With just over two weeks remaining until we kick off the 2017 NFL Draft, there will be no shortage of mock drafts for your viewing pleasure. Some will be completely inaccurate. Others...well...also inaccurate.
But it’s fun to prognosticate, and ESPN’s Todd McShay is one of the best in the business.
Round 2 (37): Adoree' Jackson, CB/RS, USC
Round 3 (69): Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky
Jackson has a chance to have an immediate impact as a returner. His technique in coverage still needs polishing, but he has elite ball skills and the versatility to make an impact in a number of ways (including on offense). The Rams' starting wide receivers right now are Robert Woods and Tavon Austin. In other words, it's a position Los Angeles should be looking at on Day 2. Taylor led all FBS players with 3,197 receiving yards and 34 touchdown catches the past two seasons. He's tough to bring down after the catch.
Adding USC’s Adoree’ Jackson would provide the Rams with an early impact player who has proven he can help a team in all three phases of the game. One would have to think, assuming the draft panned out this way, the Rams would expect him to step in very early and contribute on defense. He would absolutely play a factor in the return game. Jackson is Pro Football Focus’ 8th ranked CB in this year’s draft.
Per usual, the Rams once again find themselves in late-April in need of another wideout — especially given the exodus of the team’s leading receiver, Kenny Britt. McShay tabs Western Kentucky’s Taywan Taylor - who finished third in the FBS with 1,730 receiving yards in 2016 - as their draft fix. Taylor drops in at No. 12 on PFF’s wide receiver ranking (in their 2017 draft guide).
Top Cornerbacks Available When the Rams Took Jackson at 37:
- Jourdan Lewis (Michigan), Teez Tabor (Florida), Desmond King (Iowa), Sidney Jones (Washington), Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado)
Top Wide Receivers Available When the Rams Took Jackson at 37:
- Everyone except John Ross, Corey Davis, and Mike Williams
I get that there’s a bit of uncertainty regarding the future of the Rams’ secondary. I do. But I’m also not certain that cornerback (at 37) is still a top need for the Rams this year, given the offseason additions of Kayvon Webster and Nickell Robey-Coleman — both of whom could prove to be viable starters (alongside Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner, and E.J. Gaines) in Wade Phillips’ defense.
Both are one year deals, so signing a CB for 2017/beyond makes sense. But I think it negates the possibility that those players could also thrive in a potentially stellar defense. I guess, quite simply...why draft a slot corner at 37 if you have two very capable ones already on your roster? (I see more than one lockdown CB still available in this mock draft)
To me, Adoree’ Jackson would be an immediate upgrade at the slot corner position...for a team in need of a player who excels in those skill sets (not the Rams). That position, slot specifically, falls well behind other areas of need on defense, such as: edge rusher, ILB, and safety. And I wouldn’t even be that iffy on safety if Joyner weren’t in a contract year.
And that’s ONLY on defense.
The Rams still clearly need a receiver, and unless Temarrick Hemingway suddenly becomes a capable starter, the Rams are only left with Tyler Higbee at tight end..who’s yet to prove he’s a capable starter (I like Tyler Higbee...a lot).
But those needs, especially those in the Rams’ secondary, seem less dire than what the Rams require on offense. And that’s (mainly) why I question picking a CB at 37.
Carlos Henderson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Zay Jones, Curtis Samuel, Chris Godwin...even Cooper Kupp (who the Rams should also not draft) — all available at 37.
For those interested in taking a tight end in the 1st three rounds of the draft, O.J. Howard, David Njoku, and Evan Engram were all gone by 37. Jake Butt (Michigan), the next TE taken, was available at 69, when the Rams were on the clock (he went immediately after at 70).
What do you think of this mock draft, Turf Show Timer-s? Is cornerback at 37 the smart move? Is waiting to take a center (the team’s most glaring need, in my opinion) a mistake?
Let’s hear it? How did McShay do?
How nonsensical was my rationale?