Ever since general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher took over the St. Louis Rams, fans and media members alike could tell success was on the horizon. After a poor two-win 2011 season, the organization welcomed the quick success in 2012.
There's no guarantee that things will continue on an upward trend, but if things pickup where they left off in 2012, the Rams may be sniffing the postseason. However, they will need to hit on both of their first-round picks to keep pace with the rest of the NFC West.
Let's analyze the latest news, rumors and reports regarding St. Louis and the 2013 NFL draft.
April 15: The St. Louis Rams are expected to use one of their two first-round picks on a wide receiver. Prior to the draft, they have met with Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin, Justin Hunter, Cordarelle Patterson, Terrance Williams and Quinton Patton (per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
April 11: Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas visited St. Louis on Thursday (per Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
April 11: Wide receiver Tavon Austin made the trip to the Lou and met with the organization on April 10, according to Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
April 10: As the Rams continue to search for outside linebacker help, they will host a pre-draft visit with Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges (per Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
April 9: Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown met with the Rams' top brass.
April 8: According to Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, during the Week of April 1, Snead and Fisher met with UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin.
April 6: Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the Rams met with wide receiver Quinton Patton and offensive guard Larry Warford on April 5.
April 3: According to Thomas, St. Louis also met with Alabama running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy is expected to be a target when the Rams pick in the second round.
Will be updated when breaking news happens.
The Rams have plenty of pre-draft visits lined up with first-round receivers, which means that could be their target at No. 16. The most widely speculated name in the middle of the first round is wideout Tavon Austin.
He has been one of the draft's biggest risers ever since the NFL Scouting Combine. He has blazing speed, he's a good route-runner and his run-after-the-catch ability makes him an ideal fit for Brian Schottenheimer's offense.
After losing Danny Amendola in free agency, St. Louis has a huge void to fill, and Austin could easily fill that void. Very few players have the ability to score every time they touch the ball. Not to mention very few teams have a player who forces opposing defenses to keep a safety deep.
It's hard to say whether or not the Rams like Austin as much as others do, but it's worth mentioning Fisher and Snead have a pre-draft visit setup with him. Regardless of what happens here, it appears as if the organization is committed to giving quarterback Sam Bradford as many weapons as possible.
With this year's draft being more bottom-heavy than top-heavy, the options are plentiful for St. Louis at No. 22. Depending on how the draft shakes out, one of the top two offensive guards could be in play here or an outside linebacker.
It seems like year after year outside 'backer is a position of need. Jo-Lonn Dunbar was a nice free-agent acquisition last year, but they are still missing a star at strong-side linebacker. Alec Ogletree and Arthur Brown are the only linebackers expected to go inside the top 25, so one has to think both would be intriguing options.
Unfortunately, the Rams aren't allowed to make two selections at No. 22, so they will need to decide which position is more important. Will a left guard make more of an impact in 2013, or will an outside linebacker?
I have a feeling an offensive guard would. The guard will spend more time on the field due to the fact St. Louis doesn't spend a majority of its time in its base 4-3 defense. Yet it's also possible they go wide receiver here, if they miss out on Austin with the 16th pick.
The options are truly endless, that's the beauty of having two first-round picks.