OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 19: Morris Claiborne #17 of the LSU Tigers looks on against the Ole Miss Rebels on November 19, 2011 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. LSU beat Mississippi 52-3. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)
LSU star cornerback, Morris Claiborne decided to declare for the NFL draft today. He is the top corner back(CB) prospect in the draft by far and will likely be a top ten pick and could factor into the Rams' draft in April.
Undoubtedly, the Rams are in desperate need of help at corner back. In 2011, the unit underperformed to say the least. This was mainly due to injury as the Rams' top three corner backs entering the season, Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy all were put on injured reserve. Instead, the Rams had to depend on players like Justin King, who weren't ready to play that big of a role in the NFL. Furthermore, many of the backups went down as well, with the Rams ending the year with 10 total CBs on IR.
A review of the Rams current situation at CB now and a brief scouting report on Claiborne after the jump and also 3k's thoughts.
Some help will be provided in the secondary with players returning from injury, but will Fletcher, Bartell, and Murphy all come back and play at the same level? That's unlikely. Ron Bartell has been fully cleared to return to action coming off a neck injury, but Fletcher coming off his second ligament tear in the same knee is a question mark right now. The same is true for Murphy who suffered a broken ankle.
It would be a pretty safe bet that the Rams will make a move at cornerback in the offseason. Whether this would be through the draft or free agency remains to be seen.
If the Rams want to go the route of the draft, Morris Claiborne has to be considered. Now, the Rams shouldn't draft him second overall, but with the Rams likely to trade down he could still be picked by the Rams.
The Browns, who are picking 4th, and the Redskins, who are picking 6th, have been two teams that have been rumored to be possible candidates to trade up to select Heisman Trophy Winner, QB Robert Griffin III. Picking in one of these two spots would allow the Rams to consider drafting Morris Claiborne.
Claiborne's talent is undeniable. Mocking the Draft thinks he is as good as or even better than fellow LSU Tiger and top 5 pick, Patrick Peterson. He is a prototypical NFL CB. He has good size, long arms, great ball skills, and he can play press coverage very well. He has the potential to be a shutdown corner in the Nnamdi Asomugha role.
The Rams can sure use a corner with the skill set of Claiborne, but would they want him over an offensive tackle like Matt Kalil or Riley Reiff or Justin Blackmon at WR? That remains to be seen, but if the Rams do trade down in the draft, they will have to consider picking the talented corner from LSU.
3k had this to say:
I'm not entirely sure that Claiborne won't have the stock to validate going second overall in the draft come April. As Brandon notes, his size is spot on. I think one of the keys may be his arm length; they often look gangly on tape. That's a good thing. If his wingspan measures well at the combine, it's going to have a lot of people feeling even better about him. Yes, the Rams would still likely hope that they can move the #2 pick for a collection of spots to shore up multiple positions; but don't count out Claiborne as a wild card option when the Rams are on the clock.