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2011 NFL Draft: McDaniels, Moreno & the Rams' running back choices

Talk of the St. Louis Rams drafting a running back like Alabama's Mark Ingram with their first round pick died down a little bit in recent days. Don't rule it out. With an awkward spot in the middle of the first round, the possibility still exists, even if it does seem a little unlikely. 

Josh McDaniels, the Rams new offensive coordinator, drafted Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno with the 13th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, when McDaniels was head coach in the Mile High City. However, Denver was a little different situation at that point than the St. Louis Rams. Injuries ravaged Denver's backfield in 2008, Mike Shananhan's final year with the team. Moreno was a highly touted back, and arguably the best player available (at the time) that also fit a need. The Rams, as you may have heard, have Steven Jackson, one of the league's best all-around running backs. The "need" take on a little different meaning because of that, i.e. they can look for value at RB beyond the first round. 

Speaking of Moreno...and McDaniels...and the Rams draft interests at running back, the second round has the potential to be a fruitful spot for picking a runner, depending on how the actual draft itself shakes out. Check out what Greg Cosell (yes, it's his son) from NFL Films had to say about Moreno and some of the running backs available this year:

Each year different. Look at RB. Leshoure, Williams + Ingram all better NFL prospects than Moreno but none will be drafted 13 as Moreno was.

Actually, it was #12, but only a real dick would argue with a noted, respected expert like Cosell over a typo. It looks more and more like Leshoure and Ingram will be gone by the time the Rams pick in the second round. Depending on how everything shakes out. Teams looking for another Jamaal Charles type player may opt for a player like Kendall Hunter before the Rams make their pick...draft boards start to diverge by this point.  

Of those three, Williams was the only one who did not visit Rams Park this week. However, that means absolutely nothing in terms of predictive value, as we noted in an earlier post

Looking at the running back situation McDaniels used in Denver, with Moreno and Buckhalter, and some flotsam and jetsam thrown into the mix because of injuries, it's not a leap to think that the Rams would like to pick one of these guys, or at least a back more along the lines of the guys who can be relied upon to run through middle as well as catch a pass. You have to think too, that McDaniels himself might be looking at these guys and thinking of how they compare to Moreno. If they really are that close of a comparison, grabbing one in the second round, if any of them are available, seems very likely, especially if the Rams are letting McDaniels put his stamp on the offense. Should one of the big three not be available, Daniel Thomas might make sense, though pick #47 could be a little high, or Shane Vereen from Cal in the third round.