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Five perfect team fits for top 2014 NFL Draft prospects

One of the biggest factors in a successful draft selection is finding a player that ideally fits a team's respective scheme. While talent and mental makeup are also critical factors, the perfect mesh between prospect and scheme can produce remarkable results for the player and team. Looking ahead to the 2014 NFL Draft, I believe there are a handful of prospects and teams that are ideal fits from a schematic standpoint. Here are five scenarios that make perfect sense based on the combination of individual talent and scheme:

1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Team: Houston Texans

Why is it a perfect fit?
There has been a lot of speculation about whether Clowney would be a good fit in the Texans' 3-4 defense, but a closer look at defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's history suggests that the South Carolina star will be an ideal "Elephant" linebacker in the scheme. This is the role that my colleague, Willie McGinest, played for the New England Patriots in the early 2000s with Crennel as the defensive coordinator; it is a position that ideally suits Clowney's skills as a freakishly athletic edge defender. As a big, fluid athlete with outstanding first-step quickness and exceptional "bend and burst" ability, Clowney should excel at crashing off the edge from a three-point stance or upright position. While skeptics worry about his ability to drop into coverage, the pass-centric nature of the NFL puts defenses in sub packages more than 70 percent of the game, allowing him to play his customary defensive end position for most of the game. With J.J. Watt commanding a majority of the attention at the line of scrimmage, the thought of adding Clowney to the lineup is a sensible one for Bill O'Brien and Co.

2. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Why is it a perfect fit?
The Buccaneers might have tipped their hand on their draft thoughts with the recent trade of Mike Williams. The big-bodied pass-catcher was an ideal complement to Vincent Jackson. To replace his production in the passing game, the Buccaneers should add a dynamic "big" receiver to alleviate the pressure on Jackson. Evans is certainly up to the task with his exceptional ball skills matching his impressive athletic traits. He dominates smaller defenders in jump-ball situations, while also showing the speed and burst to separate on intermediate routes. With Evans also exhibiting outstanding running skills with the ball in his hands, there is little doubt that he has all of the traits coaches covet in No. 1 receivers. Speaking of coaching, it's important to note Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford's superb track record developing wide receivers at California (see Keenan Allen, DeSean Jackson, Marvin Jones and a host of others). He has a tremendous feel for maximizing his top playmaker's talents, so Evans' arrival could produce fireworks in Tampa this fall.

3. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Team: St. Louis Rams

Why is it a perfect fit?
The Rams need a young, athletic safety with tremendous instincts and a nasty disposition to make defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' scheme work to perfection. The crusty defensive mastermind has always featured an impact player in the middle of the field in his previous stops (New Orleans: Darren Sharper; Washington: Sean Taylor; Tennessee: Blaine Bishop), and he will certainly attempt to do so in St. Louis with Clinton-Dix on board. The Alabama standout is an instinctive playmaker with a tremendous feel for reading routes and making plays on the ball. Additionally, he is an aggressive tackler with a knack for knocking the ball loose on bang-bang plays over the middle. Given Williams' desire to plant an enforcer in the middle of the field, Clinton-Dix is a no-brainer selection in this exercise.

4. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Why is it a perfect fit?
The Steelers covet physicality and toughness at every position, particularly in the secondary. Dennard certainly fits the profile with a no-nonsense game built on technique, tenacity and toughness. He anchored the "No-Fly Zone" with aplomb at Michigan State; Dennard would bring more athleticism and attitude to a secondary that has struggled against elite receivers in recent matchups. He is a skilled press-man corner with the ball skills and awareness to lock down receivers on the perimeter. With Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin intent on upgrading the secondary in the 2014 draft, I believe adding Dennard to the fold would be a match made in Black-and-Gold heaven.

2014 NFL Draft Winds
College Football 24/7 takes a look at the rumors connecting draft prospects with NFL teams leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

» AFC East | North | South | West
» NFC East | North | South | West

More:
» Tracking teams' interest in top prospects

5. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Why is it a perfect fit?
Chip Kelly surprised the football world when he released a Pro Bowl receiver coming off a career year, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the wily play-caller believes he can replace him in the draft. Cooks is the ideal candidate to fill DeSean Jackson's role as the explosive playmaker in the passing game. The Biletnikoff Award winner is a polished receiver with exceptional route-running skills and strong hands. He can thrive in the slot or the perimeter in the Eagles' scheme, while giving Kelly another weapon to target in the screen game. Now, I don't know if Cooks will be able to replicate Jackson's production in Year 1, but his overall game is more polished than Jackson's was at this stage of his career. Thus, I can see Kelly making a strong play to add Cooks as his designated playmaker on draft day.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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