We're used to finding the best prospects, and considering them the savior of our franchise.
We're used to looking at our gaping holes, and finding prospects that fill those holes.
However, this offseason appears to be different.
We now have far fewer gaping holes.
We have a general manager that we trust.
We have a team that can play competent football as-is.
I realized a couple of weeks ago, that we're no longer upgrading terrible football players who don't belong in the NFL. We're upgrading mediocre football players who aren't hurting the team, but could be improved.
Aside from a safety spot and a guard spot, it's hard to argue that any of our positions MUST be upgraded for this team to have success.
We've now entered into a period that we can draft for value rather than for need... And that's an exciting thing.
That being said, let's take a look at what that draft might look like.
Round 1, Pick 2: TRADE! #6, #37, 2015 1st
We'll likely find a suitor for this pick. I assume that the Texans will be trading back as well, so I'm not sure if they'll be moving up for Clowney, a QB, or a Tackle. Let's assume that the Falcons move up from 6 overall to take either Clowney or Jake Matthews. They give us the #6, #37, and a 2015 1st-Rounder.
Round 1, Pick 6: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
We've seen the previous two years that when the Rams can run the ball effectively, they win games. Joe Barksdale played well at RT for us, but he can clearly be upgraded. Jake Long was playing at a pro bowl level, but he tore his ACL. Robinson has the strength and athleticism to fit in perfectly with what we're trying to do in the run game. Best case scenario - he comes in and starts right away at RT, learns the ins and outs of pass protection, and going into his second contract can move over to LT (he'll only be 25ish at that point as he'll turn 21 around week 1 of the season). Worst case scenario - he struggles with pass pro, and moves inside to guard. With Long and Barksdale playing great and adequate football respectively, Robinson could still provide a great service to this team on the inside for a few years while he learns pass pro.
Round 1, Pick 13: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Here, we fill one of our two big holes. Clinton-Dix had a great workout at the combine that backed up his tape. While some have moved Calvin Pryor above Clinton-Dix on their boards, I see Clinton-Dix as a better fit for our defense. He's what you want in a balanced safety prospect, possessing both the ability to cover and play in the box.
Round 2, Pick 5 (from ATL): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Donald is a difficult prospect to project. He has the athleticism of a top-15 pick, but could easily drop due to his size. However, he's just what the doctor ordered for the Rams. Having an interior pass rushing presence such as Donald for sub packages will open things up for Robert Quinn and Chris Long. He could really help take this defense over the top.
Round 2, Pick 12: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Gregg Williams loves to apply pressure in his defensive scheme, and Kyle Van Noy is an excellent blitzer. He's a splash play makers, and has a skillset that compliments the linebackers that we already have. Adding him along with Donald greatly increases our already potent pass rush.
Round 3, Pick 11: Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi St
Jackson helps us fill another spot on our thin OL. While our bookends are covered, there are a lot of question marks on the interior. Will we be able to retain Saffold? Will Wells and/or Dahl be cap-casualties? One way or another, we need to bring in more talent on the interior. Assuming the worst, that Wells, Dahl, and Saffold are unable to be retained, we could see a starting lineup of Jake Long, Barrett Jones, Tim Barnes, Gabe Jackson, and Greg Robinson, with Barksdale being a backup and Shelley Smith providing depth at guard.
Round 4, Pick 10: Dakota Dozier, G, Furman
We dip into the small school prospect bin to find Dozier, who will hopefully prove not only to be a gem of a name for an offensive linemen, but also a gem of a prospect. Dozier played on the outside at Furman, but will move inside for the NFL. While adding 1 interior linemen is nice, bringing in 2 provides me with much more comfort.
Round 5, Pick 13: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Murray was pushed down draft boards due to his height and his ACL tear. However, in round 5 he provides good value for a team like the Rams. He's a guy with experience playing in big games, and working in a pro-style system. Within a year, he could replace Kellen Clemens as our primary backup QB.
Round 6, Pick 12: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue
Cortland Finnegan will likely be given a chance to redeem himself following an abysmal 2013 campaign. However, we still need to bring in some DB depth, and Allen fits a profile similar to Finnegan. He's undersized, yet gritty and physical. Allen can be an immediate special teams contributor, and can potentially play some nickel.
Round 7, Pick 11: A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Leonard is a ridiculous athlete who has some large character concerns. He reportedly dragged his girlfriend out of his house by her hair and locked the door. That isn't something I'm a fan of. But a 252 lb man running a 4.5 40 and having only 7% body fat IS something I'm a fan of. While our group of TEs played extremely well in 2014, it never hurts to bring in some athletic competition.