10 Players the St. Louis Rams Could Regret Passing on in the 2012 NFL Draft

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2012

10 Players the St. Louis Rams Could Regret Passing on in the 2012 NFL Draft

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    The NFL draft is a resource that can provide your team with exciting talent, or alternatively, the draft can become a painful reminder of what could have been.

    If your team drafts a bust with a top pick (something the Rams have been superb at over the last decade), it's difficult to not go back and look at how things might have played out in an alternate universe. 

    Troy Polamalu over Jimmy Kennedy. Roddy White over Alex Barron. Haloti Ngata over Tye Hill. Darrelle Revis over Adam Carriker. 

    The possibilities are endless. 

    But let's make this clear—every Rams pick in 2012 deserves a fair shot and should not be overly criticized (or overly praised) until they've had a chance to get on the field. 

    Although, while the Rams were seemingly solid on draft day, let's take a look at 10 players who the Rams passed on throughout the draft. 

    These 10 players are surely a few of the guys we'll be keeping an eye on over the next several years. 

    If some of these players flourish, we'll be crying a river. If some of them fail, we'll be praising Les Snead and Jeff Fisher for their genius analysis.  

Morris Claiborne: CB (Dallas Cowboys)

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    Picked: Round 1 (No. 6 Overall)

    Janoris Jenkins, one of the Rams' second-round picks (No. 39 overall), is thought of as possibly the best cornerback in the entire draft. He only slipped out of the top 15 due to character concerns. 

    If you're a Rams fan, you believe that now more than ever—especially since the Rams moved down from No. 6 to No. 14 overall, missing out on Morris Claiborne in the process. 

    The Rams acquired an additional second-round pick from the Cowboys in the trade and made Michael Brockers their top pick. 

    If Jenkins falls into old habits and Claiborne eventually becomes a more valuable player than Brockers, then the Rams could eventually have second thoughts about trading down.  

    Claiborne was considered one of the few elite talents in the draft, so there's a chance that his presence in the NFL could fill the Rams with regret. 

David DeCastro: G (Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    Picked: Round 1 (No. 24 Overall)

    Michael Brockers was the Rams' top pick at No. 14 overall. Brockers was on Jeff Fisher's radar all along, but the fans had their eyes on someone else. 

    After Michael Floyd was picked up at No. 13 overall, the Rams fanbase was focused solely on David DeCastro. 

    DeCastro is one of the best offensive guard prospects to come out in years. He's a day-one starter and has the ability to become a perennial Pro Bowler. 

    And while that potential is enticing, apparently the thought of a nasty 322-pound defensive tackle was too much for Fisher to ignore. 

    If quarterback Sam Bradford is once again under heavy pressure in 2012, then expect the Brockers pick to take some criticism.  

Cordy Glenn: G (Buffalo Bills)

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    Picked: Round 2 (No. 41 Overall)

    After the first three picks of the draft, the Rams failed to find any offensive line help at all. In fact, only one of the top three picks was an offensive player (Brian Quick). 

    Taking two defenders with the first three picks was awfully bold, considering the Rams had arguably the worst overall offense in the NFL in 2011. 

    With the Rams' second pick in Round 2 (No. 39 overall), they decided to take cornerback Janoris Jenkins.  

    Jenkins provides great value, but his character flaws are something to be concerned about. The safer pick would've been Cordy Glenn, who was also graded as a first-round talent, just like Jenkins. 

    Glenn could have immediately improved an offensive line that gave up 55 sacks last season. 

    Jenkins could eventually become one of the better corners in the league if he keeps his head on straight. If not, the fans will be wondering why the team didn't opt for Glenn. 

Stephen Hill: WR (New York Jets)

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    Picked: Round 2 (No. 43 Overall)

    Brian Quick was originally thought of as a great wide receiver option in the late second round or the early third round, but he was not considered a logical choice for the Rams' No. 33 overall pick, at least if you trust the mock drafts. 

    Stephen Hill, however, was considered a mid first-round prospect. When he slipped into the second round, it was too good to be true. 

    But if you're Jeff Fisher, you were not overly impressed with Hill's 6'4" size or blazing speed. In Fisher's mind, Quick was the player with the higher ceiling. 

    If that turns out to be true, then Fisher is a genius. But if Hill lights it up in New York, then there will undoubtedly be outrage. 

Peter Konz: C (Atlanta Falcons)

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    Picked: Round 2 (No. 55 Overall)

    Peter Konz was thought of as the best center in the draft and was frequently mocked as a late first-round pick. 

    The Rams had a chance at landing Konz with any of their three second-round picks, but they passed on him each time. 

    Ignoring Konz was certainly understandable since the Rams signed Pro Bowl center Scott Wells during free agency.

    Although, Wells is 31 years old and won't be around forever. Konz is talented enough to play left guard, which would've kept him busy until Wells' retirement. 

LaMichael James, RB (San Francisco 49ers)

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    Picked: Round 2 (No. 61 Overall)

    The Rams used their No. 50 overall pick on Isaiah Pead, who is an effective change-of-pace running back capable of relieving Steven Jackson throughout the season. 

    Pead certainly fills a need. The Rams have been looking for a No. 2 running back for years. But LaMichael James was widely considered a better overall prospect. 

    James was drafted by the division rival 49ers, so his success won't go unnoticed by Rams fans. 

    Although, while James maybe had the slightly higher grade, Pead has more bulk than James and has a better shot at eventually becoming an every-down back. 

Lavonte David: LB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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    Picked: Round 2 (No. 58 Overall)

    If a team has a 4-3 defense, I will never criticize them for not drafting an outside linebacker early in the draft, as that position is not a high priority for that particular scheme. 

    But still, the Rams have Jo-Lonn Dunbar as one starting outside linebacker, but they have no clue who the second linebacker will be. And with three second-round picks, maybe it was worth the gamble. 

    With Michael Brocker and Janoris Jenkins already on board, Lavonte David could have been the final piece to a very dangerous defense. 

Mohamed Sanu: WR (Cincinnati Bengals)

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    Picked: Round 3 (No. 83 Overall)

    The Rams clearly wanted two wide receivers in the draft, as they drafted Brian Quick with their second pick and grabbed Chris Givens in the fourth round. 

    But with their third-round pick, they grabbed their second cornerback of the draft (Trumaine Johnson) and ignored the fact that there was a solid receiving option still on the board—Mohamed Sanu. 

    Johnson was a valuable pickup in the third round and will provide great depth in the secondary. But Sanu was arguably the better prospect. 

Sean Spence: LB (Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    Picked: Round 3 (No. 86 Overall)

    The third round is about the earliest a team with a 4-3 defense should draft an outside linebacker, so maybe the Rams should have looked at Sean Spence over Trumaine Johnson. 

    Spence was considered one of the better outside linebackers in the draft, and he would have been a day-one starter (as opposed to Johnson, who will merely provide depth). 

    Also, the fact that Pittsburgh eventually drafted Spence says a lot about his potential. If anyone knows defensive talent, it's the Steelers

Bobby Massie: T (Arizona Cardinals)

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    Picked: Round 4 (No. 112 Overall)

    Bobby Massie surprisingly slipped down to the fourth round of the draft, which provided the Rams with a phenomenal opportunity to upgrade their offensive line. 

    They probably made the right call by drafting speedster Chris Givens, which provides Sam Bradford with another weapon, but Massie would have been a welcomed pick. 

    Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith are the starting tackles, but the depth behind them is paper thin. Massie would have fixed that immediately.