When it comes to prioritizing their boards, NFL teams focus on primarily two different player valuation thought processes. First, teams look for players that have high-end physical traits that would allow them to be molded and developed. The other piece of the puzzle is finding players that performed in a similar play style that would be an immediate scheme fit.
Teams run various types of offenses and defenses which makes specific players more advantageous in their scheme. These players that were selected last night show great physical traits as well as fit the scheme of their new team.
Player: Evan Neal
The New York Giants selected Evan Neal out of Alabama with the 7th overall pick. Neal is regarded as the best pass blocking offensive tackle in this year’s draft class who has incredible length and size. Their offense consists primarily of a zone blocking run scheme and a drop back passing game. He is a people mover in the run game with the size to bully players on the edge. He uses his length extremely well in pass protection to bubble the pocket. His style of play will give Daniel Jones much more time in the pocket than he has had in the past. This type of pick is to ensure Jones and future Giants’ quarterbacks stay protected on the edge.
Next year he will be starting on their offensive line at either tackle spot. Neal will be opposite of Andrew Thomas whether he is on the left or right side. Neal fits what the Giants are looking for to protect their young quarterback and will step into a starting role where he can lockdown a side in their passing game. The Giants found a great combination of physical traits and scheme fit in this selection.
Player: Garrett Wilson
The New York Jets took Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State at the 10th overall spot last night. Wilson is considered one of the best receiving prospects in this year’s class with high end ball skills and hands. He shows moderate route running ability with the footwork to impose leverage on defensive backs. His physical traits and hand-eye coordination show up the most down field when he can go up and high point over defenders. His skill set is great for a rookie quarterback who needs a big catch radius target who doesn’t always need a perfect ball thrown.
Wilson will most likely step into a starting role for the Jets next season as an X receiver. His release off the line of scrimmage will allow him to fill this role for them next year. Wilson will be heavily utilized in the Jets down field passing attack and as a safety blanket for their young quarterback.
Player: Aidan Hutchinson
The Detroit Lions selected Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick last night. Hutchinson is the picture perfect 4-3 defensive end that will be a plug-and-play player for the Lions’ defense. He is a long, athletic defensive end who can play both the strong and weak side positions in their front.
His presence gives them a much needed upgrade to their defensive line unit. He is a culture building player who will set a tone for their defense. He has the hand strength to set an edge in the run game and get off blocks quickly against the pass. Hutchinson’s size and skill set makes him the ideal pick for this coaching staff’s defense.
Player: Kyle Hamilton
The Baltimore Ravens selected Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dames with the 14th pick. Hamilton played safety in college but saw snaps as a slot defender and even linebacker. The Ravens play an attacking 3-4 defensive scheme that will utilize his versatility. For being over 6-foot-4 Hamilton shows great range with the ability to play as a cover-2 safety from the hash to the sideline. He played in the slot a good amount and displayed the ability to man-up both large and small receivers.
Hamilton is a playmaker on the defensive side who can play at all three levels of the field. The Ravens will utilize him in multiple facets as a slot defender, safety and even weak side linebacker. His size, athletic ability and coverage skills will play a crucial part in his impact next year. He will most likely be a starter in one of those key positions and become a proven commodity on their roster.