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St. Louis Rams: 5 Defensive Players Rams Fans Should Watch During Bowl Games

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IIDecember 3, 2012

St. Louis Rams: 5 Defensive Players Rams Fans Should Watch During Bowl Games

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    The St. Louis Rams are finally becoming relevant again. There is still a whole lot for the team to play for this season, but with bowl games coming up, it is never to early to start scouting out potential draft picks.

    On the defensive side of the football the team has been very good this year. The strong point is the defensive line. Defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn have provided an outstanding pass rush on the outside, while defensive tackles Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford have done a great job on the inside.

    The secondary has been very good as well. There are still improvements to be made, but Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins are quickly forming one of the best one-two combos in the NFL.

    Linebacker is where the biggest help is needed. Yes, the linebackers have played very well for the Rams this year, but there is very little depth at the position. It would be nice to bring in some young players to learn behind some of the veterans.

    With all that being said, here are defensive players that Rams fans should take a look at in their bowl games, because there is a good chance they could be wearing a Rams uniform come next season.

Manti Te'o

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    Manti Te'o has had an unbelievable season for Notre Dame. He has been a force in the Irish front seven and has helped lead them to the BCS National Championship Game, where they will face Alabama.

    Te'o is so good that it is possible he may even win the Heisman Trophy. The race is very close right now, but if Te'o wins the award he would become the first defensive player to win it since Charles Woodson in 1997.

    When the season began many had Te'o projected to be drafted by the Rams. Since that time though, Te'o has shot up draft boards and is now considered a top-five pick, a spot in which the Rams will not be picking.

    So how could the Rams land such a coveted linebacker?

    After all, if Te'o was paired up with James Laurinaitis in St. Louis, the defense would quickly become one of the best in all the NFL.

    It would take a trade for the Rams to move up into that range to get Manti Te'o. Since the Rams pulled off a trade last year with the Washington Redskins, they now have two first-round picks and would be an enticing trade partner.

    Teams who are in the top five in the NFL draft are there because they have many needs to fill, so two or maybe even three picks would be beneficial for them.

    The Rams do have some offensive needs to fill with their draft picks, but if they wanted to, I believe they could find a trade partner that would allow them to move up and take Manti Te'o.

C.J. Mosley

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    Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley would be one of the most likely picks in the first round if the Rams choose to pursue a linebacker.

    Mosley was very good for Alabama when they won the BCS National Championship last season, but he has vastly improved this year and has become a leader on the Crimson Tide defense.

    Depending on what happens in the draft as well, the Rams may choose to use one of their first-round picks in a trade to move back in the draft. If that is the case they will likely have their eye on Mosley, who is projected to go at the end of the first round.

    This is considered a fairly weak draft class, so instead of reaching for a player, the Rams may choose to move back and hope they can pick up a player who many consider underappreciated, like C.J. Mosley.

Alec Ogletree

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    Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree would fill the same need that Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley would. The only difference is that many people consider Ogletree to be a better player.

    Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but if Ogletree is there for the taking in the middle of the first round, the Rams may choose to hold where they are in the draft and just take him.

    Ogletree missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension, but the junior linebacker still managed to record 99 tackles on the season. One of the biggest things that will stand out when teams watch film of Ogletree is his elite speed.

    If you did not see the SEC Championship Game this past Saturday, go back and look at Georgia's blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown. That guy running down the field with the ball, who looks like he has the speed of an elite wide receiver, is in fact the 6'3", 232-pound Alec Ogletree.

Arthur Brown

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    Many people may not have heard of Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown. Brown will be the guy the Rams get if they choose to use their higher picks on offensive players.

    Brown has had an outstanding season for Kansas State, and while many drafts have him projected to be a third-round pick, I expect Brown to impress many people at the combine and have his draft stock soar. 

    Whether his stock will go up enough to get him out of the third round remains to be seen, but if he does remain in the third round, he would be a great pickup for the Rams.

    He is a tackling machine, and while he may not be as good as Mosley and Ogletree, he would be a great third-round pick that should develop into a very solid NFL player.

Bacarri Rambo

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    The last player on this list is a safety. The Rams secondary has been pretty good, but with Craig Dahl in the final year of his contract and with Quintin Mikell in his 10th NFL season, it may be time for some fresh faces at the safety position.

    This draft class is very strong in terms of players who will be solid safeties in the league. There is not really one player that stands alone above the rest, but there are a number of players who will be very good in the NFL.

    I put Bacarri Rambo on here because to me he looks like the best safety in college football.

    Rambo was part of one of the nation's top defenses at Georgia, and he has shown an ability to read quarterbacks very well and break up passes. He has very good closing speed on wide receivers, and he puts big hits on them as well.

    Players like Eric Reid of LSU, T.J. McDonald of USC or Robert Lester of Alabama would all be great fits at the safety position for the Rams, but if the team gets their choice of the crop, they should take Bacarri Rambo, because he is slightly better than the rest of the field.

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