I rolled out the first post-Combine 2012 NFL Mock Draft this morning over at SB Nation. It coincides nicely with Wednesday reports that the St. Louis Rams will consider LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Of course, the real question is who will be acquiring the Rams' second pick in the draft?
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The picks, my rationale and more thoughts on the trade after the jump.
I started this mock draft before the piece in today's Post-Dispatch story that Claiborne would be considered with the Rams' pick. I was nonplussed about that report, because it is not really news. Claiborne is a special talent. I would think he would be on every team's draft board, especially those picking in the top five picks or so. Frankly, I would be alarmed if the Rams did not have Claiborne near the top of their board.
In this draft, I stuck with the belief that Cleveland makes the pick. They have the best package to give with two first-round picks this year. Robert Griffin III belongs to them if they want him. And they should want him more than Matt Flynn or any other quarterback option out there.
Let me explain the Claiborne pick.
Jeff Fisher is no stranger to picking defensive backs early in the first round. He famously picked Pacman Jones with the sixth pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. He managed to get some production out of Jones, until Jones decided to focus his attention on assaulting others. No worries in that department with Claiborne, who is known as a high-character player and a hard worker, something that no doubt came in handy as part of the prestigious LSU "general studies" degree program.
For the second pick acquired from the Browns, the 22nd, the Rams took Kendall Wright, the wide receiver from Baylor. He had a shitty forty at the Combine, but the explosiveness is there. Wright looks like a solid pick in that spot, though there are other options.
Wright impressed no one with his 4.61 40-yard dash, but professional pundit and armchair analysts all agreed that Wright's speed performance was not an accurate representation of the kind of player he is. He can erase it all at his pro day in March. Explosive and versatile, the Rams have not had a receiver of this caliber since the Greatest Show On Turf days.
I still think Michael Floyd is the top option in this draft among receivers, but the fourth spot is too high and the 22nd is too low.
If the Rams deal with Washington, Claiborne will most certainly be off the board.