One month to go. That's when we find out exactly what the St. Louis Rams are going to do with those two first-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, part of the big offseason plans the team made this time last year. The latest mock draft from Dan Kadar at SB Nation's Mocking the Draft postulates a scenario that might not set well with Rams fans (gonna enjoy moderating the comments Thursday night and Friday morning if this happens), but it's one that could really transform the offense.
No. 16 Tavon Austin, WR, West Virgina
The Rams lost Danny Amendola in free agency, making their need for a wide receiver even more glaring. Tavon Austin has aced the pre-draft process and may even be off the board at this point. St. Louis will continue to try and surround Sam Bradford with weapons, and this may be his most dangerous one yet.
I know there are some folks who see this as a more of a possibility with the 22nd pick, but it's starting to look like Austin isn't going to be there at that point. Like the description says, the Rams offense needs playmakers, and Austin is probably the premier guy for that in this draft. The moves in free agency to pay big bucks for Jake Long and Jared Cook signal just how much this franchise is committed to getting the needed help for its franchise quarterback. Add another weapon to go with the current group, and suddenly this offense seems more than an advantage than a liability.
Opportunity cost: In this mock, the Rams are passing on both Kenny Vaccaro and Jonathan Cyprien, the draft's premier safeties. They could move around in the second and try to snag Matt Elam, or maybe there's another free agent play out there. Jonathan Cooper is still on the board here too, which means the Rams are bypassing an elite lineman. I'm not convinced the Rams will pay big dollars for a guard or use a first-round pick on one.
No. 22 Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Rams are in a tough spot with their second first round pick. After addressing wide receiver at No. 16, both of the top safeties and guards are off the board. Instead of reaching for a safety, the Rams grab the best running back on the board to help replace Steven Jackson. The NFL Draft has never seen a first round without a running back.
That thumping sound you hear is 3k banging his head into his desk. He's going to have a nasty headache, and you all need to be nice to him while he processes this. Considering how much the Rams have talked up Isaiah Pead, I still have my doubts about the team using a first-round pick on a running back to replace Steven Jackson. On the other hand, Fisher has said he wants a big back. Why spend good money on a free agent when you can find a guy in the draft?
Opportunity cost: There are a bunch of wide receivers still on the board in this scenario, but two receivers in the first round isn't going to happen. And what about a defensive lineman? There are some good players on the board here. The Rams are pretty heavily invested in their defensive line, but it's one of those units where you can never really have enough talent. Plus, it gives the Rams room to move down the road, should the current group of players prove too expensive for the team's plans.