Kentucky Football is set to have a mass exodus this year with several seniors and a junior trying to find their way into the NFL.
A big part of success in the league is landing on a team that is the right fit, in terms of scheme, coaching philosophy, and organizational culture.
So where would several of Kentucky’s NFL Draft entrants fit in?
Josh Allen, EDGE
It’s looking highly likely that Josh Allen finds himself playing out west on Sundays next year. Allen has a valid case to be the #1 pick to the Arizona Cardinals, and I certainly think he could fit in there, but he would fill more of a need in San Francisco (2nd pick) and Oakland (4th pick).
Allen has drawn plenty of comparisons to Khalil Mack, who was traded from the Raiders, so Allen being picked there seems like an easy choice. The Raiders struggled mightily rushing the passer this year, garnering only 13 sacks for the entire year, dead last in the NFL, and 17 behind the Giants and Patriots, who tied for second-fewest. The Raiders are kind of a mess under Jon Gruden, but adding an elite pass rusher like Allen certainly would help.
As for San Francisco, they also struggled to get pressure on the quarterback this year, totaling 37 sacks on the year, tied for eighth-fewest in the league. But Allen has also shown to be more than capable in pass coverage, which could make him appealing to the 49ers front office.
Benny Snell, RB
Benny and the Jets, anyone? It actually could be a solid fit for Benny Snell. The Jets struggled running the ball this season, compiling 1,622 yards on the ground (seventh fewest in the league) while averaging only four yards per carry (fourth worst in the NFL). Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire, and Bilal Powell are currently in the Jets’ running back room, but Powell can hit free agency this offseason.
The Eagles have more pressing areas of concern (namely cornerback) but the Eagles could use one of their mid-round picks on Snell. Jay Ajayi could hit free agency and leave room for Snell to come in and fight for a spot in the rotation.
There aren’t many teams with pressing needs at running back, so Snell remains a wildcard in terms of the draft.
CJ Conrad, TE
Conrad has a lot of fits because he’s the embodiment of the type of player a coach wants in the locker room. Conrad is a leader and on the field, displays the kind of versatility needed to do whatever is asked of him. Stoops, Gran, and Marrow love Conrad, and I think he will gain the admiration of whoever he plays for next year.
The Titans and Jaguars could frequently use Conrad as a blocking tight end to aid their primarily running-based offenses. Conrad could be a strong security blanket for Marcus Mariota in Nashville, as Mariota has shown he loves to throw to tight ends on short routes. The Jaguars produced very little from their tight end slot, so Conrad could come in and compete for playing time there.
But there may not be a bigger opening at tight end in the NFL than in Dallas. Conrad could come in and compete for playing time. He’d serve as a valuable blocker in opening holes for Ezekiel Elliott but also be a target in the middle of the field for Dak Prescott.
And as for the Patriots? For some reason, that just seems like a place where Conrad could go and thrive and catch passes from Tom Brady for the foreseeable future.