With everyone chiming in in these weeks leading up to the draft as to what they want or think the Rams should do, I realized that, unfortunately for me, the Rams haven't hired me to take over for Les Snead (yet). Meaning, my opinion on the subject doesn't matter too much. Head Coach Jeff Fisher's, on the other hand, carries slightly more weight. So I thought I'd take everything we know about The Stache and The Hair and come up with a Jeff Fisher and Les Snead mock draft.
If you don't like it, get mad at Fisher, not me. After all, this isn't MY mock draft.
Round 1 (Pick 2) - Trade with Atlanta for 1 (6) and 2 (37)
Since Fisher and Snead took over the Rams a couple years ago, they have made 4 trades in the first round. I don't expect that trend to change this year. However, for those of you expecting an RG3-esque type bounty, you'll probably be very disappointed. That means no multiple future first round draft picks. In a draft as deep as this one, teams will be relunctant to give up too many picks. But it's definitely fair to assume dropping 4 spots to allow the Falcons to nab Clowney could net us an additional early second rounder.
Round 1 (Pick 6) - Kahlil Mack OLB Buffalo
Fisher wants to build a beastly defense. That's his MO and in the very tough NFC West, it's also a necessity. We're quietly building one of the best front 7s in the league. Mack, who is quite possibly the best overall player in the draft, could be the final piece to completing that. And Mack would flourish in Gregg Williams' system.
Round 1 (Pick 13) - Trade with Philadelphia for 1 (22) and 3 (54).
The Eagles are always a team that is looking to move up in the first round to grab the specific player they want. Despite grabbing Malcom Jenkins in free agency, the Eagles still have a need at safety and I can see them moving up to grab the one they like - whether it's Haha Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. The Rams garner an extra 3rd round pick in the process.
Round 1 (Pick 22) - Jason Verrett CB TCU
Fisher has drafted a cornerback 3 times in the first round. And with the departure of Finnegan, this pick makes an awful lot of sense. The league seems to be trending towards the big, physical, Seahawks style of defensive backs. However, Fisher has a preference for the smaller, speedy, feisty corners (ie Finnegan, Jenkins). And I think that Snisher feels comfortable with Jenkins and Johnson as the team's outside corners. What the Rams need is a slot corner - which plays to Verrett's strengths. There are many people out there who think that Verrett is the best pure cover corner in the draft and I've heard "insider sources" claim that the Rams have marked the defensive secondary as an area that needs to upgraded.
Round 2 (Pick 37) - Deone Buchanon, Safety, Washington State
Safety is arguably the biggest need on the team. The front office's willingness to ignore the position completely in free agency makes me feel like they have a plan and someone they're targeting in the draft. Buchanon could be that guy. Safety was probably an even bigger need last year and they waited until the 3rd round to address the position. This year, I see them grabbing a big, strong, fast, physical safety that really could complete their defense.
Round 2 (Pick 44) - Gabe Jackson, Guard, Mississippi State
With all the talk about the top tackles in the draft (Robinson, Matthews, Lewan) and the need to improve the offensive line, the biggest need on the offensive line is guard. Fisher and Snead have both stated that they fully expect Jake Long to be recovered from his ACL surgery by the beginning of the season. But the surprising re-signing of Roger Saffold has given them a backup plan in case he isn't. Saffold can slide over to left tackle to start the season if Long isn't healthy. But the interior of the line is where the real concern is. The Rams were reportedly very high on Larry Warford (6'3" 333lbs) last season and had him listed as a backup plan in case Alec Ogletree wasn't available when they picked at #30. The also drafted Rok Watkins (6'3" 338 lbs) in 2012. At 6'3" 336 lbs, Jackson seems to have the size and mauling style that they covet as an interior lineman.
Round 3 (Pick 54) - Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver, LSU
The recent signing of Kenny Britt has more than likely lessened the Rams need to draft a receiver early. Snead has been on record saying that he wants to allow the young receivers that the Rams already have on roster the opportunity to develop. For these reasons, I just don't see the Rams spending a top 5 pick on Sammy Watkins. And in this scenario, the Rams could get a super talented receiver without spending a premier draft pick on one. Landry could potentially fall to the the third round because of 1) the ridiculous amount of depth at the receiver position in this year's draft and 2) he ran slow at the combine. But he has a lot of excellent game tape. And at 6' 205 lbs, he's a strong, solid, tough, go-across-the-middle, Anquan Boldin type of reciever. In 10 years, he could very well be remembered as one of the top receivers taken in this year's draft. The addition of Landry and Britt would make for a crowded receiving corp but this is an infinitely better problem to have at the wide receiver position than we had just 3 short years ago. I would expect Austin Pettis to be the odd man out and get traded during camp for a 2015 late round pick.
Round 3 (Pick 75) - Billy Turner, Offensive Tackle, North Dakota State
Fisher and Snead are smart enough to realize that the O-line needs upgraded and, at the very least, depth. But that doesn't necessarily require a top 5 pick. Turner is a versatile, small school prospect that could play at either guard or tackle position. He's a talented prospect but one that probably shouldn't be expected to start on day one. At 6'5, 315 lbs and a long wingspan, he has all the physical tools that Paul Boudreau could use to provide depth along the line with the potential to start next year in case Joe Barksdale isn't resigned.
Round 4 (Pick 110) - Deandre Coleman, Defensive Tackle, California
Even thought the defensive line is the strong point of the team, it's always good to bring up some young, talented depth to keep it that way. Fisher loves big, tall defensive lineman. None of the linemen that he's brought in since taking over the Rams have been shorter than 6'5"(Brockers 6'5", Conrath 6'7", Langford 6'6" and Carrington 6'5"). At 6'5" 314 pounds, Coleman has a similar frame to potential first round pick RaShede Hageman (6'6" 310 pounds). Of course, he wouldn't be an immediate starter but he could provide some quality depth, a good rotational guy and potential starter in a couple years.
Round 5 (Pick 153) - Tajh Boyd, Quarterback, Clemson
Once considered a sure fire first round pick, Boyd's draft stock has been plummeting this offseason. He's had some less than impressive Senior Practices but this is still the same guy that set all sorts of school records at Clemson and had the talent to be a top pick. Snead has been open to the fact that the team will draft a developmental quarterback to backup Bradford in the mid to late rounds of the draft this year. And whether you're on the pro-Bradford or anti-Bradford bandwagons (I happen to be pro), there isn't one of us here who didn't think 3-13 was a distinct possibility when Bradford went down last year. With the signing of Shaun Hill, Boyd would probably be a 3rd string quarterback this season and would be able to be brought along slowly. I heard an NFL Network analyst compare him to a former Fisher QB in Steve McNair. Of course, Boyd is no McNair but he has that "running like a running back" mentality that worked out pretty well for Fisher once before he may be willing to try a late round flier once again.
The Rams would still have 5 additional picks after this point but I wouldn't even begin to guess which long snapper from Appalachian State Women's Community College Technical Institute they may have their eyes on.