With the Rams' first preseason game less than two weeks away, Osi rumors clouding over TST and Jerious Norwood's arrival in St. Louis suggesting a potential backup RB signing, my mind turned to...college football! Yes, one plus one does indeed equal two.
I've got my watchlist for week 1 filled out; for those of you who are new to TST or just didn't check them out last year, I take a couple of games per week on TV (every now and then I'll pull one from a regional sports network or ESPN3) and breakdown all their NFL prospects on the team. It's just an Excel spreadsheet, so feel free to browse at your leisure.
After the jump, I throw some notes out on college's opening week (which starts with 15 games on Thursday, Sept. 1) and some potential future Rams.
First, a couple games to take note of.
UNLV @ Wisconsin: Thursday, Sept. 1 (ESPN, 8:00pm)
This was the obvious pick for the watchlist; the only other televised game is Louisville v. Murray St. at 6pm on ESPNU. The Badgers' offensive line should be one of the best in the country. The Rams seem set for the near future with a Saffold-Bell-Brown-Dahl-Smith combo, so I don't know that any of the Badgers' linemen are in play. Should the Rams not settle on a backup RB for the future, Montee Ball will be eligible for the 2012 draft. James White will be the year following as well as touted RS frosh Jeffrey Lewis.
Utah St. @ Auburn: Saturday, Sept. 3 (ESPN2, 12:00pm)
The defending champs (who have absolutely no chance of repeating) get their not-a-preseason-game at the front of Saturday's slate. To continue the RB discussion, Auburn's duo could be as potent as any in the college ranks this year. Ontario McCalebb has elite speed, and Michael Dyer fits the prototype for an every down back in the NFL. The Tigers have some depth chart issues to work out this year as they re-tool for future runs at the SEC. This isn't likely to be a pretty season for them. Keep an eye out for sophomore DT Jeffrey Whitaker. He could be 1st round material in the 2013 draft.
Minnesota @ USC: Saturday, Sept. 3 (ABC*, 3:30pm)
* - regional broadcast. Check your listings to see if you get W. Michigan @ Michigan instead.
Yeah, I know we've got our USC contingent, so I threw 'em some red meat and put this game on the watchlist. I had FS T.J. McDonald as my first round St. Louis pick in my 2012 mock draft, so he's worth looking out for. I'd throw Armond Armstead out there as well. If the Rams are still looking to fill the 3-tech DT spot next April, he could be a mid-round option, although his injury history is as red of a red flag as you'll find. USC's young WR duo of Robert Woods and George Farmer should be as explosive as any you'll find in the country. With Matt Barkley at QB and a strong offensive line, the Trojans should be a force in the Pac-12...which won't matter in terms of bowls or championships since this is year 2 of the sanctions.
Brigham Young @ Ole Miss: Saturday, Sept. 3 (ESPN, 4:45pm)
Then-freshman QB Jake Heaps really finished well for the Cougars last year with his 4-TD performance against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl. I really like his mechanics for such a young (and light, by NFL standards) kid. Senior OT Matt Reynolds is stout blocker; I wouldn't be surprised if he goes the Robert Gallery route and shifts inside once he makes it to the NFL. Speaking of huge college OTs, Mississippi's Bobby Massie has an NFL future ahead of him. Ole Miss is in for a pretty painful year in the SEC, though; this isn't a well-stocked team after the freshmen. ILB C.J. Johnson has some hype behind him in Oxford. He should be a key piece for Houston Nutt as he tries to build on a very strong freshman class.
I'll leave it there for now. I'm sure most of y'all already checked out. I wanted to at least gauge the level of interest in next year's draft around here right now and see what you guys are keen on watching throughout the year. What positions do you think the Rams will need to fill half a year from now? What players would you love to see in blue and gold? Why do I end so many pieces with questions? Is it because it's easy? Yes?