As was the case last weekend, since it’s the weekend you will get a double dose of mock draft analysis. Earlier today, I posted what I think the Detroit Lions will do at No. 13, and now it’s time to see what the St. Louis Rams will do with the next pick, No. 14.
The addition of Sam Bradford pushed the Rams in 2010 from a team that many thought would be among the league’s worst to one that almost made the playoffs. They still have a long way to go before they make any waves leaguewide, but at least they have the benefit of playing in a horrid NFC West, where mediocrity reigns supreme.
The Rams would love to walk away from this draft by adding another offensive playmaker to employ beside Sam Bradford. But with potentially limited options, I think they may wind up taking a quality defender like Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith with their top pick.
Most people have the Rams in love with Alabama wideout Julio Jones, but it’s doubtful that Jones is going to fall all the way to this pick. So if the Rams want to get a big-time wideout for Bradford to throw to, then they will likely have to go up and get him. That won’t be any sweat off the back of teams picking between picks No. 7 and 10, because a few of those teams may wish to trade back in the draft and take one of the second tier passers like Washington’s Jake Locker. And if the Rams do move up that high, they could wind up with either A.J. Green or Jones.
The Rams should also consider Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Back in 2004, the Rams drafted Steven Jackson with Marshall Faulk still on the team. But Faulk was on his last legs and they picked up Jackson as the runner of the future. They could contemplate doing something similar now with Jackson getting close to the light at the end of the tunnel. But will the Rams have a high enough grade on ingram to take him in the top 15 and spurn other needs? That seems doubtful at this point.
So it likely means the Rams will turn to try and get help on the defensive side of the ball. And they need the most help in their front seven. Right now, they have to like pieces like Chris Long and James Laurinaitis. And veterans Fred Robbins and James Hall were also productive last year. But they can’t be that optimistic that will last much longer. Inside, a player like Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget would make a ton of sense. A year ago, many thought the Rams would take Ndamukong Suh instead of Bradford No. 1, and while Liuget isn’t in that class, he’s a very good consolation prize to have. But I have him going off the board two slots ahead to the Minnesota Vikings.
So if that is the case, then they will likely look at adding an edge rusher. Missouri’s Aldon Smith is the in-state kid from Kansas City, and would certainly be a hit with the local fan base. He offers the sort of speed rusher that would look very good opposite Long on the outside.