I'm generally not a "repeat" mocker. I usually do a mock a couple of days prior to the draft and leave it at that. But with all the enthusiasm from all the great Ram fans on this site I have been more involved in pre-draft discussions than ever before. That has led me to post my mocks as they evolve. This is not my finished product I suspect, but I think it is pretty close to what I will settle on the day before the real draft begins. My previous, pre-free agency mock went as follows:
1a - Keenan Allen, WR
1b - Matt Elam, SS
2 - Gavin Escobar, TE
3 - Kiko Alonso, LB
4 - Brian Schwenke, C
5 - Gerald Hodges, LB
6 - Marquess Wilson, WR
7 - Mike Purcell, DT
Obviously the need for a TE is gone, but the need for WR, OLB, and S help is a strong as ever to this point. SJax has also left in the time since that last mock. Things may change in the next 20 days prior to the draft, but this mock reflects the current situation of the Rams roster. As usual I don't mock trades, but I do think the Rams will have an opportunity to trade back with one, and maybe even both, of their first round picks if they so choose.
I looked at 5 mocks to determine who was available at my picks.
1st Round, Pick #16 - Keenan Allen, WR, California. I took him at this spot in my pre-free agency mock, and I'm sticking with him here. Allen is the most polished receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft class, and the safest pick at WR in the draft, who should be able to step in and contribute right away. He has a very good skill set with speed, route-running, hands, size and play-making ability. He can line up anywhere, including the slot, giving the Rams the flexibility they desire from their Wideouts. He may not turn into an elite receiver, which is true for every WR in this draft, but at the very worst, he looks like he will be a quality No. 2 receiver.
1st Round, Pick #22 - Matt Elam, S, Florida. Another repeat from my pre-free agency mock. He's a violent and explosive player, and I think he's the best Safety prospect in the 2013 draft. He played close to the line of scrimmage or in the box a lot and is a playmaker, either when blitzing or one on one in coverage. He can cover the slot receiver. He has the ability to be tremendously disruptive and blow up a play before it develops, has catch up speed to chase down a play, and is instinctive in getting his hands up to disrupt at the catch point when in coverage. Younger, faster, higher ceiling version of our former Safety Q. Mikell, the NFL player he best compares to.
2nd Round, Pick #46 - Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut. He has explosive hitting ability, is versatile, and plays well in space versus the run and pass. Moore has serious speed and strength, and can stay on the field for all three downs. He showed off his speed, good instincts, and physicality in the East-West Shrine game, the Senior Bowl, and over the course of three quality seasons in Connecticut.
3rd Round, Pick #78 - Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno St. He's athletic, agile, has good straight-line speed, terrific closing speed and diagnoses where a play is going and arrives in time to make a play, run or pass. A ball hawk with good hands that has the agility, speed and vision to be a threat to score with the ball in his hands. He's a physical hitter and solid tackler. Also has fluidity and quickness to cover receivers out of the slot. Scouts compare him to Michael Griffin of the Titans (a Jeff Fisher draft pick) due to his impressive combo of size, athleticism, and playmaking ability.
4th Round, Pick #113 - Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina. Nice combination of size, strength, and overall athleticism makes him well suited to playing the tackle position. Good initial quickness when dropping back in pass pro, gains depth on initial kick-step and uses arm length and proper technique to cut off rushing angles. He's quick enough to recover when beaten initially thanks to his length and athleticism. Aggressive, physical player, has a mean streak and will knock defenders to the ground when he gets the chance. Fairly inexperienced, but has the attributes you look for in a OT. A high upside player.
5th Round, Pick #149 - Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina. Tavon Austin was gone at #16, so the Rams take the poor man's version here. Sanders is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands. Excellent stop-start quickness and lateral agility make him a nightmare to tackle in the open field. Though not crazy fast, he has explosive initial acceleration and reaches top end speed in a flash. Patient, creative runner, with excellent vision and feel for setting up his blocks. Shows good toughness and concentration and fights through arm tackles. Tough to tackle due to his low center of gravity and he actually has the ability to pick up yards after contact despite his small size. Fearless punt returner that makes teams pay for poor tackling.
6th Round, Pick #184 - Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame. He's a patient runner who excels at allowing blocks to develop, possesses quick feet, good footwork, and lateral agility. He shows good balance, elusiveness, and fluid change of direction skills. He can stick his foot in the ground and accelerate out of cuts and sidestep defenders. He runs with deceptive power and doesn't go down easy. Displays good awareness in pass protection.
7th round, pick #222 - Marcus Cromartie, CB, Wisconsin. Cromartie, selected by coaches and the media as a Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2012, is 6' 195 lb. and ran a 4.35 40 at Wisconsin's pro day last month. In the drills, Cromartie was reportedly a bit high in his backpedal, but that's something coaches can work on. A tall, fast, physical corner, the Senior CB had 62 total tackles last season and ran back his lone INT for a TD vs. Nebraska.