So, this is my third mock draft. I decided to focusing on events likely to happen rather than on ones I wished would happen. I'm not going to project 5-plus trades as I believe that to be unrealistic. As much as I like the idea of trading Chris Long and drafting Jadeveon Clowney, I do not foresee that ever happening. I'm going to walk through this offseason plan step-by-step to elaborate on why each move benefits us. Also, at the end of this article, I will post a 53 man roster.
This is someone I believe with definitely be a cap casualty and it's not exactly a loss. Wells has brought very little to the table as he has been injured most of his tenure with the Rams. He is replaceable. By cutting him, we would saving $4.5 million in cap space. That is just too much money that can be better spent elsewhere.
To be honest, I haven't really liked his play from the beginning. Other than the 3 game stretch to start off the 2012 season, he has been pretty aweful the other 29 games. He was injured half the time, it seemed, and was horrible whenever he was able to step on the field. With his release, we would be saving $7 million in cap space. I'll take it. We can find better talent at a better price.
Dahl is the one cap casualty I actually have a fondness for. Age may not be affecting him too much on the field, although his play slightly diminished in 2013, his body is starting to take a toll. He can't seem to stay on the field long enough to get in a groove. He needs to be released. His $4 million could help us immensely and his contract leaves no dead money on the books.
Honestly, he doesn't save us much money. I just want him gone out of pure spite. We could use the roster spot.
- Not Roger Saffold
The guy would be a tremendous help to us. However, he wants to be paid more than we are willing to give him, as he sees himself as a Tackle when he actually fits better as a guard.
- JoLonn Dunbar
He has played well as a starter for us. He has played under Gregg Williams before and I feel he will flourish under his leadership. I also feel, considering his suspension last year, that he will come at a cheaper price due to this history and desire to play under Williams like he initially wanted.
A good backup guard that is too vital for us to let go considering our diminished offensive line. It seems our offensive line is always diminished, actually, so I think he is an important retainer.
Another vital piece to the puzzle. He should come at a cheap price tag and he gave hints of playing the center position well when Wells was out.
Chances are Bradford will not restructure. I'm hoping that he does as he has not lived up to his contract. I like Bradford and would like to keep him, but he hasn't earned the money he has received. If he would restructure, it would give us the chance to improve our team and make him look like the quarterback that we all perceived him to be when he signed that ridiculous contract. He has all the leverage, but I'm hoping he will do it nontheless.
- Chris Long
I know he's already restructured his contract. Twice. However, the guy is being paid a ridiculous amount of money that we just can't afford. He earned his contract, without question. Ultimately, though, the money he will be paid over the length of his contract is way more than he is worth on the field over that same contract span. I'm hoping he restructures to some extent, maybe turning some of it into bonuses.
Another player who has earned his contract. I don't feel we necessarily need to reduce what we are paying him. I am hoping, though, that he gives us some relief in 2014. He will be paid $10 million in 2014, whereas in 2015 he will receive $4 million. If those two years can be switched in a restructure, it would give us some temporary breathing room.
*With all the restructures and cuts, I'm hoping we will have enough cap space to sign two new players.
A brilliant cornerback who fits perfectly in our system. With Gregg Williams on board, Verner could see this as a potential destination. He flourished under Williams from his time in Tennessee (in both tenures) and Fisher was the man that drafted him. I think this would be the perfect fit for both parties involved. He shouldn't come at too steep a price and definitely not in the range that we paid Finnegan.
I don't know how many of you have heard of this guy. He has had to play as a second string safety on the Chiefs behind the likes of Eric Berry. However, in the final two games of the regular season, he got a chance to start and he shined. In the playoff loss to the Colts, Abdullah intercepted Andrew Luck twice. Due to being 31 years of age, he should come at a cheaper price than most safeties on the market. However, I feel he would be a good starting safety for the next 2-3 years.
*So now the draft. I will be making only one trade. The Rams trade the #2 pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their 2014 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th round picks. This may not seem like much, but it's realistic. They were in competition with the Falcons to move up to the #2 spot to draft Clowney as both the Bucs and the Falcons have a dire need for a pass rusher. As this is a deep draft, the Rams happily accept to both improve their starting lineup as well as bolster their depth.
#7: (from the Bucs) Greg Robinson, Offensive Tackle, Auburn
A perfect fit for us. We get good value at this pick. He excels far more as a run blocker, but his pass protection is above average. His experience is at left tackle, but he could easily play right tackle as well. His athleticism is great for his size. He would help us tremendously to bolster our offensive line, especially considering Jake Long may be out to start the 2014 season.
#13: Ra'Shede Hageman, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
All of you know how beneficial this player would be for the Rams. I've seen him in a many a mock draft coming to the Rams as he fits our system to a tee. The guy is an athletic freak of nature. He is absolutely phenomenal at stopping the run with great upside as a pass rusher. He is still raw and needs to work on his technique to become more consistent. However, I don't feel there is a better prospect or fit for our team at this pick.
#38: (from the Bucs) David Yankey, Offensive Guard, Stanford
I think this would be a great pick for the Rams. he grades out evenly as a run blocker and pass protector, both above average. He is quick and athletic enough to fit in at left guard. With the loss of Saffold, Wells, Dahl, and Williams, we could use some help all across the offensive line. Yankey also has some experience at tackle, so his versatility is a plus.
#44: Kyle Van Noy, Outside Linebacker, BYU
An impact player with the skillset to disrupt an offense. He has great field vision and is a playmaker. He is above average in every aspect, from coverage to pass rushing, although he is not elite in any one characteristic. He fits well as a 4-3 OLB.
#69: (from the Bucs) Zach Mettenberger, Quarterback, LSU
We need a better backup quarterback. As decent as Clemens played while Bradford was hurt in 2013, I don't think I can stand watching him play another game if Bradford goes down. Enter: Mettenberger. This prospect could easily be going in the first round had it not been for his ACL tear late in the season. He has the physical tools and skillset to be a very good backup quarterback in the NFL, with the potential for more.
#75: Jared Abbrederis, Wide Receiver, Wisconsin
A sleeper in the draft. Considered one the best route runners in the draft, Abbrederis has a solid build. He's quick, but not necessarily fast. Even with a less-than-decent quarterback throwing the ball to him, he made great plays. in 2013, he got 78 catches, 1,081 yards, and 7 touchdowns. If we aren't getting Sammy Watkins, I would rather wait to pick him up.
4th round: Pierre Desir, Cornerback, Lindenwood
He posted some nice numbers, although it was against lesser competition. This is someone we could draft and develop for two years. With Alterraun, Jenkins, and Johnson ahead of him on the depth chart, there is no rush.
5th round: (from the Bucs) Tre Boston, Safety, North Carolina
5th round: James White, Running Back, Wisconsin
6th Round: Spencer Long, Offensive Guard, Nebraska
7th rounder: James Morris, Inside Linebacker, Iowa
So there you have it. This would give us a great 53 man roster to start the season and we would be covered on all fronts with good enough depth. Here's our roster:
QB: Sam Bradford, Zach Mettenberger
WR: Chris Givens, Brian Quick
WR: Stedman Bailey, Jared Abbrederis
LT: Jake Long, Greg Robinson
RT: Greg Robinson, Joe Barksdale
LG: David Yankey, Barrett Jones
RG: Shelley Smith, Spencer Long
C: Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones
DE: Chris Long, William Hayes
SLB: JoLonn Dunbar, Kyle Van Noy, Sammy Brown
ILB: James Laurinaitis, James Morris
CB: Alterraun Verner, Trumaine Johnson
FS: Husain Abdullah, Rodney McLeod
P: Johnny Hekker
LS: Jake McQuaide