It's almost within earshot, kids.
The 2013 NFL Draft is fast approaching and with it, the questions grow both in scope and importance. Now down to single digits in the days left column, Dan Kadar and Matthew Fairburn from Mocking the Draft put up a new 1st round mock that incorporates a few trades to shake things up.
First, the trades:
- Cleveland's #6 <<>> Miami's #12
- Tampa Bay's #13 <<>> New York Jets - Darrelle Revis
- Green Bay's #26 <<>> Buffalo's...#41 +?
All plausible trades, IMO. Starting with the first, MIami has a stockpile to try and get one of the top tackles. It becomes even more likely if the Lions take the second tackle as they did here, grabbing Eric Fisher at 5.
A possible semi-nightmare scenario for the Rams takes place at 8 and 9 as the Bills take Texas S Kenny Vaccaro and the Jets grab West Virginia WR Tavon Austin, respectively. There will still be plenty of popular names at 16 for the Rams to choose from, but having their pick of the litter available is the optimum scenario. Taking these two out of contention isn't the best thing.
So who do the Rams take at 16?
- G, North Carolina
With Tavon Austin and Kenny Vaccaro off the board, the Rams could put the focus on the offensive line with the 16th pick. If they can get Cooper with the 16th pick, it would help them continue the rebuild up front. Cooper is an athletic guard who can get out on the move, but he's strong enough to stay line.
If this is the situation St. Louis faces, it's likely between Cooper, Florida International S Jonathan Cyprien, Alabama RT D.J. Fluker and a host of WR options. As I said, plenty of names to choose from even if Austin or Vaccaro are atop the Rams' board.
In between the Rams' picks, Cyprien, Fluker and Tennessee wideout Cordarrelle Patterson come off. The CW points to WR, and Kadar & Fairburn oblige:
22.) DeAndre Hopkins - WR, Clemson
If the Rams miss out on Tavon Austin with the 16th pick, they shouldn't rush to take a wide receiver with that spot. A good one will be there with the 22nd. That's the case here. Hopkins isn't a pure playmaker like Austin, but he's our top wide receiver in the draft this year. He's a natural on the outside and has excellent hands.
Hopkins' stock has picked up steam in the last few weeks and for good reason. Anyone who saw Nuk's performance in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl saw how deadly he can be all over the field.
After 22, there isn't much that I think affects the Rams too drastically. Florida St. OT Menelik Watson heads to Houston at 27 followed by Georgia LB Alec Ogletree to Denver at 28. And if safety's in the cards for the Rams on Day 2, seeing South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger and Florida's Matt Elam close out the 1st to San Francisco and Baltimore, there might be some shuffling of the Rams board overnight.