The 2012 NFL Combine gets underway in earnest on Thursday. Measurements, interviews, the frenzy starts now. What happens this week will change draft boards and our orderly predictions for the 2012 NFL Draft. Don Banks at SI.com has a new mock out this week, reflecting the insider's take on all the pre-Combine conventional wisdom. Banks has an interesting take on what the St. Louis Rams will do.
The idea of the Cleveland Browns trading up with the Rams is not a new one. It fact, it has become de rigueur. Banks does offer a little more indication why that particular trade could and should happen.
The Browns should jump on this deal -- and this player -- with gusto, because they're not getting the ultra-impressive Griffin if they sit tight at No. 4. If Cleveland doesn't move on Griffin, Washington might.
With the Browns' fourth pick, Banks predicts that the Rams will take Justin Blackmon.
No wonder Jeff Fisher wanted the Rams job over the Dolphins' head coaching vacancy. By dealing with the Browns, St. Louis gets the same player it likely would have taken at No. 2 -- landing the top-rated receiver it needs to help Sam Bradford and the passing game rebound from a dismal 2011 -- plus pockets Cleveland's No. 22 pick and maybe another late-round selection. Blackmon and Bradford should be able to make beautiful music together for years to come.
Once upon a time, this seemed like a slam dunk. Not anymore. Blackmon's draft stock is wavering; some are already talking about Kendall Wright being the better receiver in this draft. Michael Floyd has a chance to jump up draft boards as well. Do not forget that the Rams are visiting with LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers, signaling that they are considering all potential candidates with a top pick. Blackmon to the Rams is not inevitable.
With the Browns' other first-round pick, the 22nd acquired from Atlanta in the Julio Jones trade last year, Banks offers a new twist on the idea of finding pass protection and offensive line help, giving the Rams Georgia guard Cordy Glenn.
With the underachieving Jason Smith a good bet to become a salary cap casualty any day now, the Rams could stand to identify a potential starting right tackle with the No. 22 pick they will get in the projected RG3 trade with Cleveland. Ohio State tackle Mike Adams remains available in this scenario, but he does come with off-field baggage that could impact his standing this spring. Here's a long-shot name to file away: Ole Miss tackle Bobby Massie.
Glenn is a really interesting prospect. Many feel that he has the tools to be an elite guard, something the Rams could really use. At the Senior Bowl, he turned in an acceptable performance working at left tackle. Here is a thorough scouting report on Glenn.
Massie is an interesting name to know. A right tackle for the Rebels, he was not prone to allowing sacks ... there were plenty of other problems in Oxford. He is an athletic blocker, the kind who uses his feet and gargantuan limbs to seal off the pocket. He has been a right tackle, but those traits will have teams wondering about his potential for the left side.
And here's the problem the Rams face: who would be their starting left tackle under these circumstances? Rodger Saffold is the incumbent, but he looks more like a right tackle. Could the new coaching staff round Saffold into shape as a blind side protector? From here, Mike Adams looks like the best available left tackle in the draft, but would the Rams really want a rookie protecting their quarterback after last season's disaster?
Unless the Rams draft Riley Reiff with the fourth pick acquired in this scenario - which is probably a better option than Blackmon - it would appear that Rodger Saffold will be the team's left tackle in 2012.