The NFL Draft is over, but now is when the real fun begins. This is the time of year where we can see which players landed on which teams and begin to project their roles at the next level.
There were a plethora of picks that I loved for one reason or another, but I’ll try to keep this list of my five favorite prospect scheme fits from the 2021 NFL Draft.
Let’s get right into it.
Carolina Panthers – WR Terrace Marshall. LSU
Round 2 pick 59
While I never really bought into the Marshall round one hype, he went exactly where he should have, and to the best possible situation. He certainly has his limitations, but he is perfect for the role he plays, and will play in Carolina.
Reuniting with 2019 LSU offensive coordinator and current Carolina Panther offensive coordinator Joe Brady, who notoriously got the most out of Marshall, is going to be huge for him. It looks like Brady is trying to recreate the offense they had at LSU in 2019, with D.J. Moore playing the Ja’Marr Chase role, Robby Anderson playing the Justin Jefferson role, and Marshall obviously playing his role.
He is going to an offense that he is familiar with where he is likely the fourth passing option, so he won’t have to be a world-beater right away. He can dominate on the outside, opening up the field for Moore, Anderson, and Christian McCaffrey as well as punishing teams who leave him single covered.
Not shocking, but the Panthers’ new regime killed it in the draft once again.
Los Angeles Chargers – CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
Round 2 pick 47
New head coach Brandon Staley was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams’ best defense in the league last year. While there are hundreds of intricacies in his defensive scheme, the main thing is they like to play a lot of cover four man-match. That type of defense requires its corners to play off coverage and read the route combinations of the wide receivers to make plays – something Asante Samuel Jr. is really good at already.
In this defense he can slide in right away despite being undersized and sit on routes and use his quick-twitch ability to make plays.
Washington Football Team – LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Round 1 pick 19
Davis was a late-riser up the draft boards after scouts realized his athleticism and football IQ were much higher than original thought. He is physical, smart, tough and a great tackler. His shortcomings have a lot to do with him taking on offensive lineman working up to the second level (a problem most college linebackers have).
However playing behind for my money the best defensive line in the league will keep Davis clean more often than not, where he can read the flow of the play and quickly attack and fill holes to make tackles in the backfield.
Davis is my early pick for defensive rookie of the year because he may realistically rack up 100+ tackles behind that defensive line in his first year in Washington.
Kansas City Chiefs – WR Cornell Powell, Clemson
Round 5 pick 181
I was higher on Powell than most throughout the process, but he couldn’t have gone to a more perfect situation than Kansas City. He doesn’t have any game-breaking traits like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce have, but he is the definition of solid in every area.
He is a good route runner, has good hands and is deceptively fast. While I don’t think Powell will be a 1000 yard receiver any time soon, I think he gives Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid yet another weapon to play with.
He can slot right in as their third wide receiver and be more than solid. To get that at the end of the fifth round is extremely good value.
New York Jets – RB Michael Carter. North Carolina
Round 5 pick 154
While a bit undersized, Carter plays a lot bigger than his frame. The new Jets regime led by head coach Robert Saleh will undoubtedly incorporate a lot of the things on offense that helped the 49ers succeed during his time there.
The hiring of Mike LaFleur, who is part of that Kyle Shanahan coaching tree, will want to deploy a zone-heavy run scheme. Carter has great burst, vision and lateral mobility to succeed as a zone runner for the Jets, who lack running back depth to begin with.
While only being a fifth round pick, I would expect Carter to make in instant impact for the Jets in a running back by committee approach.