Free agency assumptions:
Rams roster assumptions:
- Re-sign Amendola and Steven Jackson
- Rok Watkins gets serious about weight training and conditioning and becomes the Rams starter at LG. A well conditioned Watkins would be an upgrade over the platoon of LGs that provided lack luster protection on the left side of the line.
- Jeff Fisher moves Trumaine Johnson to FS. According to Jeff Fisher, today’s safeties can cover, but they’re smaller than their predecessors. Thus NFL teams have begun reversing the trend and moving towards bigger, more physical safeties who can cover. Johnson, at 6’2" 205lbs, fits the bill. Jenkins and Finnegan are the Rams’ starting corners. Johnson has the coverage ability, size, and now NFL experience to start at safety. As the 33rd ranked corner (according to Pro Football Focus), he should be playing more snaps than the 366 he played his rookie year. Finally, this draft is deep with corner talent, so there will be a good opportunity to fill out depth with another good corner.
1a. Jake Matthews – Right Tackle (Texas A&M) – If he’s available at 16, he’s a must have. Matthews is an elite run blocker and will free up Kendricks from his blocking responsibilities, allowing him to blossom as a receiving threat. By selecting Matthews, the Rams can address two needs; much better protection for Bradford while simultaneously giving Bradford the full use of Kendricks as a receiving weapon.
1b. Sheldon Richardson – Defensive Tackle (Missouri) – While Brockers lived up to expectations (and even exceeded on penetrating the backfield), Kendall Langford has left a lot to be desired. Paired with Brockers in the middle of the Rams D-line, Brockers and Richardson (a talented pass rusher) will be an absolute nightmare for opposing QB’s. Who will opposing lines double team, Brockers or Richardson? Yikes.
2. Xavier Rhodes – CB (Florida State) – Rhodes is arguably the 3rd best corner in this draft that contains quite a bit of corners. At 6’1" and 215lbs, he has a similar build to Trumaine Johnson, and give the Rams talented depth at corner.
3. Arthur Brown – OLB (Kansas State) – Considered a poor-man’s Lavonte David. Brown addresses a long-time need for the Rams on the weak side. Some draft analysts use the magic word, explosive! At this point our defense would be an absolute monster.
4. EJ Manuel – QB (Florida State) – Yes, I went there. Manuel has the physical attributes of an NFL QB, size, arm-strength, footwork, etc. But that’s not all. Bradford needs a daily reminder that 2013 is it for him. Drafting Bradford’s potential replacement is the prudent thing to do, and will hopefully keep that competitive fire lit under his $50MM arse.
5. JC Tretter – LG (Cornell) – Tretter is a two year starter at LT for Cornell, but projects as a guard that may one day transform into a center, taking Wells spot. He’s a 1st team All-Ivy, and can provide depth behind Watkins at LG. The only knock on him is that he lacks strength, but that can be improved upon at the pro-level, and is not seen as a major concern.
6.Christine Michael – RB (T A&M) – His history of injuries could push him down into the 6th round. He’s a big physical back that invites contact. He could be a potential replacement for Steven Jackson if he’s durable enough to stay healthy in the NFL.
7. Russell Shepard – WR (LSU) – Hasn’t really produced for the Tigers, but could be a potential punt returner with 4.4 speed.
This draft addresses several key needs for the Rams, but also gives several positions a chance to grow. Primarily WR and TE. I believe with another year of learning the play book and good route running technique and decisions, Quick and Givens can excel in the NFL.
Integrated into the Rams’ existing team, this group of rookies could easily transform the Rams into an 11 win team in 2013.