ESPN's draft heavyweights both updated their mock drafts today, including one spectacularly new option at 22.
Mock draft season is rolling along at full speed. Today, ESPN's draft pairing of Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both dropped updated mocks. Both are behind ESPN's insider paywall, so feel free to get out your ESPN anger for the day.
Let's start with Kiper's.
Nothing too crazy in the top 10, though Rams fans should worry at the lack of a QB. Kiper himself says in the intro:
For teams like Kansas City and Arizona, the value of the pick of a QB in the top 10 just doesn't make a lot of sense, but they could be in play to trade up and take a player like Matt Barkley, Geno Smith or Mike Glennon somewhere late in Round 1. Or, they could forego an early pick altogether and trade down. But unless the QB picture really changes -- and Indy as well as pro days really could shift things -- you can definitely see trades coming into play.
Things get interesting at 11, though. Kiper has the Chargers taking Jonathan Cooper followed by Cordarrelle Patterson to the Dolphins to finish the first dozen picks. At 13, Tampa snags Manti Te'o. Twould be interesting to say the least (NOTE: if twould twasn't a word, tis now.).
Toss a pair of DTs to get to the Rams, and Kiper starts his mock with...
16.: OT, Oklahoma
The Rams can afford to go a few different ways here because they have that other first-round pick. I think the offensive line has to be a priority at one of these spots. Johnson is a steady tackle who upgrades the team on the right side immediately and has the ceiling of a very good NFL left tackle. He has the long arms you look for, gets into good position immediately and slides really easily to derail speed-rushers. The Rams have skill-position questions, and those could be answered here. But they need to block better, period, or it won't matter how much skill they have.
There shouldn't be much dissent here, no? Am I misreading things?
22. Keenan Allen: WR, California
The Rams lock down some blocking help, then get a wide receiver who can help them immediately. That would be a productive first round. It's possible I've worried too much about how well Allen will run, because aside from what should just be a pedestrian 40 time, he can do everything else well. He has a prototypical build, long enough to be taller than most corners, but lean and strong enough where his burst is very good, and quickness out of breaks isn't a question. His hands are very strong, and dependable, and he works back to the ball. A one-time safety, he has game smarts and helps his QB. Sam Bradford will benefit from his presence.
If you were looking for the whackadoo, it's not the Rams in this mock. Maybe McShay's mock draft can satisfy our inner need to go crazy...
It starts off with some picks that are sure to disappoint Rams fans. By the time we're on the clock, Eric Fisher, Chance Warmack, Lane Johnson and Kenny Vaccaro are all gone. McShay stays on the offensive side of the ball nonetheless:
Offensive tackle is the team's top need, but with Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson off the board there is not a good fit available. This is a bit high for any receiver in this class in my opinion, but Patterson is going to rise simply because of his elite skill set. He is raw as a route-runner, but is big and physical enough to get off press coverage and his speed and elusiveness make him a huge threat after the catch. Patterson would be a great weapon for young QB Sam Bradford.
Whereas the top 15 took credible options away from the Rams, 17-21 do them all the favors in the world in this mock. Johnathan Hankins? Sure. Manti Te'o? Great! Eddie Lacy? PLEEEEEEEEEEZYESYESYES. That brings us to 22 with plenty of options along the O-line, safeties aplenty, quality OLBs, what more could we ask for?
: DT, North Carolina
Williams lost weight, got healthy and improved his quickness as a senior. He gets off the ball well and can disrupt things along the interior, and would add valuable depth in the middle. Alabama OT D.J. Fluker would be a reach at this point, but he might be in play for the Ram's need at right tackle.
I'm not going to lie - my face contorted into an uncomfortable position as I got to 22. It got worse when I saw he has Jonathan Cooper going 29th to the Patriots.
As always, I don't discredit people for the unusual when there's a shred of legitimacy to the mock. This has a shred, IMO. But my instincts tell me to print this out and feed it to the shredder.