We all know fit is vital for players once they enter the NFL. Not just quarterbacks. From scheme to type of teammates, environment is often the imperceptible element that makes or breaks a young player as he's acclimating to the league.
Let's pinpoint the absolute best fits from the 2023 NFL Draft.
10. Deonte Banks, CB, Giants
If you're going to play corner in Wink Martindale's system, you're going to need to be comfortable covering on an island in press man. Over the past few seasons, as the Ravens and Giants defensive coordinator, Martindale has been the league's most blitz-happy play-caller, and with that comes a need for suffocating man-to-man ability in the secondary.
That's precisely where Banks thrives. At 6-foot and right around 200 pounds with quality albeit unspectacular length, ridiculous explosion and clear-to-see natural mirroring skills, Banks was born to play on the perimeter in Martindale's system.
9. Keeanu Benton, DT, Steelers
Benton is an ultra-physical, stunningly explosive nose tackle with an assertive play style and powerful hands. A three-down defender who's just as apt to crumble the pocket on third down as he is to blow up a run play behind the line, Benton feels like a classic Steelers interior defensive lineman who's going to bring it every snap he's on the field.
From size and athleticism angles, Benton's almost identical to former Dolphins first-round pick Christian Wilkins, and that's the type of hyper-active, pesky defensive tackle who will thrive next to Cam Heyward and across from T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith in Pittsburgh.
8. Dorian Williams, LB, Bills
The Bills -- and head coach Sean McDermott -- adore themselves some fast, explosive linebackers. Size be damned. Sure, in 2018, GM Brandon Beane ascended the board to pick the gargantuan Tremaine Edmunds after Josh Allen was selected. Since then, the team has had no issue picking smaller second-level defenders if they explode to the football and are plus coverage players.
That precisely describes Williams, the former Tulane star. A hair under 6-1 and 228 pounds, he's almost exactly the same size as Buffalo's All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano, and he clocked a 4.49 in his 40-yard dash at the combine, which placed in the 94th percentile among linebackers since 1999. He also had 13 pass breakups and two interceptions in his final three seasons for the Green Wave. He's very adept at understanding where he needs to be to follow route combinations and demonstrated awesome awareness when the football was arriving, an advanced skill many linebacker prospects simply do not possess when they enter the NFL.
7. Viliami Fehoko, EDGE, Cowboys
There's so much DeMarcus Lawrence to Fehoko's on-field profile. Fehoko is actually a bit bigger and plays with better hand work than Lawrence did when he entered the league. In terms of non-stop hustle and outstanding conditioning, the two edge rushers are extremely comparable.
Micah Parsons has become the alpha rusher in Dallas, obviously. Lawrence still lingers as a wily veteran. And the club picked the uber-talented Sam Williams in the second round last year. Fehoko, just like Lawrence did, has the advanced pass-rushing repertoire to outplay his draft position. He registered 153 pressures across 958 pass-rushing snaps in his final three seasons at San Jose State. It's incredibly challenging to maintain such efficiency with that much volume. Fehoko did it. Glorious fit in Dan Quinn's system that prioritizes the front four getting pressure without having to blitz too often.
6. Karl Brooks, EDGE/DT, Packers
In the Brian Gutekunst era for the Packers, the organization has emphasized legitimate versatility with their edge rushers, from the signing of Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith to the utilization of Dean Lowry up and down the line of scrimmage. Brooks is the next in line. I'm not even sure if he should primarily rush from the inside or get after the quarterback from a two-point stance on the edge of the opposing offensive line. He's equally good at both. That's for Green Bay to decide.
While Brooks did not test particularly well for either spot, he looked extraordinarily light-footed on film and generated the most pressures in 2022 among all players who declared for the 2023 draft. How'd he do that? With nasty swim and swipe moves, deceptive bend and high-level hustle to the quarterback.
A four-year, full-time starter at Eastern Michigan, Sow is ready for any blitz variation or any sized defensive tackle. He's seen it all. At nearly 6-foot-5 and 320-plus pounds with elite athleticism and serious power for the guard spot, he will hit the ground running in the NFL. Frankly, I have no clue why Sow was still available in the fourth round, given the deficit of reliable guard play in the league today.
4. Rashee Rice, WR, Chiefs
In their Super Bowl-winning 2022 season, the Chiefs proved the offense was Tyreek Hill proof. Patrick Mahomes had his most efficient campaign as a passer since 2018, when he won MVP. How did Kansas City do it? Scheming and tremendous yards after the catch.
During the regular season, the Chiefs accumulated the most yards after the catch in the NFL (2,850 yards) with the third-most yards after the catch per reception (6.55). Where does Rice truly thrive? Yes, you guessed it. With the ball in his hands, after the catch. In his final two seasons at SMU, Rice forced 35 missed tackles on 160 receptions. Enormous elusiveness rate there. His size and athleticism profiles were spitting images of Brandon Aiyuk. That's who Rice can be in this Patrick Mahomes-powered offense.
3. Christian Gonzalez, CB, Patriots
Like Banks with the Giants, Gonzalez's game is tailor-made to slot into the No. 1 cornerback spot in Belichick's defense. Nearly 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds with 4.38 speed, a 41.5-inch vertical and smooth lateral mobility, there won't be many receivers who can simply "out-athletic" Gonzalez in genuine one-on-one situations.
After losing J.C. Jackson in free agency last offseason, New England has needed to reinstall that true alpha corner to the defense. Belichick got one in Gonzalez, who mirrors like a five-year NFL veteran.
2. Devon Achane, RB, Dolphins
In your mind, if you want to flip No. 1 and No. 2 here, I'm cool with it. Both are extraordinary fits from every perceivable angle. Achane is who Mike McDaniel would create in Madden for his offense. Feisty, one-cut type and, of course, most importantly, stupidly fast. Achane's 4.32 tied for the fifth-fastest 40-yard dash time for a running back in the officially recorded combine era (dating back to 1999). He isn't a super-nifty side-to-side back nor is he a bulldozer through traffic. He's experienced finding holes on inside runs before slamming on the accelerators. Despite his small size and speed reputation, Achane was the bellcow at Texas A&M over the past two seasons, with 326 carries, many of which came between the tackles.
1. Anthony Richardson, QB, Colts
I really wrestled with the top two picks here, but I'll go with the quarterback at the top spot simply due to positional value. Richardson's coach, Shane Steichen, was integral to Jalen Hurts' development in Philadelphia. That was well documented during the pre-draft process. Let's not forget Steichen was the Chargers' offensive coordinator during Justin Herbert's epic rookie season in 2022. And really, there's a case to be made that Richardson is a mix of Hurts and Herbert in terms of his overall capabilities at the quarterback position.
Expect plenty of designed runs and play-action deep shots from Richardson in Year 1 with the Colts. Like Steichen did with Hurts in his first full season as the Eagles starter, Richardson will be provided ample easy, high-percentage throws, too. Indianapolis swung for the fences with its first selection in the 2023 draft, and the Richardson-Steichen fit is exquisite.