As it always does during the offseason, my perception on our draft strategy/needs is beginning to change and take shape. Through review of film, team history, league history, coach draft history, etc., I've been getting a better and better grip on what I believe the Rams will do come draft time.
Now obviously, all this will once again change in about a week when we're all sipping on combine hype. So I figured I'd get my thoughts out before that happens.
Round 1, Pick 2: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
I have a strong suspicion that the Browns will end up overpaying for the first overall pick in order to draft Johnny Manziel, leaving the Rams sitting at #2 overall and the best defensive prospect in recent memory on the board. Yes, the Rams could trade this pick, but is there ANY player that is more worth a 1st round pick than Jadeveon Clowney? One thing you can never have enough of in this league is pass rushers.
Let's compare it to the NY Giants selection of JPP a few years ago. In 2009, Justin Tuck recorded 6 sacks and Osi Umenyiora recorded 7. In 2010, Tuck and Umenyiora each recorded 11.5 sacks, and Pierre-Paul added 4.5. Bringing in another pass rusher can increase the productivity of your current pass rushers, rather than limiting it. I have full confidence in Greg Williams ability to use all 3 of these stud DEs effectively.
Round 1, Pick 13 TRADED to Dallas Cowboys for 1.16 and 4.19
Dallas could look to move in front of the Bears, who also have a great need on the DL.
Round 1, Pick 16: HaHa Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
Just because it's frequently done doesn't mean it won't happen. Bringing in a safety of Clinton-Dix's ability and skillset is something the Rams MUST do in this offseason to take the next step as a defense.
Round 2, Pick 12: Gabe Jackson, LG, Mississippi St
Our interior OL is likely to be gutted this offseason, so we MUST bring in some more talent at these positions. Jackson is a powerful guard that could be plugged in right away.
Round 3, Pick 11: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
While I fully expect Cortland Finnegan to return, we still need more effective DBs. Desir could provide us with good depth initially, and could potentially be a strong starter in this league. He provides good potential value in round 3.
Round 4, Pick 10: Billy Turner, OL, North Dakota State
For two rounds in a row, the Rams dig in to the small school prospects. Turner has the skillset of a road-grader who will likely fit best at guard, but could potentially play some tackle. Sounds like exactly what we need given our situation with Jake Long.
Round 4, Pick 19 (from DAL): A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
McCarron really seems like a Jeff Fisher quarterback. Picking him up here in the 4th round should be considered a "win" for the Rams. While he may be just a game manager, the Rams showed this past year that a game manager is all we need as a backup.
Round 5, Pick 13: Bruce Gaston, DT, Purdue
Our depth at the DT spot is lacking. Gaston has the ability to come in and compete for playing time right away in a reserve role.
Round 6, Pick 12: James Morris, OLB, Iowa
Some competition and youth need to be brought in to compete for our third LB position.
Round 7, Pick 11: Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
We could potentially lose a few safeties this offseason, and need to bring in some replacements for depth.
Hope you enjoyed reading and aren't completely sick of mocks yet :)