Miles-Sanders_AP_19060765656134-e1556074797263 There are many factors which play into early-career success. Draft capital, NFL-caliber athleticism, versatility and raw talent are all factors. But landing spot, aka the scheme and depth chart situation a player is drafted into to, trumps all.

With the draft kicking off Thursday, it’s important to get a feel for the premier rookie landing spots around the league. These are situations ripe for Year 1 impact if we get a talented player drafted reasonably early into the role.

1. Patriots Wide Receiver

Notes: Compensating for the loss of Rob Gronkowski will be even more difficult given the rancid state of the wideout corps. Slot man Julian Edelman is 32 years old, Phillip Dorsett couldn’t beat out castoff Chris Hogan last season and Demaryius Thomas was declining sharply into the abyss before he ripped his Achilles last December. Although the Patriots showed an ability to win with the run during the playoffs, they still ranked eighth in pass attempts per game last regular season and Tom Brady was eighth in Pro Football Reference’s Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. When he had a legit outside wide receiver talent last season in Josh Gordon, he wasn’t afraid to feature that talent. Gordon averaged 7.1 targets in nine full games.

Early-round draft capital: 32, 56, 64
Options: Hakeem Butler, A.J. Brown, N’Keal Harry, Miles Boykin, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Andy Isabella

2. Bucs Running Back

Notes: Tampa had arguably the worst rushing “attack” in the league last season. They ranked 31st in yards per attempt, 23rd in rushing TDs and 29th in rush yards per game. Peyton Barber, a 2016 UDFA, has unsurprisingly proven to be a replacement-level player. Ronald Jones had one of the worst rookie years in the history of top-40 RB. This Bucs offense is going to move the football with Bruce Arians directing Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard. A competent running back will stumble into plenty of scoring opportunities and fantasy points. Obviously Tampa won’t use the No. 5 pick on a running back, but perhaps they’ll consider one at 39.

Early-round draft capital: 5, 39
Options: Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Damien Harris, Darrell Henderson

3. Packers Wide Reciever

Notes: The Packers used three picks on wideouts last year – fourth-rounder J’Mon Moore, fifth-rounder Marquez Valdes-Scantling and sixth-rounder Equanimeous St. Brown. MVS and ESB both flashed talent when given opportunities, but they fall into the same underwhelming category as current No. 2 wideout Geronimo Allison. In other words, if Aaron Rodgers wasn’t their quarterback they’d be irrelevant. Rodgers was near his career-lows last season in completion percentage, touchdown percentage and yards per attempt and the Packers must get him more explosive weapons to complement Davante Adams now. With Randall Cobb gone and the corpse of Jimmy Graham zombie-walking, there’s a ton of opportunity available.

Early-round draft capital: 12, 30, 44, 75
Options: Marquise Brown, DK Metcalf, Hakeem Butler, A.J. Brown, N’Keal Harry, Miles Boykin, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Andy Isabella

4. Raiders Running Back

Notes: Marshawn Lynch’s status is unknown, Doug Martin is falling out of the league and Jalen Richard/DeAndre Washington are role players. That leaves the Raiders with a need at running back even after signing Isaiah Crowell on a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million. This offense also projects to take a major leap forward after the additions of Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams and LT Trent Brown. Say what you want about the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, but the Raiders are absolutely loaded with draft picks. They own four of the top 35 picks this week, leaving room to take a running back relatively early.

Early-round draft capital: 4, 24, 27, 35
Options: Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Damien Harris, Darrell Henderson

5. Ravens Wide Receiver

The league’s ugliest wide receiver room clearly resides in Baltimore, where Willie Snead, Chris Moore and Seth Roberts laughably sit atop the depth chart. Lamar Jackson’s ineptitude as a passer has been well-documented, but no quarterback could succeed with this wideout corps. A rookie has a big chance to step in as the top dog here right away and will immediately see single coverage as defenses stack the box on Jackson.

Early-round draft capital: 22, 85, 102
Options: Marquise Brown, DK Metcalf, Hakeem Butler, A.J. Brown, N’Keal Harry, Miles Boykin, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Andy Isabella

6. Raiders Tight End

Notes: Jared Cook turned into Derek Carr’s favorite target last year, finishing with career-highs in catches (68), yards (896) and touchdowns (6). But Cook fled to New Orleans in free agency, leaving Jon Gruden to pretend he’s high on Darren Waller. In reality, the Raiders need a physical pass-catcher between the hashes to complement Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. This draft has two of the better tight end prospects in recent memory as well as a third with serious upside.

Early-round draft capital: 4, 24, 27, 35
Options: T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, Irv Smith Jr.

7. Dolphins Quarterback

The tanking Dolphins appear poised to head into Week 1 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter. Unless, of course, something unexpected happens Thursday night. While Kyler Murray is the overwhelming favorite to go No. 1, the Cardinals have massive holes all over their roster – and one could argue they don’t have a hole at quarterback. So perhaps the Dolphins find a trade up for Murray or allow a quarterback to fall to them at No. 13. If so, there’s some skill position talent to work with here in Kenyan Drake, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki.

Early-round draft capital: 13, 48, 78
Options: Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, Will Grier

8. Bears Running Back

Notes: The Bears have been active at the running back position this offseason, signing Mike Davis to a modest two-year, $6 million deal in free agency and trading Jordan Howard away for pennies. They will get OW (offensive weapon) Tarik Cohen game-plan dependent touches, of course. Still, I’m not convinced they are sold on Davis as their primary back and could certainly look to add competition. Unfortunately for GM Ryan Pace, the Bears don’t have a first- or second-round pick.

Early-round draft capital: 87
Options: David Montgomery, Damien Harris, Trayveon Williams, Darrell Henderson



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