The combine is coming very quickly and many of us are eagerly awaiting the results. I thought it might be a good time to give a different perspective and a brief capsule look on how I think the combine may affect our draft in April.
Missing OL and WR
Call it gut instinct, but I am starting to have a feeling that many OL and WR's that we would like to see fall to the Rams at 16 and 22 won't be there once the combine results are in. I believe that Cordarrelle Patterson, Keenan Allen, Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Lane Johnson, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper will all perform very well at the combine. The Rams will be very lucky to see 1 or 2 of them still available at 16, let alone at 22. At any rate, the odds of their availability at 16 and 22 will decrease dramatically after the combine. For the purposes of this post let's presume this will indeed occur. Let's call this mock draft a backup plan in case the players we covet are no longer there when we pick.
I have seen many mock drafts suggesting the Rams will trade down in the first round. There have been some pretty complex and some unlikely trade scenarios proposed. Predicting any trade down is far more difficult than any mock draft. Nonetheless, I am on board for proposing them as well. As I predicted above, I believe most (if not all) of the OL and WR that the Rams will covet will not be there. The Rams have many needs to fill and additional picks would help fill them. The Rams FO were certainly not afraid of trading down in last years draft, although it is just as likely that we won't trade down at all. I will, however, propose a couple of moderate trade down scenarios that could possibly materialize. The Rams will trade down both picks in the first round. 16 will be traded down into the 20's for an additional second round pick. 22 will be traded down 5 spots for an additional third round pick. The benchmarks I used to ascertain reasonable trade values were two from the first round last year: The Rams trading down from 6 to 14 for an additional second round pick and New England trading up from 27 to 21, which cost them a third round pick. The odds that these particular trades will happen are not very high. They do serve as a reasonable starting point for discussion.
I won't go into a lot of detail as to the reasons for the picks in this mock draft. I will do that at a later date in a more extensive post. You will see a couple of notes that are applicable to some of the picks. The mock draft prepared here is just to give you an idea of where I think the Rams may head in the upcoming draft. Of course all of this will change many times over the next two months due to free agency, etc.
1 - Matt Elam - SS
1 - DeAndre Hopkins - WR
2 - Alec Ogletree - LB (falls to the second for many reasons, the DUI the latest)
2 - Menelik Watson - OT
3 - Larry Warford - G
3 - D.J. Swearinger - FS
4 - Gavin Escobar - TE
5 - Devin Taylor - DE
6 - Conner Vernon - WR
7 - Knile Davis - RB (if he performs well at the combine he will rise many rounds)
Please consider this mock draft as a work in progress. I am sharing it as a starting point for discussion purposes only, in the event the OL and WR's the Rams may like are not available at 16 and 22 in the first round.
For the record, I secretly hope Eric Fisher miraculously slides to us at 16. In addition, I would happy to stay at 16 and 22, if we could get any combination (one at each position) of Warmack, Cooper, Allen and Patterson.
The other 30 players I considered for this mock draft were the following (all in various rounds of the draft): TE - Ryan Otten, Zach Ertz, Levine Toilolo, Travis Kelce, Joseph Fauria, WR - Tavon Austin, Marquess Wilson, Stedman Bailey, Da'Rick Rogers, Markus Wheaton, DT - Brandon Williams, Josh Boyd, Sylvester Williams, Sheldon Richardson, OT - Brennan Williams, D.J. Fluker, G - Travis Frederick, Blaize Foltz, RB - Eddie Lacy, Marcus Lattimore, LB - Zavier Gooden, Cameron Lawrence, Arthur Brown, Jamie Collins, S - Eric Reid, Jonathan Cyprien, Bacarri Rambo, Duke Williams, C - Graham Pocic, DE - Alex Okafor.
This mock draft makes no presumptions regarding free agency. The draft is built considering the roster as it stands today.