2012 NFL Draft: Rams Big Board Top 20

It's that time of year. NFL experts and bloggers from all around the web flock to their computers to make that perfect mock draft. They know the needs of all teams and the players who can fill those needs. Hell, some are ballsy enough to predict trades in their mocks. Thousands are made that are read by millions. A great deal of time of effort from sports writers goes into these mocks. There's one problem. Every one of them is wrong.

I never been a huge supporter of mock drafts. Are they entertaining and thought provoking? Absolutely, but when are they ever actually right? Never. No one knows how the draft is going to unfold, what trades will occur, what reaches or falls will happen. Mock drafts are very fun to read and they start good discussion, but in the end, they are utterly useless.

What I prefer is the method teams use in the draft; the Big Board. Every team goes through the process of creating the board, which will become the end all be all guide for the draft. These are harder to make and they require more work, but in the end, they lead to a better quality piece that isn't some crapshoot projection.

The basis for my big board isn't to rank the best 20 players, but to rank the 20 players that I believe should be highest on the Rams draft board. Hit the jump to read my board and to start the discussion.

The big debate for Rams' fans lately is Justin Blackmon or Matt Kalil. There are major needs at both spots. Both guys can fill those needs, so who do the Rams take? It's almost 1 and 1A between them. For my money, the number one guy on the board should be....

1. Matt Kalil- OT, USC

I have to go with Matt Kalil for now. The reason being, I think protecting Sam Bradford is of the upmost importance, and with the current offensive line, that can't happen. Kalil will dramatically improve the pass protection. I agree that the Rams also need weapons for Bradford, but what good would those weapons do if he's under pressure every passing down?

2. Justin Blackmon- WR, Oklahoma St.

Blackmon is easily the best WR on the board. His skill set would greatly benefit the Rams offense. He could even move up to number one on my board if he goes Julio Jones mode at the combine.

3. Morris Claiborne- CB, LSU

He was outshines this year by the Honey Badger, but make no mistake, he has the skill set to be an elite shutdown corner in the NFL. I hate this cliché, but he's the "safest" pick in the draft.

4. Riley Reiff- OT, Iowa

Reiff isn't that far off from Kalil. He's a better run blocker but he isn't as skilled a pass protector. The combine will be huge for him because playing in the Big Ten, he never matched up against elite pass rushers (didn't play Illinois and DE Whitney Mercillus this season).

5. Jonathan Martin- OT, Stanford

Wow, is this draft loaded with offensive linemen!! Martin was a terrific run blocker for Stanford and protected the blindside of Andrew Luck. Standford's offense was based on running the ball and play action passes, thus, it's hard to judge how his pass protection will translate to the passing league of the NFL. I actually see him as a RT in the NFL.

6. Dre Kirkpatrick- CB, Alabama

Dre Kirkpatrick isn't on the level of Claiborne, but he is still a very good corner. His ability to shut down LSU WR Reuben Randle was key in Alabama shutting down LSU in the national championship game. The Rams have question marks at corner back. Bartell, Fletcher and Murphy are all coming off injury. Kirkpatrick or Claiborne would help bring stability to the secondary.

7. David DeCasto- OG, Stanford

Before the new rookie cap system, there would of been no way I would of had him this high on the board. Picking him in the top 15 picks would mean he would be one of the top paid interior linemen as a rookie, but thanks to the new cap rules, his salary will be very reasonable. He was dominate in college and is compared to All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson by many.

8. Courtney Upshaw- DE/OLB, Alabama

Some may question him being this high, but the impact he would have is unquestioned. Yes he may not be a true 4-3 OLB, but he can be used as a pass rushing weapon. By moving him along the line and playing him in multiple positions where his pass rushing skills are maximized (a la Von Miller), he can have great impact.

9. Michael Floyd- WR, Notre Dame

He would be a top ten pick without question, but character concerns have dropped his stock. He is still the only other WR in the draft that I can see developing into a great player who can be the answer for the Rams' woes at WR.

10. Devon Still- DT, Penn St

This is the type of player that the Rams desperately need in the middle of the defense. He simply dominated games in college. Has a great size and speed combo that helps him constantly get in the backfield. He is also very versatile which will help in Gregg Williams' defense that constantly changes fronts and formations.

11. Peter Konz- C, Wisconsin

He is the second best interior linemen behind DeCasto, an area of desperate need for the Rams. He was the best run blocker on an offensive line that Montee Ball ran for 1923 yards and 33 TDs. He will be an instant fix at C for the Rams, an area that a high priced free agent, Jason Brown, couldn't fix.

12. Trent Richardson- RB, Alabama

Let me say this right off the bat, if the Rams pick him before pick 20, I'm going to be very disappointed. The impact of an NFL RB is not worth a top 20 pick, no matter how good the RB is. The fact that he is 12 on my draft board shows the weakness of this draft class. I have a feeling someone in the top 10 is going to make a major reach for him.

13. Janoris Jenkins- CB, North Alabama

He might be the most skilled CB in the draft, even above Claiborne. The reason he's this low is multiple drug arrest that got him kicked out of Florida, but his talent can't be questioned. Jeff Fisher has a history of working well with problem players. It could be the perfect fit for Jenkins in St. Louis with Coach Fisher.

14. Kendall Wright- WR, Baylor

DeSean Jackson 2.0? That's the comparison many are making for the great WR from Baylor. A great deep threat would help the Rams tremendously and he is the best one in this draft class.

15. Alshon Jeffery- WR, South Carolina

He has a bad season. Part of that was the horrible QB play at South Carolina, but a lot still falls on him. He looked overweight at the beginning of the year which will make teams question his work ethic. His has the skill set, but does he have the desire? Any team that takes him would have to be confident in that.

16. Vontaze Burfict- LB, Arizona State.

He still needs to develop as a football player, but he has great potential. He played MLB for the Sun Devils, but his physical style of play combined with his speed would allow him to be successful at any LB spot in a 4-3.

17. Michael Brockers- DT, LSU

He is very similar to Devon Still, but he is a lot more raw. He has all the potential in the world, but that's the same thing that was said about Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, both of the Chiefs, who haven't been overly impressive in the NFL.

18. Cordy Glenn- OT/OG, Georgia

He is a overwhelming run blocker. The only question is, does he have the pass protection skills to play tackle in the NFL, like he did in his senior season, or would he be better fit at OG, where he played his junior year? The Rams need help at both spots and he would be a great addition.

19. Jerel Worthy- DT, Michigan State

He is a good DT. He can stuff the run well and rush the passer decently, but he has inconsistent technique at times and against some of the better offensive linemen in the Big Ten, he struggled a bit.

20. Zach Brown- LB, North Carolina

What an athlete he is!! The speed he has for his size is incredible. He would easily fill the Rams need for a playmaking OLB. His football instincts have come in to question and many say he's a great athlete, but not a great football player.



Thanks for reading.
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