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 quarterback prospects (ranked in order) with the teams that best fit them. Click on the tab above to see fits for receivers, running backs and pass rushers.
Before we get any further here, let me remind you that THIS IS NOT A MOCK DRAFT. I'm not predicting that the Cardinals will take the Oklahoma product first overall or with any other pick; this is solely about team fit. And Murray would be perfect for the type of offense new coach Kliff Kingsbury wants to run. The Heisman Trophy winner is an explosive player with very quick feet and outstanding arm strength. He can beat you on the ground, but he's not a guy who's always looking to pull it down and run; he's a pass-first quarterback who will fit seamlessly onto a team that wants to use the spread, bootlegs and option plays. He's also a proven winner. Murray's height (5-foot-10) is a potential concern, but I think we're embarking on an era when shorter quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL. Of course, Arizona could well decide to stick with incumbent Josh Rosen, whom I still like. But if we set that complicating factor aside in this time of smokescreens and misdirection, Murray is a compelling hypothetical match with Kingsbury in Arizona.
The last two quarterbacks drafted by the Patriots in Round 3 or higher -- Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 and Jacoby Brissett in '16 -- were ultimately traded away, leaving the backup spot behind Tom Brady currently occupied by veteran Brian Hoyer. But someday New England is going to have to replace Tom Brady. And the team does currently have 12 picks to work with in 2019. Jones reminds me of Peyton Manning when he came out of Tennessee; he's an excellent football player who has been well-coached by David Cutcliffe at Duke and is able to read the full field. Jones is also agile (as evidenced by his 7.00-second three-cone drill) and athletic, capable of both escaping tacklers and contributing on designed runs. To me, Jones has a good chance to eventually be viewed as the top quarterback in this year's draft class, and with Brady still going strong at 41, the Patriots currently have some time to allow Jones to develop.
General manager John Elway seems to love big quarterbacks, and Lock fits that mold at 6-4 and 228 pounds. While it would be nice to get a strong year out of veteran QB Joe Flacco, why not also take a flier on a rookie, especially with Denver being in prime position to snag the kind of passer Elway tends to covet with the 10th overall pick? Lock is a strong-armed athlete with a quick delivery who can make wow throws and possesses tons of upside. He's also very good in the red zone. He does need to improve his footwork, and he can make some bad tosses, but I think he was also limited somewhat by the team around him at Missouri. I suspect if Lock had played for a team with a high-profile passing game like Oklahoma or Alabama, we'd be talking more about him than we are now.
From the outside, Alex Smith's NFL future appears bleak. Washington traded for Case Keenum to add to a depth chart that also includes Colt McCoy, but it is paramount for the team to begin plotting a new course at the quarterback position. With the team apparently uninterested in trading for Josh Rosen, it would make sense to eye draft prospects. Haskins is a pocket passer with outstanding arm strength. He also completed 70 percent of his passes and broke a Big Ten record by throwing 50 touchdown passes last season at Ohio State. He doesn't have quick feet, and he only started one season; you'd like to see more starts out of a quarterback prospect, although Mitch Trubisky also entered the NFL with limited experience and has played well for Chicago. Haskins should go to a team that has a good offensive line capable of protecting him, and Washington has that. He could also develop behind Keenum for a year if necessary.
All signs point to Miami targeting 2020 as the foundation of a major rebuild, with well-traveled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick currently slotting in as the starter for 2019. But taking a chance on a rookie who could be given a late-season audition wouldn't be a bad idea. Grier has a quick delivery and is very good at throwing on the run, and he'll come to the NFL having accumulated plenty of experience at West Virginia. He also threw 37 touchdown passes in 2018, the fifth-most in FBS last season. Grier projects as a very good second-day pick, and Miami could land someone who could develop into a pretty good pro in Round 2. Heck, he could even end up competing for the starting job on Day 1.