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The Rams fill two key needs in the latest mock draft from SB Nation. Are these players legitimate options to help out in 2013?
It's good year for offensive linemen. NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock told reporters on a Monday conference call that his top four players were Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel, any of whom could be the to pick in his eyes. That's bad news for the St. Louis Rams who would love to find one of those players waiting for them at No. 16 or No. 22. Fear not, there are still plenty of good players to be had.
The latest mock draft from SB Nation supposes two fits for the Rams at key positions of need, including the offensive line. Let's take a look.
16. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
If one of the top three offensive tackles happens to fall to the 16th pick, the Rams should pounce. If they wait, a player like Johnson will be gone by the 22nd pick. Although he's best-suited for left tackle, Johnson can play on either side of the Rams' line.
Worth noting is that in this mock draft, Cooper is still on the board. Like many of our Twitter followers, I tend to think that guard is a bigger need than offensive tackle, though it's close. Cooper is a better prospect than Johnson. The Rams would take either one. Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro is still on the board, getting scooped up at No. 21, and he'd be another player the Rams will have to consider.
22. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
No Rams receiver broke 700 yards receiving last season and the team doesn't a player that projects as a No. 1. Patterson isn't a refined pass catcher. His route running is raw and he catches with his body too much. But when he actually gets the ball in his hands, he's as dangerous as anyone in this year's draft.
Patterson is the man of the hour, the receiver du jour, a player that's getting plenty of attention with Combine just days away. Some believe he's the best receiver in the draft. Here's what Evan Silva at Rotoworld had to say about him:
Based on what I read about Patterson before watching the tape, I expected a raw, unpolished, mistake-prone receiver. A talented project. I did see big-time talent, but I didn't see many mistakes at all.
If Cordarrelle Patterson is a boom-or-bust pick in April's draft, write me down as predicting a smashing boom.
The unknown with Patterson is partly due to the fact that he has one year of Division I ball under his belt, after transferring from JuCo. That doesn't put him all that far ahead of Brian Quick, the Rams' project receiver from Appy State in the last draft.
Patterson's a better player, but how much of an instant impact would he have with the Rams? Mike Mayock described him as "jaw dropping" and was anxious to see him run at the Combine. I am too.
There are other receivers to consider in the first round, including Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins and Tavon Austin. Mayock has Patterson and Allen at the top of his receiver board.