2013 St. Louis Rams Analysis & Mock Draft

Chris Chambers

Figuring out which players a team will draft is near impossible, all we can do is take all the information we have and make some guesses.

Predicting the NFL draft is impossible. An unlimited amount of variables intertwine to form an unending labyrinth of possibilities. Variables such as GM/Coach draft history, positions of need, best player available, divisional strengths/weaknesses, and trades all get mushed together and result in a name on a card reading "with the ___ pick of the 2013 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select ____________."

Attempting to decode these variables could lead us closer to finding out who the Rams will take come draft day. You may want to break this up into two separate reads.

GM/Coach Draft History

The Rams front office draft history is a mixture of new and old. Jeff Fisher has been around the block and has years of draft history to pull from. Whereas Les Snead is a young gun in the game and we are still figuring out his draft approach. However, we can learn a lot when we combine Fisher's draft history and last season's draft.

1. The flashy pick may not always be the right pick.

As I wrote back in January, the Rams had plenty of opportunities to go flashy in round one in 2012, but chose not to. The Rams traded out instead of drafting RG3. They also passed up on Morris Claiborne, a player hyped as the best corner in the draft. Instead, the Rams elected to select Michael Brockers, a defensive tackle - not exactly the sexiest pick - but Brockers transformed the Rams run defense.

2. Throughout Jeff Fisher's history, first round lineman haven't been coveted. However, the changes to the rookie wage scale have made first round lineman fiscally viable.

3. Fisher and Snead like players with high ceilings. The Rams 2012 draft and Jeff Fisher's draft history is littered with players yet to reach their talent ceiling. In 2012 players such as Michael Brockers, Isaiah Pead, Brian Quick, and Rokevious Watkins were selected over their more polished counterparts.

While in Tennessee, Fisher preferred players with high ceilings as well. The selections of Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Derrick Morgan, and Jason Jones all justify this assertion. All of the aforementioned players were considered raw when they entered the NFL.

The Current Roster and Positions of Need

The Rams have some glaring holes on the roster that must be addressed. Here is a spreadsheet with my analysis of the Rams current roster.

Red = Locked In Starter

Green = FA in 2014 (Darian Stewart, and Eugene Sims as well)

Pink = Unproven/Upgradable

Orange = Dependable backu

Positional Breakdown

WR:

The wide receiver position is filled with unproved players and has little to no depth. Austin Pettis has developed a repoire with Sam Bradford, but could be upgraded. Brian Quick is expected to start, but is still a question mark. Chris Givens is a lock as a day 1 starter.

The Rams will look to take a WR early.

O-Line:

Jake Long, Harvey Dahl, and Scott Wells are locked in at their positions. Roger Saffold will definitely start at RT, however he will be a FA in '14 and the Rams may choose to be proactive in replacing him. Rokevious Watkins and Shelly Smith are unknowns and, depending on how the Rams project them, could be upgraded in the draft.

Jeff Fisher could address the offensive line early or choose to stick to his roots and wait. Either way, I would not be surprised.

QB:

The quarterback position is locked. Sam Bradford is the guy, Austin Davis is the back-up, and Kellen Clemons is the bench warmer.

RB:

Although the Rams spent two draft picks on running back last year, the Rams may look to add some bulk.

Pead and Richardson are both in the 'change of pace' mold so don't be surprised if the Rams go RB early.

D-Line:

The defensive line is the Rams strongest positional group. Brockers, Quinn and Long are all beasts and Langford looks poised for a breakout year.

The Rams do lack depth at the defensive tackle position so it wouldn't surprise me at all if they take one early if one slides.

LB's:

James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar are solid linebackers, but the Rams lack an athletic presence. Outside linebacker may be the most glaring hole behind free safety. Dunbar also becomes a free agent after the 2013 season.

The Rams will address outside linebacker early. Count on it.

Corner:

While many perceive this group as finished, depth at corner is a need for the Rams. Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan present a formidable duo and Trumaine Johnson looks to have the makings of a good one, but that's it.

Corner looks like it will be a mid-late round target for the Rams.

Safety:

The organization looks to be behind Darian Stewart (a '14 UFA), however there is little to go off of. After Stewart, the Rams tout a pair of unknowns. Thankfully for the Rams, the safety position is loaded in this years draft.

I would be shocked if the Rams haven't selected a safety by round 3.

KR/PR:

Not a traditional position, but the Rams are in need of a return man. Watching kick return and punt return last year was torture for Rams fans.

Hopefully the Rams do something to address the return game.

Best Player Available

The Rams have the luxury of multiple 1st round picks in the next two drafts. If a player such as Sheldon Richardson were to fall, it would be hard for the Rams pass on a blue-chip prospect such as Richardson knowing that they get to pick again in the first. Don't be shocked if the Rams take a player who falls on draft day that wouldn't fill one of the Rams glaring holes.

Drafting For Division

The Rams are in a unique division. The Seahawks and 49ers both run offenses that feature mobile quarterbacks. The Rams may choose to draft players specifically to stymie Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. An athletic sideline-to-sideline player such as Alec Ogletree could fit that mold.

Trades

The Rams drafted well last season but they are still on the lower end of the talent spectrum within the NFL. For that reason I don't foresee the Rams trading up, however, a trade down seems like it could possibly happen. The draft this year will feature a gaggle of trades - perhaps the most ever in the first round.

Pick Player Position Height Weight Class
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OT 6'6 306 Jr.

The Kansas City Chiefs' pick at the top of the draft is becoming more and more apparent as Branden Albert trade talk continues. Luke Joeckel is the top tackle, although some believe Eri Fisher may have a higher ceiling.

Luke Joeckel scouting report

2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dion Jordan, Linebacker DE/LB 6'6 1/4 248 Sr.

Some may put a quarterback in this slot, but Dion Jordan seems like the best fit for what Gus Bradley wants to do.

Dion Jordan scouting report

3. Miami Dolphins - Trade W/ Oakland
Eric Fisher, Cental Michigan OT 6'7 1/4
306 Sr.

Miami needs a tackle after losing Jake Long to the Rams. Eric Fisher looks to have the highest ceiling of all the tackles in the draft. The Dolphins are also stocked with extra picks and the Raiders need to move back to recoup picks. Of course a trade for Brandan Albert could change this.

4. Philadelphia Eagles
Geno Smith, West Virginia
QB 6'2 3/8
218 Sr.

The Eagles only have Michael Vick locked up for 1 season and Geno Smith looks like a likely candidate to run Chip Kelly's offense.

Geno Smith scouting report

5. Detroit Lions
Ezekial Ansah, BYU DE 6'5 1/4 271 Sr.

Tackle is a position being linked to the Lions in the last few days, but I still think Detroit goes with a pass rusher. Ansah is raw but is a physical freak.

6. Cleveland Browns
Dee Milliner, Alabama CB 5'11 7/8 201 Jr.

The Browns could pair Milliner with Joe Haden and have a formidable secondary. In today's passing league, having two good corners is necessary.

7. Arizona Cardinals
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma OT 6'6 303 Sr.

Cardinals QB's were punching bags last season. Lane Johnson is a natural fit.

8. San Francisco 49ers
Tavon Austin, West Virginia WR 5'8 1'2 174 Sr.

I know this is a drastic move. The 49ers are flush with picks, and the QB the Bills want can be had later in the draft. The Jets are reportedly interested in Tavon Austin, so the move makes a modicum of sense.

9. New York Jets
Barkevious Mingo, LSU DE/OLB 6'4 1/4 241 Jr.

The Jets are sure to be interested in a quarterback at some point on draft weekend, but with Geno gone, the Jets look to add an impact player on defense.

10. Tennessee Titans
Chance Warmack, Alabama G 6'2 1/2
317 Sr.

Having to deal with dominant defensive tackles almost on a weekly basis could influence the Titans to select a dominant guard - enter Chance Warmack.

Team Player Position Height Weight Class
11. San Diego Chargers
Jarvis Jones, Georgia DE/OLB 6'2 7/8 245 Jr.

The Chargers need to find a replacement for Shaun Phillips and if Jarvis Jones checks out medically, he could be their man.

12. Oakland Raiders (TRADE with Dolphins)
Sharrif Floyd, Florida DT 6'2 5/8
297 Jr.

This would be a dream scenario for the Raiders. Move back and gain picks and also land the top defensive tackle on their board.

13. New York Jets (TRADE with Buccaneers)
Jonathan Cooper, UNC G 6'2 1/8 311 Sr.

In another draft trade, the Jets wind up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers first round pick as part of a Darrelle Revis trade. The Jets decide to upgrade their pourous line and select a plug and play guard.

14. Carolina Panthers
Star Lotulelei, Utah DT 6'2 1/2
311 Sr.

Star could end up being drafted top 3, but due to needs he could end up falling. The Panthers would most likely be Star's floor.

15. New Orleans Saints
Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
DT 6'2 1/2
294 Jr.

Sheldon Richardson would be the perfect 3-4 end as the Saints begin the transition.

16. St. Louis Rams
Alec Ogletree, Georgia LB 6'2 1/2 242 Jr.

The emergence of the read-option and mobile qb's within the NFC West forces the Rams to respond with athleticism. With Austin already gone, Patterson, Richardson, Vacarro, or Cyprien could also be selected here.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee WR 6'1 7/8 216 Jr.


With the departure of Mike Wallace, the Steelers are looking to add another vertical threat. Cordarrelle Patterson fits that mold. He also could offer relief in the return game.

Cordarrelle Patterson scouting report

18. Dallas Cowboys
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas FS 6'1
215 Sr.

The Cowboys are said to be high on Kenny Vaccaro and the more I think about the draft, the more I can see him lasting this far. D.J. Fluker is also a strong option.

19. New York Giants
DJ Fluker, Alabama DE 6'4 5/4 339 Sr.


Fluker could go much earlier than this, but the Giants would be ecstatic if he dropped to them. The two DE's out of Florida State could also be in play.

20. Chicago Bears
Arthur Brown, Kansas State LB 6'0
241 Sr.
The era of Urlacher is over and a replacement is needed. Arthur Brown is a physical freak and has the versatility to play all over the 4-3.

More: Complete NFL Draft coverage

Team Player Position Height Weight Class
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
S 6'0 1/4
217 Sr.

The Bengals have to add a safety early in the 2013 NFL Draft and with KV gone, Cyprien looks like the most eligible bachelor.

22. Buffalo Bills (Trade Up From 31 from SF trade)
EJ Manuel, Florida State
QB 6'4 5/8 237 Sr.

With the Rams missing out on Tavon Austin at #16, they jump on the chance to take the next most explosive player in the draft. Nick Wagoner and Jim Thomas have both hinted that the Rams would prefer to add speed at the wideout position so with Patterson and Austin gone, a move back is just what the Dr. ordered.

23. Minnesota Vikings
Keenan Allen, California
WR 6'2 206 Jr.

The Vikings need weapons...BAD. Keenan Allen may not run in the 4.4's, but he runs the cleanest routes of anyone in the draft and has sticky hands.

Keenan Allen scouting report

24. Indianapolis Colts
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
CB 6'1 1/2
210 Jr.

The Colts are in need of a CB and Rhodes is the second best corner in the draft. The Colts would love to nab him this late in the draft. The Colts could also look at a 3-4 DE or OLB.

25. Minnesota Vikings
DJ Hayden, Houston CB 5'11 191 Sr.

DJ Hayden is a fast rising prospect. The Vikings could use some help in the secondary and with Milliner and Rhodes off the board, Hayden would be the next logical choice.

26. Green Bay Packers
Menelik Watson, Florida State
OT 6'5 1/8
310 Jr.

The Packers have to fix their offensive line and Menelik Watson's ceiling is out of site. Watson has the athleticism to play multiple positions which is an asset the Packers covet.

27. Houston Texans
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson WR 6'1
214 Jr.

The Texans will be looking to upgrade their WR core and DeAndre Hopkins is the best available WR. Justin Hunter could also present an interesting option to pair along side of Andre Johnson.

28. Denver Broncos
Bjoern Werner, Florida State DE 6'3
266 Jr.

Werner would fill the hole left by the fax machine snafu. Werner is day 1 ready which is important for a team looking to win now, which the Broncos are.

29. New England Patriots
Desmond Trufant, Washington
CB 6'0 217 Sr.

A run on cornerbacks is expected to start somewhere around the late first or early second. The Patriots could be just the team to spark the run. I have seen Trufant mocked as high as 12 and as late as the middle of the second.

30. Atlanta Falcons
Tank Carradine, Florida State
DE 6'4
276 Sr.

Carradine has a ton of potential, but it is coming back from injury. The risk involved with Carradine won't likely scare the Falcons. Carradine could end up the best 4-3 DE out of this draft class in 2-3 years.

31. St. Louis Rams (Trade Back with Bills who traded back with 49ers) Justin Hunter, Tennessee WR 6'4
205 Sr.

Justin Hunter has extreme upside, which fits the Jeff Fisher draft mold. He could end up the best WR from this draft. He also has size and would fit nicely with the WR's the Rams already have.


32. Baltimore Ravens
Matt Elam, Florida S 5'10
206 Jr.

Matt Elam can step in from day 1 and strike fear in the opponent - something the Ravens defense has been good at recently.



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