The Schein Nine  

 

Paxton Lynch's landing spot? Cowboys' pick? Myles Jack's fate?

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Is it Thursday yet??

So much buzz. So many questions. So little time.

As we hurtle toward the 2016 NFL Draft, here are my biggest queries, Schein Nine style:

1) Is Jared Goff a lock at No. 1?

2016 NFL DRAFT

Draft coverage:

It sure sounds like it. My colleague Michael Silver, who's really plugged in when it comes to Jeff Fisher's Rams, has been calling a Goff selection ever since L.A. traded into the No. 1 pick. Los Angeles Times NFL writer Sam Farmer initially thought Carson Wentz would be the pick -- but he's since changed his tune to Goff. And yes, our Mock Draft Central has turned into Jared Goff Central, with every single analyst predicting the Cal signal caller comes off the board first.

If this is indeed the pick, I believe it's a mistake for the Rams. Wentz is the best quarterback -- with the most upside -- in this draft class. I've expressed these feelings throughout the pre-draft process, citing various NFL decision makers who support the notion, including one personnel director who texted, "He's Joe Flacco, but a better athlete. I think he will be better than Flacco." The former North Dakota State star has what it takes to emerge as a true franchise quarterback -- great news for the Philadelphia Eagles, who'll happily scoop him up with the No. 2 overall pick.

Yes, for the third time in the past five seasons, the first two selections will be committed to quarterbacks. What happens next with the game's most important position? Well ...

2) Where will Paxton Lynch end up?

Phil Simms and Steve Beuerlein -- two of my colleagues over at CBS Sports Network and two former NFL quarterbacks whose opinions I truly respect -- both have told me over the last few weeks that they believe Lynch is the second-best quarterback in the draft behind Wentz. The Memphis product is a lock to go in Round 1, but how high?

He wouldn't get past the Jets at No. 20. In fact, I think he'd be in play for the Bills at No. 19. But I'll also be surprised if he makes it that far.

I think Lynch is in the mix for the QB-starved Browns at No. 8. (I still can't believe they traded out of the No. 2 pick with a chance to draft Wentz.) I also think Lynch makes sense for New Orleans if the Saints are looking to draft Sean Payton's quarterback of the future at No. 12. That could be the ideal situation for the 6-foot-7, 244-pound signal caller, who has the raw tools but could take some time to develop at the NFL level.

3) What will/should San Diego do at No. 3?

As detailed above, the top two picks are pretty much set, with Goff and Wentz due to come off the board. Thus, the fun begins at No. 3, where San Diego could go in a number of different directions.

Personally, I think Laremy Tunsil is the perfect pick for the Chargers. He's a franchise left tackle, and that's a major area of need in San Diego. Tunsil's presence will pay immediate dividends when it comes to protecting Philip Rivers and opening up holes for Melvin Gordon.

But Jalen Ramsey, the stud defensive back out of Florida State, could be the highest-rated player on the board. And the Bolts need help in the secondary. San Diego also needs more pass rush, something that isn't readily available in this draft class -- so Oregon DE DeForest Buckner could be in play, too.

Still, I wouldn't hesitate -- I'd pick Tunsil, plug him in on the blind side and never look back.

4) Will the Eagles trade Sam Bradford?

They shouldn't.

The oft-injured -- and routinely underwhelming -- Bradford needs to shut up, show up and play. Enough with Bradford's feelings being hurt. He just inked a two-year deal -- with $22 million guaranteed at signing -- on March 1!

I don't want to hear his agent, Tom Condon, complaining that Bradford wants to be fully entrenched and not a stopgap. He's the Eagles' starting quarterback, for god's sake! This is something general manager Howie Roseman made a point to declare at the news conference announcing the trade for the No. 2 pick -- and it's something he continues to reiterate.

If Bradford's sad, he can take a look at his bank account and feel better. Despite owning a 25-37-1 career record and 81.0 passer rating, the former No. 1 overall pick has managed to make over $100 million in the NFL.

No team is going to knock the Eagles' socks off with 2016 draft picks. So I'd ignore the QB's trade request and hold on to Bradford. If he holds out, he'll lose money now -- and hurt his opportunity to make more in the future.

5) What will the Cowboys do with their highest pick in 25 years?

The Cowboys, picking fourth, haven't held a draft selection this high since they took Russell Maryland No. 1 overall in 1991. What will Jerry Jones and Co. do with such a valuable chip?

So much is dependent on San Diego's plan of action in the 3 spot, but I've said for a long time that Ezekiel Elliott makes plenty of sense for Dallas. Behind that offensive line, the Ohio State running back would head into the season as the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The only fly in the ointment could be if Ramsey is still on the board, as he's the only other player who can significantly help Dallas win in 2016 and beyond. The Cowboys' realistic goal in the coming season is to win 10 games and the NFC East.

6) Will Myles Jack go in the top 10?

Yes -- yes, he will. If he's still there at 10, he's a Giant. But I'm staying with my original prediction of Jack being the perfect fit for Gus Bradley's Jaguars.

I know, I know: There are rumors swirling that Jack could be in for a draft-day dip due to concerns about his health. Folks, this is Lying Season in the NFL. In many instances, when you read reports of a potential slide at this time of year, the sources are teams hoping a particular player falls so they can draft him.

Jack is a rare talent, a highly versatile linebacker who could become the centerpiece of Bradley's defense.

7) Which guy hasn't received enough attention in the pre-draft process?

That would be Ronnie Stanley. The Notre Dame left tackle is finally getting some burn this week as a potential difference maker in this class. Well, it's about time. For the bulk of the pre-draft process, Stanley seemed to be lost in Tunsil's shadow at the tackle position. It was nonsensical neglect.

I think Stanley will go in the top 10 and be an instant-impact player in this league.

8) How many wide receivers will be selected in the first round?

In recent years, the receiver position has played an enormous role in the draft. Two years ago, we had one of the greatest wideout classes in NFL history (see: Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant and Brandin Cooks, just to name a few). Consequently, six wideouts came off the board in Round 1 a year ago. So, how many will be selected this Thursday?

Receivers routinely get overdrafted, but the number should be two.

Truth is, there isn't a no-doubt WR1 in this draft. It's just not that kind of group. I predict Houston will draft a receiver at No. 22. (Laquon Treadwell would be my target.) And I could see Minnesota considering the position at No. 23. (Corey Coleman or Josh Doctson?)

But the sweet spot for wideouts in this draft is Day 2.

9) What will happen to Cardale Jones and Christian Hackenberg?

I think both are Day 2 picks. As I've penned previously, I'd love for Jones to land with Bruce Arians in Arizona. Buffalo and San Diego would make sense, too.

Meanwhile, colleague Rich Gannon told me on CBS Sports Network that Dallas, Arizona and Chicago are all good fits for Hackenberg. Big D and Chi Town make sense to me -- as do Denver and Washington.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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