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An early look at the Rams and the 2011 NFL Draft

The St. Louis Rams strong play has them leading the division and looking at a playoff berth for the first time since 2004. Whether or not they make the playoffs could dramatically impact the draft conversation by moving their pick lower into the order. 

Funny, it used to be that by December, we TSTers were far more interested in the draft than watching the Rams' collection of street free agents get hammered for another month. Hmm, I wonder why? Well, a couple solid drafts later and look where we are. Nevertheless, it seems like a good time, with the end of college football season upon us, to take a quick look at the Rams and the 2011 NFL Draft, a nice little complement to the weekly watch lists that have been a steady part of your draft diet at TST. 

For today's exercise, I'm going to base the conversation on the three round mock at Walter Football, the site that had the Rams picking Bradford before even the Rams knew they were going to pick Bradford. 

Mock draftyness after the jump.

First of all, you'll notice where the Rams are picking in this mock, 21st. It's been a long time since the Rams had a pick in the second half of the first round. Actually, the last time they picked in the second half of the first round was 2005, when Alex Barron was selected with the 19th pick. Let's hope things work out a little better this year.

R1. WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State

Is it sacrilegious for an OU quarterback to pass to an OSU receiver, even in the NFL? This is the first time I've seen Blackmon's name in the first round, and Walter Football notes that the redshirt sophomore now projects as the third WR taken this year, if he opts for the draft. Blackmon is third on 3k's WR big board, and our in-house draft expert notes that Blackmon's edge over the top two WRs this year is power, which wouldn't be a bad thing at all for the Rams to have more of at WR in their West Coast offense. 

R2. DE Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma

My God, the whole state of Oklahoma is moving east! This all comes down to what kind of DE the Rams want to have on the opposite side of Chris Long. Beal's game is quickness, and there's some talk about him playing OLB in a 3-4 scheme. If that's the case, he could be first round pick.

R3. OLB Mason Foster, Washington

The weakside linebacker has already been invited to the Senior Bowl, and some are calling him Washington's best senior...hear that Jake Locker?  He has the numbers and the size. Is he the answer for the Rams' need on the weakside? It's intriguing to think about a talented LB like Foster playing next to a guy like James Laurinaitis, a player capable of making those around him better. Yeah, think about how the Rams' OLBs would look without JL in the middle...

Ok, there's some mock draft action to spur more than enough conversation for Thursday at the water cooler. Thoughts?