Dream Destinations for Top Draftees

QB Blaine Gabbert (US Presswire)

Regardless of the talent at their disposal, some of the top prospects available for the NFL Draft won't have a chance to succeed unless they wind up on the right teams. Here are some ideal fits.

Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert has a good chance to succeed right away in Arizona since he can start immediately and Larry Fitzgerald is there. (Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire)


Of the most likely destinations for Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, the best situation for him would be Arizona at No. 5 overall. Competition for the starting job won't be a problem if he ends up a Cardinal, not with a quartet of Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel combining for a pitiful touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10-to-19 this past season. Plus, having a legitimate No. 1 in the passing game can only help, and the fact that Larry Fitzgerald still managed to catch 90 passes for 1,137 yards in 2010 with that QB situation was nothing short of amazing.

Running Back

Of the most likely destinations for Alabama's Mark Ingram, the best situation for him would be New England at No. 28 overall. BenJarvus Green-Ellis did a pretty good job supporting Tom Brady last season on the ground, and Danny Woodhead averaged 5.6 yards per carry and 11.2 yards per reception as a change-of-pace back. But Ingram is a between-the-tackles pounder and pairs beautifully with Brady's prowess as a passer, and if the Patriots can get themselves another offensive linemen with their first pick in Round 1 (No. 17), Ingram would be in even better position to succeed.

Wide Receiver

Of the most likely destinations for Georgia's A.J. Green, the best situation for him would be Cleveland at No. 6 overall. While there will be a lot of pressure on him to produce right out of the gate, as the Browns had an abysmal receiving corps last season, at least Peyton Hillis is a force to be reckoned with in the running game and makes the enemy slide an eighth defender into the box from time to time. Also, Cleveland appears to be committed under center to 2010 third-round pick Colt McCoy, who needs a shiny new toy out wide in the worst way.

Tight End

Of the most likely destinations for Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph, the best situation for him would be Atlanta at No. 27 overall. The Falcons already have the best tight end of all time on their roster, Tony Gonzalez, and even though he caught 70 passes for 656 yards last season, he's 35 years old and only signed through 2011. Not only would Rudolph have an opportunity to be Gonzalez's apprentice, but Matt Ryan can make all the throws, Michael Turner keeps him in manageable down-and-distance situations and Roddy White commands so much attention in the secondary.

Offensive Line

Of the most likely destinations for Boston College's Anthony Castonzo, the best situation for him would be Indianapolis at No. 22 overall. While USC's Tyron Smith may have more upside because of his raw ability, Castonzo is the most ready-to-go left tackle available and would be an immediate starter for the Colts protecting Peyton Manning's blind side. Even if a pass rusher gets the best of Castonzo every now and then as a rookie, Manning makes decisions with the ball in an instant, meaning a mistake up front doesn't automatically lead to a sack.

Defensive Line

Of the most likely destinations for Alabama's Marcell Dareus, the best situation for him would be Buffalo at No. 3 overall. Technically listed as a defensive tackle, Dareus actually played five-technique defensive end in Nick Saban scheme for the Crimson Tide and could do the same for the Bills, lining up right next to Pro Bowl nose tackle Kyle Williams. No question, Buffalo would have to take care of the outside linebacker position later in the draft to add some pass-rush presence, but a second- or third-round rookie will have a much better chance with Dareus wreaking havoc in front of him.


Of the most likely destinations for Georgia's Justin Houston, the best situation for him would be Baltimore at No. 26 overall. Unlike most of the prospects projected to be an outside linebacker in the 3-4 at the professional level, Houston has already played that position, having transitioned from three-point-stance defensive end to two-point-stance pass rusher as a senior for the Bulldogs. The Ravens didn't get after the quarterback well enough in 2010, so lining up Houston opposite Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs potentially solves that problem.

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Of the most likely destinations for Colorado's Jimmy Smith, the best situation for him would be Philadelphia at No. 23 overall. Yes, Smith has some character concerns and came across at the Scouting Combine as the cockiest prospect on the board, but he has a ton of talent and would start Day 1 on the other side of the field from Pro Bowler Asante Samuel. The Eagles have one of the more aggressive defensive schemes in football year after year, so they leave their corners out on an island quite often, and Smith is probably the best press-man defender in the draft.


Of the most likely destinations for UCLA's Rahim Moore, the best situation for him would be Pittsburgh at No. 31 overall. Even though the Steelers are one of the elite defenses in the NFL seemingly every season, their 31-25 defeat in Super Bowl XLV highlighted a desperate need for playmakers in the secondary aside from Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu, who was hobbled that day. Even with Ryan Clark currently signed through 2013, he'll be 32 years old this coming October and Moore can always bide his time playing nickel back in passing situations.

John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout.com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.

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