There is already a lot of speculation regarding the upcoming draft. The way the Rams and Redskins have been playing has significantly altered the thinking of many regarding what the Rams should do with those first round picks.
I have always been a huge proponent of trading down both picks, irrespective of where those picks were in the draft order. It is conceivable that both of those picks could fall in the 16-20 range.
In determining my plan/strategy as outlined in the title of the article I asked myself three questions: What are the Rams likely needs (and order of need) going into the draft? Why trade down the picks? What additional picks are likely to be obtained as a result of this strategy?
Order of Need:
Defensive Tackle Depth
Power Running Back
Why trade down the picks?
It is clear that the Rams still have many needs, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Any additional picks obtained would help in filling those needs. In the areas where the Rams have the most need, there are many players to be found in the second and third rounds that would represent good value. Given the success of Fisher/Snead in their initial draft with the Rams, I believe they would turn the additional picks into quality selections. I have great faith in their abilities.
What additional picks could be obtained in trade downs?
The earliest pick in my scenario would be around number 16. If this pick is traded down 8-10 spots I believe the Rams could secure an additional second round pick. I believe the later first round pick could be traded down (and out of the first round) for second, third and fourth round picks.
In my scenario/plan the seven round draft for the Rams would be as follows:
Round 1 - Chance Warmack - OG - (Same scenario as DeCastro last year)
Round 2A - Kenny Vaccaro - S - (Reid and Elam are gone at this point)
Round 2B - Dallas Thomas - T/G - (Versatile all-around quality lineman)
Round 2C - Anthony Barr - OLB - (Rising up draft boards; big, quick and an excellent pass rusher; high upside)
Round 3A - Da'Rick Rogers - WR - (First round talent; this years "Janoris Jenkins" style pick)
Round 3B - Eddie Lacy - RB - (Power running back; successor to and slightly smaller version of Steven Jackson)
Round 4A - Joseph Fauria - TE - (Good hands, big red-zone target; is improving in his blocking)
Round 4B - Gerald Hodges - OLB - (Solid three down linebacker with nice skill set)
Round 5 - Devin Taylor - DE - (Has all the physical tools; draft stock fell due to poor senior season; has upside)
Round 6 - Nick Becton - OT - (Sleeper pick to add depth to the offensive line)
Round 7 - Ray Ray Armstrong - S - (Ultimate boom or bust pick but very little risk in the seventh round)
The mock draft I propose addresses the obvious needs on the offensive line, adds offensive playmakers at wide receiver, tight end and running back and addresses the two main needs on defense: safety and outside linebacker.
This is my first mock draft of the year. It is likely to change in the offseason. It just gives you an idea of what I think the Rams should consider doing in the upcoming draft. I will update my mock as we get closer to the draft and also look at other potential offseason moves. Go Rams!!