GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02: (L-R) Brandon Weeden #3 and Justin Blackmon #81 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate after Blackmon caught a 17-yard touchdown reception from Weeden in the fourth quarter against the Stanford Cardinal during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Scenario-based mock drafting. That's what we've come to in the content-starved world of mock drafting. Hey, I'm not complaining; it makes for interesting, easily digestible reading. There's value in that. Todd McShay at ESPN released a 2012 NFL Mock Draft on Wednesday that looks at several scenarios for each team. The St. Louis Rams, with the sixth pick and a whole lot of unknown between there and the second pick, have a number of options.
First, the pick. McShay gives the Rams Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. It's a common pick in the draft, but one some are really struggling with, myself included.
As for the scenarios ...
Scenario 1: If Kalil should somehow slip out of the top five, he's the pick. The same could be said of Richardson, as the heir-apparent to Steven Jackson.
Scenario 2: With Kalil gone, Blackmon's size, hands and playmaking ability would give Rams QB Sam Bradford a top playmaker on the outside.
Scenario 3: There is some buzz about the Rams being open to trading down yet again and acquiring even more picks, because as our draft tiers breakdown shows, if the right player is not available there is a drop-off in talent at this point.
Scenario 4: If Claiborne should fall, he would be a consideration for a team that struggled to defend the pass last season.
Scenario 5: The Rams could opt for the top defensive tackle on the board to fill a big need. In this case that would be Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, who would bring solid versatility and production to the defensive line.
Trading down may be out of the question now. Ryan Tannehill is generating lots of buzz, deserved or not, and could be an option for the Cleveland Browns at four or a trade up from another team willing to take a chance. If that happens, one of the three top prospects, non-QB category, will be there for the Rams.
Kalil would have to be the pick if he's available. Followed by Trent Richardson, who the Rams seem to be very high on these days. I'd put Claiborne third, but the Rams might have him second based on Fisher's history.
Ultimately, barring Tannehill's inclusion in the top five picks, a trade down is the best option for the Rams. After the top five player mentioned here, first-round talent is relatively flat this year, in that a player you could get with the eighth pick is not on an entirely different level than a player available at #22. Trading down is also the most difficult option because you have to find a team willing to trade up AND accept what might not be the most desired price in exchange for the pick.