The Rams made some serious waves last year, splurging on Jared Cook and trading up to draft Tavon Austin ahead of the enamored New York Jets. It didn't turn out the way they wanted and going into 2014, they'll still be looking for receiving help. They've drafted seven receivers and tight ends (combined) in the last three years and they're still looking for that go-to guy; Painting a rookie as a savior doesn't do the Rams any favors.
But what's left at this point?
The Rams haven't had a receiver top 800 yards since Torry Holt. Let that sad, sad fact sink in for a minute. The Rams have failed Sam Bradford for four years now, adding 'potential superstars' to a team that needed surefire stardom.
Bringing in Tavon Austin or Jared Cook (who needs to really improve if he wants to earn that cash) wasn't the end. They need to go after the best receiver available. No more 4th rounder receivers with an incomplete game. No more Division-II players who need an entire contract to blossom. It's Sammy Watkins or bust.
And you know what? That should be okay with you. Watkins, a former a track star, possesses game-changing speed, incredible agility and solid hands. He has the spark you look for in a number one guy. Don't believe me? Check this play out. Look at what he did to Ohio State in the Orange Bowl if you still aren't convinced.
The Rams need that game-changer, and that's exactly what Watkins is.
Other Options: Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), Jadaveon Clowney (South Carolina)
The Rams are in a tough spot here. It really depends on what they'd like to do with Rodger Saffold and who they target in free agency. If they bring Saffold back, they've largely figured out their offensive line. Haha Clinton-Dix is a good bet here, but I don't think he quite fits the coverage safety the Rams would do best with adding. So the Rams are freeing up cap space and getting younger by adding Louis Nix III.
Put simply, Nix is a monster. He's a behemoth of a defensive tackle that could swallow up double teams with ease. The frightening thing about Nix is just how quick he is for a 340 lb. tackle. That quickness and obvious power give him quite the ability to push the middle of the pocket and free up Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers.
Against the run, Nix is as you'd expect. His size and power do well for him here to eat space, but he needs to stay on top of his conditioning if he expects to battle NFL lineman for four quarters of play every week.
The bottom line? If Nix stays motivated (not a character problem, a size problem), he'll dominate. Drafting him would elevate the Rams defensive line from 'one of the best' to 'the best'.
Other Options: Taylor Lewan (Michigan), HaHa Clinton-Dix (Alabama)
The Rams need secondary help. It looked like a strength heading into 2013, but that hasn't panned out. The team could jettison Cortland Finnegan and his bloated salary, but that only leaves them thinner at a position where they can't afford to lose a single player.
I'll apologize if Joyner wasn't what you were expecting. If he wasn't 5-8, he'd be a first rounder. It's that simple. His height will limit him in the NFL, but his speed and physicality would make for a great fit as a nickel in the Rams defense.
Joyner is a reliable tackler who has the capability to deliver a hard hit or two. He's a capable blitzer who (watch his game against Clemson if you're looking for examples) reminds me of Robert Quinn in the fact that he's always going to try and swat-strip the ball.
He's good in coverage and is way more physical than his small frame would suggest. He has experience as a safety and in special teams, so he could make an impact regardless of whether or not he starts.
Other Options: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (University of Washington), Marcus Roberson (Florida)
You could go QB here, but the Rams have starting needs to fill. I'd rather the Rams spend a lower pick on a developmental player - they already know what they have in Kellen Clemens, so no need to look for another QB here.
With that in mind, it's a tossup between UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo or Yankey. Both are guards and both are solid day two selections. I'm going with Yankey, but it isn't easy. Yankey is a high character player who'll be focused on improving from day one.
As with all Stanford players, he has a great football intellect. He played LT last year, but didn't look as comfortable and projects as a guard in the NFL. His strength is in his run blocking, where he'd project as a great fit in the ground and pound offense highlighted by Zac Stacy.
Like Barrett Jones, he gets by on football smarts and his technical skills. He's not a fantastic athlete by any means, but he has good power and uses his hands well. He's tough, nasty and physical in the trenches - a typical Jeff Fisher offensive lineman.
Whether or not Saffold or Harvey Dahl return, the Rams should add some interior line depth like they did last year with Jones.
Other Options: Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA), Andre Hal (Vanderbilt)