Sometimes when viewing a prospect, attributes pop out that make one envision the possibilities if he could be placed in a proper situation. Whether a certain coach can maximize a prospect's strengths or a scheme or grouping of players would make that prospect shine, it's nice to dream on that potential. Here are five players in the upcoming NFL draft, and the teams I'd like to see them join. Not all of these choices are realistic, but it's fun to think about nonetheless.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Dallas Cowboys
Henry, who is widely expected to be verified as a physical marvel at the NFL Scouting Combine, would flourish behind the Cowboys offensive line when all of the pieces are in place. At 6'3" 245 pounds, Henry has the size of a tight end or fullback, but the speed and explosiveness of the average NFL cornerback. What that adds up to is a player who is a nightmare to tackle once he gets going. Put him behind Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith, et al, and defenses won't even want to come out for the fourth quarter.
Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky: New Orleans Saints
Doughty is one of the more cerebral quarterbacks in this draft class, and while he might only have an average arm, playing half his games in the Superdome would make that less of an issue. Doughty does great work reading through progressions to find the open man, and I'd love to see him play after spending a couple years backing up Drew Brees. The Saints already have a developmental backup in Garrett Grayson, but I think Doughty's fit with New Orleans makes a lot of sense regardless.
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: Buffalo Bills
I don't think this is a likely pick in April, simply because the Bills haven't shown much desire in drafting offensive linemen with premium picks under Doug Whaley, and Conklin has been locked into the first round of most mock drafts. That being said, the marriage of Conklin, Michigan State's gritty, powerful left tackle who may be the draft's best run blocking technician, with Buffalo's league-leading rushing offense (slotting in as the new starting right tackle) would make for a very punishing (and finally reliable) offensive line.
Noah Spence, ER, Eastern Kentucky: Pittsburgh Steelers
What happened to that famed Pittsburgh linebacker pass rush? This season it was led by James Harrison's unretirement (five sacks) and Arthur Moats (four sacks). They have the very promising Bud Dupree (four sacks) waiting in the wings, but former first round pick Jarvis Jones has been a total disappointment. I would love to see Dupree playing opposite Spence, who is probably the best edge rusher in this draft. Spence has the dip and rip move down pat, while Dupree's freakish first step and power will cause havoc on the other end.
Jared Goff, QB, California: New York Giants
This was the thought which actually inspired the article. In no way will the Giants and Goff be connected this year, and they shouldn't be. The Giants have Eli Manning (and Ryan Nassib, I guess) and are in no position to be moving up for Goff, who should be one of the first picks in the draft. Yet while watching Goff dropping dimes, all I could think was how wonderful it would be to see him throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. Goff has a skill with anticipation and ball placement that would perfectly match Beckham's route running and ability to earn yards after catch, and I think that united they could be one of the greatest pairs in NFL history. We will never know, however.