That leaves us the all-important draft. The best opportunity for us to gain a starting safety (or two) for 2013. Luckily for us, this is one of the deepest safety drafts in recent memory. I watched 40 hours of combine coverage last month taking notes and looking at every possible guy for us to take - particularly at the safety spot. What else is a college kid supposed to do in February? Study??
I firmly believe we should keep the draft picks we have right now, taking Tavon Austin at 16 (Keenan Allen if he isn't there) and a safety at 22, followed by an OLB or G at 48. As for that safety pick, there have been a lot of names thrown around in the past month as to what direction the Rams should go in. I'm here to clear up the race - or at least attempt to - by giving you 5 guys that have been mentioned on TST in the past months for that safety pick. First, we'll watch said safeties in action. Then breakdown how they fit (or don't fit) with the rams or the league.
Kenny Vaccaro - Texas
First thing I notice? The score vs Baylor. As is the case in most Big 12 games... its a shootout. That's a lot of points to give up consistently to be the best safety in the draft. Sound guy when it comes to what a safety needs to do.. solid against the run, not afraid to get upfield. But wait what was that? "Inconsistent Angles vs Run" and "can get caught freelancing and watching in the backfield". Hmmm that sounds a lot like a certain someone. Rhymes with Craig Dahl? Listen I haven't liked Vaccaro for a while now. I just don't see anything special in him. Did you see him drop the hammer on anyone? No. I have no doubt the kid is a good athlete, he's just not the type of safety the Fisherman is looking for.... there's plenty fish in the snea..d.......... I'm sorry.
My safety Rank: 4/5
Matt Elam - Florida
All I can think of is that this kid has an unbelievable motor. You can tell he LOVES playing football. Every hit he is 100% committed and I love that. Unlike Vaccaro, he is a hell of a ballhawk in the secondary - 5 or 6 picks in that video alone! Oh and there's that thing where he played in the SEC, the closest thing to NFL competition you're going to see at the college level. Bottomline, love this kid against the run, love this kid against the pass, and love this kid's energy. Only concern is at the NFL, some of those arm tackles he makes will either turn into touchdowns or a torn rotator cuff... something I'm way too familiar with.
My safety Rank: 2/5
Baccari Rambo - Georgia
Great cover skills. Not the most intimidating of players at this point. Doesn't have much of a wow factor. Definitely not gonna take this guy at 22 but could provide some safety depth for the Rams later in the draft if they want to go that route. Concerned about tackling bigger guys in the NFL. Great story coming back from that injury, though.
Oh yeah.... sweet name.
My safety Rank: 5/5
Jonathan Cyprien - Florida International
When I see Cyprien, I see a lot of potential. Very technically sound - good tackling form and good angles. No doubt the kid can be a great safety in the NFL. Concerned about the competition he played against being at FIU, but I don't think that's gonna stop this kid from excelling at the next level. His OUTSTANDING performance at the combine proves that the kid has a great work ethic, knowing he comes from a smaller school and has to outwork competitors behind the scenes to get recognition.
My Safety Rank: 3/5
Eric Reid - LSU
I dare you to tell me that you don't want him on your team. There is no guy I have ever seen emulated the Jeff Fisher mentality more than this guy. Every single hit he is trying to knock someone on their butt - and more often than not he's successful in doing so. See him pick up the Heisman trophy winner? and pick off that other Heisman trophy winner? This is one of my favorite prospects in recent memory and if the Rams draft this guy I will be ecstatic. The kid pulled a 3.3 GPA in the classroom and any other character issues you think he may have, take a look at the Janoris Jenkins Project. Jeff Fisher is a wizard when it comes to that stuff. Bottomline, the fire this kid brings every time he steps on the feel is nearly tangible even through a computer screen. Lights out safety who can be the best guy in the league for the next 10 years.
My Safety Rank: 1/5
Hopefully I provided a little insight and was able to persuade some of you to fall in the direction of Reid. Comments and thoughts are appreciated! Feels good to get a post done after a few months away from TST