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Just browsing linebackers at the Senior Bowl

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Among the Rams many personnel needs this offseason, a strong, smart middle linebacker sits at or near the top of the list. This week at the Senior Bowl they'll have the chance to get a first glance at some of the prospects at that position. Which names stand out?

With the #2 pick, there's just no way the Rams can pass on one of the premier OTs in the draft, not f they want to have at least a little more offensive success this season, and they desperately need that. However, the more I read about USC's Rey Maualuga, it's hard not to think the impact he would have. Imagine a defense led by Chris Long and Maualuga. It would be a bizzaro world Rams team, one where defense defines the team once known exclusively for a high flying offense. Anyway, after a rough first day (without pads) Maualuga has taken the opportunity to remind everyone of just why he's a special prospect.

Check out this report on Maualuga's Wednesday practice (subscription only link):

It’s amazing how Rey Maualuga makes everything he does on the field look so effortless, and his play on Wednesday was no different. In one-on-one blocking drills, Maualuga went up against Clemson running back James Davis. Maualuga completely took Davis out of the play with a vicious rip move that left one Jaguars coach shaking his head and smiling. After that incredible move, the nonchalant Maualuga jogged back to where the rest of the linebackers were waiting their turn and started playing with his hair.

Trading down from that #2 spot gets tempting, but having a guy like this makes it awfully tempting. If the Rams were to trade down, what kind of picks could they fetch? Using the draft slot points valuation, the #2 spot is worth 2600 points. I've seen two mock draft that have Maualuga going at #12 and #13, so let's say he goes at #12. That spot is worth 1200 points, leaving the Rams with 1400 points from their #2 pick. Trading into that upper-middle tier of the first round could definitely net them, points-wise, some more draft picks at decent spots. The question becomes whether or not the OTs they could draft later in the first round or even early in the second would be worth it.

Another LB of interest is Larry English of Northern Illinois U. He's a DE by trade, but at 6'3" 255 lbs that might not be the best fit in the NFL. He sounds like one hell of an athlete, and had a great day yesterday in practice for the Senior Bowl:

The undersized defensive end beat opponents all day by playing with speed and athleticism. English is a fluid lineman who easily moves about the field and exploited big, immobile blockers to makes plays behind the line of scrimmage.

I think he could be a nice fit as middle linebacker, and a potential second round steal for the Rams.

According to that report from SI.com, linked above in the bit about Larry English, OT Michael Oher had a big day. I won't be at all surprised to see the order for the top 3 or 5 OTs to shift between now and the draft. It always does.