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Mock Draft of the Week: Linebacker edition

Update [2008-3-7 15:58:30 by VanRam]: The Rams made another one of those minor moves, resigning Brandon Gorin today. Key word: depth.

There are no shortage of mock drafts out there. You can spend hours looking at them all and walk away with nothing more than a headache. Stop the madness. Breathe.

This week's mock draft comes from Draft Tek, and it's a doozy. Rather than rely on pundit alone, Draft Tek uses a computer simulation model that accounts for team needs, player evaluations, etc.

Round 1
#2 - Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
Round 2
#34 - Quentin Groves, OLB, Auburn
Round 3
#66 - Earl Bennett, WR, Venderbilt
Round 4
#98 - Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn
Round 5
#130 - Josh Barrett, SS, Arizona State
Round 6
#162 - Jonathan Goff, ILB, Vanderbilt
#171 Michael Grant, FS, Arkansas
Round 7
#207 - Kevin O'Connell, QB, San Diego State
Only two picks that aren't defensive players. I don't see it playing out this way. I think they'll try to take an offensive tackle in either the second or third round.

First Day
The first round pick, at this point, is probably worthy of long, long discussion itself. The more I read about Gholston, the more I'm okay with that pick, but I can't help but wonder what could have been with Chris Long (or Jake). Quentin Groves is an interesting option. A college DE who seems perfect for a move to OLB in the NFL. Draft Scout compares him favorably to Dallas OLB DeMarcus Ware. And his profile calls him "one of the most disruptive backfield penetrators in the 2008 NFL Draft." Oh my. He would certainly give the Rams a threatening rusher in a 3-4.

Earl Bennett's 40 time at the Combine was 4.48, putting him among the top WRs at that task. He's the SEC's all-time leading receiver, even after leaving after his junior year. There are concerns about his athleticism in the pros, and he might not be the speed threat the Rams are really looking for.

Day Two
CB Patrick Lee is fast and physical, but may need some development time in the NFL. Draft Scout noted this about his Senior Bowl performance: "He lacks the change of direction to mirror good route-runners and to mask his struggles he grabbed an awful lot of jersey." He could be a good get for special teams, but isn't Jonathan Wade our CB development project? If we take a corner, I'd almost rather take one in the first three rounds. SS Josh Barrett could be a steal. He had a great 2006 season, but was inconsistent this season, even getting benched. Goff's a run stuffer, who could have real upside if the reports of his top notch work ethic are accurate. Would be a GREAT 6th round pick, but he might not be there at that point after a strong combine. Draft Scout has him as a 4th rounder. Michael Grant could be another potential late round steal, if he's still there. He plays both CB and FS, and is fast, fast, fast. The QB pick in the final round is interesting. O'Connell might benefit with time as a Bulger/Green understudy. He burned my alma mater, Wyoming, this last season with some pro-like poise in the pocket. His stock has been rising with each successive event and the possibility of finding the Rams QB of the future in the late rounds is the stuff NFL legends are made of. His NFL confirms the man on the rise thing too. Just reading that, I'd be happy to grab him in the fifth round.

There's the first mock draft of the week. Here, the Rams meet most of their needs, but the absence of any offensive lineman is awfully conspicuous. I just don't see how can pass up on that position.