The Schein Nine  

 

Sammy Watkins to Cleveland Browns? 2014 NFL Draft's ideal fits

Some combinations in life make too much sense. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Jadeveon Clowney and the Houston Texans.

I've already penned a column explaining why that latter pairing simply must happen, but there are optimal destinations for many excellent players in this deep draft class.

The following is not a list of predictions; it's a list of perfect player-team marriages.

Without further ado, my nine ideal fits for the 2014 NFL Draft:

1) Sammy Watkins and the Cleveland Browns

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Make it happen, captain.

Can you imagine Watkins on the opposite side of the great Josh Gordon? Cleveland would instantly boast one of the best receiver duos in the league. Watkins is that special. One NFL general manager told me via text: "He is between A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson." I'd call that a ringing endorsement. And I agree with that assessment. I think Watkins is the single-best offensive player in the draft.

Cleveland's defense is already a strength, between the current personnel and the addition of savvy coach Mike Pettine. Spend the No. 4 pick on offense (Watkins), go defense at No. 26 and eventually draft a quarterback of some sort.

With an inspired draft effort, these Browns will have all the makings of a surprise team.

2) Jake Matthews and the Atlanta Falcons

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff did a superb job immediately addressing the trenches in free agency, adding Paul Soliai, Tyson Jackson and Jon Asamoah on Day 1. And he isn't done. That was my clear takeaway from a conversation with Dimitroff on my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein on Sports," shortly after the initial binge.

Matthews is a big-time prospect who was a rock at Texas A&M. This feels like a fine fit at No. 6 overall -- someone to keep Matt Ryan upright, someone to give the quarterback the time to throw that he sorely lacked last season.



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Let's see if Matthews gets past the team picking fifth: Oakland, a destination that also would make a lot of sense. Having said that ...

3) Mike Evans and the Oakland Raiders

Watkins deserves all the attention he's receiving, but don't lose sight of Evans. He's a 6-foot-5, 231-pound beast with amazing hands and speed. He shattered school records at Texas A&M.

Yes, the Raiders need more help on the offensive line, even after signing Donald Penn and Austin Howard. But they also need major help at receiver. I would stand up and applaud if Oakland snagged Evans, who would instantly become Matt Schaub's go-to wideout.

One way or another, Evans will be a top-10 pick. He'd be perfect for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7. And if he somehow remains on the board after that, I don't think there's any way he gets past the Buffalo Bills at No. 9.

4) Khalil Mack and the Jacksonville Jaguars

When I asked Gus Bradley about Mack on SiriusXM, he was tickled to death by the possibility of coaching this rare specimen. Bradley is a high-octane defensive wizard. Mack is the type of playmaker, leader and pure talent that high-octane defensive wizards dream about.

A lot of people have Jacksonville taking Johnny Manziel at No. 3. I don't think any quarterback in this class provides enough value for this lofty a selection. Mack, on the other hand, most certainly does.

5) Justin Gilbert and the Detroit Lions

The conversation about trading up for Watkins makes no sense. The Lions, who ranked 23rd in pass defense last season, need a cornerback. Gilbert, who should be available at No. 10, can step in and be a star right away. What's the problem here? Is this perfect scenario somehow too good to be true?

6) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and the Baltimore Ravens

Clinton-Dix is an Alabama product, just like Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. The first-team All-SEC star would form a great, young safety tandem with Matt Elam, last year's first-round pick. Clinton-Dix has a knack for making plays and is ready to roll in the NFL after three years under Nick Saban.

7) Brandin Cooks/Odell Beckham and the New York Jets

Frankly, I think either guy would be an ideal addition for John Idzik and Co. The Jets signed Eric Decker in free agency, but they still need another instant-impact receiver. Fortunately, this draft is chock-full o' big-time wideouts. Cooks is a home-run threat who dazzled from Day 1 at Oregon State. He took home the Fred Biletnikoff Award as college football's top receiver last fall, setting Pac-12 single-season records in catches (128) and receiving yards (1,730). Meanwhile, Beckham won the Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation's most versatile player, after setting LSU's single-season all-purpose-yardage mark (2,315). The guy is simply electric in space.

Either player would thrive in the Jets' offense.

8) Aaron Donald and the New York Giants

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On CBS' "NFL Draft: On The Clock" this past weekend, my guy Corey Chavous told me that he had Donald rated as the fourth-best player in the entire draft. Donald is a Geno Atkins clone, and I won't be surprised if he's gone by the time the Giants' pick comes around at No. 12. If he's still there, though, he could fill a huge void for Big Blue. Linval Joseph, arguably New York's best defensive player last season, just left as a free agent.

9) Timmy Jernigan and the Chicago Bears

In theory, Donald would be dreamy. But, as I just alluded, he should already be gone when the Bears come up at No. 14. Jernigan was the anchor in the middle of the Seminoles' championship defense. Bears GM Phil Emery has knocked this offseason out of the park -- adding Jernigan to a D-line that now includes Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston could be another masterstroke.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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