Every year, there's a top 10 pick that few saw coming. A mystery pick that changes the entirety of the draft thereafter.
Last year, it was the #6 pick as Atlanta falconed in (that's what Falcon do, yanno) handing Cleveland a bucketful of picks. Two years ago, Buffalo took CJ Spiller at 9 followed by Jacksonville picking kjgdfk?!LKNFLKNLK????fjnonlklaawdpojpajd?!!!! And how can we forget Darius Heyward-Bey at #7 in 2009? (RIP, Al Davis. You made drafts, like your fans, insane). If you remember, the general line of thinking was
#6 - Johnathan Martin, OT (Stanford)
Martin's a solid OT prospect who protected Andrew Luck's blindside well enough throughout his career. Given that Kalil's off the board in all likelihood by the time the Rams are on the clock, Martin should be in the discussion as to which tackle should be drafted next. Will the Rams be in that discussion? It's hard to envision right now. But if the coaching staff and front office look at (who's coming back from a pec injury) and and see 0 NFL-quality tackles, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Martin's name gets floated once or twice.
My next five (but really seven prospects) after the jump.
#5 - Janoris Jenkins, CB (N. Alabama) OR Stephon Gilmore, CB (S. Carolina)
This is my first paired mystery pick, and the reasoning's the same as with Martin. If Claiborne's gone or if the Rams see either as BPA or even as the best CB available, these two could be in play.
#4 - Peter Konz, C (Wisconsin)
There have only been two centers drafted in the top ten of any draft in NFL history: Bob "the Doorknob" Johnson (2nd overall, 1968 to the Bengals) and Bob "The Floorknob" Hyland (9th overall, 1967 to the Packers).
(Author's note: Neither of those nicknames are factually correct. However, all football players before 1970 were named Bob. That much is so very, very true.)
(Author's note: That was not true either. Sorry.)
As you can see, however, the Pouncey brothers may have ushered in a new golden age for center value across the league. Or they may have just been singularly good prospects.
#3 - Kendall Reyes, DT (Connecticut) OR Devon Still, DT (Penn St.)
On the other side of the line, these two defensive tackles would be feasible surprise picks. A couple people have thrown Fletcher Cox or Michael Brockers around. But if, like Alualu and the Jags, either of the above tackles (who would be natural fits at the 3-tech for the Rams) are held in high esteem, they would fit the mystery bill.
#2 - Kendall Wright, WR (Baylor)
Everyone's favorite early speed threat, Wright has been generally mocked to the latter first round area. Lance Zierlein, who writes for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted that he's hearing that Wright could fall out of the first round entirely. Could be smokescreen, could be legit. But if the Rams feel strongly about adding deep speed to the SchottenheimerCoryell offense, Wright could be in the mix.
#1 - Alshon Jeffery, WR (S. Carolina)
More than any other prospect do I see this as the most plausible mystery prospect. A year ago, Alshon was a clear cut top WR prospect. Today, he's looking like a 2nd round pick. The natural skills didn't evaporate. He just put a layer of fat on top of them. Does it make sense to take him at six overall? Not on April 10, 2012. But April 10, 2011? Hell yes. Just need a time machine.
Drop your thoughts in the comments. What prospect do you think could be a candidate at 6th overall that noone is talking about? (Note to the folks who hate thinking: everyone's talking up Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson, so that doesn't make any sense) What sleepers can you justify at 6? And how much does it depend on who the first five picks are?