2013 NFL mock draft: Double dip

Gregory Shamus

How to spend two first-round picks?

With two games left in the regular season, we're still waiting to figure out where exactly in the 2013 NFL Draft the Rams will be picking. Right now, the Rams have the 16th pick. The pick GM Les Snead has coming via Washington is yet to be determined because the Redskins are currently in the playoffs. That could change. Nevertheless, a sleepy Friday is always a good time for mock draft, I think.

This week's mock draft comes courtesy of DraftTek.

With the 16th pick, the Rams select Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan.

Taylor Lewan becomes the first pick in the draft for the Rams two weeks in a row, and with good reason. A redshirt Junior, Lewan has started every game since the fourth game of his redshirt freshman season. At 6'7" and 310 pounds, Lewan has the look of an NFL blindside tackle with room to grow training with an NFL team. Taylor is a unique talent in that he possesses the requisite mean streak on the field and combines it with a wit and humor off the field that will make him a leader in the locker room and a media favorite. Lewan has the natural ability to excel at the NFL level but will need to improve his technique as well as his discipline to stop defenders and avoid penalties at the next level. His intelligence and competitive fire make that not so much an obstacle as room for further improvement to already one of the best line prospects in this years draft.

A player like Lewan is an interesting one. My question is how fast would the Rams and miracle worker Paul Boudreayu have him ready to be an NFL starter? And where would he slot in at during his rookie year? Rodger Saffold has done well this season, but his biggest shortcoming has been staying healthy.

With the 22nd pick, the Rams select Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina.

The Rams offense saw some improvement in 2012 with fewer injuries to the offensive line and receiving corps. That does not mean that the offensive line was stellar, Sam Bradford has been sacked 2.5 times a game. Jeff Fisher thinks defense and offensive line are the keys to a winning team so don't be surprised to see Jonathan Cooper become the second addition in the first round to the Rams offensive line. Cooper was named Consensus All-American 1st Team at guard, leading the Tar Heels to a record breaking season in rushing and offensive production. He had 9 games with double digit knockdown blocks and at 6'3" 310 pounds is a true NFL caliber player coming out of college. Cooper will start every game if healthy as a rookie as he has the past 47 games at North Carolina. No doubt the team will turn its attention to the defense with the next few picks, but the first round will be a great success should Cooper and Lewan be in Blue and Gold come at the end of Day One.

The Rams sure could use some offensive line help. At tackle, they need another starter to replace Barry Richardson and some quality depth. Inside, they need a starting guard and still more depth. Rok Watkins is part of that equation.

Nevertheless, I can almost guarantee you that the Rams will not be drafting two offensive linemen in the first round of the draft. It's just not good business, not with so many other needs at the skill positions.

We'll see though.

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