The 2013 NFL Draft is six months away, but with the college football season entering its stretch run and the St. Louis Rams dropping three straight games, well, it's never too early to talk about the draft. Over at Rotoworld, friend of TST Josh Norris rolled out a midseason mock draft that was ... interesting.
Right now, the Rams have the sixth and seventh picks in the draft. Obviously, that could change with eight more games to play in the season. And who did the Rams take in this mock draft?
6. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Johnny Football is turning heads, but his twin titan tackles deserve some credit too. Right tackle Jake Matthews is a blue chip prospect, and Joeckle, the left tackle, has an early line on being the first tackle picked in the draft next year. Here's what Norris said about Joeckel:
The Rams have previously failed with their left tackle selections, but Joeckel projects as an excellent blindside protector. A long time starter, Joeckel has enough mobility to mirror and uses proper technique to sit back, bend at his knees, and absorb a pass rusher's momentum with length.
7. Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
This is not the time or place to bemoan Nick Saban sucking the joy out of college football by being so dang good all the time. Let's just hope the Rams can tap into some of that talent, and Warmack is a bona fide stud of an offensive lineman. He was the SEC offensive lineman of the week last week with four pancake blocks against Mississippi State.
This may be too early for a guard, but Warmack could possibly end the draft process as my top rated prospect, regardless of position. His nasty interior blocking allows Warmack to consistently win on first contact. However, that first powerful punch doesn't end, as the Crimson Tide guard continues to sustain and mirror. I try to stay away from "sure things," but Warmack is very close.
The NFL puts plenty of value on guards these days, but I don't know that we're to the point that a guy is going to go in the top 10 of the draft. David DeCastro was a blue chip guard that many draftniks had pegged as a top-five overall player last year; he went 24th.
Clearly the Rams could use both of these players. It would make the team's offensive line filled with talent. But it's not going to happen. I can guarantee you that the Rams will not draft two offensive linemen with two first-round picks. Frankly, I hope they don't given the drought of skill players on the roster.
FIsher and Co. have coaxed firmly middle of the pack performances out of mostly backup linemen this season. I think they have a mindset that this team and Paul Boudreau can coach up lesser players. Hopefully, they wouldn't pass up on a blue chip offensive tackle prospect - and I doubt they would - but I think they'll be content to find help for the interior line further down the draft order.
Some other names to keep an eye on in the draft:
Matt Elam, S, Florida - Fisher loves defensive backs, and spending high picks on them, e.g. Michael Griffin. Elam is a much better player than that, and a guy that fills a huge need for the Rams.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan - Obviously, where the Rams end up drafting in the first round could determine which players they select. Lewan is another solid OT prospect that will go early.
Kennan Allen, WR, Cal - Allen's knee injury doesn't appear to be as bad as initially feared, i.e. it's not a huge issue for his draft stock. I like Allen plenty. He's far better than any of the receivers in the 2012 draft. He moves and accelerates like DeSean Jackson, except he's 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. More importantly, especially for fans flummoxed by Brian Quick, Allen has a real knack for the subtleties of the game. Just watch him screen out defensive backs when he makes catches, the kind of stuff that so far has eluded Quick.
Robert Woods, WR, USC - He runs routes like a pro, but has questions about his hands.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee - You can make the case that the Rams should use some of the team's ample cap room next season to sign a veteran receiver like Dwayne Bowe. If they don't go that route, I would hope that they use one of those first round picks to get one of the top receivers in the draft. Ideally, that would be Allen, but Hunter has everything you like in a top receiver. He's not going to get the kind of cushions from defensive backs in the NFL that he does in college, not at the start anyway. The biggest question here is whether or not he's recovered from an ACL tear last year.