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2012 NFL Mock Draft: And The Pick Is ...

The St. Louis Rams will draft ...
The St. Louis Rams will draft ...

SB Nation is in the midst of its annual blogger NFL mock draft. The St. Louis Rams, represented by yours truly, made their selection on Tuesday. And who did the Rams pick with in the 2012 NFL Mock Draft from SBN's bloggers?

Find out after the jump.

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

Before you fire up the angry comments, here's my rationale for the pick.

The Rams desperately need skill players on offense. Blackmon is a better fit given the need at receiver, but Richardson is a superior talent. He compares well with Steven Jackson, who has since lost his speed and explosiveness as a result of being leaned on so heavily in the last five years. Richardson can be a feature back or a one-two punch with Jackson. The offense can use the pairing to create mismatches and draw the attention of defenses, which would ideally free up some space on the field for their receivers.

Be sure to click over and read Dan's analysis of the pick as well.

In this mock draft, Kalil (#3), Blackmon (#4) and Claiborne (#5) were all off the board, leaving the Rams with few options. That could happen in reality as well, given the Browns' recent comments about standing by Colt McCoy as their starting quarterback.

The choice was between Richardson, the best player available in my opinion in this scenario, and a defensive lineman, probably either Dontari Poe or Fletcher Cox.

The later of those two players is something of a duplication in the wake of the Kendall Langford signing. The Rams signed Langford to be more than just veteran depth and a placeholder for a rookie. Poe would be a good complement to that addition, a powerful run stuffer and someone to occupy blockers. Like the argument for a receiver, that's probably something the Rams can pick up later in the draft, perhaps with one of their two second-round picks.

Richardson is the best offensive player on the board in this scenario, and probably the best offensive skill player after Luck and RG3. Having a running back like that allows the Rams to engage Sam Bradford's redevelopment on a more conservative timeline, using the run-heavy systems preferred by Fisher and used by Brian Schottenheimer in the early years' of Mark Sanchez' career. (When they tried to lean more on the mediocre Sanchez last season ... well, you saw how that worked out).

You can bet Richardson will be high on the Rams' draft board come April. Mark Ingram was last year, and this is the same scouting staff, alebit with a different cadre of leadership on top. Whether or not he's the pick remains to be seen. I suppose we'll know in a month.