The right team fit is crucial when talking about NFL rookies and how they project at the next level. We saw numerous talented prospects selected over seven rounds during the 2022 NFL draft, but which ones landed in the perfect scheme for their skill sets? Who was put in the best possible position to succeed? Who will get the right coaching and pro system to maximize their talents?
I picked out my 10 favorite fits -- the prospects who landed on teams that fit them perfectly, factoring in scheme, tendencies and coaching. These players could thrive right out of the gates in their NFL careers if they are set up and developed in the right way. And I believe they are in the ideal spots to do just that.
I also chose five of my favorite value picks of the middle rounds. These are guys who weren't top-70 picks but could play early and often because of their high-end physical traits and the situations on the teams that picked them. Keep an eye on them during the 2022 season and beyond.
Let's dive in, starting with a defensive back who has a superb new NFL home.
Ten rookies who landed with the perfect team
Ahmad Gardner, CB, New York Jets
Drafted: Round 1, No. 4
Why he is a perfect fit: In the Jets' defined coverage schemes, Gardner is a seamless fit as a boundary corner who can play a difference-making role as a both a man and zone defender. With his long, 6-foot-3 frame and press-man skills, Gardner will challenge outside for a defense that played Cover 1 (man-free) on 39% of coverage snaps last season, the fifth most in the league.
The zone eyes are there, too, when Gardner pedals off the ball in three-deep coverage. And when coach Robert Saleh's defense faces 3x1 sets, Gardner can be assigned to lock down the single receiver to the backside of the formation, eliminating the pass-catcher from the picture, which will allow the Jets to get zone numbers to the field.
Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans
Drafted: Round 1, No. 18
Why he is a perfect fit: With a similar physical profile to former Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown, Burks should step into a volume role as a catch-and-run target on middle-of-the-field throws in Tennessee. Last season, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill attempted 321 passes inside the numbers, the fifth most in the league. So think dig routes, shallows and slants here, with play-action elements mixed in. That's where Burks can get loose after the catch, using his ball carrier vision, play speed and powerful frame at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds to beat defenders in space.
Burks will also see vertical targets from boundary and slot alignments, and we know he has the versatility to be schemed on screens, jet sweeps and more.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, OLB/DE, New York Giants
Drafted: Round 1, No. 5
Why he is a perfect fit: Thibodeaux has the traits to generate disruption as an edge player against the run, and the straight-line juice he showed on his college tape will allow the rookie to hunt down ball carriers as the backside pursuit defender. But I want to focus more on the pass-rush matchups that new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale can scheme out of his multiple-front, pressure-heavy system.
The Giants will use overload looks to give Thibodeaux defined one-on-ones or stunt him as a looper to work the interior gaps. And don't be surprised if Martindale bumps Thibodeaux down in some passing situations as a defensive tackle or standup 3-technique to create a matchup with an offensive guard in protection. Thibodeaux's quicks off the ball and power moves to get blockers back on their heels will allow Martindale to scheme up pass-rush production this season.