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Right now I think everyone at TST agrees that the Rams biggest needs are the secondary and OLine. And that is exactly how I feel. I also think that what the Texans do with their 1st pick will have an enormous effect on what the Rams do with their #2 and even their #13. I have been on the GRob bandwagon for a while now but the more I look at the Rams needs the more I think Greg isn't exactly what they need.
The Rams are about to begin year 3 of the rebuild and as so they need to start behaving with a "Win-Now" mentality. Greg Robinson has the potential to be as good as Orlando Pace but he is a bit of a project. A Project I think coach B would be happy to take on, but to be honest, I don't think the Rams have time for that if we are supposed to be winning some serious games this season. With that being said I think Jake Mathews and Sammy Watkins are much more realistic win-now options for the Rams. Most will argue that the Rams biggest OL need is at guard and I will agree, however, Long's return for Week 1 seems to be questionable and like most who argue against taking a tackle just to play 1-4 weeks, I really don't think its necessary for our #2 pick. Watkins is hailed as being the Rams answer for a true #1 receiver and he could be. Many of his doubters will compare him to Tavon Austin and say he is the same player of a different size. But when you watch the tape that isn't the case. Watkins attacks the ball at its highest point, and is many times over more physical than Tavon.
Now when it comes to Kahlil Mack I certainly would not be upset if the Rams chose to draft him. many experts claim he is the most NFL ready player available and I would agree. He is an "older" player entering the draft and thus he is more mature. Mack is an OLB and many people at TST argue the Rams should pass on him because in 2013 the favored defensive formation was the Nickel, which only puts 2 linebackers on the field. But that argument just doesn't make sense. We had a different DC last year and our current DC's favorite package is the 3-3-5, so those same critics might as well be arguing we trade or cut a defensive lineman, not add another, right?
As far as QBs go I am willing to say that the thought of drafting one before the 3rd round is laughable. If Lord Bradford doesn't produce this year I doubt the late round QB drafted will be starting in 2015 over the QB the Rams draft in 2015 to replace Sam.
Thats pretty much all I have to say about my thoughts on the Rams 1st round draft strategy. Enjoy my mock
Disclaimer: This Mock draft includes 2 trades
Round 1 Pick 5 - Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson 6'1" 210lbs
First round draft picks are all about immediate impact. Robinson is a terrific run blocker, but the general consensus seems to be that he is a liability when pass blocking. The Rams just don't have time to "baby sit" Robinson until he is completely ready, and still expect to make the playoffs. For the Rams to do so this year will require a miracle on the OLine and I think in terms of winning immediately, they need to pass on Robinson. So the first pick of the Rams 2014 draft comes from a trade with Oakland. First round picks are swapped and the Rams receive Oakland’s 2nd rounder as well. Watkins' talent and film speaks for itself. It was a tough decision between Watkins, Robinson, and even Matthews but I think what Watkins brings to the table for the Rams in terms of improving the offense in a "Win-Now" mindset is exactly what they need. Watkins has that "dog" in him and has an excellent work ethic, something that is needed in our current WR stable.
2013 David Yankey Highlight (via StanfordFball)
Round 1 Pick 21 - David Yankey OG, Stanford 6'6" 315lbs
When looking at the 2013 NFL draft, 3 Guards were taken in the first round, all within the top 20 picks. Every mock draft I have seen on TST has been foolishly optimistic about drafting Yankey or Jackson in the 2nd round. It just isn't feasible to think we can get a player of their skill that late in the draft. Thus, for the Rams 2nd first round pick, a trade with Green Bay is in order. First round picks will be swapped and the Rams will acquire an additional 3rd round pick. With the 21st pick of the NFL draft the STL rams select David Yankey, OG Stanford. Yankey can play both positions on the line and while he is better suited at guard his versatility for the Rams is invaluable. Some could argue Zack Martin is a better choice here, but Martin does not have the lateral agility to be an extremely successful tackle in the NFL and he has never played guard. I personally like Yankey more that Su'a-Filo as well.
Round 2 Pick 36 - Morgan Moses OT, Virginia Tech 6'6" 315
Yes I know, "we just drafted a guard, why do we need a tackle?!" The Rams first, second round pick will be for the best OT available, which I believe will be Morgan Moses. I mentioned that our first, 1st round pick shouldn't be on a tackle who likely wouldn't play the position very long, but nothing about a second round tackle :). Likely in the case of Longs absence it would be Saffold who moves to LT. With this pick, Barksdale would be able to move to his original RG position and I think Moses would take over at RT or play RG if he is able. The 3 blue chip OTs are long gone, as well as Zack Martin. If Kouandjio is available he would be my selection over Moses, but I really doubt he is on the board this far into the draft. Moses is a big athletic OT whose biggest knocks come against his run blocking, but not that he is bad at it, rather he seems to get lost in the second-level.
Round 2 Pick 44 - Deonne Bucannon SS, Washington State 6'1" 210lbs
Yes I have waited quite a while in this draft to get the Rams starting FS but I have my reasons. Tim Walton was an incompetent DC last year and it showed. When you look at the Rams Roster the talent possessed does not reflect why our defensive numbers were as bad as they were last year. Greg William's will do with our defense what he did to Tennessee's. All he needs is a competent FS. Bucannon is a player well liked around TST. At pick 13 in the first round I didn’t think Dix or Pryor offered anything substantially greater in terms of talent to warrant drafting them that early. Bucannon is a player that fits Fishers mold as a safety, "someone who can play both positions". He had steady play throughout his career and if available at this selection he is a no brainer.
Round 3 Pick 75 - Louchez Purifoy CB, Florida 6'0" 190lbs
Ultimate Loucheiz Purifoy Highlights | HD (via TheFootballman175)
The offense has been addressed heavily thus far and while steps have been made to improve the secondary with Bucannon, it simply isn't enough. CB is a position I think Trumaine and JJenks have relatively covered, but after those 2 there is a steep drop-off in skill level. This choice is very similar to last years selection of Brandon McGee. With our first 3rd round selection the rams choose Louchez Purifoy, CB Florida. Like McGee, Purify was an established CB in college who played well. Guys like McGill, or Baptiste would be my first choice however I doubt they will be available this late as teams scramble to get on the big corner bandwagon.
Round 3 Pick 85 - Ja'Wuan James OT, Tennessee 6'6" 310lbs
Probably the most controversial pick of my mock draft thus far. While the blatant needs in the OL have been addressed, the line is far from fixed. Thus I think spending another relatively early pick on the OL is necessary. My selection for the Rams second, 3rd round pick is Jawuan James from Tennessee. Everyone knows what coach B can do with an average lineman so I think that makes this pick a smart move. James is surprisingly athletic and explodes off the snap. He has excellent footwork and the biggest "flaw" in his game however is his run blocking technique. He has the physical tools necessary and possess a solid foundation to build upon. He will enter the beginning of the season as a quality backup with the potential to become much more.
Round 4 - Pick 110 Daniel McCullers DT, Tennessee 6'7" 350lbs
So far the OL and Secondary needs have been addressed and the Rams have acquired their true #1 receiver. With the resigning of Dunbar, and Bates & Armstrong in the stable I think the Rams can hold off on drafting another LB till later in the draft. With that being said, the Rams DL is the strongest part of this team, but even with the signing of Carrington our line still needs some quality depth. I like what I saw from Conrath this year but Cudjo I am not so sure about. With the Rams 4th round draft pick they select Daniel McCullers DT, Tennessee. McCullers biggest knock is his athleticism. He is 6’7 350lb, mountain of a man. And the Rams current DL is full of athletic players, but they need a true run stopping DT to be rotated in. Brockers and Langford are good against the run as is, but quality depth will be a welcome addition.
Round 5 Pick 153 - Colt Lyerla TE, Oregon 6'4" 240lbs
Colt Lyerla Ultimate Highlights 1080p (via Lup Da Lup)
My fifth round selection will probably draw the most questions. Our TE corps is relatively stable at the moment, but Kendricks will be a Free Agent soon. Thus I think the Rams should take a little bit of a chance on a player whose skill is not in question, rather his character. Colt Lyerla fits this mold. A 6’4 240 pound athletic monster from Oregon who draws comparisons to Rob Gronkowski in his style of play, but also Aaron Hernandez in terms of character concern. Many would argue that he is a better choice in the 6th or 7th but his talent level is too high, if the Rams don’t select Lyerla here someone else will.
Round 6 Pick 188 - Aaron Lynch DE, University of South Florida 6'5" 250lbs
Next is another player who draws concerns for the same reason. Aaron Lynch has all the skills and physical attributes necessary to become a great player. He suffers from character concerns as well as his love for the game; he has been accused of taking plays off as a result of his inconsistent play. Currently Lynch is small for a DE at 6’5 250, an addition of 10-15lbs would be nice to see him add on during a "redshirt" rookie season with the Rams. Like Lyerla I believe other teams will see value in Lynch even at the fifth round so even this pick may be a bit optimistic. Maybe a trade up is in order to make sure he is taken.
Round 6 Pick 214 - De'Anthony Thomas RB/WR, Oregon 5'9" 175lbs
De'Anthony Thomas || Oregon Highlights ᴴᴰ || The Black Mamba (via HFX HD)
Obviously drafting another receiver this year doesn’t make much sense, and the consensus around TST is that taking carries away from the Staced God and Bam Bam is just foolish. So the way I see it a utility player would be a nice addition with this pick. While optimistic I think the obvious 2 choices are between De’Anthony Thomas and Dri Archer. With this pick I believe the rams should select De’Anthony Thomas. Film speaks for itself and he played in a legit conference. Archer’s speed is unmatched but whether or not his skill-set transfers to the NFL I’m not sure.
Round 7 Pick 226 - Tyler Starr OLB, South Dakota 6'4" 250lbs
With this pick I think giving Greg Williams a player he can mold into what he deems necessary is warranted. Tyler Starr is player whose speed wont impress anyone, however his all around play on the field will. MVC Defensive player of the year, 6'4 250lb Linebacker recording 9 sacks, 4 FF, and 15 TFL Starr can ball and I think Williams could turn him into something special.
Round 7 Pick 241 - Jonathan Dowling FS, Western Kentucky University 6'3" 190lbs
Here a bit of risk is taken on a Free Safety who has the physical tools necessary to make it in the NFL, but like the majority of our starters in the secondary, suffers from character concerns which cause Johnathan Dowling’s draft stock to plummet. A 6’3 190lb free safety Dowling is built for the role. Like Janoris Jenkins, a former DB at the university of Florida, Dowling was kicked off the team for rule violations and finished the rest of his collegiate career at Western Kentucky. In 2 seasons as a starter, Dowling recorded 9 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles at WKU.
Round 7 Pick 249 - Jonotthan Harrison C, Florida 6'3" 305lbs
Harrison is probably the most overlooked of the Florida lineman entering the draft and this is easily the most optimistic pick of my mock draft. During his collegiate career Harrison spent considerable time at left guard making him a utility player of sorts. He finished his career at center and that is his strongest position on the line. When looking at his physical attributes it is his arm length that stands out and sets him apart. 33 3/8" with 10" hands he is built to be an NFL lineman. He lacks quickness and ideal athleticism and his footwork needs coaching. The idea that Harrison would fall this far is very optimist but this is a deep draft and there is a possibility it could happen though extremely slim.
Round 7 Pick 250 - Gator Hoskins TE/FB, Marshall 6'2" 245lbs
Gator Hoskins Career Highlights (via Zach Marshall)
A TE out of Marshall Hoskins finished the season with 15 touchdown catches. Hoskins started 34 games in his collegiate career and racked up 28 touchdowns and 99 receptions. His Touchdown total at Marshall is second only to the great Randy Moss. I cant speak much on his ability that is why I provided the highlight video.
1a.) Sammy Watkins WR
1b.) David Yankey OG
2a.) Morgan Moses OT
2b.) Deone Bucannon FS
3a.) Louchiez Purifoy CB
3b.) JaWuan James OT
4.) Daniel McCullers DT
5) Colt Lyerla TE
6a.) Aaron Lynch DE
6b.) De’Anthony Thomas RB
7a) Tyler Starr OLB
7b.) Jonathan Dowling FS
7c.) Jonotthan Harrison C
7d.) Gator Hoskins TE
Obviously the Rams have plenty of late round picks, and a lot of the players I have chosen have 3-4th round talent but have only fallen this far because of character concerns. Realistically I think trading up to acquire Lynch, Thomas, and Harrison In the Late 5th or early 6th is a feasible plan to acquire the 3 players. I honestly think Lyerla could go in the 4th but really who knows.
Let me know what you think.