St Louis Rams Mock Draft: Final 7-Round Team Predictions with Video Highlights
Will the St. Louis Rams stay at No. 6 and select Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne, Matt Kalil, or Fletcher Cox? Or will they throw a surprise into the mix?
Will the Rams trade down and target a player like Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright or David DeCastro?
How many wide receivers will St. Louis select before the draft comes to a close on Saturday?
All of these questions (and many more) will eventually be answered. As for now, the moment we have been waiting for is nearly upon us.
The first St. Louis draft to be led by head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead is just around the corner.
After months of ever-increasing analysis, anticipation, speculation, scenarios, rumors and smokescreens, it is just about time to reveal the 2012 Rams draft class.
With further delay, let us jump right to my final St. Louis Rams 2012 Mock Draft.
Round 1 (6): WR Justin Blackmon
The last time the Rams had the No. 6 pick in the draft, the Rams drafted potential Hall of Hall wide receiver Torry Holt.
Not only was St. Louis picking at six then, the Rams were coming off of several rough seasons, just as they are now.
That was the last time (1999) that the Rams took a receiver in round one.
I expect that to change Thursday night as I anticipate Roger Goodell will announce that Justin Blackmon is heading to St. Louis.
As I have taken more time to step away from the fray and look at the Rams big picture, nabbing Blackmon makes all the sense in the world.
First of all, Trent Richardson will almost certainly be off the board by No. 6, and unless St. Louis gets a discount deal to move up, I see the chances being very slim that the Rams end up in position to grab this year's top running back prospect.
Secondly, the Rams have made it clear, after passing up on staying at No. 2 to pick Robert Griffin III and by retaining Sam Bradford rather than trading him to the Cleveland Browns, that this is the former Oklahoma Sooners Heisman Trophy winning quarterback's team.
With that being clear, it makes sense then, especially when considering the subpar group of wide receivers that St. Louis has surrounded Bradford with in his first two seasons, to select the nearly consensus top wideout in this draft, Blackmon.
One of the more important items on the Rams to-do list for this draft absolutely must be to gather enhanced weaponry for Bradford and the abysmal St. Louis offense, which averaged a meager 12.1 points per game last season.
I look for Justin Blackmon to be a Rams wide receiver on Thursday night.
Look for the former Oklahoma Sooners QB to be connecting with the former Oklahoma State wideout early and often this Fall as St. Louis begins upgrading its' passing game for Bradford, just as it did well over a decade ago at No. 6 with Holt.
For more on Blackmon, read here.
Alternative Selection: Trent Richardson:
If on the board, it will be tough for the Rams to pass him up.
Round 2 (1): OG Kevin Zeitler
Bleacher Report NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller has called Wisconsin's Kevin Zeitler the best run blocking guard in the entire 2012 NFL Draft.
Does not the best run blocking guard and Jeff Fisher being matched up not seem like a match made in heaven?
Zeitler may not make it out of the first round, however, as credible draft analysts such as Dane Brugler and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports have him off the board before St. Louis picks at the top of round 2 in their latest mocks.
Zeitler is big and strong at 6'4' and 315 pounds.
He is known as a perfectionist who is very good in both run and pass protection, something that would seem to be of appeal to any GM, including Les Snead of the Rams.
If Zeitler is on the board here, look for the Rams to solidify their starting offensive line early by grabbing Zeitler, who looks to be a guy ready to step in from day 1 and start at left guard for the Rams and consistently clear space in the run game, a must for the Jeff Fisher offense.
For more on Zeitler, read this.
Alternative Selection: DT Dontari Poe
According to Russ Lande of the Sporting News, workout warrior Dontari Poe is sliding significantly on draft boards as his stock is plummeting.
If he is here, I see St. Louis grabbing the vastly talented defensive tackle.
Round 2 (7): DT Brandon Thompson
If not for the meteoric offseason rise of Dontari Poe of Memphis, Brandon Thompson would be the top one/two technique defensive tackle prospect in this draft.
Thompson goes 6'2' and 315 pounds and shows great strength on the field and in the weight room, putting up 35 reps in the bench press at the NFL Combine.
Thompson excelled on the field and in the classroom at Clemson.
Thompson is a very intriguing prospect in that he is a nose tackle type whose best asset might be his pass rush ability.
Thompson has an exceptional burst off the snap, a la former Rams DT D' Marco Farr, and looks to have the making of a true 4-3 run-stuffing interior defensive lineman.
A selection of Thompson is also appealing due to the fact that he would be a great compliment to free agent three technique DT Kendall Langford.
Due to Thompson's versatility, he adds appeal as an every down player as the anchor of the D line.
For more on Thompson, check this.
Alternative Choice: CB Josh Robinson or WR Stephen Hill
If either player is available at 39 (and these cbssports.com mocks suggest they could be) they could be of great appeal here and provide good value.
Round 3 (2): OLB Zach Brown
Zach Brown was once mocked my many, including myself, as a first round choice.
However, it looks as if he could be available as late as round three now. If so, he would provide optimal potential and value at a position of great need for St. Louis.
Brown has prototypical size, speed and athleticism for the position and I love the idea of Jeff Fisher's veteran-laden staff getting their hands on this former track star.
Furthermore, Brown is a long-time St. Louis Rams fan. That alone should earn him the pick, right?
All kidding aside, Brown offers exemplary promise and potential at 6'2 and 244 pounds.
Brown is a fluid athlete with outstanding change-of-direction skills, something that could help him match up with San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis in man coverage.
Although he has room to improve in coverage, particularly in man, he has the physical tools to be terrific in pass coverage.
In addition, Brown reacts quickly to developing plays.
Brown uses his speed well versus the run, but he needs to get stronger at the point of attack. He does well getting past blockers and can beat backs to the edge.
The most exciting aspect to Brown's game, however, is his potential as a pass-rusher.
He possesses the physical attributes to become a great rusher off the edge and help form a dynamic and prolific pass-rush along with former North Carolina teammate Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Kendall Langford.
Some have questioned his aggressiveness, however, he was asked to drop back in coverage quite a bit in the scheme he played within.
Click here for more analysis of Brown.
Alternative Choice: DT Alameda Ta'amu or WR Brian Quick
Round 4 (1): RB Ronnie Hillman
As some of you know, I love Ronnie Hillman. He can do it all and would be a great backup to Steven Jackson and be a great change of pace back, too.
As much as everyone loves Trent Richardson, he does not provide a different look to the defense like a Ronnie Hillman does, as Richardson's game is much more similar to Jackson's.
Hillman, the former San Diego State star can stop on a dime and cut similarly to fellow former Aztec Marshall Faulk. Being from the same university, comparisons to Faulk have been inevitable.
Hillman ran a 4.41 at the combine but, more importantly has great tape and production at the collegiate level.
Hillman broke Faulk's freshman rushing record with 1,532 yards in 2010. He topped those numbers in 2011, running for 1,711 yards on 5.5 yards per carry.
Like Faulk, Hillman has shown a knack for finding the end zone, doing so an absurd 36 times in two college seasons. Hillman is a good receiver out of the backfield, making him a sound option on third-down passing situations.
Interestingly, Hillman is built similarly and possesses similar attributes to Chris Johnson, a running back Fisher once drafted in Tennessee,
Hillman runs well inside and displays a terrific burst and lateral agility.
As would be expected, the speedy, agile Hillman runs well outside and accelerates quickly off the edge. He is a patient runner who can cut quickly and make defenders miss.
In short, Hillman coud be an ideal complement and change-of-pace back to pair with Steven Jackson. He has also shown himself to be remarkably durable, a trait desirable to the Rams considering that Jackson missed several games last year and will be 29 next season.
Hillman, by the way, was a pre draft visitor to Rams Park, so he is obviously on the radar and of interest to St. Louis.
Alternative Choice: WR Chris Givens
If Givens slides to this point in the draft, he would be an incredible pickup. He may be the best route runner in this class.
Round 6 (1): WR Tommy Streeter
Tommy Streeter would provide tremendous value here and would bring exceptional size and speed to the St. Louis wide receiver corps.
Last year, he averaged almost 18 yards per catch on 46 catches with eight going for touchdowns.
Streeter is a terrific jump ball and fade pattern guy and could provide a nice target inside the 20 for Bradford. He is terrific down the seam, too.
Streeter is willing to take a hit while focusing on the catch, according to this report, and has great overall athleticism and body control.
Streeter is a bit raw but has the potential to develop into a very good pro wide receiver. In the sixth round and at a position where the Rams need explosiveness, this pick makes a lot of sense.
Alternative Choice: CB Asa Jackson
Round 7 (2): CB Coty Sensabaugh
Nfldraftscout.com has Sensabaugh and his stock on the rise, as it should be.
The former cornerback from Clemson had a solid senior season and was impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine.
For a seventh-round prospect, that is noteworthy.
Sensabaugh ran an unofficial 4.37 40, was third in the three-cone drill and fourth in the vertical jump at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
Sensabaugh is very quick and fast and shows good agility as well. Furthermore, he has good size, checking in at 6'0 and 189 pounds.
Sensabaugh played a lot of press coverage in 2011 and performed well in that regard.
The ability to play that type of coverage could appeal to the Rams brass, as they are likely to blitz often. If Sensabaugh can thwart receivers off the line, it could create some problems for opposing offenses.
In addition, Rams secondary coach Chuck Cecil likes aggressive, tough secondary play.
According to cbssports.com, he is smart, durable and productive—three great characteristics that you would want to see in any player.
It is also encouraging that he is accustomed to playing against top-flight receivers after performing in the SEC.
Alternative Selection: TE DeAngelo Peterson
Round 7 (Compensatory Pick): P Shawn Powell
The Rams are in need of a punter after watching Donnie Jones sign with the Houston Texans earlier this year. Florida State punter Shawn Powell looks to be the guy to fill the void at punter for St. Louis.
Powell is huge, at 6'4' and 248, with a huge leg.
Powell led the nation last year with an average of 47 yards per punt. According to this report via cbssports.com, Powell placed 43 percent of his punts inside the 20 yard line.
Powell is most appealing due to his combination of power, versatility and accuracy.
Alternative Choice: K Greg Zuerlein
Shane Gray covers the St. Louis Rams daily as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You are encouraged to check out the rest of his work here. Gray also owns and operates stlramscentral.com.