The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books. Teams have almost a full day to reshuffle their draft boards before heading into round two and three on Friday night. After picking North Carolina DE Robert Quinn with their first-round pick, what players will the St. Louis Rams be targeting in the second round of the draft?
Quinn was pretty highly regarded by the Rams. So was Alabama RB Mark Ingram, and the thinking from good sources was that the Rams would not leave the first two rounds of the draft without a running back. If that is indeed the case - and we have good reason to believe that it is - then the second round could be fruitful territory for the Rams with several running backs likely to be available.
I'm standing firm on the prediction that the Rams will take a RB in the second round.
A look at the options after the jump.
Mikel Leshoure: The Rams were known to be interested in Leshoure prior to the draft, and our understanding is that they had Mark Ingram (picked late in the first by New Orleans) pretty highly ranked on their draft board along with several other running backs. Leshoure would have to be up there. Some pundits feel like he's a better prospect than Ingram even.
Ryan Williams: Based on the pre-draft chatter, I'd say the Rams have Leshoure ranked slightly above Williams, emphasis on the word slightly. Picking Williams would ensure that the Rams would be using Steven Jackson on almost every third down. Which is fine. Jackson's an elite receiver too. Williams has great burst to hit holes between the tackles.
Daniel Thomas: Thomas also fits that idea of the Rams taking a RB to take over some of the first and second-down carries from Steven Jackson. Thomas can also be solid receiving option on screens and lined up outside. He's not the outside runner the SJ is.
Kendall Hunter: I really like this guy, and he's much more than just an outside burner in the scatback mold. Too many carries through the middle is probably a stretch, but if you're convinced the Rams need another pass catcher at RB, this would be the best guy on the board.
Of course, it doesn't have to be a running back. There are some other options that could be available.
Kyle Rudolph: Talk earlier this week was of Rudolph as potentially a first-round pick. The Rams like this guy, and if he's there for them in the second round, he'll get very serious consideration.
Jabaal Sheard: Surely they won't take another DE? Probably not since Sheard will be gone by the time they pick.
Terrell McClain: Received lots of interest from the Rams earlier in the draft prep process, and that interest is still there. McClain looks like a good player, but a second round pick? This would be a little disappointing, but given the Rams' recent history in the second round, would this really shock you?
Akeem Ayers: Sure meets a need at OLB, but he'll be gone by the time they pick.
Stephen Paea: Though not a good one, there's a chance he'll be on the board when the Rams pick. Paea is a top defensive tackle who fits best as a stout 1-technique guy, the eventual replacement to Fred Robbins.
Could the Rams really go defense for their first and second round picks? It's very possible. If they don't take a running back, the choice will come down to a DT and a Rudolph.