This is my fourth mock of the current draft season, and my current thoughts on whom the Rams should draft are constantly changing. I've been attempting to develop a big board for the Rams, and this draft will be based largely on where I think the players on that board will fall.
Note: I believe that picks 10-13 will be very telling of what direction the Rams decide to go in with the 16th and 22nd pick, assuming that they stay there.
Round 1, Pick 16: OG, Chance Warmack, Alabama - Some will complain that this is too high for a guard to be taken. Truth is, we'll be lucky if Warmack makes it to 16. He's an excellent prospect at guard, and really fills a great need on the interior of our offensive line. If he's available at 16, I sincerely doubt that we pass on him.
Round 1, Pick 22: WR, DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson - Ideally, we would trade down with this pick. However, if we were to stay here... with both Kenny Vaccarro and Cordarrelle Patterson gone, we would have an interesting decision to make, that would likely be between Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, and Tyler Eifert. Personally, I'd go with Hopkins. He doesn't have the measureables of the other high round receivers, but at 6'1" he has adequate size, and combines it with good speed, good hands, and good route running ability. This guy will likely have the best rookie season of the WRs in this class, and has the upside of a guy like Reggie Wayne. He'd bring an element to our receiving corps that we currently lack, and I'd be more than happy with us picking him up.
Round 2, Pick 16: S, Phillip Thomas, Fresno State - A smaller school prospect whose stock is on the rise, Thomas will likely land either in the second or early third round. Given Fisher's affinity for small school stars in last years draft, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Thomas ends up becoming a Ram. He has great ball skills, and is the coverage safety that our defense severely lacks. Plus, he has good size and hitting ability.
Round 3, Pick 16: S, Robert Lester, Alabama - It would be wise of the Rams to double up on safeties in this years draft. Mikell has actually played very well these past two seasons, but he's starting to get old, and is even more expensive than he is old. Whether this year or next, his days are numbered. Lester could potentially be a great replacement for Mikell, and would round out our secondary. The Rams have also been reported to have met with Lester at the Senior Bowl.
Round 4, Pick 16: WR, Conner Vernon, Duke - Vernon is a WR built in the mold of Danny Amendola (and i'm not just saying that because he's white). He has good change of direction skills and agility, and can be a go to guy on third down. Personally, I believe that we'll retain Amendola, mostly due to the relationship that he and Sam Bradford have off the field (you always want to keep your QB happy). However, even with drafting Hopkins, our receiving corps could have very limited depth, especially if we don't resign either Gibson or Amendola. If Amendola is gone, Vernon can fill his role. If Amendola stays, Vernon becomes a valuable backup for the oft-injured Amendola.
Round 5, Pick 16: OLB, Zaviar Gooden, Mizzou - Gooden is a guy who definitely helped his stock at the Senior Bowl. Prior to it, 2012 appeared to be a disappointing season for him. His stock may rise before the draft, but at this point, this seems to be the perfect place to pick him up. He adds talent and depth to our currently thin LB corps.
As always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated!