The ESPN draft braintrust duo of Mel Kiper and Todd McShay offered up new big boards yesterday assessing the draft stock of their top prospects (both behind insider paywell because boo). Kiper's board went 25 deep while McShay's covered the length of the first round.
A couple notes:
- McShay still has Leonard Williams his #1 overall prospect on the board. That doesn't necessarily put him in line to get drafted first overall, but it is a fair indicator that neither Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota are assured to be the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. And coming off of Aaron Donald's 2014 performance, Rams fans should know all too well how important it is to replenish even the best of defensive lines with quality young talent.
- Both McShay and Kiper had mammoth Washington DT Danny Shelton at #7, and McShay even had Oregon DE Arik Armstead at #9. Throw in the pair of Nebraska DE Randy Gregory and Missouri DE Shane Ray who were in the top 6 in both boards, and D-line featured heavily early and often.
- Let's get to some Rams-specific interests. Here's the two's layout of offensive linemen in their boards:
|9||Brandon Scherff||OT||Iowa||10||Brandon Scherff||OT||Iowa|
|15||T.J. Clemmings||OT||Pitt||11||Andrus Peat||OT||Stanford|
|18||Ereck Flowers||OT||Miami||16||Ereck Flowers||OT||Miami|
|21||La'el Collins||OL||LSU||19||T.J. Clemmings||OT||Pitt|
So one major note: neither has an interior lineman tabbed this early. Certainly, teams will be open to the idea of plugging Scherff or Collins inside early in their NFL careers a la Greg Robinson. And perhaps time will soften the threshold for one of the top stationed guards or centers to creep into first round conventional wisdom. But for right now, if the Rams are looking to find immediate plugs for C Scott Wells and now-free agent G Davin Joseph, they might well be looking at day 2 options.
- Kiper's board is LIGHT on offense firepower. Kiper lists just three WRs (Amari Cooper, Alabama; Devante Parker - Louisville; Kevin White, West Virginia), one RB (Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin) and one TE (Maxx Williams - Minnesota). McShay's is much deeper. Along with those three WRs, he has Devin Funchess (Michigan), Devin Smith(Ohio St.), Jaelen Strong (Arizona St.), Dorial Green-Beckham (Oklahoma), and Philip Dorsett (Miami) listed, although those last three come after Kipers' 25-slot board length. McShay also has George RB Todd Gurley in his top 25. Williams is his only TE.
At this point, I'm starting to get more excited about the Rams' second day of the draft. As those boards suggest, there will be so many legitimate options for St. Louis to improve the roster. Do they go after someone from the second tier of quarterbacks? Do they begin going after interior linemen? Would an additional wide receiver change things for the Rams' next offensive coordinator? Would they be able to add to an already stalwart defense?
It all hinges on those first 32 picks.