From the very early speculation, to the still very early speculation... This year, more than ever, almost every pick seems to be up in the air. There will likely be tons of trades, a few surprises, and a lot of stupid decisions. However, in the spirit of draft mockery, I've decided to churn one more out. I have some players that I'm very high on... high enough to even reach a bit (not Janoris Jenkins high though).
Round 1, Pick 16: Matt Elam, SS, Florida
After dumping both of our starting safeties this offseason, it's clear that our front office is focused on upgrading the position; and could look to do so early in the draft. I'm not sure that Elam is the best all-around safety in the draft, but I believe that what he brings to the table is exactly what STL needs: He's an absolutely punishing hitter with great athleticism, and he fights hard. He also comes up big in the clutch. Having the wonderful corners and defensive line that we do, Elam will be able to do what he does best... and he'll be a TON of fun to watch. Seriously, I could watch this dude's highlights all day.
Round 1, Pick 22: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
I've seen a lot of drafts mock him to the Vikings, so picking him up here would be excellent for the Rams. Once again, he may not have the biggest upside out of the receivers, or be the best overall out of them... But he's the one who brings the most to the table for the Rams: His game is predicated on good route-running skills... a quality that allowed even Brandon Gibson to have marginal success in STL. Replacing a weapon as reliable as Danny Amendola will be extremely tough, but I believe that Hopkins has the ability to do just that.
Round 2, Pick 16: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
With the three top G prospects gone by this point in the draft, I decided that our brass would love to have Jones in a Rams uniform. He has extreme versatility, and a higher football IQ than probably any other rookie OL in this year's draft. He could step in immediately and play guard, and would likely put Scott Wells out of a job within the next couple of years.
Round 3, Pick 16: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern
Aside from an underwhelming Kendall Langford, our defensive line was absolutely elite last year. Williams has the potential to make it even better. He's absolutely huge, yet has great athleticism. He may not start from day 1, but will see plenty of action throughout his rookie year... and much like Jones, could end up putting a current Ram out of a job.
Round 4, Pick 16: Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
Picking up Jenkins at this point in the draft seems like a bit of a steal to me. He has great athleticism; something we'll desperately need dealing with the likes of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernik. However, his stock has fallen due to nagging injuries keeping him out of most of this past season.
Round 5, Pick 16: Earl Wolff, S, N.C. State
The safety who starts opposite Matt Elam next year may already be on our roster... but that doesn't mean that we can afford to complete the draft without drafting at least one more guy to compete for the position. Wolff can do just that. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and has amazing athleticism. He needs some work, but has all the physical tools.
Round 6, Pick 16: Jasper Collins, WR, Mount Union
Following in the footsteps of Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts, Jasper Collins hails from Mount Union University. He's very athletic, and was found to be very reliable for Mount Union (albeit against lesser competition). He compiled 92 catches for 1694 yards and 22 touchdowns his senior year. Adding him to our receiving corps gives us a dynamic and well-rounded unit.
Round 7, Pick 16: Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
Jeff Fisher has expressed the need to add a bigger back this offseason. So, much like last season, the Rams will use their final pick on a back. At 223 lbs, Marshall fits the bill of a "big" back, yet he has great agility for his size. He was part of a RBBC approach at Arizona State, and therefore won't be hampered by receiving few carries.
As always, comments (both positive and negative) are appreciated. I look forward to seeing how things go down.