Draft Talk: Mock Draft 3.0

USA TODAY Sports

And with the ??? pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams select..........

With the draft only days away it's time to give it my best shot and say "this to me seems likely". After months and months of following - not only the Rams but the other 31 teams that make up the NFL - I'm going to put forth my feeble attempt to predict what WILL happen, as opposed to what I think should or what I want to happen. Although the should and want tend to be really fun, the prediction of what probably will happen, can be the most intense, and unpredictable.

TRADES

  1. Rams trade pick 2 to Atlanta for pick 6, 38, and 2015 1st
  2. Chicago trades pick 14 to Minnesota for picks 8, 40, 2015 2nd
  3. Baltimore trades pick 17 to Cleveland for picks 26, 71, 83
  4. Miami Trades pick 19 to San Diego for pick 25, 89
  5. Kansas City trades pick 23 to Carolina for picks 28, 92
  6. Seattle trades pick 32 to Oakland for picks 36, 219, 2015 3rd, 2015 6th
  7. Rams trade picks 153, 188, and 226 to Jacksonville for pick 114

Pick

Team

Player

Pos

College

1

Houston

Khalil Mack

OLB

Buffalo

2

Atlanta

Jadeveon Clowney

DE

South Carolina

3

Jacksonville

Sammy Watkins

WR

Clemson

4

Cleveland

Johnny Manziel

QB

Texas A&M

5

Oakland

Greg Robinson

OT

Auburn

6

St. Louis

Jake Matthews

OT

Texas A&M

7

Tampa Bay

Blake Bortles

QB

Central Florida

8

Chicago

Taylor Lewan

OT

Michigan

9

Buffalo

Hasean Clinton-Dix

FS

Alabama

10

Detroit

Mike Evans

WR

Texas A&M

11

Tennessee

Justin Gilbert

CB

Oklahoma State

12

Giants

Zack Martin

OT

Notre Dame

13

St. Louis

Aaron Donald

DT

Pittsburgh

14

Minnesota

Derek Carr

QB

Fresno State

15

Pittsburgh

Darqueze Dennard

CB

Michigan State

16

Dallas

Calvin Pryor

FS

Louisville

17

Cleveland

Odell Beckham Jr.

WR

LSU

18

Jets

Brandin Cooks

WR

Oregon State

19

San Diego

Anthony Barr

LB

UCLA

20

Arizona

Kony Ealy

DE/OLB

Missouri

21

Green Bay

Eric Ebron

TE

North Carolina

22

Philadelphia

Marquise Lee

WR

USC

23

Carolina

Morgan Moses

OT

Virgina

24

Cincinnati

Ryan Shazier

LB

Ohio State

25

Miami

Kelvin Benjamin

WR

Florida State

26

Baltimore

Cyrus Kouandijo

OT

Alabama

27

New Orleans

Jason Verrett

CB

TCU

28

Kansas City

Kyle Fuller

CB

Virginia Tech

29

New England

CJ Mosley

LB

Alabama

30

San Francisco

Louis Nix III

DE

Notre Dame

31

Denver

Timmy Jernigan

DT

Florida State

32

Oakland

Teddy Bridgewater

QB

Louisville

SIDENOTE

****I HAVE LONG CONSIDERED KHALIL MACK THE BEST PLAYER IN THE DRAFT, AND I AM BECOMING MORE AND MORE CONVINCED THAT HE WILL BE THE TOP PICK FOR THE TEXANS BARRING A TRADE. JADEVEON CLOWNEY MIGHT BE THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ATHLETE IN THE DRAFT BUT THE BEST PLAYER IS KHALIL MACK, WHO HAPPENS TO BE A PRETTY GOOD ATHLETE HIMSELF****

Pick

Player

Pos

College

RD2-37

Bradley Roby

CB

Ohio State

RD2-44

Jordan Matthews

WR

Vanderbilt

RD3-75

Terrance Brooks

FS

Florida State

RD4-110

Aaron Murray

QB

Georgia

RD4-114

Dakota Dozier

OG

Furman

RD5-147

Isaiah Crowell

RB

Alabama State

RD6-214

Avery Williamson

LB

Kentucky

RD7-241

Brandon Dixon

CB

Northwest Missouri State

RD7-249

Reggie Jordan

TE/HB

Missouri Western State

RD7-250

Zach Moore

DE

Concordia-St. Paul

THE EXPLANATION

For the Rams first pick I believe they will take the Jake Matthews after trading down. I don't believe it is a coincidence that they have publicly done so much homework on him. And Jeff Fisher is on record speaking very highly of him, arguably more than any other prospect. For the Rams second pick at number 13, I believe they take Aaron Donald. Much like Jake Matthews, the Rams have shown a ton of interest in him. It hasn't been the average due diligence that teams do. The Rams have met with Donald numerous times, invited him to the facility, went to his pro day, and are rumored to have gone back to Pitt for a workout. The interest is real, and something keeps sticking out in my head. After the current regimes first draft in 2012, Les Snead was asked about double dipping at corner back and receiver. His reply was simple, the goal is always to take a position of strength and make it a power. When you have something good you want to give it that nudge it needs to be great. The team showed major interest in free agency in the defensive tackle position. It appears they are looking to give the position that nudge that it needs.

In the second round the Rams will be in position to take some guys that in any other draft are first round picks, and probably top 20 at that. With their first pick in the second round, the Rams get Roby -who probably should have been a top 20 pick this year- but character issues will cause him to fall. Say hello to Janoris Jenkins 2.0. Roby is technically more explosive -and simply a better over athlete- than Jenkins and would take the corner back position to another level. Jordan Matthews is the surprise pick for the Rams. Now, I should clarify this is my will happen draft, but with this pick I have no clue which receiver the Rams will take. With two picks in the second round, I believe they will take a receiver. But I don't believe that player will be another project. He will be a player that can contribute and push the other receivers. A short list of players that fit that description and should be available at that pick would be Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Cody Latimer, Jarvis Landry, and Allen Robinson. The Rams have shown a fair amount of interest in the receiver position and have also signed two receivers this off-season (Kenny Britt and TJ Moe). This all forms a valid arguement against the notion that the Rams are comfortable with the progression of their current receiver depth chart.

In round three the team finally gets another safety. The Rams have not shown a lot of interest in the safeties in this years draft. In fact it is fairly reminiscent of 2013 when the team selected TJ McDonald in round three. The urgency shown has been about equal. In round four the Rams finally land their insurance policy in Aaron Murray. Murray is pro ready and would be a higher draft pick if not for his height and an injury. You can't be short and coming off of a torn ACL and expect to be a highly drafted QB. If he had not gotten hurt he could be a second round pick. Consider this pick a steal for us. The Rams also beef up the offensive line a little more with Dakota Dozier. He comes from a small school and may need a little development/adjustment time, but he has all the tools to be a very good guard for years to come.

In the fifth round the Rams make their other surprise pick. They select Isaiah Crowell. Crowell -if not for a troubled past and running backs being devalued- could be a late first early second round pick. He might be the most pure runner in the draft. With Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Crowell, the Rams backfield would be very competitive in the NFC West where a strong run game is key.

The Rams next four picks are all about depth. They select Avery Williamson to back up James Laurinaitis. He also happens to fit Gregg Williams system perfectly and is the violent versatile player both Williams and Fisher loves. Next they go with Brandon Dixon to compete and bring more depth to the defensive backfield. Dixon has the tools and size to be be a shutdown corner, but he is raw and comes from a division two power house where he was not challenged as often as he will be at the next level. Reggie Jordan actually comes from Dixon's rival school. He is a versatile player who can play TE, FB, H-Back, and even split out wide. He is 6'3" 240lbs but proved to be quite the redzone threat at the division two level. The Rams finish off their draft with a 3rd consecutive division two player. Zach Moore has ideal size to go with a monstrous motor that never dies. He could be a late round gem as a depth and rotational guy.

THE ALTERNATE PICKS

Surprise...surprise!!!! Being the "will happen" draft there is no way anyone can list a few names and that's it. There has to be options. The NFL draft is so unpredictable.

In round one, if the Rams do not trade out of pick two I believe that they take Sammy Watkins. It is something about the way Jeff Fisher and Les Snead spoke about him in interviews this off-season. It was different from other players. I believe they were about as genuine as one can be when praising him.

  • Other top ten options include Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, Greg Robinson, and Justin Gilbert.

At pick 13 it gets crazy. I can see the Rams both trading into the top 10 and down to the lower teens. This gives them a much wider range of selections, and truthfully I believe it depends on their first pick. In the scenario above they complete their dominant pass rush with Aaron Donald, but it is because they address their pass protection first. If they go with any of the players listed as other options save for Greg Robinson this pick could be a trade up for either Lewan or Martin. Or a trade down for a a tackle later or even Xavier Sua'Filo in the early 20s.

  • Other options for their second first round pick include, Darqueze Dennard, Jason Verrett, Calvin Pryor, Odell Beckham Jr, and Mike Evans.

In the second round things get even crazier! If the Rams only have one pick when round two is over, it will likely be a need that has not been addressed. Again depending on the previous picks it can be either guard, safety or corner. Of the safety prospects in this years draft class, there has been one that we know of that the Rams have actually shown a little more interest in than due diligence, and that is Deone Bucannon. The interest has not been to the level of Matthews and Donald, but good interest nonetheless, and probably more than all second round prospects. Bucannon is second round prospect but has been said to be a dark horse to go in the first. He has sure fire first round talent, so he would be a steal in the second.

  • Other second prospects include, Lamarcus Joyner, Antonio Richardson, Jimmie Ward, Austin Seferian Jenkins, Gabe Jackson, Joel Bitonio, and Pierre Desir.

If you did not know that the Rams were planning to draft a QB, you probably should check you living conditions because chances are they are under a rock. It is pretty much a forgone conclusion that the team will be bringing in a fresh face to get under center. But chances are slim that QB comes in the first round. AJ McCarron would be a good face to have. He is a confident and smart QB with a winning attitude.

  • Other QB options include, Tom Savage, David Fales, Connor Shaw, Tahj Boyd, and Zach Mettenberger.

The Rams have as much draft capital as any one this year. No really, they actually do. They are tied for first in draft picks with 12. They only have three big holes to fill, and can build depth in the deepest draft in a long time. Needless to say, the Rams are sitting pretty good and are likely to come away from the draft with one of the more upgraded rosters. The 2014 NFL draft could, and should, be very kind to the St. Louis Rams.

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