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  • Writer's pictureNeil O'Donnell

Best Landing Spots for High Profile Rookies: Will Justin Fields Thrive?

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

 In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields rolls out to throw against Michigan during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich. Ohio State opens preseason training camp on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, with strict coronavirus protocols in place and under a cloud of uncertainty about whether a revised 10-game season will even be played at all. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Nov. 30, 2019, AP Photo/Paul Sancya.
2021 Draft slot #1 is a cut and dry lock with Trevor Lawrence going to Duval County. Pick #2 could go in any direction but with Sam Darnold being more ruined than that sock by your 15- year-old son’s bed, we can play it hypothetically and lock in Zach Wilson at #2.

Below are other big names that could potentially explode if drafted by specific teams. With that being said, NFL teams are selfish and don’t always look at potential fantasy value, so the typical Left Tackle or Cornerback could possibly get selected in these slots. Shame on them for making intelligent real-life football decisions—below are picks for the (fantasy football) people:

Picks for the People

49ers, Falcons, Bengals, Dolphins, Panthers, Cardinals, Dolphins, Washington, Bills

Trey Lance- 49ers (Pick 3) Huge Upside:

The 49ers were absolutely ravaged by injuries and somehow still looked competitive at times. Jimmy G is ehh, but still can hold some value if traded. This is the perfect storm for a team like San-Fran landing Lance. He has all the intangibles, and could be surrounded by Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle along with their Stormtrooper running back committee. There is a huge upside for them if they can compete for half a season with Jimmy G and then hand the reins over to Lance for a postseason push.

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance scrambles against Central Arkansas in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota State won 39-28. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

Justin Fields- Falcons (Pick 4)- Matt Ryan “sackable”:

Atlanta is dying. They are the equivalent to an arthritic dog, with a heart murmur and a clock that is ticking near expiration. Although Matt Ryan probably still has some years left in him-- the Falcons need some swag, and his glory days are likely over. Fields brings an elusiveness that can open up the run game, while also not taking as many sacks as Ryan. Can you imagine trying to guard Julio, or Ridley for a couple more seconds while Fields extends a play out of the pocket? Yea, me neither. Without a doubt, Fields needs to become more polished but the upside this offense could have is even more than their taboo Super Bowl year.

Jamar Chase- Bengals (Pick 5) /Eagles (Pick 6)- Joe Burrow, heavy targets or both:

With many holes to fill, Cincinnati needs to make a splash. If Joe Burrow has any pull early in his tenure with the Bengals—you have to assume he is pushing for this reunion to happen. Chase is as NFL ready as any prospect on the board. Him and Burrow connected 84 times in 2019 with 20 of them resulting in touchdowns. This may not be Cincy’s main concern but the chemistry and experience with winning could pay massive dividends.

Another fantasy gold-mine would be with Philly. Hurts needs weapons, and the Eagles have lacked a consistent outside receiving threat for a hot minute. The possible departure of Zach Ertz could also make Chase a straight-up target hog for the Eagles.

Devonta Smith- Miami (Pick 6)- TUA:

Rapport is a huge factor here. Tua’s career has started with some uneasiness in the organization, and his old friend can help him unlock the potential we all hope he has. Smith is a game-breaking talent, he makes fast people look not-so fast, and Miami has the chance here to be a little flashy. He did go on record and say he prefers Mac Jones over Tua, but beggars can’t be choosers and I’m sure the extra signing bonus he’ll get will give an added incentive to go crazy in year one.

Kyle Pitts- Panthers (Pick 8)- Arguably Best RB/Speedy WR’s:

Pitts is becoming the most underrated skill player on this list as we get closer to draft day. Analysts don’t doubt his skill but for some reason he is dropping down the draft boards. Carolina could become one of the scariest offenses to guard with Pitts. Teddy B is a viable option and having a healthy Christian McCaffrey is monumental to that offense. If your best player (arguably best player in the NFL and the #1 pick in Fantasy Football) is a running back, your window to win is small. Defenses already struggle to matchup with McCaffery, now add Pitts who will be a NIGHTMARE to matchup with. Not to mention Robby Anderson and DJ Moore are no slouches and will garner ample attention.

UPDATE: With Sam Darnold being traded to Carolina the Kyle Pitts selection looks even better. Now, let's see if Joe Brady can fix that ruined sock.

Kyle Pitts of the Florida Gators celebrates. Photo by EVAN LAPEK / GETTY IMAGES
Food for thought: McCaffery returned. Panthers barely lost a shootout to the Chiefs in Week 9 (33-31). Adding the future phenom could make their offense on par with any team in the league.

Jaylen Waddle- Cardinals (Pick 16) Slot/Big-play guy to take pressure off of D-Hop:

On record for running around a 4.3 40-yard dash, Waddle shows explosiveness that mirrors his Bama teammate Devonta Smith. Due to his injury this past year, it is tough to gauge his draft stock. My guess is that he will drop a little bit to mid-round one. Best case scenario for Waddle is to lineup as a role player in an explosive offense. Lining up across D-Hop could spark his confidence early and turn him into a Will Fuller-esque target for Kyler. This could also ensure the Cardinals don’t choke away a playoff spot for the second year in a row….

Adding J.J. Watt is huge for AZ moving into the draft. If it is not Waddle, you can bet they will be looking to take a risk and bulk up the offense.

Najee Harris- Dolphins (pick 18) Yo Bama, Bama… Bama.

Draft Devonta Smith. Wait it out--land Harris. Tua (Bama), Smith (Bama), and Harris (Bama)… Now you lineup with Devante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and a defense led by Xavien Howard. Interesting, right? Trading for and banking on Isaiah Wilson (OT) gives them more flexibility to spend on skill-position players in a draft chock-full of HIGH VALUE skill-position players. I’d like to add that Harris straight baptized a full-grown, 6’3” human male by hurdling him whilst the defender was standing nearly straight up… on National Television…in front of the dude’s family… and then ran for 50 more yards. Take that as you will.

Mac Jones- Washington (Pick 19)- Team up with Scary Terry, Steven Sims, Logan Thomas, and Antonio Gibson:

Any playoff berth can lure an organization into more win-now moves, even if said playoff berth was on the heels of a 7-9 season. Great acquisitions by the front office accompanied by young talent developing quickly--- puts The Football Team in a position to win-now. This allows them to be patient in the draft, retain their polarizing young core, and also accumulate more assets in free agency.

A given going into 2021: Chase Young will continue to terrorize every QB that makes direct eye contact, and Taylor Heinicke showed he can straight up hoop. While Heinicke gives you a good chance to compete weekly, Jones has the looks of a Franchise QB for the long-term.

Being a Bears fan, *womp, womp, womp*, I would LOVE him, but they say, “iF yOu LoVe SoMeOnE yOu WaNt ThEm tO bE hApPy” or something like that. If that statement holds true, please take it from me—it is very hard to be enthusiastic with any affiliation to the Chicago Bears.

Travis Etienne- Bills (Pick 30) - Dynamic every-down back, potential to be Kamara-esque.

Buffalo has options here. Zack Moss can probably take the next step this upcoming year and be a consistent rusher, while Devin Singletary mans the receiving game. Totally plausible plan. They could also combine both RB’s into one and snatch Travis Etienne. Etienne recorded 70 touchdowns, nearly 5,000 yards rushing, and 7.2 yards per carry over his 4-year stretch at Clemson. Wow. To add more to the attraction—he had his most receptions during that time (48) in 2020. This fit could be a dream and Etienne would be able to thrive off of defenses keying on Stefon Diggs, and even Josh Allen’s running ability.

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