2014 NFL Mock Draft: Needs and Narratives

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

A trio of mock drafts from some notable names have the Rams following some conventional needs that are shaping the narratives to go with them.

We're back in the mock mix again, today with new offerings from the Godfather, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., as well as tow NFL Network mocks from Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks.

Starting with Kiper, his first mock is a wild ride, unfortunately behind ESPN's insider paywall.

At the top, you could see it coming a mile away. Johnny Manziel is now leading off mock drafts, and that groundswell's only going to grow. For the Rams at 2, though...

Jake Matthews, Texas A&M OT

Rams general manager Les Snead has already said that he'll take calls on this draft slot, which makes plenty of sense given the fact that the three teams drafting directly after St. Louis need a quarterback. So if you want a certain QB, you might be trying to work out a deal with the Rams to assure you get him. That said, I can't project a trade, and Matthews would be a tremendous fit for the Rams, who need to bring in an upgrade at left tackle this offseason given the uncertainty regarding Jake Long's health. Matthews has proved capable of dominating on both the left and right side, in fact, and comes with more assurances in that regard than the tackles drafted at the top of the board last season. At tackle, I also think Greg Robinson could compete with Matthews to be the first one taken, and I don't think it's out of the question that St. Louis takes a QB or top defensive lineman.

Nothing groundbreaking. Next.

Mike Evans, Texas A&M WR

Last year the Rams added Tavon Austin, a player who is explosive in space and hard to cover due to his quickness and straight-line speed. In Evans, they get a mammoth wide receiver who can't be covered capably because he can simply box out defenders for passes and get to the ball at a point higher than anybody around him. Johnny Manziel benefited greatly from his presence; so can Sam Bradford. We've seen basketball players like Julius Thomas, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham transition well to the NFL after doing very little in college football. Well, Evans was a basketball player and was dominant in college football. Speed is a concern, but it can't ruin the value of his size advantage.

Assuming the public record on Sam holds, I think finding a Brian Quick replacement/pusher might be the biggest need on the team along with safety help. Other than that, they're in a good BPA offseason.

It's a good mock to take in in January. Plenty of rational Rams options are available at 13, so let's hope the 3-12 teams are leaning toward some iteration of this mock.

Onto the NFL Network duo. Jeremiah's gets eye-opening near the back end of the 1st while Brooks' is a bit more conventional given the mid-January consensus.

At 2?

Jeremiah: Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR

Brooks: Greg Robinson, Auburn OT

Video of Jeremiah and Brooks discussing their #2 picks (dear NFL: It's 2014. Not allowing people to embed your videos is the most NFL thing you could do, so uh, stop.)

Brooks' notes: Jake Long's injury prompts Jeff Fisher to secure a franchise tackle to protect Sam Bradford.

I think we're going to see more and more mocks sliding Robinson to the Rams. He's a system/personality fit, we all know Snead loves his alma mater, and it's a roster fit as well. And it'd be really hard to find a reason not to want Sammy Watkins.

In between the Rams' two picks, Jeremiah cuts us off from Robinson, Evans, Matthews and Oklahoma St. CB Justin Gilbert; Brooks has us missing out on Matthews, Gilbert, Alabama S HaHa Clinton-Dix and Michigan OT Taylor Lewan.

Jeremiah: Taylor Lewan, Michigan OT

Brooks: Ryan Shazier, Ohio St. OLB

Brooks' notes: The Rams could add an explosive defender to a dominant frontline that features a host of young, athletic disruptors.

The Shazier pick doesn't make a ton of sense to me. He's got a lot of Alec Ogletree to him, so I don't know that this makes as much sense as other options. As good as Tree was in his rookie year, what would you do with two of him? I'd much prefer Alabama's C.J. Mosley if we're looking to add a third linebacker to play more 4-3.

Moreover, Brooks has Watkins, Evans, Michigan St. CB Darqueze Dennard and USC WR Marqise Lee (among tons of others, obviously) available, so I'm selling here.

As for Lewan, I don't see much right tackle capability there, so you're strictly looking at a Jake Long replacement with this move. That's opposed to say Robinson who wouldn't suffer much from switching bookends IMO. That being said, I guess you could do worse. It's mock stabby season; you can't really be all that wrong because it's still so early. That being said, I see a Kelvin Benjamin/Marqise Lee duo at 15 & 16 in Jeremiah's mock and I can't help but feel the Rams would be better served with one of those options.

It really depends on where you feel the Rams could improve most with a lot of these early mocks. Does the receiving corps need more talent? Where is the offensive line underserved? Could bolstering the defensive line make sense? Linebacking gap? What about a secondary that has serious roster issues?

The best solution is probably to trade the #2 pick back to Washington and address all of those with 1st rounders in the next three years.

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