, given the Titans needs. Kiser is a stout inside linebacker who would set the tone in Tennessee.

AFC West

Denver Broncos – WR Michael Gallup, Colorado State

New Broncos quarterback Case Keenum could use some receivers, and Colorado State’s Gallup would get right into the mix. His possession-style game would work alongside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Kansas City Chiefs – DT Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee

Andy Reid has been part of the NFL establishment for a while and could relate to McKenzie, who is the son of Raiders executive Reggie McKenzie. It also helps that the Chiefs need a nose tackle.

Los Angeles Chargers – EDGE James Looney, California

Looney’s brother Joe played for a few years with the 49ers and is now a member of the Cowboys. With his NFL bloodline, James Looney can be expected to bring his run-stuffing game to the next level.

Oakland Raiders – WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, South Florida

With Jon Gruden’s hiring, the Raiders are back. Who better to draft than a 6-foot-3, sub-4.4 40 wide receiver as the Gruden era kicks off?

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys – LB Skai Moore, South Carolina

Moore just finds a way to get the football when it is in the air. He will add to a Dallas defense that is looking to up its turnovers in 2018.

New York Giants – P Michael Dickson, Texas

Dickson is on another level as a punter, and will help bring the Giants back to the days of now-retired Jeff Feagles’ dominance.

Philadelphia Eagles – LB Jason Cabinda, Penn State

The Eagles are going to load up ahead of another run to the Super Bowl. One major need is linebacker, and Penn State’s Cabinda is athletic enough to make a difference from Day One.

Washington Redskins – CB Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech

After trading away Kendall Fuller for Alex Smith, the Redskins need to add corners. Greg Stroman, who played down I-95 at Virginia Tech, is a quick DB who can also return kicks.

NFC North

Chicago Bears – LB Oren Burks, Vanderbilt

The Bears are going to run a lot of nickel and dime sets in 2018, relying on the athleticism of their linebackers. Outside of some of the first round-ranked players, Burks is the best cover linebacker in the class, and he can also tackle.

Detroit Lions – EDGE Joe Ostman, Central Michigan

New coach Matt Patricia knows how to get pressure on quarterbacks, but he needs weapons. Enter Ostman, who was a small school star at a natural pipeline college for the Lions.

Green Bay Packers – OL Mason Cole, Michigan

Cole is an extraordinarily versatile lineman, having gone from left tackle to center at Michigan. That versatility will be necessary in Green Bay, which needs some help up front to keep Aaron Rodgers protected.

Minnesota Vikings – EDGE Andrew Trumbetti, Notre Dame

The Vikings could use a real infusion of youth up front, and Trumbetti is one of the better run-stuffers in the class. A solid player at Notre Dame, this EDGE player would anchor one side of the line for Minnesota.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons – OG Braden Smith, Auburn

Atlanta will need to replenish its interior offensive line if it is going to continue to have an effective offensive attack. Smith, who played college ball in Alabama (one state over from Georgia), would fit well with Atlanta.

Carolina Panthers – WR Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech

After trading Kelvin Benjamin last year, the Panthers’ pass attack focused mostly on Devin Funchess and running back Christian McCaffrey. Bringing in Phillips will help diversify Cam Newton’s options.

New Orleans Saints – CB Parry Nickerson, Tulane

Nickerson has a bit of Marshon Lattimore in him – he is only a bit smaller and he ran a similar 40 yard dash. The similarities, as well as Nickerson’s having played in the Saints’ backyard at Tulane, make this a fine selection.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – S Trey Marshall, Florida State

When Derwin James went down, Marshall stepped up. He has shown enough talent to warrant selection in the draft, and Tampa Bay needs safeties – it is a match.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals – S Dane Cruikshank, Arizona

Cruikshank is one of the most underrated players in this year’s class, and the Cardinals need to start putting together a solid core of young talent. The NFC West is about to get very, very good, and Cruikshank would make a difference in Arizona.

Los Angeles Rams – EDGE Uchenna Nwosu, Southern California

The Rams have an incredible interior defensive line, but some solid pass rushers would make this engine hum. Nwosu built a strong reputation as a pass rusher at USC.

San Francisco 49ers – DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford

John Lynch brought in a Stanford defensive lineman during last year’s draft in Solomon Thomas, and it was a success. Why not go back to the well?

Seattle Seahawks – Tyree Robinson, Oregon

There is a changing of the guard occurring in the Seattle secondary, and Robinson is the kind of defensive back that Pete Carroll loves to draft: tall, rangy, and physical.


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