I am a huge fan of the Rams and have been for quite some time, I can't agree more with the way the Rams are being run right now. I think the Rams have added a fantastic group of role players which is essential to winning anything in the NFL, look at the Patriots in their prime, this being said I am also a huge fan of college football and due to the woeful state of the Rams the past few years I would consider myself somewhat of a draft expert. I think this upcoming draft class will be where the Rams take some chances on true playmakers. We have added depth at key positions with players like Illinois Mike and Fendi, drafting defensive ends that can be situational pass rushes, and Mardy Gilyard a player who could turn into a fantastic complement to a large play making receiver with his YAC ability, Murphy in the third round and Johnson in the 7th should give us solid depth at corner if they develop as planned. We all know what our first two picks are doing right now, Bradford is the reincarnation of Jesus and Saffold may prove to be a huge steal at the top of round 2. So that being said I think the positions we don't need to worry about in the early rounds of next years draft will be: obviously QB, CB, TE, DE (of the situational type, should be elite level pass rusher) OT. Positions I believe the Rams could use some standout athletes, WR, RB, DE, DT, S, we will see how Dahl does in back to back seasons and OJ could be gone come 2011. Late round targets should find us OLB, OG, CB.
I am a realist so I am curbing my fan expectations of the Rams making the playoffs to around a 4-5 win season. which would put us drafting anywhere from pick 4 to about pick 8. My projections plan accordingly.
So that brings me to who we should be targeting next year, I know its early to be thinking about the draft but with the optimism this past week has given me, I feel the Rams are 2-3 play makers away from winning the division. I will give the round, position and players I feel the Rams should target for the positions of need. I think adding some of these players will put the rams over the top:
Round 1: WR's A.J Green, Georgia, Michael Floyd, Notre Dame and Jonathan Baldwin, Pitt
D-line: DE, Robert Quinn North Carolina , DE Adrian Clayburn Iowa
I feel that these are the only positions the Rams should target in round 1, and I wouldn't have a problem with any of these guys, I think Quinn and Clayburn are very much like the Morgan/ Pierre-Paul debate, Consistent production vs. freak athleticism. but I think both players will be good in the league.
The pick I hope is, A.J Green, he is the clear cut best receiver in this draft, even with the bogus suspension he should be who the Rams target, he is big at 6'4" and fast 4.45 40 Unofficial so who knows how real that is, but he is fast enough, and he is very good at going up for the ball much like Larry Fitzgerald, something the Rams lack with a majority of our receivers around 6 foot. NFL player comparison: Roddy White
Round 2: WR: Austin Pettis, Boise State, Evan Broyles, Oklahoma
D-line: Allen Bailey DE/DT Miami, Greg Romeus DE Pitt, Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson.
RB: Shane Vereen RB Cal, Demarco Murray RB Oklahoma
So if the Rams go WR in round 1 that obviously eliminates the WR from this round but if they go D line in round one the choices in round two could be very attractive, added to the fact that WR have been known to slide on draft day there is no reason to believe a player like Julio Jones or a Michael Floyd couldn't drop and be available in round 2.
The pick should be Shane Vereen from Cal, we all know we need a back up RB so why not pick up the RB who will most likely run the fastest 40 time for the group at the combine next year. Shane Vereen is very much in the Jahvid Best mold of running back, at 5-10 and 200 pounds could be the change of pace RB we all desire behind Steven Jackson. He is also rated very highly in pass catching something the Rams value. NFL player comparison: Leon Washington
I would also love a versatile play such as an Allen Baily from the U, I don't know if you have noticed but the U has a way of producing pretty good NFL athletes, but he has been knocked for taking plays off and not living up the the hype that followed him coming out of high school but his athletic ability is unquestioned, and with production last year as a junior with 11 TFL and 7 sacks, with another good year he could go in round 1 but if he was available the Rams shouldn't pass on him. He is also versatile as he often slides inside to play rush DT, something that will make him a very attractive option to Spags. NFL player comparison: Justin Tuck
Romeus also is an attractive pick, he is enormous, it would be nice to see the rams add a long DE, He is 6'5". He is a pure rush DE.
Either pick would be a good fit.
but the Rams need an offense playmaker so I see them choosing a RB, so my pick would be Vereen.
Round 3: D-line, Adrian Taylor DT Oklahoma, Cameron Jordan DE Cal
RB: Noel Divine West Virginia, Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon State, Evan Royster Penn State
S: Blake Gideon Texas, Jeron Johnson Boise State
Ok if we haven't drafted a WR in rounds 1 or 2 that will threaten defenses we better just by the bricks for the wall defenses will be building that SJax will continue to have to run through.
The pick should be: Adrian Taylor DT Oklahoma, with Fred Robbins knowing the system it would be a good time to select a DT early, who can also rush the QB and be the eventual successor to Robbins. With the continued development of Ryan and Scott, the Rams could stand to become more athletic at the DT position. Taylor is coming off an injury (broken leg, nothing of the ACL type) will slide, but he is an early round 2 late round 1 type player. If he is available the Rams should draft him. NFL player comparison: Tommie Harris
If we skip a RB in round 2 and go D-line I like Divine from West Virginia, reminds me of a Darren Sproles type who would be a serious change of pace coming in after the defense has been trying to tackle the 6'2" 245 pound man-bear-alien-monster that is Steven Jackson.
Safety, Jeron Johnson was all over the place in the VT game, he looked very good and could rise up draft boards as Boise continues to win. Blake Gideon is big and fast and could be a possibility in round 3 for the rams if he doesn't go sooner.
So in my opinion these are some of the players who we should all be keeping an eye on during the college football season, I really think next years draft will be the year Billy Devaney finds some guys who can make big time plays. The players listed here have been making plays in college and would all be welcome additions to the Rams. I will do another one of these later in the college football season to update how my projections are panning out as well as add some players who have emerged as the season progresses.