I'm really surprised at how badly we all seem to want the Rams to focus their draft picks on defense. There are plenty of needs on the other side of the ball that have yet to be addressed, needs like a WR to groom as Bruce's replacement and offensive tackles. I guess the needs on defense require attention for this season while a WR or an OT can probably wait until next year or be addressed in later rounds with picks that need some tutelage and adjustment time in the NFL. Here's a link to the discussion thread.
Chillar's gone now, so taking a linebacker certainly becomes more of a priority. However, for the 3-4 formation the Rams do have Witherspoon as their rushing LB on one side and DE Leonard Little can play LB on that other side in that formation. And to save Little's wheels, a first round DE like Chris Long can play with Adeyanju on the other side to stop the run.
Auburn OLB/DE Quentin Groves got a few mentions for a second round pick. Groves might in fact fill an immediate need with the Rams, becoming an outstanding hybrid OLB/DE in a 3-4 scheme. If the Rams don't draft Vernon Gholston in the first round, Groves would be more than an adequate consolation prize. Oh, and check out who he get compared to in his profile at NFL.com: DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman. That's kind of a big deal.
Chosen 1 advances the idea of taking Penn State LB Dan Conner, seeing him as a force in the middle and giving the Rams a group of LBs that would be the envy of the league. Conner and USC OLB Keith Rivers jostle back and forth for the title of top LB in the draft. You're starting to see Conner's name in the first round of mock drafts now, after a good workout at Penn State's Pro Day earlier this week.
Cornerbacks get a lot of mentions too, and with whispers of concern about drug tests turning into flashing red lights about Fakhir Brown's status this season it's no small need. LegendsNeverDie advances Kansas CB Aqib Talib as an option. Cornerbacks seem to be quite the hot commodity this year, starting with big FA signings and the Hall trade and continuing through all the draft talk. Talib, whose rhyming name would be a boon to announcers regardless of where he lands, ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at Kansas' Pro Day, and has quickly moved himself into first round consideration. In fact, take a look at these two mock drafts at Draft Tek and Walter football. Notice how many corners are being taken in the first round?
Legends also floats the idea of Indiana CB Tracy Porter, who seems like he could be solid value even in the second round. Sounds solid in zone play, but would need to be more physical and stronger in run support to play all four downs.
AmpLee names Miami FS Kenny Phillips as his primary second round choice. NFL.com compares him to the late Sean Taylor and predicts he'll be the first safety to be drafted, which means he could still fall to the Rams with their second round pick.
RammerTime mentions Arizona CB Antoine Cason, and he's another guy that could be gone late in the first or early in the second, just depends on how the run on CBs goes.
Wide receivers didn't get much play in our draft. Those that did get mentioned were LSU's Early Doucet, who reader Marmie is the best provides this warning about, "after Eddie the Eagle, I am always hesitant about taking an LSU WR." Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly's stock has fallen some since he can't work out until early April while he recovers from a thigh injury. Could be a steal if he falls to the second round. Mario Manningham is another possibility. The Michigan WR beat his lackluster Combine 40 times at Pro Day with numbers in the 4.3 to 4.4 range.
So is it going to be a LB, CB or WR in the second round? CB seems to be the most popular option here, and after seeing the names put forward it's hard to make the case against it. This seems to be a good draft for CBs. Of course, being so focused on the d-line, I don't think I could pass up Groves with that pick. A player of that caliber would likely have the biggest impact in his first season, while a WR or CB might require some adjustment time to the pro level game.
All in all, there's plenty of talent available and hopefully the new regime isn't going to blow a draft pick we'll be counting on to make the '08 season better than the last one.