First off, I would like to say I agree with the common belief here: Our team is simply underachieving, and while we do have holes we must fill in order to truly become elite, I believe the Rams, especially the defense, can significantly improve in 2014.
As of right now, we have the following selections:
1.2(via the Redskins), 1.13, 2.46, 3.78, 4.110, 5.139, 6.170, 7.207
Onto the selections
First, I believe the Redskins will not win another game, and as a result we will begin the draft in the #2 slot. With that being said, I believe Les Snead is certainly looking to trade down, specifically from that second pick. With many teams behind us(e.g: Jacksonville, Minnesota, Cleveland, Oakland) looking for a quarterback, there will plenty of suitors.
With the first trade, I believe it is none of the teams I mentioned, rather the Tennessee Titans who trade up to the #2 slot. With reports that both Jake Locker and Chris Johnson will not be back next season, I believe they will be looking for a new identity, which begins with a franchise quarterback. Combine that with the fact with they have a formidable defense, and this is the team who jumps the rest. In this deal, we receive picks 1.11, 2.42, as well two future first rounder selections. While this seems like a lot for a year of unheralded quarterbacks, throughout the draft buildup process I believe Fresno State's Derek Carr will make a serious case to be a top pick, forcing the Titans to jump the pack.
While unlikely, for this draft we will trade Chris Givens to the Jets for 5.142. With the direction I hope the Rams go in, Givens is not needed, and was made expandable. The Rams now have 1.11, 1.13, 2.42, 2.46, 3.78, 4.110, 5.139, 5.142 6.170 and 7.207
Now onto the draft
1.11- Mike Evans, Texas A&M, Wr: In today's NFL, winning at the point of attack is extremely crucial, and that is exactly what Evans does. He is able to make all sorts of catches, and can bail out Bradford if only given the chance. He has deceptive long speed, and would also come up big time in the red zone. His hands are strong, and what I love is he is a willing run blocker. I know most people will be frustrated by this pick, especially with so many pressing needs, but there many reasons I believe this is the best way to go. For one, a new coordinator will go a long way on both offense and defense, which halts the belief of a major overhaul. Next, think about how the Bears are able to put up pick yards through the air: it starts with Marshall and Jeffery. Both are tall (Marshall 6"4, Jeffery 6"3) and run low 4.4 to high 4.5 forties. These measurements fit Evans and Quick identically. The assumption here of course is that Quick too reaches his potential; the Rams would have a scary outside duo if both of them play as advertised.
1.13- HaHa Clinton Dix, Alabama, S: With Clinton Dix, the Rams receive a match made in heaven. He is a top notch centre field safety, and has the ability to fly to the ball all over the field. He is also a willing tackler, making excellent reads and getting up to the line of scrimmage quickly enough to make tackles. Pairing with T.J McDonald is a tremendous match, both personnel and scheme wise. With Clinton Dix on the back end, the McDonald can play like Quintin Mikell did, acting as almost a fourth linebacker, playing closer to the line and helping in the run game. Dix would also allow the Rams to be more aggressive in their coverage, allowing both Jenkins and Tru to play man-to-man, with Dix operating as the single high safety over top. This would allow the secondary to play more to their strength, which if recognized by a coordinator, will help tremendously. His character has also been noted, which serves as a positive
2.42- Jason Verrett, Tcu ,Cb: Verrett is a player who did not receive a scholarship coming out of high school, and worked his way to Tcu. That type of dedication can only be achieved by scrappiness, and scrappiness is exactly what our secondary needs. Although short, he does not play small. He is a fierce tackler, and will not back away from contact. Perhaps most effective about his game is his ability to play press coverage, which is exactly what the Rams need from a slot corner. His aggressive style of play is exactly what we need in the slot, where receivers have had a field day against us all season. His ability to hit jam receivers at the line and the d-line's ability to shorten a quarterback's throwing count are a perfect match. It is also a huge bonus that he is a solid run defender, and a high character guy.
2.46- Morgan Breslin, Olb, Usc: With no guarantee Jo-Lonn Dunbar returns next season, the Rams will select a player not only to fill his role, but to serve as an upgrade. Breslin is a very good run defender, with the flexibility to stay on the field on passing downs as a rusher either standing up or with his hands in the ground. He also does a great job of understanding his position on the field, which is huge in all facets of the game. While not excellent in pass coverage, it is unlikely he will be needed. He would be replaced in sub-packages, only coming on to serve as a rotational pass rusher .
3.78- Gabe Jackson, Og, Mississippi State: Jackson would immediately be plugged into the left guard position, where he could continue to use his powerful base in establishing protection, as well his surprisingly nimble feet to get to the second level. With Jackson in the fold, the Rams would be able to save cap by releasing Harvey Dahl, while resigning Saffold to play RG and keeping Barksdale at tackle.
4.110- Calvin Barnett, Dt, Oklahoma State: Barnett is a 300 pound defensive tackle, who would serve as a rotational run stuffing defensive tackle for the Rams. Barnett is good with his hands, possessing a very quick swim move. His blend of power and strength is something which would serve the Rams very well. Although he needs to play with better gap integrity, that can be fixed with coaching. Barnett can be a quality depth player as long he refrains from taking personal fouls, the Rams already have players who fit the bill as hot-headed and fiery.
5.139- Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville: With Rodney McLeod Jr the only safety who provides depth without a major question(Stewart-FA, Daniels- 2 Injuries, Davis- Ineffective) Smith is durable, and would provide a reliable tackler who won't miss when he is needed. Although his strength isn't creating turnovers, he knocked down over 20 passes in his career, something which the Rams safeties haven't done effectively this season.
5.142- Jawuan James, Ot, Tennessee: James would provide the Rams with depth at the tackle spot, and compete for the chance to be an effective swing tackle, if he is needed. James is quick and fights hard, always delivering the initial punch to his opposition. Being 6"6, 324, James struggles when he drops his pad level, but with proper coaching this issue can be corrected.
6.170- Jeff Matthews, Qb, Cornell: Matthews is more of an unheralded quarterback, who possess a tremendous amount of arm talent, with an ideal frame. He reads defences excellently, and can make all the throws. While there are many questions, such as his ability to face top defences, and his average athleticism, it his smarts which make him an effective backup quarterback, and one that is always willing to learn.
7.207- Glen Carson, Ilb, Penn State: While possessing average measurables, Carson is excellent at reading plays, reacting to what is occurring on the field, and being in the right place in the right time. Carson would essentially serve as a special teamer, provide inside linebacker depth, and be a vocal leader on the Rams rowdy special teams bunch.
Thanks for the read, and Go Rams!