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The Combine is over, and the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft looks different, sort of.
The Combine changes things. Every year. No matter how much scouts and the media write it off with underwear jokes, teams leave Indianapolis with a different impression of prospects, enough to reorder their draft boards in some cases. As for the St. Louis Rams, the needs haven't changed, but the targets for those two first-round picks might have. Let's take a look at the latest mock draft from Dan Kadar over at SB Nation.
16. Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Like many other offensive linemen in the draft this year, Cooper has been a fast riser. Some think he's a possible top 10 player, so if the Rams may be lucky to land him with their first pick in the draft. Wide receivers have been an option for the Rams here, but the depth of the position is much better than guard.
Alabama's Chance Warmack is still considered the top the guard in the draft, but the separation between the two is so narrow that light cannot penetrate their interior linemen frames. Cooper's claim to fame is his athleticism; he pulls with an incredible smoothness. Need further proof? Just listen to Mike Mayock explain why Cooper is so good because of what he sees in the man's butt. Seriously.
And there's this.
Other players available at No. 16 (in this mock):
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - I know the Rams don't exactly need a defensive tackle, but Richardson could arguably be the best player on the board at this point. Les Snead left open that possibility during his interview at the Combine, saying that is was "not inconceivable" for the Rams to grab a DT:
Said Snead, "when you have a rotation defensive line like we do, and you can win with the front seven, hey, if you can bring in your next guy - who's fresh - who's just as good as the guy who just left. Yes.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - He's a wide receiver, and the Rams will probably need help replacing Danny Amendola. Even if DA sticks around, the need for offensive talent is fairly obvious.
No. 22 Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The last piece the Rams need to fill out their stellar defense is safety. Vaccaro remains the best one in the draft this year. Again, no wide receiver. The position is just too deep this year.
I like this pick, and it's just no lie. You other brothers can't deny. Wait, we're not talking about butts anymore?
Vaccaro is not the other-worldly kind of safety that his fellow Longhorn alum Earl Thomas is, but he's damn good. The man covered Tavon Austin in the slot, and did a good job with it. He fits nicely because the Rams use their safeties interchangeably, deep on some snaps, close to the line on others. Vaccaro can do both.
Other players available at No. 22:
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia - Austin does not appear in this mock draft, and I wouldn't want to have Dan's inbox right now because of it. Hawkins made a pretty compelling case for Austin earlier today, and I'm absolutely sold on the idea.
Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU - Let's not overlook the possibility that Vaccaro could be gone when the Rams pick, even with the 16th pick it could be too late. If so, this is a name to know, another guy who plays a good deep safety role.