St. Louis Rams: Video Highlights and Rookie Season Predictions for Each Pick

David HeebCorrespondent IApril 28, 2012

St. Louis Rams: Video Highlights and Rookie Season Predictions for Each Pick

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    The St. Louis Rams entered the 2012 NFL draft as a team with very little hope. They were a 2-14 team with the No. 2 overall pick and a laundry list of needs.

    However they'll leave the draft as a franchise on the upswing—the St. Louis Rams stole the 2012 draft.

    They turned the No. 2 overall pick into the No. 14, No. 39, No. 50, and No. 150 picks, and they will also receive the Redskins' 2013 and 2014 first-round picks.

    For those of you scoring at home, the Rams turned one pick (the RG3 pick) into six—three first rounders, two second rounders, and a fifth rounder.

    That is how you turn around a terrible franchise in a hurry.

    So which of these rookies are going to have the biggest impact in 2012? Here are my predictions.

Seventh Round (No. 252): Daryl Richardson, RB, Abilene Christian

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    Daryl Richardson played at tiny Abilene Christian University, and is the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott.

    At 5'10, 192 pounds, Richardson ran a 4.47 at his pro day, putting him on a few teams radar. He is an explosive player, and the Rams are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with the second-to-last pick in the draft.

    Projection: Best case scenario, he makes the team as a scat back and plays some special teams. Given his athletic ability, he could be a player who develops into a serious weapon for the Rams under the right circumstances. I like this low-risk, high-reward type of pick.

Seventh Round (No. 209): Aaron Brown, OLB, Hawaii

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    Aaron Brown is a physical guy that can play outside linebacker. As a late round draft pick, he will be fighting just to make the roster.

    Brown has value as a special teams player, giving him a greater chance to make the cut.

    Projection: If Brown can make the roster and play special teams, this will be a draft pick well spent.

Sixth Round: Greg Zuerlein, K, Missouri Western

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    Can you call a kicker taken in the sixth round a "steal"? Because if you can, then Greg Zuerlein is a steal for the Rams here.

    They need a kicker, and I think this kid is going to be a really good one.

    Prediction: He makes the roster and has a great rookie season.

Fifth Round: Rokevius Watkins, OG, South Carolina

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    Rokevius Watkins is a big, strong offensive lineman. The Rams have a need for an interior lineman, so this fifth-round pick has a chance to make the roster.

    If he works hard and has any talent at all, he has a chance to crack the starting lineup as the Rams' offensive line is a weak spot.

    Prediction: I think he makes the roster and gives the Rams some depth and a player they hope will develop into a starter in the future.

Fourth Round: Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forrest

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    Chris Givens is a burner, and he was a highly productive college receiver. He is going to have to compete for playing time against fellow draftee Brian Quick (No. 33 pick), as well as incumbent receivers Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson, Austin Pettis, Greg Salas, Dominique Curry and Steve Smith.

    That list includes nine receivers, and only six should expect to make the roster.

    As a fourth round pick, he is going to be fighting for his life the moment he steps into camp. Competition is a good thing, and I hope it brings out the best in Givens.

    Prediction: He makes the final roster, and has some impact as a second or third receiver because of his big play ability.

Third Round: Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana

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    Trumaine Johnson was a borderline first or second round talent, depending on who you talked to.

    He slid down some draft boards due to perceived off-field issues, so when he was sitting there at the top of Round 3, the Rams turned a perceived weakness—defensive secondary—into a major strength.

    Johnson has a chance to get on the field a lot as a rookie, probably as a nickel back. I see him having a big impact, as he teams up with Janoris Jenkins (No. 39 pick) and free agent pickup Cortland Finnegan to give the Rams a potentially awesome secondary.

    Prediction: Makes the final roster, plays a major role on the team as a rookie, mostly as a nickel back.

Second Round, (No. 50): Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati

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    Isaiah Pead is going to make a major impact on this football team, if for no other reason than the Rams really, really need a backup running back.

    The Cadillac Williams experiment was a massive failure. With this draft pick, the Rams have finally brought in a playmaker at the running back position to help Steven Jackson.

    Prediction: He has a major impact as a backup running back, a receiver out of the backfield and an extra weapon in the arsenal of Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. I expect Pead to total more than 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie.

Second Round (No. 39): Janoris Jenkins, CB, Northern Alabama

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    Janoris Jenkins was the most polarizing player in this draft. He had undeniable talent, but also had the kind of baggage that screamed "PacMan," as in Adam "PacMan" Jones. Jenkins fills a need for the Rams, and should be a starter from Day 1 in a Rams uniform.

    Prediction: Starts all 16 games, challenges for Defensive Rookie of the Year and helps transform the Rams' defense into one of the best in the NFC.

Second Round (No. 33): Brian Quick WR, Appalachian State

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    Brian Quick is a big time talent. He is big and fast, and has the ability to become an elite receiver.

    Mel Kiper had Quick as his fourth-rated outside receiver in the draft, and the Rams' brass has gone as far as comparing Quick to a young Terrell Owens.

    Of course, every team is going to put their own spin on things to make it sound like "we wanted this guy all along." Having said that, I believe the Rams truly wanted Quick all along.

    Why, you ask?

    Because they had all day to trade back from the first pick in the second round. They sat tight. I think the Rams would have preferred Blackmon, but they weren't desperate for him because of how highly they thought of Brian Quick.

    Put it this way—would you rather have only Justin Blackmon or Brian Quick, Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins and Isaiah Pead?

    By trading back, the Rams filled several needs. If Quick pans out, and I believe he will, then we'll look back and see the quality and quantity that the Rams added to their roster through this draft.

    It took me about 24 hours to come to terms with it, but I love this pick.

    Prediction: He will be Bradford's go to receiver, picking up over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie. This kid is going to be a star.

First Round: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

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    Michael Brockers is only 21 years old, and he only had significant playing time in his final season (his redshirt sophomore year) at LSU. That inexperience might mean it'll take time to be a dominant player in the NFL.

    I believe he will be a dominant player for the Rams though.

    I think Brockers' rookie year will be similar to Robert Quinn's, the Rams' first round draft pick last year. Like Brockers, Quinn was a young, inexperienced ultra-talented defensive lineman. Hopefully, like Quinn, Brockers will be a dominant player by the end of his rookie season.

    The Rams rush defense was awful last season. As a defensive tackle, his value won't be measured in his own statistics, but in the way he can move the pile and make things easier on the players around him.

    Brockers should command a double team in most cases, and because of his presence, we're going to see the players around him—like James Laurinaitis (MLB), Robert Quinn (RDE), and Chris Long (LDE)—really take their game to another level.

    This was a great pick by the Rams.

    Prediction: He will play all 16 games, becoming a force on the defensive line before Week 6.

So What Does It Mean for the Rams in 2012?

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    The Rams added a starting center (Scott Wells), a starting outside linebacker (Jo-Lonn Dunbar), a starting corner (Cortland Finnegan) and a starting defensive tackle (Kendal Langford) via free agency.

    Jason Smith (RT), Roger Saffold (LT), Jerome Murphy (CB), Danny Amendola (WR), Greg Salas (WR) and Bradley Fletcher (CB) were all injured last season, and could be major contributors in 2012 if they remain healthy.

    The Rams added starting caliber players at defensive tackle (Michael Brockers), wide receiver (Brian Quick) and corner (Janoris Jenkins), as well as key role players at corner (Trumaine Johnson), receiver (Chris Givens), running back (Isaiah Pead).

    That is 16 players that will be on the Rams' active roster in 2012 that weren't on the roster in 2011 and they should make a major difference. If Sam Bradford can stay healthy for an entire season, the Rams could be a dark horse playoff team in the NFC.