In the NFL Draft, many fans don’t realize that teams aren’t just about drafting the best player available, but just as importantly, the best player available that fits that particular team’s scheme and need.

There’s no point in jamming the proverbial “square peg in a round hole.” When a team is able to match a top prospect to a key need, then that’s truly football’s version of serendipity.

With that in mind, here are four of the best picks made in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, given the combination of the player available, and the composition of the team that took them:

4. Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos

Heading into Thursday night, defensive end Bradley Chubb appeared to be a lock to be selected among the top five picks in the draft.

The Denver Broncos even thought so, as they reportedly had a deal in place with the Buffalo Bills to trade out of the fifth overall pick. They cancelled the deal when Chubb was suddenly available. However, the Broncos rightfully couldn’t pass up the chance to draft Chubb.

In their 3-4 defense, Chubb can line up as a defensive lineman or as an edge rusher, allowing the Broncos to give opposing offenses a myriad of looks along with Von Miller and Shane Ray attacking offenses off the edge.

3. Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

The fact that Derwin James fell to the second-half of the NFL Draft might have been one of the biggest shocks of the entire first round. But, the Los Angeles Chargers absolutely benefitted from the likely mistakes made by the teams picking in the top 16.

Specifically, James will be a magnificent fit in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley's Cover-3 defensive scheme, inspired by his time with the Seattle Seahawks.

James will effectively play the "Kam Chancellor role" within the scheme, with Bradley moving James all over the field and creating a variety of matchup problems for offenses trying to figure out where he'll be and what he'll do on a given down.

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2. Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts

Under former general manager Ryan Grigson, the team’s neglect for upgrading the offensive line bordered on criminal, as evidenced by the franchise-altering injuries suffered by quarterback Andrew Luck.

But current GM Chris Ballard took a major step in keeping Luck upright with his selection of Quenton Nelson.

Nelson is considered to be one of the best interior linemen prospects to ever come out of college, with the ability to not only come in and play for the team, but to do so at the highest of levels.

Even with the “prejudice” of taking an interior linemen among the top 10 picks, Ballard smartly ignored said stigma, and did the right thing.

1. Sam Darnold, New York Jets 

The Big Apple is known as the city that never sleeps, but there was very likely a huge party that lasted all night long in Florham Park, New Jersey, at the headquarters of the New York Jets.

Quarterback Sam Darnold from the University of Southern California was supposed to be taken with the first overall pick in the eyes of those around the league, and if the Cleveland Browns somehow passed on him, then the New York Giants were certainly sure to take him.

But neither of those happened, leaving the Jets the opportunity to draft their first true “franchise cornerstone” quarterback in decades.

Darnold’s mobile, gunslinging mentality will fit beautifully with the coaching of offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, and the Jets will have the joy of coaching and developing a quarterback who’ll turn only 21 years old this summer.


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