The 2016 Draft In Review: 5 Great Fits

The 2016 Draft In Review: 5 Great Fits

If the 2016 NFL Draft could be described in only one word, it would be “defense.” Because of the sheer amount of elite playmakers available on that side of the ball, NFL teams were able to select players in the third and fourth rounds that could have been first-rounders in previous years. It also meant teams were able to find players who fit their needs and systems perfectly without reaching for them too early. Here are some of our favorite picks:

Corey Coleman

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns, Round 1 (15)

It might have been a surprise to some that Baylor’s Corey Coleman was the first receiver taken. Most thought that title would belong to Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell or TCU’s Josh Doctson. But for a team like Cleveland that’s in dire need of a downfield threat in the passing game, it was an easy decision. Coleman may be this year’s fastest wideout, a skill he partly attributes to his background in track. “During the offseason, track helped me stay in shape,” he said. “The speed I gained there translated well onto the football field.”

Shaq Lawson

Shaq Lawson, DE, Buffalo Bills, Round 1 (19)

With Mario Williams on his way to the Dolphins, Buffalo was in need of a pass rusher and many expected them to take one in round one. Lucky for them, Shaq Lawson, who some analysts had going in the top 10, was still there at 19. So what can the Bills Mafia expect from the Clemson alum? “I feel like my game speaks for itself,” Lawson said. “I’m an every down player, but really, I’m most looking forward to meet my new family and try to help lead this team to a championship.”

Kenny Clark

Kenny Clark, DT, Green Bay Packers, Round 1 (27)

One of Green Bay’s biggest needs heading into the draft was along its defensive line. With the sudden hiatus of nose tackle B.J. Raji, they needed a big man who could stand his ground against double teams and collapse rushing lanes. And that’s exactly the type of player that they got in UCLA’s Kenny Clark. At only 20 years old, he may be somewhat raw, but Clark excels at using his hands and maintaining a low center of gravity. Interestingly enough, both he and Packers stud DE Mike Daniels were star high-school wrestlers. “It really helps me out in the trenches,” Clark said. “I learned a lot about using my hands and leverage.”

Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith, ILB, Dallas Cowboys, Round 2 (3)

If it wasn’t for an ACL and LCL tear suffered during this year’s Fiesta Bowl, Smith would have been a top-five pick. He plays with the elite speed, strength, and smarts teams crave in the middle of their defense. He may miss all of the 2016 season recovering, but he is approaching it from the right perspective. “It’s all about my mentality and patience,” he said. “I don’t know exactly when I’ll be back, but I know I’ll work my butt off to get to full strength.” In Dallas, he will be able to use that time to learn from one of the best linebackers in the league: Sean Lee.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones, DE, KC Chiefs, Round 2 (6)

At first glance, the Chiefs seem pretty set along the defensive line with Dontari Poe, Jaye Howard, and Allen Howard. But Poe is in the final year of his contract and you can never have too many big bodies up front. Plus, an athlete and student of the game like Mississippi State’s Chris Jones would be an asset to almost any team. “For a guy my size (305 pounds) I’m powerful and fast,” he said. “But I also am very intelligent on the field and know the game well. I love football and love to learn about football.”

Besides these five rookies, there were plenty of players who landed on what seems to be the perfect team. So we want to hear from you. What player do you feel wound up in the perfect spot?

Inside The Combine: Jaylon Smith

Inside The Combine: Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith

Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith has been an elite playmaker for a while now. In both high school and college, he was given Butkus Awards as the nation’s top linebacker. In fact, he was such an outstanding player in college, that there was little doubt he would be a top-five pick in this year’s draft.
But then, during this year’s Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State and the last game of his illustrious college career, everything got turned upside down. After proving his durability by appearing in 39 consecutive games, he suffered a torn ACL and LCL injury at the worst time possible.

The good news: Smith’s expected to make a full recovery. The bad news: he will still miss at least a part of his rookie season, and some teams won’t draft a player who doesn’t immediately produce results.
Luckily, he is taking it all in stride and has the right support system to help him get through it. His brother, Rod Smith, plays for the Cowboys and helped him prepare for the whole combine experience.

“He told me to just enjoy the process,” he said. “You need to just take whatever comes your way, full throttle, and learn from it.”

For a linebacker, Smith is extremely fluid in coverage, and that’s no accident. He points to two keys that have helped him lock down whoever he’s matched up against: technique and fundamentals.

“Growing up, I worked and trained a lot as a defensive back,” he said. “Being able to have defensive-back hips and being able to move like one is something that I value even at the linebacker position.”
But make no mistake about it, in a passing league, he knows what matters most.

“One thing to note is I look at myself as a pass rusher,” Smith said. “That’s what I want to be known for.”

So, if your favorite NFL team calls his name, what type of player are you getting?

“I’d say I’m a mixture of Von Miller and Lavonte David,” he said. “I always want to be the best. I’m never complacent. There’s no room for that if you want to win. I also am a team player.”

That’s worth the wait.