The hair hath spoken. In his latest mock draft, now branded with the late-90s software lingo 3.0, ESPN's Mel Kiper has the St. Louis Rams selecting Illinois DT Corey Liuget. That's the same pick Kiper had for the Rams in his last mock draft. Obviously, Julio Jones was off the board by the 14th pick in Kiper's mock.
TSTers and draftniks shouldn't be surprised by the pick or unfamiliar with Liuget's name. We've talked about him on several occasions here on the site. Since it's the same pick, I can't imagine Kiper's logic for it has changed much.
Liuget's a classic three-technique defensive tackle, a guy with the quickness and power to shoot the gap or even play directly over a guard. The Illinois product looks to be a natural fit starting next to Fred Robbins on the Rams defensive line. It's definitely a need for the Rams. Football Outsiders has a great write up from last month comparing and contrasting Liuget with Oregon State DT Stephen Paea.
The contrast between the two players is something that's been brought up in conversation about the Rams needs on the DL this spring too. Paea, because of his power and ability to play at the one-technique, would be a natural replacement for Fred Robbins. Why is a replacement for Fred Robbins in the conversation? Well, because Robbins turns 34 this month, begging the question as to whether or not the Rams can expect another season from Robbins like the last one in which he changed the very nature of the DL, making it a more effective unit than it had been in years. Regardless of how you look at it, or how you view Kiper's pick, defensive tackle is a definite need for the Rams, and probably a more immediate one than even defensive end.