The major pro day smoke is beginning to clear, and we're 19 days out from the draft. So it's time for people to make their final efforts at predicting who the newer, moustachier St. Louis Rams will be taking this year. This is my feeble attempt at just that.
Round 1, Pick #6: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
I'm starting to feel that the Browns will roll with Justin Blackmon (he seems to be the prototypical west coast WR), and that the Bucs will go with Claiborne and pick up a 3rd down back later in the draft, so this leaves St. Louis with a wonderful talent at RB; Trent Richardson. For his first couple of years, he'll be splitting carries (at a 70-30 or 60-40 rate with Jackson getting the more) and then when our team actually has a lot of talent around him, he can take over as our feature back. We could potentially have two 1000+ yd backs this season, and the scariest rushing tandem in the league.
Round 2, Pick #1: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Many people are seeing Hill as a 1st round pick at this point, but I still think he'll slip into the early 2nd. The way I look at it, there are 3 teams who are likely to potentially take a WR in the first (excluding the Rams), Cleveland (Blackmon), Jacksonville (Who could take Floyd, but I doubt they do), and Houston (Kendall Wright seems to be a great fit here). Another team could easily take Floyd in the top 20 if the Jags don't at 7, but I think most teams have more pressing needs and can pick up WRs in day 2. Therefore, Hill falls to us at the top of Round 2. The organization wants explosive players, and Hill is just that. With our first round pick in Richardson, throwing in a guy like Hill would have a huge impact on our team. He's already used to playing in a run-first offense, and will thrive when other teams put 8 in the box to stop our brutal running game. He could also open things up for Steve Smith and our slot guys over the middle.
Round 2, Pick #6: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
The Bucs could easily snatch this guy up off the board two picks earlier (as predicted by walterfootball.com), but this is my draft so forget about them. David will fill a HUGE need on our team in an OLB position, and round 2 is the place to jump in on linebackers, because they really start to fall off after this round. If David isn't available, Zach Brown could be another option, or perhaps a DT.
Round 3, Pick #2: James Brown, OT, Troy
Yes, I was slightly influenced by the legitimacy of this guy's name. But this seems like the kind of guy that our staff would want on our offensive line. He's relatively raw with a large amount of upside. Some see him moving inside and being a guard, but also I've read reports that with the right coaching and amount of work, he has the potential to stay at LT. Saffold will likely be our starting LT going into the season, and with Wells at center, Dahl and Jason Smith will be playing a guard and tackle spot (who knows which for each). This guy could come in and start at guard, and potentially move outside to LT if Saffold struggles this year.
Round 4, Pick #1: Derek Wolfe, DT/DE, Cincinnati
This is a slight reach pick, as he's more likely to go around the end of round 4 or the beginning of 5. But he's a guy who, seeing as we didn't take any of the stud DT's early in the draft, our FO will fall in love with. From a prospect standpoint, he has the attitude and motor that Fisher loves, and that he's trying to develop the team's mentality around. Here's CBS's scouting report (strengths only, he does have weaknesses... but we'll overlook that).
"Strengths: Has a tall, solid frame with adequate length and has done a nice job losing the bad weight and firming his body. Has a quick first step with fluid movements off the ball. A natural bender, staying low and using leverage to force his way into the backfield. Highly competitive and fierce, showing relentless effort to the pocket with a nonstop motor. Has very good awareness, keeping his head on a swivel with a good feel to quickly locate and react to the play. Tough as nails with a physical attitude and often attracts double-teams. An extremely hard worker in the weight room and doesn't let up in practice. Versatile in college, lining up in several different spots, including moving to nose tackle over the center on third downs. Stayed durable over his career, starting the final 38 games of his collegiate career. Was productive at Cincinnati, especially as a senior when he led the conference in tackles for loss (21.5) and had career-highs in tackles (70) and sacks (9.5)."
I see our team trying him out at DT, alongside Langford. However, long-term he'll probably be more of a rotational guy at either the DT or DE spot. Of course, he could be like Finnegan in the long run and really show up based on his motor and tenacity.
Round 6, Pick #1: Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple
It's always difficult to select late round prospects, because it's hard telling who will still be there and who will be gone. However, at this spot in round 6, I believe Whitehead would be a great addition. He's a bit undersized, but has good athleticism and play making ability.
Round 7, Pick #2: Dominique Hamilton, DT, Missouri
This is more of a depth pick and situational pick for the Rams. Hamilton projects to be great against the run and terrible against the pass. But at least he'll force teams to pass against our 2011 league worst run defense.
Round 7, Pick #45: Juan Redmon, TE, MidAmerica Nazarene University
A guy who will very likely go undrafted, but I gotta rep a guy whom I went to school with. He's currently living in St. Louis, and if undrafted, I very much hope he gets a camp invite. He's a primarily receiving TE with good size and speed. He's around 6-5 and runs around a 4.6 40. Playing against NAIA competition, he thrived; but that's just it, it was against NAIA competition. However, I still think he has more upside than virtually anyone else that would be taken here, and he could really help our team.
Welp, that's basically it. I'd love to hear your thoughts and changes that you would make.
Here's hoping that in 2012, the Rams aren't on the defensive end of nearly every offensive highlight in the league.