St. Louis Rams fans are getting antsy leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft later this month. The team is headed in a new direction, under a new regime, and there is excitement in the air for a winner being rebuilt in the city.
"Who will the Rams take with the No. 6 overall pick?"
"Will Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon still be there at No. 6?"
"Do you really think head coach Jeff Fisher could take a defensive lineman early in the draft?"
These are all questions debated amongst Rams fans on message boards, sports talk radio and even between buddies having a drink at the bar.
A popular method for the ultra-hyper fans who can't wait a few more weeks for the draft to come is trying to look at Jeff Fisher's draft history in their attempts to crack the code of what the Rams will look like come May. While some fans claim the Rams are in a different position than the Tennessee Titans were throughout Fisher's head coaching career there from 1995-2010, others sense a pattern for what to expect.
So, just for fun, let's hold a mock draft for rounds one to four based off Fisher's past draft history.
Note: Completely illogical picks will be excluded. For example, the Rams drafting a quarterback in the first round. It's not happening.
A pick that would leave many fans upset who are seeking an offensive upgrade with the Rams' first round selection. In his head coaching days at Tennessee, Fisher has gone defense seven times out of 14 picks.
More specifically, he has selected a defensive lineman four times; a defensive back three times; and a wide receiver, running back and quarterback each twice. He also selected a linebacker once.
Defensive lineman selected by Fisher include Kenny Holmes, Jevon Kearse, Albert Haynesworth and Derrick Morgan.
Largely considered the best defensive tackle in this year's draft, Michael Brockers is a large 6'6", 322 lbs. He only started one year at LSU and is considered to have a tremendous ceiling. Brockers is a great run stuffer that plows over offensive lineman and engages the ball carrier.
If not Brockers: Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State). Sure, the point of this mock is based off Fisher's history come draft day and he has taken more defensive backs than wide receivers. However, there is a much better chance that Blackmon is there at No. 6 for the Rams over Morris Claiborne. I don't see the Rams reaching for the likes of Dre Kirkpatrick, Stephon Gilmore or Janoris Jenkins with that high of a pick.
Head Coach Jeff Fisher has selected a defensive lineman seven out of 17 picks in the second round. However, that position was filled in the first round of this mock draft, so that leaves the St. Louis Rams with cornerback Janoris Jenkins out of North Alabama. Fisher has selected a defensive back three times in the second round.
Other picks in the second round by Fisher include a wide receiver, running back and offensive lineman all twice each. He has also selected a tight end once.
Defensive backs Fisher has drafted in the second round include Tank Williams, Andre Dyson and Samari Rolle.
Jenkins possesses good speed and is able to change directions on a dime to follow a receiver. The 5'10", 193 lb corner has good instincts in tracking routes and the ball and plays bigger than his size would let on.
He has also ran into some legal issues as he was arrested in 2009 for fighting and resisting arrest near a bar in Gainesville. After he allegedly punched a man, police tazed Jenkins to control him. Then in 2011, Jenkins was cited for marijuana possession twice in January and April. His last arrest resulted in him being released by the Florida Gators. He would go on to play for North Alabama his senior year.
If not Jenkins: Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver (Georgia Tech). As mentioned above, Fisher has selected an offensive lineman, running back and wide receiver all twice in the second round. Given the Rams need at receiver, it would not be too far of a stretch to see them take Hill here.
Jeff Fisher does have a history of drafting a wide receiver in the first or second rounds. In four out of 31 early picks, he has gone receiver.
The St. Louis Rams need a wide receiver early in the draft, so if they don't go that direction with their first two picks, expect them to here at the latest.
Wide receivers Fisher has drafted in the second round include Joey Kent and Tyrone Calico.
Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu measures in at 6'2" and 215 lbs, which puts him at the median size for top receivers coming out of this year's draft. Sanu has good hands, but his greatest assets are his yards after catch and his movement downfield.
If not Sanu: Lamar Miller, Running Back (Miami). Fisher's draft history in the second round suggests a favor to defensive lineman and defensive backs. In this mock draft, the Rams have already filled those holes. So if the team decides not to go receiver somehow by this point, it wouldn't be absurd to start finding Steven Jackson's predecessor.
If history bares and resemblance to the Rams' 2012 NFL Draft, and this mock has some picks correct, the team still needs a strong outside linebacker. Fisher has selected a linebacker three times out of 22 picks in the third round. Typically, he has gone after defensive backs (five picks) and wide receivers (four picks) here, but we already have those holes filled previously in this draft.
Linebackers Fisher has drafted in the third round include Rennie Curran, Rocky Calmus and Terry Killens.
Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis is a standout outside linebacker who also played time at defensive end. Measuring in at 6'2" and 244 lbs, Lewis hits hard, tracks the ball well and has exceptional speed.
Jeff Fisher has picked a defensive back nine times out of 31 fourth round picks. He has selected a defensive lineman six times and an offensive lineman, wide receiver and linebacker five times each in this round. He also has drafted a tight end once here.
Defensive backs Fisher has drafted in the fourth round include Brad Ware, Donald Mitchell, Bobby Myers, Mike Echols, Tony Beckham, Michael Waddell, Vincent Fuller and Alterraun Verner.
NFLMocks.com said this about Michigan State safety Trenton Robinson:
Undersized but extremely productive safety who had a breakout season as a junior with 76 tackles, four interceptions, and 12 pass deflections. Robinson was making plays all over the field for the Spartans last year, and is a very underrated player. Had a big sophomore season with 67 tackles and an interception, and returns for his senior season as one of the leaders of the Michigan State defensive unit. Has started 19 games for the Spartans, and was a 2nd team All Big Ten performer as voted by the coaches as well as Phil Steele. Hard-nosed, blue collar player with solid athleticism and good speed.