Mel Kiper and Todd McShay released their final 2014 NFL mock drafts this week. They're included in the latest issue of
People, der, ESPN the Magazine. Are you ready for a surprise? Sorry. There are no surprises here, but it's worth a final look, if for no other reason than to cap off an excruciating march to the draft.
It's worth noting that these mocks do not predict trades, because those are rather unpredictable, more so than draft picks even.
At No. 2, both of the ESPN draft gurus have the Rams taking ...
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Analysis: This is also a spot at which I've noted before I'd consider going with Sammy Watkins. And the Rams should also keep the phone lines open here. But if they stay, I think Robinson fits a pretty good balance equation of major talent and major need. This is a player with the upside of an All-Pro tackle. There's still some development left here, particularly in the passing game, but Robinson is only a year removed from playing guard. Not only can St. Louis pass on a wide receiver here, it's a loaded draft at that position and they can pass it at No. 13, too, and still be fine.
If Clowney goes No. 1, I think this pick will come down to Robinson and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins. The Rams still lack a legitimate No. 1 target, but they also need to better protect QB Sam Bradford, and Robinson is dominant at the point of attack and has very good athleticism for his size. One bit of buzz to throw out there: Don't rule out Johnny Manziel landing in St. Louis. It sounds insane, and I don't think the Rams would take him at No. 2 and he won't likely be there at No. 13, but if they were to move down or back from either spot, it's a possibility. Some people around the league think the Rams are capable of taking him, even if they still believe Bradford can be the guy for them.
It's important to note that both assume Clowney gets picked first. That's big, because it shapes the Rams draft plans. The South Carolina pass rusher is a very real possibility for the Rams at No. 2, and if he is still on the board at that point, he's Les Snead's best hope for luring another team to trade up.
What about Sammy Watkins? I tend to agree with Kiper about the receivers, and I also happen to believe that Mike Evans would be a better fit for what the Rams need.
And what's that, a Manziel mention? Yes, McShay says not to rule out the possibility of Johnny Football in Baseball Heaven.
At pick No. 13, both have the Rams taking ...
HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
If Beckham is off the board here, you could see the attention turn to safety, at which the Rams have a pretty notable void. Clinton-Dix gives them some needed range and instincts in coverage and a possible pairing with T.J. McDonald, who showed flashes as a rookie in 2013 before a season-ending injury. Even with plenty of talent along the defensive line, I also think Donald could go here if available. An offensive tackle is also a possibility. Clinton-Dix isn't a big physical presence, but he's effective coming downhill and making tackles, and he's going to help in coverage.
The Rams need a safety to pair with T.J. McDonald, and, more specifically, with all the talented pass-rushers in their defensive front, they need a good centerfielder to track down the fly balls being thrown up by opposing quarterbacks who are under duress. Clinton-Dix has really good range, instincts and ball skills, and he'd be freed up to make plays in Gregg Williams' defense behind all of that talent up front. I think he could wind up as a better pro than he was a college player.
But wait, you say, the Rams haven't had a private visit with HHCD. Ignore that. The tape's pretty well established, and with only 30 visits to use, teams don't always bring in the players they plan to target in the first round.
Something else to consider is that HHCD might not even be available here.
Interesting to note that Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald and LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. get mentioned as potential picks for the Rams here.