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2011 NFL Draft: Rams get their safety, Jermale Hines, Ohio State

The St. Louis Rams selected Ohio State S Jermale Hines with their fifth round pick.
The St. Louis Rams selected Ohio State S Jermale Hines with their fifth round pick.

The St. Louis Rams traded down in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft, the 27th spot in the round. With that pick, they drafted Ohio State safety Jermale Hines. The Rams needed help at the position after releasing Oshiomogho Atogwe. Hines won't exactly be his replacement, but he gives them some athelticism at the strong safety spot. 

Hines is versatile, a key trait for safeties in Spagnuolo's defense. Hines isn't a playmaker, but does have the skills to keep an INT in his hands. He played both safety positions with the Buckeyes. 

Here's some data on him from NFL Draft Scout:

Positives: Prototypical strong safety build but has the speed and agility to play in two-deep and man-free. Very strong attacking plays in front of him in coverage or in run support. Lays out receivers over the middle, but can also use his length to wrap up. Good agility to stay with out-routes run by tight ends and slot receiver. Knocks away passes from behind with closing speed and long arms--without interfering. Also separates the ball from the receiver with strong hands and powerful hits. Avoids receiver and lineman blocks using his hands and quickness.

Negatives: Smaller NFL receivers will challenge his short-area quickness in coverage. Runs around blocks in space, fails to get off them when engaged. Freelances when sniffing out quick screens, can be fooled by misdirection. Needs to wrap consistently instead of lowering his shoulder against bigger receivers and tight ends. Turned 23 in November 2010.

Notice the remarks about his ability to stay with tight ends and slot receivers. That killed the Rams last year, and if they can get him up to speed as a rookie, he could be a big help. However, it's important to remember that fifth round rookies don't usually make big contributions right away. 

Not a bad pick at this point in the draft. Definitely fits a need.