Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In the investment banking world, it is referred to as synergy. Stockton and Malone. Belichick and Brady. Nowhere is this truth more evident than the NFL. If football is the ultimate team sport, then the NFL Draft process is the ultimate game of high-stakes speed dating. You only get to see what is on the surface. And you may think the pretty blonde across from you is exactly the girl you are looking for. But you won’t know until you two start going steady.
Let’s play matchmaker and match some NFL prospects with their ideal organization. This exercise is about creating synergy for the prospect and team alike:
Dallas Cowboys (Round 2, Pick 34):
Derrick Henry – Running Back, Alabama
After paving the way for Demarco Murray’s career-year in 2014, the Dallas offensive line may have been even more impressive in 2015 as Run DMC (Darren McFadden) ran for 1,089 yards. Incredible production considering he began the season as the change-of-pace back, entering Week 7 with only 128 yards.
Derrick Henry is a one-cut back, with a running style that can be described as brusing. You won’t see Henry breaking 80 yard runs, as he lacks the elusiveness to make defenders miss. Henry’s success at the NFL will be heavily reliant upon the ability of the blockers in front of him to open up running lanes. Running behind the Great Wall of Dallas, all 250 lbs. of Derrick Henry will be able to wear down opposing defenses. It is not a stretch to say that Henry is an even better fit than Murray ever was. If this is the case, it will greatly improve the chances of the Cowboys bouncing back from a 4-12 record.
New York Giants (Round 2, Pick 40):
Vonn Bell – Free Safety, Ohio State
Paired with last year’s 2nd Round selection Landon Collins, the Giants solidify the back end of their secondary with a complementary skill-set. Bell epitomizes “centerfield” free safety, built to defend the deep ball in today’s NFL. Meanwhile, Collins is a hard-hitting run-stuffing safety who does his best work close to the line of scrimmage. Knowing that Bell has the range to provide support to defend on the deep ball, Collins will be able to work downhill and strike fear into opposing ball carriers. With one pick Big Blue significantly increases the production from both safety positions.
Los Angeles Rams (Round 2, Pick 45):
Nick Martin – Center/Guard, Notre Dame
Nick is the younger brother of Cowboys’ all-pro guard, Zack Martin. Much like his brother profiled in 2014, Nick appears well-polished in pass protection and offers the versatility to play multiple positions along the o-line. Whether he starts at center or guard, Nick Martin projects to be an immediate contributor at the next level. The talented young Rams offensive line will benefit immediately from Martin’s ability to pass protect, without the pressure of starting day one at center. Last year’s 2nd Round pick, RT Rob Havenstein is a mauler in the run game, paving the way for Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin before Todd Gurley this past year. Martin & Havenstein cement a budding unit, as the Rams hope to improve enough offensively for their first winning season since 2004 .