I question the team fits of some players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, but these three players couldn’t have asked for a better landing spot.
We can’t underestimate how important the landing spot is for some of the NFL Draft prospects. Sometimes when a draft choice doesn’t work out, it’s less about talent and more about fit with the team.
As recent as this past April, we saw teams reach for players because of their team fit (like Bill Belichick and the Patriots taking Cole Strange in the first round). Taking a player far too early because they fit your system isn’t a strategy I would recommend.
Some teams, however, found the balance between adding a player who is a great scheme fit while getting quality value. I’m willing to bet that these three players have strong NFL careers largely thanks to their landing spot in the 2022 NFL Draft:
Daniel Faalele to the Baltimore Ravens
Of all 262 players selected in the NFL Draft, I’m not sure if you can convince me that there’s a single team that would have been better for Daniel Faalele. The mammoth offensive tackle out of Minessota tested as an awful athlete at his Pro Day, but fortunately for him, that’s not a requirement he will have to be successful in Baltimore.
Faalele measured in at the NFL Combine at 6’8” and 384 pounds — a playing weight that would be unacceptable to most teams. However, we recently saw another massive tackle in Orlando Brown have some terrific seasons with the Ravens. Faalele could sit behind veteran Morgan Moses for a year or two before getting a shot to start at right tackle.
Breece Hall to the New York Jets
If Breece Hall would have landed with the Jets a few seasons ago, the outlook of his NFL career would have been very different. For much of the past decade, New York has been a dumpster fire of an organization. Fortunately, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the past few years, the Jets have found a quarterback, loaded up on the offensive line, and selected some receivers in the NFL Draft that should help elevate some of the pressure off the running game. Now that the pieces are in place, I would expect Breece Hall — an explosive, athletic running back — to have a very successful career in New York.
Nik Bonitto to the Denver Broncos
I was a big Nik Bonitto fan during the pre-draft process. Though he was undersized to be a true every-down edge defender, he possessed rare bend and athletic traits to help get after the quarterback. He couldn’t have landed in a better spot either.
At 6’3” and 248 with 32 1/2” arms, Bonitto has a very similar size and athletic profile to former All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller — a player who found terrific success in Denver. In the Broncos’ base 3-4 defense, Bonitto will be able to rush standing up from an overhang position while learning behind some good players like Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory.
There are other NFL Draft picks who landed in great situations, but these three couldn’t have asked for a better landing spot to help their careers get off on the right foot.