The Schein Nine  

 

2016 NFL Draft matchmaker: My dream prospect-team pairings

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I don't do mock drafts. I read them. I don't write them.

But the Powers That Be at NFL.com asked me to play matchmaker and concoct some ideal prospect-team fits. Now this is a concept I can get behind!

Reminder: THIS IS NOT A PROJECTION OR MOCK DRAFT.

Just an exercise in making sense.

Here are my perfect fits for the 2016 NFL Draft, Schein Nine style.

(NOTE: Click on prospect name for scouting report; click on team name for 2016 draft currency.)

1) Carson Wentz + Los Angeles Rams

2016 NFL DRAFT

Draft coverage:

The Rams and Titans deal was a win-win. Tennessee received a great haul for the top overall pick (two first-round picks, two second-rounders and two third-rounders over the next two drafts) that will allow the organization to fill a number of holes. Meanwhile, the Rams sorely need a franchise quarterback.

And the only franchise QB prospect in this draft is Carson Wentz.

Phil Simms, Mike Mayock, Daniel Jeremiah and Cris Collinsworth all have Wentz as their top signal caller in the class. And they should. One highly respected NFL executive texted me on the morning of the trade, "Wentz just made the Rams a legit threat. He is a once every 5 years type of QB."

I don't want to hear that Wentz played at North Dakota State while Jared Goff played at Cal. This isn't real estate. Location doesn't matter. Simms played at Morehead State and then became a Super Bowl MVP with the Giants. Joe Flacco, who played at Delaware, did the same with the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger played college ball at Miami of Ohio ... and he owns a pair of rings.

You get the point.

Jeff Fisher did a fantastic job developing a young QB from a small school once before. That was Steve McNair, the pride of Alcorn State.

2) Laremy Tunsil + San Diego Chargers

Gil Brandt, "The Godfather of the NFL draft" -- did you know I gave Gil that nickname back in August of 2004? -- just revealed Tunsil as the No. 1 overall player in the draft in his annual "Hot 100" rankings. And the perfect landing spot for this blind-side stud is San Diego at No. 3.

The Chargers' team needs? How about the entire offensive line -- starters and backups! Last season, San Diego's O-line was akin to a turnstile in the New York City subway at rush hour.

Tunsil instantly would become the franchise left tackle the Chargers need and crave. The Ole Miss product would allow QB Philip Rivers to stand up straight in the pocket while simultaneously helping RB Melvin Gordon live up to his first-round pedigree. Many teams were impacted by last week's Rams-Titans blockbuster. The Chargers could end up being a clear winner if they end up with the best player in the draft.

3) Jared Goff + San Francisco 49ers

I'm a firm believer in Colin Kaepernick staying in San Francisco. As I've stated many times before, Kap won't find an offense more suited to his skill set than the one the Niners will run in 2016 and beyond. That said, I'm also a firm believer in Chip Kelly drafting and developing his guy. And while I am opposed to Goff going No. 1 overall, I think he is the second-best QB prospect -- and someone worth investing in.

In March, I asked an NFL executive to name the quarterback -- free agent or draft prospect -- who is the best fit for Kelly. He said Goff. I won't argue with that; I think he could thrive in Chip's offense.

Now, could Goff actually make it to the 49ers at No. 7? Or would they have to trade up? Hey, that's for the mock drafters to speculate on. Like I said, I'm just here to play matchmaker.

4) Myles Jack + Jacksonville Jaguars

I conducted this same matchmaking exercise in the Schein Nine a couple of years ago, and listed Khalil Mack as a perfect fit in Gus Bradley's defense -- I was convinced the Jags would snatch him up. They opted for Blake Bortles.

Well, I think Jack is now the ideal fit for the Jaguars at No. 5.

I'm not worried about the recent leaks to the press about his medicals. This is Lying Season -- who knows what to believe? One thing I do know: Jack is a stud who can play all three linebacker positions. In fact, he's so athletic and versatile that some project him to be a safety in the pros. His style screams for Bradley's defense. Jack would give the Jags' D some needed sizzle and talent in a huge season for the Bradley/David Caldwell regime in Jacksonville.

5) Ezekiel Elliott + Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco Murray's Offensive Player of the Year campaign in 2014 allowed Tony Romo to have the most efficient year of his career (see: the QB's league-leading 113.2 passer rating). That was not a coincidence. With the second-best rushing attack in the game that season, Romo took his game to another level.

Yes, the Cowboys still cracked the top 10 in rushing yards last fall, thanks to Darren McFadden's 1,089-yard campaign. But who thinks we're gonna get another one of those from the oft-injured, soon-to-be 29-year-old tailback?

Elliott is a three-down back who can be an instant-impact star in this league. Having played for a college team that's constantly in the national spotlight (Ohio State), he won't fizzle suiting up for America's Team. Elliott would win Offensive Rookie of the Year in Dallas -- and help carry the Cowboys to 10 wins (if Romo stays healthy).

6) Ronnie Stanley + New York Giants

The Giants, even after general manager Jerry Reese wisely added a bunch of talent in free agency, still need a lot of help. Offensive tackle is one of the areas that must be addressed.

I love Stanley's talent. Both Mayock and CBS Sports Network's Corey Chavous have raved about Stanley to me. Mayock cited Stanley when I asked him for the one great player in the first round not getting enough pub; Chavous listed him as the fourth-best player in the entire draft. Stanley was super consistent and well-coached at Notre Dame -- two reasons the Giants could immediately make use of the bookend.

7) DeForest Buckner + Baltimore Ravens

Buckner is smart, talented, versatile, big, team-oriented and NFL-ready. It's like reading the handbook for what GM Ozzie Newsome craves in a ballplayer.

Oh, and the Ravens could use the help on defense -- which is not a sentence uttered often, but Baltimore just ranked 24th in scoring D. Buckner fits like a glove at No. 6, especially if Elliott is already off the board. The 6-foot-7, 291-pounder has the ability to wreck games on Sundays.

8) Derrick Henry + New England Patriots

The Patriots don't have a first-round pick, but after the Chandler Jones deal, they have two slots in the second round. Offensive line is the primary need. And while it might not be in Bill Belichick's DNA to pick a running back that high in 2016, I love Henry and this fit.

I think the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner -- who checks in at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds -- will be a solid, tough, savvy NFL running back. That feels like a Belichick kind of runner. And Henry just spent three years with Nick Saban, Belichick's good friend and former assistant coach.

9) Paxton Lynch + New York Jets

Phil Simms ranked Lynch ahead of Goff last Friday when he visited my CBS Sports Network show, "Time to Schein." Lynch has a very strong arm and is a great athlete. He'd be a fantastic fit with the Jets, as they need a quarterback of the future -- even if/when Ryan Fitzpatrick comes to his senses and signs the deal on the table. I think Chan Gailey could really develop Lynch's immense raw talent.

Lynch also would be a great fit for the Broncos or Bills.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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