By Zuha Islam
Each year in the NFL draft, you have some good picks, some steals, and some reaches. But sometimes, you also have prospects go to the perfect team for them and it’s a match made in heaven. This is the best-case scenario for a prospect, as this means they will be used correctly. This also gives them their greatest shot at succeeding from the moment they come into the league up until they retire. Here are six teams that I think would be perfect fits for these six draft prospects.
1. Micah Parsons, Washington Football Team
Parsons is one of the best athletes in the 2021 NFL draft class, but due to some character concerns, he has slipped into the range of where Washington could draft him. Even with below-average linebacker play, Washington still had a top-15 blitz rate in the NFL, and with Parsons’ ability to blow up runs and blitz on passing plays, he would bring a big burst to Washington’s strong defensive line at the linebacker position. He would play outside linebacker in their 4-3 scheme, and his athleticism would give another spark to the Washington defense. While he is raw in coverage, his athleticism makes up for it.
2. Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
After the top three wide receivers, opinions on who the next best receivers are in this year’s draft are pretty mixed. Some believe it is Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, while others believe it’s Florida’s Kadarius Toney, while some others say it is LSU’s Terrace Marshall Jr or UNC’s Dyami Brown. No matter how you rank your wide receivers, Rashod Bateman is exactly what the Ravens need at wide receiver. A tough outside wide receiver, Bateman has a wide catch radius, pulls down difficult catches, and matches that with elite route running and ability to create separation. While he doesn’t possess elite speed or agility, he would complement Marquise Brown perfectly, with Brown being a deep threat and Bateman being a short/intermediate threat. This could be the guy that could solve Lamar Jackson’s weapon woes.
Trevon Moehrig, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars secondary in 2020 was one that struggled time and time again, one that allowed a 30th-ranked 105.6 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks. Trevon Moehrig could change that. He is someone that excels in coverage, whether you put him in a single-high look or have him alongside another safety. A player that has led all safeties in pass breakups in 2019 and 2020, he has an elite ability to close in on wide receivers and cause trouble for quarterbacks. In the run game, he shows flashes of greatness, getting to the right spot often, but can sometimes tend to miss tackles. However, it is not too much to worry about, as it is fixable. Moehrig would fill a void at free safety for the Jacksonville Jaguars and give them someone that can step onto the field immediately and make an impact, and with the recent hiring of former Ravens DL coach Joe Cullen, Moehrig could play in a similar role that Earl Thomas did in Baltimore in 2019.
Justin Fields, San Francisco 49ers
When 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo overthrew Emmanuel Sanders for what would’ve been the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl 54, it left an awful taste in the mouths of 49ers fans. That, and the fact that Jimmy Garoppolo has only stayed fully healthy in 2017 and 2019. With where the 49ers pick this year, they have the opportunity to get a generational QB, even though some reports may say they’re mainly targeting QBs Mac Jones and Trey Lance. The pick should be Justin Fields, though. Fields has a great arm and is laser-accurate on all three levels of the field. While Fields may sometimes struggle with anticipation, Kyle Shanahan surely could cover that up by giving him a half-field system early on in his career and slowly developing his processor. Also, with Shanahan’s elite run scheme, he could involve Fields in it and take some heavy pressure off of Fields. Shanahan’s spread-like scheme would be perfect for an athletic QB like Fields, and not taking him third overall would be a mistake for the 49ers, as much as I am a fan of Trey Lance.
Kwity Paye, Indianapolis Colts
Kwity Paye is considered a top three edge rusher in this class, and for good reason. He’s athletic, has a good burst off the line, and has a good arsenal of pass rush moves, as well as being the top run defender of this year’s class. With Justin Houston out of Indy this year, Paye could be the perfect replacement. Although he does come a little undersized, he is the type of pass rusher that Chris Ballard loves: puts his hand in the dirt, has good twitch, and bursts off the line. He would fit right into the Colts 4-3 scheme and bolster an already-good Colts defense to one of the top ranked units in the league.
Patrick Surtain II, Dallas Cowboys
Son of former Pro Bowler Patrick Surtain Sr., Patrick Surtain II is on the path of becoming an elite cornerback for a team just like his dad. A team that ranked 26th in passer rating allowed that also lost Chidobe Awuzie, the Cowboys are in desperate need of a cornerback. Surtain is the most technically sound cornerback in the draft, consistently reading routes and making breaks on the ball when they are thrown his way, which was not very often due to his coverage ability. He is very similar to former Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey as a prospect, which is amazing, but it does have some of its flaws. Like Humphrey out of college, he does tend to struggle against deep balls, especially in single coverage, and the Cowboys also need another roaming free safety, so he might not be perfect from the get-go. If he is developed well though, Dallas might be able to land the NFL’s next lockdown corner.