2013 NFL Draft grades: Mel Kiper approves


The man, myth, legend weighed in on the St. Louis Rams' 2013 NFL Draft class.

Mel Kiper is the Smith Barney of the NFL Draft: When he speaks, people listen. Apologies if that's not from a Smith Barney advertisement, after a string of 16-hours days my recall powers for 1980s commercials are maxed out. The man with the most famous hair in the draft business offered his early look at the results from 2013.

The ESPN guru was a big fan of what the Rams did this weekend. Les Snead has something to hang on his fridge now, a big red 'A-' from Kiper.

The Rams really needed to add a wide receiver (or two), and they really needed to add a safety. I thought they could use a running back, and if they had a guard available, that would be good. Well, the Rams did well. We can sit and remind ourselves that they don't have Robert Griffin III and that's part of the reason they have the ability to maneuver so well, but we forget the Rams improved as much or more than the Redskins last season, and we don't know exactly what RG III will do early in 2013.

St. Louis crushed the WR question, addingTavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. (Know who caught 113 passes to Austin's 111 at West Virginia last year? That was Bailey.)

And they caught those passes from Geno Smith who struggled through an up and down season. This is what the Rams' depth chart at receiver looks like right now:

1. Tavon Austin
2. Chris Givens
3. Brian Quick
4. Stedman Bailey
5. Austin Pettis
6. Nick Johnson
7. Raymond Radway

That's just seven receivers. We'll see what they do with undrafted free agents, but it seems like there's a need for at least a couple more camp bodies. If Brian Quick can get the hang of the NFL game and Chris Givens builds on his rookie season, the top of the depth chart could be very good thanks to this year's draft.

Kiper was big on the rest of the picks as well.

Alec Ogletree is an impact performer. Put him next to James Laurinaitis and throw away the key. T.J. McDonald wouldn't have been my safety choice at No. 71, but he wasn't much of a reach and they clearly like the fit. He'll start, too. Barrett Jones is your depth at guard, and I think Zac Stacy could see some action at running back. I really liked this draft, and found myself in agreement with my colleagues. Oh, and they still have an extra first-rounder next year. The NFC West arms race is not just a two-team affair.

I'm especially excited about Jones. I really believe that he could start this year, that he will start this year. Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells are dealing with injuries. There's no clear favorite at left guard. Don't be surprised to see Jones' name in the starting lineup somewhere in the middle of the line come Week 1.

Really, the only player from this draft class that doesn't figure for much playing time in 2013 is Brandon McGee, not mentioned by Kiper here. The Rams have three solid starters at the position. McGee's sub-4.4 speed will at least give him a shot as a return man.

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