It’s worth taking in the top dozen or 16 picks in mock drafts as these are prospects that will likely be out of the Rams’ window without a pick until #37 overall. I’m more preoccupied with the offensive prospects, but there’s space to contend that the Rams could well be in the market for defensive talent just as easily. Nonetheless, I think offensive prospects will be the focus as we head into and out of the combine next month, so I’m eyeing the top of mocks to see which offensive players get locked in.
For Reuter’s mock, that includes Clemson WR Mike Williams. For Reuter, he also has Western Michigan WR Corey Davis in his top half. The only other offensive players he has going in the top half are quarterbacks or running backs. I can’t recall a draft that didn’t include a single offensive lineman in the top 16 of the top of my head, but here we are.
That being said, the second half of the first round features offensive linemen, a wide receiver and tight ends. Worth noting the OL there with three tackles and two guards coming off the board. As we see mocks fluctuate over the next few months, we’ll see which of those five develop into first-round locks and which become potential options for the Rams in the second round.
As for the Rams themselves, in the second round Reuters tabs them to take:
Clemson CB Cordrea Tankersley
It’s an interesting pick. Let’s start with the prospect himself.
Tankersley had a hell of a lot on his plate this year as the only returning member of Clemson’s secondary (CB Mackensie Alexander went in the second round to the Minnesota Vikings, S T.J. Green followed almost immediately after to the Indianapolis Colts and S Jayron Kearse went in the seventh joining Alexander in Minny). As such, Tank was under pressure not just to perform well but lead. He did. Clemson DC Brent Venables’ system asked Tank to work one-on-one against the opposition’s best wideouts, and he did a hell of a job all year. He went out on the highest of notes helping Clemson shut down Alabama’s passing game in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship limiting WR Calvin Ridley to five catches for just 36 yards. Our Clemson site, Shakin the Southland, graded the secondary yesterday, and understandably Tank got glowing reviews.
As for the position...it’s an interesting one. CB Trumaine Johnson is coming off of the franchise tag as an unrestricted free agent and CB E.J. Gaines is under contract for just one more year, so the position doesn’t offer a ton of long-term certainty. It’s just hard to look at the the NFL’s worst offense and not feel like it deserves it the top capital the Rams have in the draft.
On top of that, Reuter’s got the nightmare scenario for Rams fans in that they’re not awarded a third-round pick for losing CB Janoris Jenkins to free agency (something I covered in depth this week). Without that pick, the Rams would have to trade their third-round selection to the Titans as part of the trade last year to move up to #1 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Trading that pick leaves the Rams, per Reuter’s mock, just one pick in the first 100. The Rams wouldn’t pick again until #105 overall, which means the Rams would have just one pick among the first 104 in the draft and would spend it on a cornerback while standing pat with the NFL’s worst offense.
That’s a course that’s just very, very, very, very, very hard to endorse.
Things look different if we get the third-round comp pick for Janoris and can spend the #69 (nice) overall pick on an offensive player to balance against a hypothetical Tankersley selection. Reuter has the Titans using that pick on USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, someone we’re going to see linked to the Rams ofter over the next three months and not just because Brandon Bate had us him in his four-round mock from last weekend. In any case, it’s worth keeping the nightmare scenario in mind.
It’s still worth filtering through Reuters’ second and third rounds to set some baseline draft stock as we move forward.
Mock season is upon us, fam. Dress appropriately.