The 2016 SB Nation Blogger Mock Draft has been rolling for a couple of days now and hit the Los Angeles Rams at #15 today. Here's what I wrote in mocking the Rams to select Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander:
My effort here was to come up with something realistic, something I think the Rams will do, not what I’d want them to do.
At first glance, the Los Angeles Rams’ need for QB and WR talent is overwhelming coming off of a 2015 season that saw their offense...then based in St. Louis...ranked dead last in yardage gained. The Case Keenum/Nick Foles/Sean Mannion QB depth chart is hardly one to inspire confidence heading into training camp. The WR group, headlined by Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, barely topped 1,000 yards. As a group. All of them. Together. That’s not helped by the departure of underwhelming TE Jared Cook even if he was unable to reach the production levels hoped for upon his arrival in 2013. And given that the Rams haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Torry Holt in 2007 (oh, please do let that sink in deep and true for a moment), it’s easy to have a WR at #15 overall.
Except that this is where the Rams are.
After trading Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nick Foles and some draft pick swappery including their second-round pick in this year’s draft, they sent their 2016 NFL Draft seventh-round pick to the Houston Texans for Case Keenum. Looking at that pair, they drafted Sean Mannion in the third round last year. And that was that. Roughly 344 days ago, the Rams went into an NFL season with a Foles/Keenum/Mannion trio with confidence that it would work. That they would reverse course so sharply would reverse much of what we know about Jeff Fisher’s stubborn adherence to his football principles.
And at wide receiver? No thanks. The Rams passed entirely on the last two WR classes which were stocked to the brim with talent save for a sixth-round pick on Bud Sasser who retired from football before his NFL career even started due to a pre-existing heart condition. No worries, though. The Rams still have Brian Quick.
No, the Rams have made it a point to avoid fixing their QB and WR issues for years. That they would change that now when they have new needs popping up across the defense would make even less sense (which could be the best argument for it to actually happen).
So while Rams fans and the common observer might point to that 32nd-ranked offense as the target of immediate talent need, I’m mocking them to take a replacement for outbound cornerback Janoris Jenkins in Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander.The Rams were pressed into emergency makeover mode on the offensive line last year due to overdrafting running backs and cornerbacks for years prior. That didn’t stop them from drafting Todd Gurley a year ago. I don’t see why it would stop them from taking a cornerback this time around. And in all honesty, it’s not a horrible pick. Alexander fits a bit of a need while providing long-term talent growth if Trumaine Johnson doesn’t sign a long-term deal following his franchise tag in 2016 or if the other CBs on the roster don’t step up. I also thought about Alabama ILB Reggie Ragland here to replace newly signed New Orleans Saints MLB James Laurinaitis or Baylor DT Andrew Billings as a potential Michael Brockers replacement.
In the end, I’ve got them going with Alexander as an immediate top talent to put into the secondary with the rest of the draft offering the opportunity to patch up a patchwork offense.
It's not the pick I'd make if I were the Rams GM, but I tried to shoot for something believable.
Stay tuned to the mock as we roll into the second round toward the Rams' two picks on April 11.