2013 NFL mock draft: Rams go defense

Sam Greenwood

Another defensive player for the front seven in the first round?

I don't write the mock drafts, I just read them, commentate and move on. I did find this latest one from Walter Football kind of entertaining, considering it has the St. Louis Rams taking an outside linebacker with the 16th overall pick in the first round.

16. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

The Rams could use an upgrade at outside linebacker. They could use Mingo's edge rushing, plus he would improve their team speed. Jeff Fisher had success with a physical freak while at Tennessee, and Mingo has that type of explosiveness.

Mingo (6-5, 240) had a breakout 2011 season. He showed blinding speed and was a disruptive force. Mingo totaled 46 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. He had 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups in 2010.

I have my doubts, but you never know about Fisher taking defensive players in early, especially since the draft is heavy on solid, not outstanding defensive types. It never hurts to have another pass rusher, especially since the ranks get thin after Long and Quinn.

22. Matt Elam, S, Florida

St. Louis has to improve their safety play, and Elam is a great fit in their defense. He could be a tremendous play-maker alongside St. Louis' talented cornerbacks.

Elam had a superb 2012, making 86 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks, 11 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes broken up. The junior was an absolute force against LSU and dished out punishing hits all game.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder was considered the best safety in the nation, and the best player in the state of Florida, in the 2010 recruiting class. While some highly touted young Gators were quiet in 2011, Elam played extremely well. The sophomore had 78 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, two interceptions, seven passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He was all over the field and always around the ball for Florida.

I look forward to getting to know this year's safety class a little more. It's definitely a position of need, and Fisher has a history with defensive backs in the first round. What the Rams really need in a safety is a centerfield type, someone who improves the coverage back there.

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