The Rams have a ton of positions to take in this upcoming draft. There are normally two sides to the coin when it comes to draft in the NFL and fans, that can either be draft for need or BPA which means Best Player Available. Both sides have been shown to produce results at the pro level and I think both sides have valid points to their arguments. So, when it comes to a draft board, which should the Rams consider the most? Well, that depends, in my opinion, on how big a problem the team's needs are and who is on the board when they get a chance to pick. When looking at a draft, you obviously want to fill holes on the team, but you don't want to keep that mentality when no one good enough for that pick is there and you end up reaching. Personally, I value need over need over BPA when looking at the draft, especially when there's adequate talent at said position to compensate for the pick, but I think there should be some balance between the two when making up a draft board. These are the players that I think the Rams should consider with the 16th pick.
1. Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver, West Virginia University
Right off the bat, I take need. Personally, I believe all around, the best receiver in this draft is DeAndre Hopkins, but he will be overlooked because he doesn't have the explosiveness and speed that both Patterson and Austin have. Austin, although not the best receiver, fills our biggest need, which is our need for a slot receiver. He is an excellent receiver out of the slot and plays smart. He doesn't take many big hits and he has proven to be durable his entire career, so there's no reason to believe he'll just pick up an injury bug out of nowhere. He has never missed a game in his career and projects to translate his skill right over to the NFL. Would be an excellent addition to the Rams and this offense would get a much needed spark.
2. Jonathan Cooper, Guard, North Carolina
Everyone that has witnessed me speak about our offense knows that there are two positions I hate to draft in the first and they are Runningback and Guard. I hate both of these positions because you can easily find good players later in the draft at these positions, but I digress. Cooper is now the best Guard in this draft according to WalterFootball.com and if he was drafted, he would complete our line and turn a once weakness into a strength. This keeps Sam off of the turf so much and gives him more time in the pocket. For these reasons, I would be fairly happy, although a bit sour, if the Rams picked him with their 16th pick. Cooper is also a bit versatile seeing as he can also play the Center position. He is quick and has great agility. He is good in pass protection and great in run blocking. He also gets to the second level fairly well.
3. DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Clemson
I am higher on Hopkins then most, but dude is a straight baller and there's no way I can see him not having having success at the NFL level. He does everything either good or great and the only thing that he needs to work on in the NFL is getting stronger so he can fight off the press. He's hands down the best pass catcher in this draft and might very well be the best route running. As I've said before, he's the best all around Wide Receiver in this draft and I don't even think it's close. He might get looked over by some because he doesn't have that blow you away speed, but if you've watched him play, you know that he can get separation and the way he attacks the ball in the air is second to known in this draft. The more I think about it, the more I want to put him ahead of Austin, but I just can't do it yet. If you don't think this dude is legit, check out his game vs LSU. Came up with clutch catch after clutch catch.
Clemson vs LSU 2012 Chick Fil A Bowl Highlights HD (via goclemsontigers81)
4. Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama
Warmack has pretty much fallen off the map for some because a lot of other players have gotten more press than him. Truth be told, I've read that he struggled at the Combine, which has dropped him on some boards, but you can't deny the talent. He projects to be an instant starter in the NFL, no matter where he goes and looks to be good to great in both run blocking and pass blocking. If the Rams choose to draft him with the 16th pick, once again, I will be happy, while a bit sour, but as long as we win, I'll be happy.
Beyond this, I don't really see any other position that should be considered with the 16th pick. There doesn't seems to be players at the OLB or Safety position this year that looks like a must have with the pick, none that will be there anyways. I've always held firm to the fact that I think Kenny Vaccaro is overrated and we can get better value in the 2nd or even 3rd value for what we'll get in him. On the OLB side, Mingo and Jones shouldn't even be considered until our 2nd first round pick and even then both are quite questionable (although I do still like Mingo as a player, same goes for Jones.). No other Wide Receiver in my mind even warrants the pick unless we're looking for pure potential and if that's the case, Patterson would be the pick if he hasn't been picked up. Eddie Lacy has brought up quite a bit of hype, but it looks as though his stock is once again falling because of him not finishing his workout and even if he did great at his proday, I would punch my TV in disgust if he was picked with the 16th pick. If all of these players are by some unforeseen reason taken by the time we pick, I would like for the Rams to shop the pick around and see what they can get. What do you think, what are the top players on your wish list?