Todd McShay, ESPN's NFL draft guru without the hair piece, phoned in his first 2012 NFL Mock Draft today. It's available on ESPN In$ider. McShay's mock doesn't drift too far outside of the box of conventional wisdom. In fact, his pick for the St. Louis Rams is one you see again and again, and will continue to see until the 2012 NFL Draft actually happens.
McShay gives the Rams Matt Kalil, offensive tackle, USC
Here's his take on the pick:
The Rams need to better protect the investment they made in 2010 No. 1 overall pick QB Sam Bradford, and current LOT Jason Smith has not lived up to expectations as the No. 2 overall pick in 2009. Given Kalil's size and athleticism, he is ready to step in right now and take over at left tackle.
The draft order McShay uses is based on the current draft order, which would put the Rams in second, though I think they're actually in third. He has the Vikings picking LSU corner Morris Claiborne with the third pick. If it were reversed, I wonder if the picks would be the same since Minnesota could use a tackle like Kalil too.
He leaves Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III out his top five, replacing him with North Carolina DE Quintin Coples, who many don't buy as a top five pick.