My Humble Opinion on the Rams 2013 Draft



I have been a Rams fan my entire life and found the TST community a few years back and have used it to keep up with Rams news since. I just recently registered and this is my first FanPost so forgive me if I broke some unwritten rule that I don't know about.

1(16) Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Austin is a beast. He has the ability to change directions on a dime and make people miss in space. He is an extremely versatile weapon that could line up in the slot or in the backfield and can be effective in every facet of the game. He would bring big play potential to the offense. With him on board and Givens/Richardson already in tow, the Rams would have 3 players who could go the distance on any given play. If you have any doubt about his explosiveness or speed, just check out this video:

Only One (Tavon Austin Senior Highlights) (via dougitydog)

I have seen posts here at TST ripping him because he isn't big enough, but last time I checked, you can be successful in the NFL as a small receiver. Wes Welker (5'9", 185), Ray Rice (5'8", 212), DeSean Jackson (5'10", 175), Steve Smith (5'9", 185), MJD (5'7", 210), and Darren Sproles (5'6", 190) are all small players who have achieved great success in the NFL. Austin (5'9", 175) has never had a major injury and provides explosiveness that would make defenses account for him on every play.

For those of you clamoring for Patterson at 16, Snead has gone on record as saying they are only going to have 1 "Project" at a time (for those of you living in a cave that distinction belongs to Brain Quick). We already have 2 big body WRs in Quick and Pettis, adding another would be inefficient. Marshall Faulk has gone on record and said that Austin is a hybrid of Wes Welker and Percy Harvin (link here--> Adding a weapon like that would be a tremendous asset to Bradford when he is expected to shoulder more of the load. If the the FO doesn't think Austin will be there at 16, they should move up and grab him.

1(22) Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

I know what you're thinking... there is no way that Jones is available at 22. Maybe it's the optimist in me, but I think there is a decent chance that he will be. Between his poor showing at Georgia's pro day, his age (24) relative to other rookies, and the uncertainty around his spinal stenosis, I think that he could be the individual in the green room that has to endure a long wait.

Ultimate Jarvis Jones Highlights (via MooseHeadSports)

There is no questioning his playmaking ability. Getting 28 sacks in 2 seasons at a SEC school is no small feat. He is an elite playmaker and when paired with our DL, we have a good chance of leading the league in sacks again as well as challenge the league sack record. He would shore up the LB corps this year as well as provide some insurance for Dunbar leaving as a FA next year.

2(46) DJ Swearinger, SS, South Carolina

I originally had Matt Elam here, but I don't think he will last until the Rams are on the clock. When I was looking at some tape of other safeties Swearinger really popped out at me. He's athletic, has a knack to make big plays, and does a good job wrapping up while maintaining the ability to lay the wood on receivers coming across the middle of the field.

DJ Swearinger - Ultimate Highlights [HD] (via ThatHighlightChannel)

He plays with the aggression that Fisher likes from the safety position but will need to be careful in todays safety-conscious NFL (or put money aside for fines that are sure to come his way). Rob Rang of CBS Sports compares him to Louis Delmas, the Lions safety that the Rams missed out on in FA this year. Personally, I think he is getting lost among other safeties in this class, but he has the ability and mentality to become the best safety of a deep 2013 class.

3(78) Barrett Jones, G/C, Alabama



Jones would do several things for the Rams interior OL. First, he would immediately challenge Rok Watkins for the starting LG spot (or start at RG if Dahl becomes a cap casualty). He would also provide flexibility along the OL because he has the ability to play all over the line. He won the Outland Trophy as college football's best OL in 2011 at LT, a year after he was a standout at RG. Last year, he won the Rimmington Award as the nation's best center. Another perk of this pick would be added financial flexibility for the front office. Unless Wells plays at a Pro-Bowl level, I don't think the Rams can stomach the $6.5M cap hit for an aging center. Jones has the potential to fill Wells' shoes if the Rams decide to part ways sooner rather than later.

4(113) Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

This is a huge boom/bust pick. The Rams could score a difference maker at RB or waste a pick, depending on how things shake out. The Rams are in the position to do something similar to what Buffalo did with Willis McGahee. McGahee sat out the entire 2003 season while rehabbing the injury he sustained in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. With Pead and Richardson, the Rams have a decent backfield. Add in Ganaway as a short yardage back and it becomes a pretty solid, albeit underwhelming backfield. I'm not saying that Lattimore will be feared by defenses, but if he can get near the level he was at before his injuries, he would be an asset to the Rams.

Marcus Lattimore - Ultimate 2012 Highlights [HD] (via ThatHighlightChannel)

That video is after his 1st knee injury. He obviously isn't the same player he was before his injuries, but he can still be a solid RB. I think he rushed back from his first injury, which led to his second injury. With a year off to rehab and get back into "game shape" I think that he can be a difference maker.

5(149) Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois



Hawthorne has a unique blend of size and speed that I find intriguing. He is a big body at 6'0", 195 but he can run a 4.3 40 and flashes the ability to be a ball-hawk. The major knocks on him are strength and technique. These abilities can be instilled via a strength/conditioning program and good coaching. Part of the reasons he is lacking in those areas is because until recently he moonlighted as a WR. As he gains experinece in the defensive backfield he will become more comfortable with the techniques and his football IQ will improve as well. He is a bit of a project and lacks the upside of a top-shelf CB, but he could fill in as a nickel or dime DB immediately.

6(184) Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina



Williams was once thought of as a round 2-3 prospect, but a torn labrum in his senior year killed his draft stock. There are concerns about his technique as well, but I believe that Boudreau will be able to coach him up as a backup this year (once his labrum is healed) with the possibility to compete for the RT spot if Saffold leaves next year. His stock varies tremendously depending on who you ask, but if he is available here he would be a tremendous steal.

7(222) Ray Ray Armstrong, S, Miami



Armstrong has all the physical tools that you look for in a safety, but off the field issues cost him his senior year at Miami and his draft stock sunk as a result. He has excellent size and when in "game shape" was able to run a 4.5 40. He will need a lot of coaching and mentoring, but he is worth a flier in the 7th round. He has always had issues filling his potential, but if the Rams could keep him focused he has the potential to be a starter 2-3 years down the road. If not, the Rams could sevre ties with him without much regret.Worst case scenario he doesn't make the team and a UDFA fills the backup safety role.

There are a lot of risk/reward picks in my mock, but I think Fisher and Snead showed us last year that they aren't afraid to gamble in the draft. This draft would produce 3 immediate starters (Austin, J. Jones, Swearinger) and provides the potential to add 2 more by next year (B. Jones, Williams). The only immediate need it doesn't fill is FS, which I think will be addressed via free agency.