Draft prep is in full swing for the St. Louis Rams, lockout or not. Last year, private workouts and player visits earned the Rams all kinds of attention, which is to be expected when a team owns the first overall pick in the draft. The spotlight isn't so bright at #14, reconciling the Rams back to under-the-radar status. And now comes news of the Rams' first, at least as far as has been reported, private workout of the 2011 NFL Draft season. This Thursday, St. Patrick's Day, the Rams will have a private workout for Baylor OG Danny Watkins.
Watkins quickly cemented his status as the second-best interior lineman in this year's draft after an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. Truthfully, Watkins is probably the best guard in the draft, sorry Mike Pouncey, but his age, 27 when the season starts, has been his main detractor. However, it's become less and less of an issue as Jason Smith's replacement at LT continues to impress teams, as did his assurance that at 27 he does not have arthritis.
Could Watkins be drafted as high as #14? It seems unlikely. Last year the 49ers picked OG Mike Iupati at 17th overall, and given the belief that Watkins is ready to play now in the NFL, it's not out of the question that he could be a mid-round pick.
More likely than not, Watkins is a late first round early second rounder. Devaney and the Rams are just doing their homework. Watkins would be an option with a trade down or even with the Rams 15th pick in the second round of the draft. This won't be the last private workout the team has with a prospect.