Throughout the NFL draft process, we focused on specific traits that translate to the pro game. Scheme fit and coaching, however, are vital parts of early development and production in the league.
Let’s focus on the rookies who landed in the offensive and defensive schemes that will allow NFL teams to maximize their ability, while using stat projections from ESPN’s Mike Clay. Here are 15 first-year players who are set up to succeed early in their careers:
Clay’s 2019 projections: 3,798 passing yards with 22 TDs and 14 INTs; 100 carries for 558 yards and three TDs
I wrote last month about the top fits for quarterbacks in this class, and I called Murray an “easy fit” in Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme in Arizona. Under Kingsbury, there will be some carryover from Murray’s playbook at Oklahoma, with a combination of Air Raid and pro-style route concepts. Plus, we should expect Kingsbury to cater to Murray’s dual-threat ability with QB-designed runs and run-pass option concepts.
Remember, Murray completed almost 70 percent of his passes in 2018. He’s a natural thrower from the pocket — just check out the ball placement in the highlight clip below — with the rare ability to attack opposing defenses in multiple ways. And I expect Kingsbury to draw up some dynamic game plans for Murray in 2019.
Kyler Murray sends a 28-yard touchdown strike to CeeDee Lamb in the second quarter against the Longhorns.
Clay’s 2019 projections: 19 total tackles and three pass breakups
Take your pick with the Patriots’ top four selections in the draft — Williams, wide receiver N’Keal Harry, edge defender Chase Winovich and running back Damien Harris. They all fit the New England system.
I’m going to focus on Williams because he has the coverage traits that Bill Belichick wants in his defensive backs. The Pats are a heavy, man-coverage defense. Put a safety over the top and challenge routes. That’s a fit for Williams, a cornerback with a monster 6-foot-4 frame who can match up to big-bodied NFL receivers, impact the release and then play the ball at the point of attack.