The 2019 NFL Draft, like all of its predecessors, was unpredictable. Particularly looking at the wide receivers, the NFL valued the position differently than anticipated. Last year, 33 wide receivers were selected. Despite a deeper and more talented wide receiver class in 2019, only 28 were drafted.
The strength and depth of the class almost worked against many of the anticipated mid-round receivers. As the draft wore on, there was still depth at the position available. Teams were selecting other positions, knowing that they could scoop up talented wide receivers who fell to the ranks of undrafted. Players such as Damarkus Lodge, Stanley Morgan Jr., Emanuel Hall, Jakobi Meyers, Anthony Johnson, David Sills, Cody Thompson, Felton Davis and a host of others being available in free agency was a bit of a shock, but likely the cause of the light number of drafted receivers.
Among those drafted, some landing spots stand out above the rest. While landing spots are paramount to future success, it’s impossible to know which teams that prospects will end up with. Being drafted by a team with excellent offensive coaching or quarterback play, or with openings on the depth chart will help young receivers develop because of increased opportunities.
Here are the five best team fits among the drafted wide receivers.
Mecole Hardman - Kansas City Chiefs
With the Tyreek Hill situation currently up in the air, Mecole Hardman provides insurance and untapped upside. Hardman’s skill set is similar to that of Tyreek Hill, albeit likely at a slightly lower level. He has dynamic play speed as both a vertical route runner and ball carrier, stretching the defense in a variety of ways.
Despite his talent not being maximized to its fullest extent at Georgia, Hardman will fit beautifully in Andy Reid’s offense. His deep speed, understanding of coverages and ball tracking makes him a vertical threat who will become a primary target for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Write Hardman down for 5 to 6 splash touchdowns as a rookie.
D.K. Metcalf - Seattle Seahawks
Speaking of vertical receivers, this pairing could be one for the ages. With the news that Doug Baldwin may be forced into retirement, Seattle desperately needed help alongside Russell Wilson. Tyler Lockett’s speed already stretches defense both vertically and horizontally on motions and crossers, which makes Metcalf’s alpha size and speed along the boundary will be a chore for defenses to cover both.
Playing with Russell Wilson, a perpetual MVP candidate, will help Metcalf thrive. On top of that, there is a position and role in Seattle waiting for Metcalf to take over from day 1. Despite a fall to the end of the second-round, he’s going to be relied upon as if he were a first-round pick.
Deebo Samuel - San Francisco 49ers
As far as fit into an offense goes, Deebo to San Francisco was as predictable as could be. It’s well documented that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan values receivers who can separate with their route running, and Deebo was one of the best separators in the class. On top of that, Samuel’s prowess with the ball in his hands is similar to the level of Dante Pettis, who San Francisco traded up to acquire in 2018.
There will be plenty of opportunities for Deebo to get on the field early in his career due to his versatility and complete game. Jimmy Garoppolo’s potential at quarterback is exceedingly high, which gives Deebo’s production a near limitless ceiling.
Dillon Mitchell - Minnesota Vikings
Among the late round wide receivers, Mitchell to Minnesota is one of my favorite fits. Mitchell will immediately be in competition for WR3 duties behind Thielen and Diggs, as Laquon Treadwell and others have yet to permanently hold that spot down.
Mitchell’s game grew on me throughout the season, giving the impression that he’s an ascending prospect. Stylistically, he’s a lot closer to Thielen and Diggs than anyone else on their roster. With suddenness and potential as a route runner, Mitchell has a clearer path to playing time than the typical 7th rounder.
Parris Campbell - Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had one of the lowest average depth of targets in the NFL last season, as he worked back from a shoulder injury. Coincidentally, Parris Campbell’s depth of target at Ohio State was similarly short. His ability after the catch will fit beautifully into the Colts short passing game, and there are starting receiver reps to be had next to T.Y. Hilton.