With the Senior Bowl this week, let’s look forward to the future and next season. Our analysts each reveal their dream landing spot for one prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Andy Behrens: Considering that a league-wide game of quarterback musical chairs is about to go down this offseason, it hardly seems safe to specify a landing spot for our preferred prospects. I can just tell you I'd like to see LSU's Ja'Marr Chase join an offense with an upper-tier passer. He was a big part of the unstoppable Joe Burrow-led collegiate machine in 2019, catching 84 balls for 1,780 yards (21.2 Y/R!) and 20 touchdowns, and he was at his absolute best in the national championship game against Clemson (9-221-2). If he can find his way to, say, a Deshaun Watson or Matthew Stafford-led offense (or to a reunion with Burrow), I'm fully in. I'll happily draft Chase as among the WR2s.
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Scott Pianowski: The Falcons just hired an offensive head coach in Arthur Smith, and they likely want to give it one more strong push with Matt Ryan. With that in mind, how about another star Alabama receiver? Those Jones and Ridley picks sure seemed to work out. Bring in DeVonta Smith and set him loose on the fast Atlanta track. Sure, the Falcons have needs all over the field, but look around the NFL, it’s a golden time for offense. Why not try to outscore everyone first, then ask questions later?
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Liz Loza: The Dolphins have four picks in the top-50 and could use a foundational RB leading the backfield. Last year Miami demonstrated a willingness to utilize a workhorse approach to the ground game, raising the profiles (and stat lines) of Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. Najee Harris is in possession of the size and skill-set necessary to do all the things. He’s also being coached by Brian Flores at the Senior Bowl this week. Were the team to select the Alabama standout with the 18th overall pick, Harris could be in line for upwards of 15+ touches per contest and would, therefore, immediately command top-20 fantasy consideration.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Matt Harmon: In reality, it’s hard to imagine Kyle Pitts falling all the way to Pick 16. But, we’re dreaming here, right? And I think he’d been a fantastic fit in Arizona. Whatever your usual standards for tight end prospects are, throw them out the window with Pitts. This guy is different. He could probably hack it in the league as an outside wide receiver but is a truly dominant force as a do-it-all tight end that lines up everywhere. Pitts is an explosive, yet precise route-runner who also plays the ball well in the air. He has it all. Arizona needs to push even more chips into the center of the table in their efforts to stockpile talent around Kyler Murray. Having DeAndre Hopkins at X-receiver and Pitts slashing through the middle of the field would give this team two matchup-dictating receivers. Arizona can then take some stabs at this deep wideout class on Days 2 and 3. We’d be gushing over this offense even harder than we were heading into 2020.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Dalton Del Don: I’m not a huge college guy, but Travis Etienne jumps out on film and is PFF’s top-ranked back, so he could provide immediate fantasy value if he lands in the right spot. Etienne shouldn’t have to come off the field on passing downs, and without a ton of teams with a glaring need at RB1, the Falcons would be a strong destination. No team has less competition at the RB position, so a rookie could immediately step into a big role (with a new coaching staff joining the franchise at the same time). Moreover, assuming all return, Atlanta has real nice skill position players in Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley (and a pedigreed offensive line with upside). The offense will also get a boost with a coaching upgrade. As a possible three-down back (his 588 receiving yards led all FBS backs), Etienne would be a fantasy force on the Falcons as a rookie.