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St. Louis Rams Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Team Prediction

Dan IrwinCorrespondent IIMarch 20, 2012

St. Louis Rams Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Team Prediction

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    St. Louis Rams fans can't wait for a new mock draft now that WR Brandon Lloyd has moved to the New England Patriots. The full prediction of the team's success may not be totally known until after the seven-round draft is done, but that won't keep us from thinking about the possibilities.

    The Rams had nothing short of a terrible 2011. After being picked to win the NFC West, the injury bug hit the team hard—more so than any other NFL team. Here is a partial timeline of some of the more significant injuries from last season.

    Player Name Position Date of Injury Injury Description
    Jermelle Cudjo DT Aug. 7 Back
    Jerome Murphy CB Aug. 12 Fractured Ankle
    Ron Bartell CB Sept. 11 Fractured Vertebrae
    Danny Amendola WR Sept. 11 Dislocated Shoulder / Torn Triceps
    Bradley Fletcher CB Oct. 5 Torn ACL
    Brian Jackson CB Oct. 29 Knee
    Greg Salas WR Nov. 6 Fractured Fibula
    Al Harris CB Nov. 13 Torn ACL
    Michael Hoomanawanui TE Nov. 13 Torn ACL
    Rodger Saffold OT Nov. 18 Torn Pectoral

    Looking at this list, it's not hard to see why the Rams weren't able to gain any ground. Injuries, especially to the secondary, devastated the team's ability to stay in games.

    For St. Louis to have success in 2012, one of the first things it'll have to address is the cornerback position. However, does this necessarily mean that the first pick of the draft needs to be a cornerback?

    Let's examine the team needs and then the possibilities that present themselves in the draft.

Addressing the Rams' Needs in 2012

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    The fact that the St. Louis Rams will be selecting later than previously expected in the 2012 draft may end up serving as a blessing in disguise.

    Rather than have the immense talent of a Matt Kalil or Robert Griffin III dictating their direction, the Rams will have less pressure to get the superstar and more attention on who will make the biggest impact for them right away.

    When you talk about team needs as far as the Rams are concerned, it all begins with the cornerback. However, when you have to start the new season off from the ground up with a new coach, the offense will be addressed first.

    A play-making wide receiver is what the Rams have in mind, but certainly anyone whom they think can stir up and lead the offense is a prime candidate.

    The Rams have traditionally gone O-line for many of their high draft picks, but that project has yielded little return. Don't be surprised if they move quickly for one, but not with the first pick.

    Here are the picks the St. Louis Rams will have this year, which will be depicted next by a mock draft:

    1. No. 6 (Round 1)
    2. No. 33 (Round 2)
    3. No. 39 (Round 2)
    4. No. 66 (Round 3)
    5. No. 96 (Round 4)
    6. No. 160 (Round 6)
    7. No. 192 (Round 7)

    Note: The Rams do not have a fifth-round selection, as it was traded to the Broncos for Brandon Lloyd.

Pick No. 1 (No. 6 Overall)

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    Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

    Blackmon is the total package and the kind of young, talented wide receiver that you see bringing success to other teams. St. Louis is starving for talent at the receiver position and has been since the days of Isaac Bruce.

    A look at Blackmon's career stats:

    Receptions Yards Average Touchdowns
    252 3,564 13.9 40

    Blackmon achieved these numbers in his three years in college football, with limited playing time his first season, which skews some of his stats down to what his total NFL potential may be.

    However, the Rams are well aware of this. In fact, it's more his game-changing ability off paper that has owner Stan Kroenke and company excited about him.

    At the NFL combine, Blackmon ran a 4.5-second 40-yard-dash. Although this isn't a bad time, he said he expected better out of himself.

    "That was around the area I wanted. I felt good today. I ran well and overall, I thought I did a pretty good job," Blackmon said. "I was trying to shoot for a 4.45. That was kind of in my head. Anywhere between there and a 4.5 would be good, and I just tried to shoot for that."


    Another guy it could be:  

    Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

    Make no mistake about it: If Justin Blackmon is taken by Tampa Bay with the fifth pick, the Rams won't hesitate to crown the heir of Steven Jackson and take the national championship-winning running back, who was the top Heisman candidate out of the best college football conference, the SEC.

    Richardson ran for a staggering 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, on top of 338 receiving yards, averaging 11.7 yards per catch.

    St. Louis will want to get a hold of Blackmon, but if it can't, Richardson may be able to fill a key spot that won't have to be worried about in years to come.


    Dark-horse candidate:

    Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

    It may be a stretch to see him go this early, but if he has something that Rams see and like, or if Blackmon shows them something they don't like, Floyd could move up and go here.

    Not regarded as the high-profile game-changer that Blackmon is, Floyd will undoubtedly be a solid NFL performer.

    Crazier things have happened in the draft, and if Rams fans walk away from this one with Floyd, they'll feel like they got a Sega on Christmas when they asked for a Nintendo—it may not be exactly what you envisioned, but it'll be so good you'll hardly be able to complain once you find yourself totally entertained.

Pick No. 2 (No. 33 Overall)

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    Mike Adams, OG, Ohio State

    The St. Louis Rams will get the first pick of the second round. The have had a history of picking offensive linemen early, and this year should be no exception.

    Ohio State prospect Mike Adams is one of the better players in a draft not necessarily top-heavy with talented linemen. However, his ability may be what the Rams need to get quarterback Sam Bradford a little bit more comfortable in the pocket.

    Many consider Adams a late first-round pick, but if he does fall into the second round, expect St. Louis to be right on top of him.


    Another guy it could be:

    Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

    For those of you unfamiliar with the pedigree of defenders that come out of Nebraska (and there shouldn't be many of you), his play will fall right in line with the likes of former Nebraska player Kyle Vanden Bosch.

    Crick is simply a beast. At 6'6", 285 lbs., he is one of the more intimidating defensive figures in the draft. There are a wide variety of defensive tackles to choose from in this draft, but given the background and physical potential in a guy like Crick, he may be the first pick of the second round.

    Crick is a Rivals.com 2010 first-team All-American.


    Dark-horse candidate:  

    Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech 

    Hosley is expected to go in the late first round, but this is another guy who could fall into St. Louis' lap. Hosley brings outstanding speed and aggressiveness at cornerback and could be a high-profile answer to the weak secondary.

    Many services have Hosley going sooner—some as soon as the middle of the first round—but he's another guy that could fall into the second round if teams see things about other players that fit their specific schemes.

Pick No. 3 (No. 39 Overall)

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    Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

    If his size doesn't grab your attention at 6'3" and 215 lbs., his blazing 4.36 40-yard dash time will.

    Hill is an extremely well-coached player who has the ability to adapt to a wide variety of newer systems that are hitting the pro game now. His proven knack for making smart decisions, sticking to his routes and ultimately having one of John Madden's favorite attributes (yards after catch) make him an ideal pick-up early in the second round.

    This draft pick was acquired from Washington in trading away the No. 2 overall pick.


    Another guy it could be: 

    Rueben Randle, WR, Louisiana State 

    Randle is a proven receiver, instrumental in LSU's undefeated regular-season run. He didn't quite break the 1,000-yard barrier, but his 917 yards come on a mere 53 receptions on the season.

    Randle was a 2011 first-team All-SEC player ,as voted by the coaches.


    Dark-horse candidate:

    Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia

    Picking a cornerback with the third pick may not be out of the question. If the Rams get Blackmon and feel like they can score another key receiver in later rounds or through a trade, picking a solid defender like Minnifield makes a lot of sense in this position.

Pick No. 4 (No. 66 Overall)

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    Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma

    The Rams' need for another quality linebacker makes them pick one no lower than this spot. Look for Ronnell Lewis, who comes out of an aggressive system at Oklahoma, to be a likely candidate and could even be a potential impact player for St. Louis.

    Lewis had a breakout season in 2011, one that saw him explode for 60 tackles, nearly doubling his total from a year previous.

    Five-and-a-half sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery aren't bad stats to add to last season, either.


    Another guy it could be: 

    Mychal Kendricks, OLB, Cal

    Although a different position, he comes from some football pedigree, as his father was UCLA's leading rusher in 1970-71.

    Some have even suggested Kendricks may be the most athletic linebacker overall in the draft.

    He excelled in many categories against his peers, having the fastest 40-yard dash time among linebackers at the combine and outperforming in the broad jump by a full three inches.


    Dark-horse candidate: 

    Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

    He may be the best name in the NFL draft. If the Rams don't want to go linebacker here, Nick Toon would be a quality available player at this point.

    His draft stock has moved up with a strong combine, and an even stronger Wisconsin pro day, so he may not be available at this spot. However, if others are slouching, the Rams should at least have this guy on the radar for a quality pick.

Pick No. 5 (No. 96 Overall)

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    Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

    This particular area of the draft has going to be rich in standout defensive secondary that could shape out nicely in the NFL. One of the prime players who has already experienced playing the game at a very high level is Cliff Harris out of Oregon.

    In 2010, he was the most successful single-season return man in Oregon history, as well as earning All-American honors from several services.


    Another guy it could be:

    Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State

    When everything is done for the Rams on draft day, it may not be "Were there any Oklahoma State Cowboys picked?" but "How many Cowboys were picked?"

    He is described as "maybe the biggest hitter on the roster," which speaks volumes of a defense like Oklahoma State's. No doubt this physicality would be a welcome presence in the Rams secondary.


    Dark-horse candidate:

    Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M

    He was supposed to be one of Texas A&M's most solid defensive players, but was held back by injury in 2011, which is really his big knock overall.

    Judie is one of those guys where if he could just steer clear of the injury bug, he'd be dynamite. However, this hasn't been Judie's history. 

Pick No. 6 (No. 160 Overall)

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    Neiko Thorpe, CB, Auburn

    The frenzy on cornerbacks has died down now as the pool of talent has dried just slightly. However, this won't keep St. Louis from looking at what is left and how they can help.

    Enter Neiko Thorpe. After starting 40 games in his SEC career and not being invited to the combine, Thorpe felt he had something to prove.

    He may have done just that with his 4.40 40-yard dash time recently. Thorpe is a consistent performer and worthy of a serious look by the Rams.


    Another guy it could be:

    Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly

    Asa Jackson is an extremely decorated player out of Cal Poly and would be a steal for the Rams at this point.

    Sport Network has him tabbed as an All-American, and he even earned Great West Conference's Freshman of the Year Award as a defensive player. His consistency and solid performance make him a strong pick at this point.


    Dark-horse candidate:

    Blake Gideon, S, Texas

    The Rams will want to focus more on the cornerback aspect, but if safety Blake Gideon is still available, he may go to the Rams at this point.

    Gideon has started every game in his career—that is, every game his freshman through senior years, a remarkable feat in itself.

    Mix that in with the fact that he has played on such highly ranked defensive units, and you have the recipe for a solid choice in Gideon. 

Pick No. 7 (No. 192 Overall)

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    Lucas Nix, OT, Pitt

    The Rams' many compounded needs could be capped off well draft-wise by picking up Lucas Nix out of Pitt.

    His size at 6'6" and 310 lbs. would serve as ideal as far as physicality is concerned, but he would have to prove that his quickness can be up to NFL standard.

    He started all of his sophomore season forward on the offensive line.


    Another guy it could be:

    Rokevious Watkins, OT, South Carolina

    Solid stats and consistent performer who has incredible size at 6'4", 340.

    A former junior college transfer, Watkins has shown his versatility in his ability to play in different positions on the offensive line.


    Dark-horse candidate:

    Josh Kaddu, OLB, Oregon

    It may be irrelevant to try and guess the dark-horse option of the last pick, but it never hurts to lay out the importance this pick could serve if the player turns out to be successful. 

    Josh Kaddu brings skill with his experience and would add solid depth to the Rams' linebacking depth.

    He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and was second on the Ducks with 6.5 sacks.

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