LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Running back Curtis McNeal #22 of the USC Trojans is sandwiched between tackle Matt Kalil #75 and tight end Randall Telfer #82 as they celebrate McNeal's 79 yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Washington Huskies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. USC won 40-17. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Earlier this week, Dan Kadar at Mocking the Draft rolled out his post-Senior Bowl 2012 NFL mock draft. Unlike so many others, there were the St. Louis Rams sitting comfortably in the number two spot in the first round. It's almost assumed that the Rams will trade that pick to a team hungry for a franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III. That's a very distinct possibility. But Dan's pick for the Rams presents something of a dilemma for the team in developing their franchise quarterback, Sam Bradford.
The pick in Dan's draft is Matt Kalil, OT, USC.
Here's what Dan says about the pick:
The Rams will be taking several phone calls to trade out of this pick. While adding picks would be nice for the Rams, having a franchise left tackle is the most important piece this team can add. If the Rams trade down to a team wanting Robert Griffin III, they won't be able to get a player as good as Kalil. That's what the Rams will be choosing between. If they want Sam Bradford to develop, they need Kalil more than anything else. He would start at left tackle with Rodger Saffold shifting to the right side.
Kalil is considered by most one of the best young left tackles in the draft since Jake Long. He's easily the best pass blocker in the draft, and a ready-made starter on the left side in the NFL.
Where Kalil still needs work is as a run blocker, using power to push defenders off the line and out of the way. Some of the draft's other tackles have him beat in that department, Iowa's Riley Reiff for instance, but Kalil has the talent to develop that part of his game.
But here's the dilemma for the Rams: which is more important in getting Sam Bradford over the hump, a cornerstone left tackle or a true #1 wide receiver like Justin Blackmon?
Head coach Jeff Fisher was pretty clear that protecting the quarterback will be a top priority for his Rams. Brian Schottenheimer said the same thing.
Trading down wouldn't rule out the Rams getting other tackles, but none of the other would have the kind of instant impact that Kalil would ... maybe Reiff, but he's probably a top ten pick, creating the same dilemma if the Rams trade down with Washington or Cleveland.
What do you think?
Which player in the 2012 NFL Draft is more important for Sam Bradford in 2012 and beyond?
Matt Kalil, OT, USC (631 votes)
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (475 votes)
1106 total votes