NFL Draft 2013: 5 Safeties Who Would Help the Rams
The St. Louis Rams decided to go all in on Tavon Austin in the first round, but moving back for Alec Ogletree did give them some additional picks later on in the draft.
Still, even though the Rams have a great weapon on offense and an incredibly athletic linebacker to fill two major gaping holes on the team, there is still part of us that is wondering who will play the safety position.
There was a lot of talk that the Rams could take Kenny Vaccaro or Matt Elam to fill one of the roles at safety, but with both those players off the board after the first round, the Rams will have to delve deeper into their draft board to find some solid players who could fill their need at safety.
With no second-round picks going into tomorrow either, guys like D.J. Swearinger and Jonathan Cyprien will likely be gone when St. Louis comes up to pick. This means that the Rams will have to delve even deeper into that pool of candidates, unless they trade back up into the second round, of course.
Here is a look at five guys who would fit in great with the Rams and would be able to help fill the safety position.
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Shamarko Thomas is one of the guys who immediately stands out as a potential pickup for the Rams. Thomas could go in the early third round, which is of course right around the time that the Rams will be on the clock. Thomas is also the only safety who is known to have made a pre-draft visit to Rams Park this year.
Thomas is a hard-hitting safety who would certainly be able to do more then an adequate job of filling the Rams' need at strong safety. He is extremely physical and can defend well against the run, but could struggle a little in man-to-man coverage.
Overall, Thomas vastly improved his craft over the past two years at Syracuse, and he would be a great third-round pick for the Rams to help fill a major need in the secondary.
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Much like Thomas, Bacarri Rambo is the other name that really jumps off the board as a potential pick for the Rams at safety. The possibility that the Rams could take both Thomas and Rambo is very high, because Rambo is a physical defender who can fill the free safety spot next to Thomas at strong safety, and Rambo is probably going to be drafted in the fourth round, so the Rams would not have to spend one of their two third-round picks on him.
Rambo likes to gamble in coverage much like Janoris Jenkins, but that is not really that bad of a trait for a safety to have. He has good instincts along with great ball skills, so if the Rams can just coach him up a little more and control his risky attempts to make big plays in the secondary, he could turn into quite a player for St. Louis.
Rambo has great value as a fourth-round pick and would be a great pickup on defense to go along with his Georgia teammate Alec Ogletree, whom the Rams took on Thursday night.
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T.J. McDonald's draft stock took a serious hit this year because he had a very poor senior season at USC. McDonald was not very good in coverage, and he was frequently caught out of place defensively.
Still, McDonald has great size and is extremely athletic. Right now, McDonald is looking like a fifth-round selection, and if the Rams still have not addressed the free safety position by that time, then he could very well be a good project for them to take on.
McDonald has shown at times that he can be a very productive player for any NFL team, so while it would be a bit of a gamble to draft him, the payoff could be very rewarding for a fifth-round selection.
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J.J. Wilcox is definitely one of those guys that you could see the Rams taking a gamble on. Wilcox played on offense for the first three years of his collegiate career before switching to safety in his senior year at Georgia Southern.
Wilcox was absolutely outstanding, though, in his senior year at Georgia Southern, but he was playing against FCS competition, and he simply does not have that much experience at the position.
The Rams have shown that they are willing to gamble on players with character issues off the field, and it will be interesting to see if they want to take a different kind of risk here and gamble on a guy with a ton of upside who has limited experience. Since Wilcox is likely to go in the fifth or sixth round, I think it would be a great gamble for the Rams to take to see if they can turn this guy into a quality safety for their defense.
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Robert Lester does not have great range because of his lack of speed and inability to change directions quickly, but he comes from Alabama, and anybody that comes from a Nick Saban-coached team certainly knows how to play some football.
Lester is not very physical either, but he does have an ability to get his hands on the football, which is evident by his 14 interceptions that he had at Alabama.
The risk does not seem too great with Lester like it does with players like McDonald and Wilcox, but the same payoff does not appear to be there either. Lester could be a decent player for an NFL secondary and would be a good sixth-round pick for a team looking for depth in the secondary, but he could also fit in nicely with the Rams and maybe even surprise a few people with how good he really is.