Jason O. Watson
ESPN's Todd McShay dropped his first mock draft of the season, spending Les Snead's picks pretty much like you would expect him to.
The season is winding down, and it's usually that time of year when the attention of St. Louis Rams fans is firmly focused on the draft. This year's Rams teams happens to be winning, which is where most of my attention is focused. Nevertheless, we love a good mock draft, and Todd McShay gave us one to digest on Wednesday afternoon.
With the Rams' first pick, No. 16, it's ...
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Rams might consider a receiver such as Tennessee's Justin Hunter or California's Keenan Allen here, but could also get better value with a defensive tackle such as North Carolina'sSylvester Williams. However, St. Louis must protect QB Sam Bradford for the organization to turn the corner, and Fisher has the length, light feet and balance to be effective against edge rushers.
Luke Joeckel is the fourth pick in McShay's mock draft. The Texas A&M product could go even higher than that. Jake Matthews, Joeckel's teammate, gets mocked in the spot before this one. Lest we forget, Rodger Saffold's having a pretty good season, and Fisher has made it clear that he wants Saffold to stay on the outside. The question is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full season. Barry Richardson is starting on the other side, and while his play has improved, the Rams still need to upgrade that spot.
I'm not entirely convinced that the Rams under Fisher will draft an offensive lineman in the first round. Nevertheless, the team does need to come away from this draft with more depth up front, particularly at the tackle position.
WIth the second pick in the first round, No. 20, it's ...
Keenan Allen *, WR, California
Allen doesn't have elite top-end speed, but he has good size and athleticism and his ball skills improved this season. He has the potential to turn into the downfield playmaker Bradford needs on the outside.
You can tell times have changed because not everyone's convinced the Rams need a receiver anymore. I am. If there's one area of the roster where the team really needs to improve it's among the offensive skill positions.
I like this pick. I like Allen. Keep an eye on how the receiver order stacks up when we get closer to April. Guys like Corradelle Patterson, Justin Hunter , DeAndre Hopkins, etc. jostle for position in this part of the draft order.
Another name on McShay's mock that could factor into the mix for St. Louis:
Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro - Never forget FIsher's predilection for defensive backs and a big need for the Rams.
And the list goes on from there.