Draft visits are getting underway for the St. Louis Rams. On Tuesday, the team hosted a trio of defensive prospects with early round grades: Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert, Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier & Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt. Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews, Michigan OT Taylor Lewan and Fresno State QB David Carr are also on the Rams' list of private player visits.
Gilbert is one of the top corners in the draft, a sure first-round pick. He fits the Seattle prototype of big corners, listed at 6'0, 200 pounds. He also happens to run a 4.37-second 40, and his speed isn't limited to the straight line variety. He's a solid cover corner that can work deep ... so, yes, he could really be a nice fit for the Rams depth in the secondary and someone they could opt for with the 13th pick or a trade elsewhere in the first round.
Shazier is an interesting player, especially when you consider him as a potential Rams draft pick. He's an athletic outside linebacker, who can also play inside. He's not unlike Alec Ogletree in his tendency to get bit by his overaggressive play. Also interesting about Shazier is that he's considered by some to be a top-notch blitzer, which makes even more sense when you think about Gregg Williams' defensive style of play.
At 6'6, 304 pounds, Tuitt would add to the Rams already impressive group of defensive linemen. For the Rams, he could work inside as a pass rusher. He had six sacks for the Irish last year. Some experts have him as a first-round pick, going anywhere from No. 12 to the last spot in the first round.
Matthews and Lewan are obvious, and both could be in play for the Rams in the first round. Matthews is a potential pick at No. 2, while Lewan could be there at No. 13. There are some character questions about Lewan. He's been charged with three counts of assault for his alleged role in beating up some Ohio State fans after a game. Lewan also got a warning from campus police when he reportedly said:
"I'm going to rape her because [Gibbons] didn't."
To the friend of a woman alleging that she was raped by kicker Brandon Gibbons in 2009.
We talked about the Rams and Carr last week, when their private visit with the Fresno State QB was first reported. The Rams are expected to target a developmental pick to groom behind Sam Bradford, though Carr figures to be off the board no later than the top of the second round.
Teams are allowed 30 private visits with prospects, not including local players, e.g. Mizzou.