In a little over 24 hours, my favorite moment of the year will start. The NFL draft will finally begin. To pass the time, and to eleviate concerns, I decided to do a mailbag of last second draft questions.
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Clint Hargrave: How many WR will we draft? How far do you think Keenan Allen fall?
I think the Rams will draft at least two wide recievrs. One within the first two rounds, and one in the later rounds. Unless the Rams pick Tavon Austin, I suspect they will be looking to draft a WR who could also help in the return game.
Deven Pfister: What are some of the differences between Cooper and Warmack? Better run blocking or pass blocking? Is Hopkins's ceiling as low as most draft pundits say it is?
Both players are excellent all-around guard prospects. Cooper is faster. He has elite speed for an offensive lineman and will be great at leading RBs on pulling plays. Warmack is a bit stronger, and more of a road grader than Cooper. Cooper may be better suited for a zone scheme while Warmack might be best in a power, but both players could play at a high level in either system. They are not that far apart from each other.
I don't think Hopkins' ceiling is low at all. He can be a great WR in the NFL. He doesn't have elite physical tools, that's for certain, but Hopkins still is a great athlete who knows how to get open. In the NFL, if you can consistently get open, you are going to have a great career. It will all depend on how he adjusts to tighter, more physical coverage in the NFL.
Robert Buchanan III: Do the Rams plan on getting a fullback? Every RB needs a lead blocker to clear the way for him.
I highly doubt it. The team cut Brit Miller in the middle of last season, and finished off the year without a true full back on the team. The full back position is dying. More teams are moving to single back formations with either 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) or 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TEs). The Rams have a tremendous blocking TE with Lance Kendricks. He can easily do the things a fullback would do, while also being a greater threat in the passing game.
Bryan Uday Polanco: How likely is it that the Rams move up in the draft?
Nothing is impossible, but I think it is unlikely the Rams will trade up, simply for the reason that I do not see a player the Rams would want badly enough to give up picks for. The talent at the top of this draft is in defensive line and offensive tackles, two positions the Rams are solid in. The talent in the mid to late first round is with wide receivers and safeties, two positions the Rams are weak in.
It is far more likely the Rams look to trade down to acquire more draft picks. There is good depth in the draft this year, and the Rams may want to cash in with more draft picks.
Adnan Hüssaini: What's the latest on EJD/lease situation? Haven't heard too much about in a while...
That's because nothing has changed. The arbitrator agreed with the St. Louis Rams proposal, and the city will obviously reject it. The lease will run out in 2014 and the Rams will be free to do what they please. They could go on a year to year lease with the city to play in the Dome, or they could move the team.
I don't see that happening. Like most stadium negotiations, this will go to the last minute. In the end, I believe the Rams and the city of St. Louis will agree to build a new stadium in the St. Louis area.
Joseph Matthew: If all three are available at 16, who do the Rams take - Kenny Vaccaro, Tavon Austin or Chance Warmack/Jonathan Cooper?
Between these four players, I'd imagine Tavon Austin is the top guy on the Rams board. I wouldn't be shocked to see Kenny Vaccaro picked above Austin. Vaccaro isn't in the mold of most Jeff Fisher safeties, but if the Rams think he is a top talent, they can make a fit for Vaccaro in the defense.
Let's rephrase the question. Will the Rams trust a 2nd year player, who was an undrafted free agent, and who has no meaningful playing experience to start at safety in 2013? How about no.
Parrty Hardy: If Wells goes down again, can Barnes handle the position?
I have no idea. It's much to early to make that call. The Rams are going to bring in competition at every position, as they always do. Before we can even think about Matt Barnes being a dependable back up, he's going to have to earn a spot on this team. A 2nd year player who was an undrafted free agent has no guarantees of making the team.
Thanks for all the questions, and a Happy Early Draft Day to everyone! Remember to Keep Calm and Snead On!