Dan Kadar, over at Mocking the Draft
, released his updated first round mock
for the 2015 NFL Draft this morning. The St. Louis Rams - at least for now - own the 10th overall pick in next year's draft. The offensive line, whether due to injury or sheer [in]ability, will garner attention in the offseason.
The Rams have left tackle Jake Long under contract until 2017. His future with the team - and the NFL as a whole - came into question just seven games into the 2014 season though. In Week 8, Long sustained a season-ending knee [ACL] injury. It marked the second occurrence of the injured knee in a 308 day span. It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to return to football at all. The Rams would save nearly $8mil in cap space by releasing him prior to next year.
Long was replaced by rookie Greg Robinson. Robinson started the year at guard, but was pushed to the outside following the loss of Long. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and will most likely continue serving as the team’s blindside protection.
Inside the tackles, the Rams have more questions than answers. Scott Wells, the team’s veteran center, is quickly approaching the age of 34. He’s no longer playing at a Pro Bowl level, and the Rams would save $3.75mil by releasing him prior to next season. At guard, it’s more of the same. Davin Joseph was brought in on a one year deal. He was awful, and he won’t be returning to St. Louis in 2015. On the opposite side of center, Rodger Saffold re-upped with the Rams on a 5-year deal that’ll keep him in St. Louis [or L.A., or wherever] through 2019. He’s proven serviceable/versatile across the offensive line, and should be a lock at guard when the 2015 season kicks off.
That leaves only Joseph Barksdale. Barksdale was drafted in the third round by the Oakland Raiders
in 2011. He was released September 26, 2012. The Rams signed him the very next day. And they were wise to do so. Barksdale has played admirably at the right tackle spot, and has been vocal about wanting to stick around, despite being a free agent at the conclusion of this season...
And that’s where Mocking the Draft
’s 2015 first round may lose some of the Rams’ fan base. For those who are hoping the Rams retain Barksdale in hopes that he’d start opposite Greg Robinson, well...
10. St. Louis Rams: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
Yes, this would mark the second year in a row where the Rams used a top 10 pick on an offensive tackle after picking Greg Robinson at No. 2 in May. He had a shaky rookie season, however, and Collins is the type of player who could give St. Louis options. Collins has shined at left tackle for LSU, has the playing style to succeed on the right side and the pure power to be a guard.
In this scenario, the Rams could have the best pair of offensive tackles in the NFL in a couple of years. In doing so, though, they pass on players of a potentially more dire need. I think it’s fair to assume this mock either a) sees Barksdale playing elsewhere in 2015, or b) has him relegated to backup duties. Neither seem likely, but only time will tell.
Just for reference [and to spare you another click], the five players drafted just beyond the Rams taking La’el Collins 10th overall:
11. Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
12. Cleveland Browns: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
13. New Orleans Saints: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
14. Miami Dolphins: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
15. San Francisco 49ers: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia