There are no NFL superstars representing the University of Colorado. David Bakhtiari is an All-Pro and Phillip Lindsay is a Pro Bowler, but there’s no one in the NFL known by the country’s casual fans. Laviska Shenault Jr. could be that, possibly. He’s an elite athlete with sure hands and after-the-catch ability. He plays the NFL’s second most visible position. If things go right, he’s going to be drafted in the first round and placed in a position to succeed.
Whoever drafts Shenault is going to invest in him, but there’s a massive difference between him going to the New York Jets or the Baltimore Ravens. Shenault deserves better than ending up in a moribund offense with erratic QB play, which is exactly why Colorado fans should be happy if and when the Denver Broncos don’t draft him. It might also be better for Shenault to fall towards the bottom of the first round, which could very well happen considering this receiver class may the best ever. We want him on a contending team, as soon as possible, so it may be a good thing for him to fall slightly.
As we prepare for draft season, I made a rating system to measure how Shenault fits with all 32 NFL teams. When compiling the list of teams that could target him, I accounted for team success, QB play, WR need, offensive system, and miscellaneous (team culture, uniforms, location, etc.). Each category will be scored from 1-to-10.
Get away out of my face (thanks.)
This is a whole lot of gross. There are teams on here that would be fine with QB play and offensive system, but they’re loaded at receiver, like the Browns and Falcons. Others are too boring of franchises to have a cool player, which is why I’m so sorry to Jamal Adams that he’s stuck on the Jets. Then there’s the Bengals, a team that could be dissolved and no one would bat an eye.
Draft someone else, please
Indianapolis Colts (23), Jacksonville Jaguars (24), Pittsburgh Steelers (24), Denver Broncos (25), Detroit Lions (25), Chicago Bears (26), Buffalo Bills (26), Los Angeles Rams (27), Carolina Panthers (28), Miami Dolphins (29)
With the exception of the Dolphins, these are all teams that should be better than they are, but have been held back by inconsistent offenses. The Steelers, Bears and Rams don’t have their first round picks this season, so they’re out. The Broncos, Jaguars, Bills and Panthers are all stuck in quarterback misery, and we don’t want that for Viska. The Lions would be an interesting fit — and Viska would look amazing in those blue and silver uniforms — but they already have Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones and would be better off drafting defenders.
The only option that actually looks good here is Miami, even if they’re miserable for the next year or two. The Dolphins are still searching for their QB of the future amidst their tank job, but they have the Texans’ and Steelers’ first round picks and may look to add depth elsewhere on the field. They have great uniforms, the best location in the NFL and have a lot of draft assets to rebuilt with. Most importantly, this would mean Laviska Jr. playing for his late father’s favorite team, which would mean everything to him.
These teams all work in theory, but there’s a fatal flaw for each.
For the Chargers, it’s that Shenault would have to fight for targets with Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry. Arizona is fun and would use Viska in creative ways, but they pick 7th in the draft and would be better off investing in the offensive line or defense. The Eagles have the worst fans in the sport. The Patriots have the second worst, and are the Patriots. The Vikings have a /strong personality/ at QB and he already throws to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The Cowboys would make sense because they badly need another receiver, but no one likes the Cowboys, not even our DeSoto native. The Texans are my favorite in this bunch, but they traded away their first round pick for Laremy Tunsil.
Now we’re talking
None of these are bad options — all these teams have strong offenses, great uniforms and figure to have successful futures. My two favorites here are the 49ers, who would use Shenault in all sorts of formations and looks, and the Saints, because he would be unstoppable opposite Michael Thomas while wearing wearing the black and gold.
Prayers have been answered
Seattle Seahawks (45), Baltimore Ravens (46)
The Seahawks and Ravens stand alone as the best places for Shenault to land. Both have great quarterbacks running innovative systems that would get the most out of Viska’s unique skill set. Both are set up for the future and have a need for a physical receiver. Both wear great uniforms that look especially good on beefy players with dreads. I would personally prefer the Ravens, if only because I want to see Lamar Jackson running RPOs with Viska and Hollywood Brown.
The only issue is that as good as these teams have been, they will likely pick at the very end of the first round. Buffs fans would be disappointed if Shenault fell that far, but considering Seattle and Baltimore’s respective success, fit and culture, it would work out for the best. The next best option is Miami taking Shenault with one of their three first rounders.