Good day Rams fans! We are getting closer and closer to the 2014 NFL Draft! As much as watching the Seattle Seahawks host the Superbowl trophy and haven to hear ESPN talking about them being the next big dynasty hurts, it also has brought me a strange, unexpected happiness. So many people doubted the Seahawks three years ago. Experts discussed why they would fail, or how they wouldn't even make playoffs for the next five years. Draft fans ridiculed their draft picks year after year. And yet here they are, Superbowl Champions. But this was the same Seahawks team that our team fought with, even being one play short of a victory against, despite missing our starting quarterback. And this is the same Rams team that has been said to be failures by many experts, much like the Seahawks a few years ago. Now we are entering our Year 3 of the Snead/Fisher era, and the pieces are coming together. Players are breaking out, the team is showing potential, and we even had blow outs against top teams. We finally have a Top 10 player in the league, something we haven't been able to say in years, in Robert Quinn. National NFL media is starting to rank Rams higher and higher, I've even seen multiple reports of experts listing us as one of the elite defenses for this 2014 season. One expert even listed the Rams high on his Superbowl watch list. So brace yourself Rams fans, I can feel it. Soon the Dome will be rocking, you'll see Blue and Gold everywhere, and all this talk of Rams leaving St. Louis will see silly after the team becomes hometown heroes. Here is a realistic offseason that I think will put the icing on the cake.
Key Offseason Moves
#2 Trade Down with to #4 via Cleveland Browns, acquire pick #26 and 2015 2nd Rounder.
Browns finally land a QB. At this point who knows who that will be. We don't get as much out of them as some fans would like after the Redskins downfall, the lack of "elite" prospects, and the value of later picks in this draft.
#4 Sammy Watkins (WR)
Rams finally get the complete WR they've been looking for. He catches with his hands, attacks the ball, has good size, great speed, and is no pushover. We have a lot of great role players on all offense, but it is time to add that guy that is truly an offense weapon. He can moves the chains, make big plays, score TDs, whatever. He opens things up for Tavon, Cook, Givens, Stacy, and Bailey. He also allows Tavon to stay in a large special teams role, as Tavon won't have to carry the load when it comes to big plays. Don't think special teams is that important? Go watch Tavon's 2013 season again. Or the 2006 Superbowl participant Bears.
#13 Haha Clinton-Dix (FS)
Rams have had terrible free safety play for a while. If we want to solidify this "elite" defense we need to solidify the coverage skill of our secondary. I'm sure we haven't been helping our corners by giving them weak safety play. Dix has a very high ceiling, is athletic enough to have much better coverage skills then some of our past candidates, and is physically gifted. His physical gifts mean that he will also help the Rams secondary improve their tackling skill. The Seahawks secondary stopped many big plays in the Superbowl just by making crucial tackles.
#26 Rashead Hageman (DT)
Hageman falls here after he is leap forged by Nix and Donald. This is one of those best player available picks. I know a lot of Rams fans will be counter that, if we have Langford we don't need a 1st round DT. Well Seahawks received the same flack on many of their picks, and how'd they turn out? Hageman is also more of a need then you think. Langford eats up plenty of cap space for average play. Cap space is going to become a huge issue next year. Why not get his replacement now? Hageman's big knock is that he is raw. Here is the perfect situation. He gets to develop behind Langford, giving us a mean oration, and much needed DT depth for this year. Hageman is a giant and oozes the potential to be a successful run stopper and pass rusher. Our D-line will be our greatest strength by far, teams won't know what to do to stop them. Also with three 1st round picks I think we can afford this "luxury".
#45 David Yankey (OL)
Rams biggest weakness on the offensive line is clearly our guard spot. The interior of our line was just miserable at times. Saffold played well at guard, but even if he gets resigned we still need someone on that other guard spot. Also Saffold and Long are made of glass, so it will be nice to have someone who can step into almost any spot on the line if needed. Upgrading our line will upgrade the rest of our offense, and our offense is clearly what needs the most improvement.
#77 Piere Desir (CB)
Our secondary still worries me a little, especially with Finnegan. A healthy Finnegan being coached by Williams may see his revival. But what if it doesn't? Do you really want Jenkins/Johnson as the starters with McGee as the third guy? What if Jenkins goes down? Also, much like the Langford situation, if we can find a cornerback to replace Finnegan's big contract, we will be in much better condition for 2015. Langford/Finnegan could mean the difference in resigning someone like Quinn. Also, secondary is extremely important in todays league, and this draft just happens to have a deep pool of CB talent. With much of our pressing needs addressed, taking a small school CB that could be a huge steal seems like a good idea.
#109 Billy Turner (OT)
Turner is another small school prospect that brings tons of potential to the table. Long and Barksdale each graded Top 10 in their respective positions last year, so a high pick isn't needed. However, some concern is present over Long's ability to hold up, so we should have a back up plan. Our talented line coach can turn this guy intone something special. And could also mean, once again, a shorter lived contract for Long is Turner becomes a steal.
#141 Aaron Murray (QB)
In this scenario I have the Rams retaining Clemens for one more year, so here we grab a guy to develop behind him. Before his injury, many scouts were much higher on Murray then they are today. One of his big knocks was his size, but after Brees and Wilson have hosted up Superbowl trophies I'm not sure why we question that so much. Murray could really become something special with time to develop. I have us taking him here because I believe he has one of the highest ceilings for a later round QB.
#173 Colt Lyeria (TE)
I will probably always mock Lyeria to the Rams in the 6th round. Id rather use this pick on a guy with past trouble and immense talent at a position of need then some player who will be cut. Lyeria was a stud at Oregon. He was the best pass catching TE in that class. But he drops here thanks to leaving school and getting caught with drugs. Many other players have been removed from their football programs and still succeeded. Players like Jenkins, Burflict, and Rodgers have shown that troubled players can learn from their mistakes. We also know if Lyeria is to bad of an egg, Fisher isn't afraid to cut him. Just ask Titus Young. If Lyeria gets his head on straight he could be the steal of the draft, and be a much cheaper, talented version of Cook.
#205 Tyler Starr (LB)
Starr has a cool last name and will help offer up competition at LB, and maybe future depth. I think he is a nice player who could become a decent role player in time, maybe even a starter opposite of Ogletree.
I think this group of players will give the Rams what they need to make a playoff run. These players are talented, fill the big holes on our team, and offer a chance to eliminate some big contracts. I know some may want to see more trade downs, but I would rather grab players we are confident can succeed when we have the opportunity to do so.
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