In case you haven't seen it, the bloggers at the helm of the SB Nation NFL blogs have been participating in a mock draft. You should definitely check out the individual picks as they have great insights into each team's bubble as well as some draft-level analysis from Dan Kadar, The Monarch of the Mock over at Mocking the Draft.
Last Thursday, Van had the Rams scoop up Tavon Austin at 16. Of the popular names at 16, only Chance Warmack was off the board (and Alec Ogletree if you consider him a popular option at this point), so Van was free to work pretty much at the top of his board.
In between the Rams' two picks, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jonathan Cooper and Kenny Vaccaro all come of the board. As much as I would've liked to grab Cooper there, cards being dealt a-somethin', a-somethin' (I've never been good at maxims).
So with those guys off the board, yours truly selected:
Jonathan Cyprien, SS, FIU
Here's part of my write-up (you should click the link too though...):
Cyprien would be a great fit for what the Rams are lacking at the back of their defense: aggression. Craig Dahl's play was typified by passive tackling and poor angles that left Rams fans throwing things at their televisions. His lack of natural pass defending and athleticism left the defense vulnerable especially in the red zone. Given the viability of the Rams' pass rush and cornerback talents, Cyprien's acclaimed weaknesses in center field coverage roles shouldn't be a huge issue. With San Francisco and Seattle loaded up for big seasons in 2013 powered by some offensive scheme we've barely heard in passing a few times (mandatory pistol sarcasm), bolstering the defense with fresh safety talent is a must for St. Louis this offseason. Cyprien checks off that box in a big way.
As Kadar notes, the obvious key here is how the Rams front office and coaching staff have Cyprien graded out. If they've got him up at the top of their defensive board, this makes a ton of sense (as long as they haven't spent the 16th pick on safety or perhaps a defender in general).
The only options that were enticing enough to consider outside of Cyprien were Alabama RT D.J. Fluker and some of the wideouts (Da'Rick Rogers, Justin Hunter, DeAndre Hopkins). But with Austin adding some explosiveness on the offensive side, I felt comfortable that the Rams would be adding more components to the offense elsewhere in the draft.
Adding Cyprien to this run defense would be a strong signal that the Rams are taking the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers seriously....and that they're hopeful to compete with them now.