Free agency is already taking a heavy toll on the St. Louis Rams. The offensive line will be lucky to have three returning starters for Week 1, this in a season where the front office is publicly standing behind a quarterback and his enormous salary cap hit despite having the second overall pick in the draft. But that's also where the outlook improves. With so many draft picks, the Rams can attend to many of their needs in May.
They'll have to, if the team intends to stay away from big contracts in free agency this year.
The latest mock draft from SB Nation is a good example of how the Rams might address some of those needs in the first three rounds.
2. St. Louis Rams - Greg Robinson, Offensive tackle, Auburn
The Rams have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and need upgrades at several positions. Robinson is an elite athlete for an offensive tackle, but he made his name at Auburn as a dominating run blocker. Because of that, don't think he's just another Jason Smith.
Well, that takes care of one huge need. Letting Rodger Saffold walk hurts, but not at a reported asking price of $8 million per year, not when you can get a blue chip talent in the draft at a fraction of the cost.
13. St. Louis Rams - Jason Verrett, Cornerback, TCU
After parting ways with Cortland Finnegan, the Rams could use another cornerback. Jason Verrett is having shoulder surgery after his pro day, but it shouldn't hurt his draft position too much. He's expected to be back for training camp and is the best cornerback in the draft. While Verrett is a bit undersized, he changes directions and breaks on the ball with ease and has the best ball skills of any corner in this class.
Verrett and Finnegan aren't so different, well, at least not when it comes to size. Verrett's a more polished corner coming out than Finnegan was. Of course, Finnegan was a seventh-round pick. In the perfect world, the Rams wouldn't have needed to use a first-round pick on a corner at this point. Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins should have the starting two spots locked down going into their third seasons. This is still much better than spending $10 million per season, if not more, on Alterraun Verner.
Still, I'd take Calvin Pryor or Mike Evans with this pick -- since both were still on the board in this scenario -- over Verrett.
44. St. Louis Rams - Lamarcus Joyner, Safety, Florida State
If the NFL is a copycat league, the Rams could steal the Tyrann Mathieu blueprint from the Cardinals. Joyner can play safety or cornerback, and showed at Florida State he could do both well.
Hmm, Joyner's an interesting player. At 5'8, he's shorter than you think of most safeties. But he's got a reputation for big hits. He doesn't look like what the Rams need as far as a free safety, someone to cover the deep part of the field, but he could be a nice addition alongside a mid-level free agent safety like Malcolm Jenkins or Louis Delmas, before he and T.J. McDonald take over the two spots full time.
Definitely not my favorite pick.
75. St. Louis Rams - Brandon Coleman, Wide receiver, Rutgers
Yes, the Rams have invested quite a few draft picks in the wide receiver position over the last few drafts. But they still haven't quite found what they need. Brian Quick looks like a failed experiment, so St. Louis should look for a big wide receiver to compliment Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Brandon Coleman fits the bill.
Jeff Fisher's drafted a Rutgers receiver before. Hopefully this time it won't be quite the same headache that Kenny Britt was for the Titans. The problem with Coleman is the same as with Quick: under-developed big men. His hands look to be a little better than Quick's, but that still leaves a lot of concerns.
Overall, I'm not a big fan of this scenario.