St. Louis Rams Scouting Guide to 2014 Senior Bowl
It's a hectic time of year for NFL scouts and collegiate players. The upcoming months will feature a nonstop wave of combines, pro days and All-Star games in preparation for the NFL draft.
Last week was the East-West Shrine Game, and this week is the annual Senior Bowl.
The top seniors from around the country will perform for scouts and fans in what has come to be one of the most important All-Star games of the offseason.
For the St. Louis Rams, here are several players who could be on their radar.
T Morgan Moses, Virginia
Weight: 335 pounds
The Virginia Cavaliers ran the ball over 40 times per game on average, giving senior Morgan Moses plenty of experience as a run-blocker—which fits the well-balanced style of offense St. Louis implemented for most of the 2013 season.
Auburn's Greg Robinson and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews are obviously the top targets at the tackle position, but Moses is a nice mid-round alternative.
With Rodger Saffold entering free agency, the Rams need another option at tackle.
G Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Weight: 335 pounds
The Baylor offense rushed for over 3,300 yards and passed for over 4,600 during the 2013 season. The efforts up front by Cyril Richardson were a big reason for those eye-popping numbers.
Richardson was a consistent pass-blocker and powerful bulldozer in the run game. There's not a better option in the draft as far as interior offensive linemen are concerned.
Richardson could provide the Rams with a starting left guard for years to come. With Jake Long and Joe Barksdale at tackle, combined with Richardson and Saffold at guard, it would be difficult to find a weak spot on the St. Louis offensive line.
It's doubtful that Richardson is a first-round option for the Rams (unless they trade down), but he's a guaranteed home run if the Rams can grab him in Round 2.
DT DaQuan Jones, Penn State
Weight: 318 pounds
DaQuan Jones was the anchor of the Penn State defense during the 2013 season. He recorded 11.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
There's a chance the Rams will cut defensive tackle Kendall Langford for salary-cap reasons. It's not an ideal move, but if it's necessary, they'll be on the lookout for a mid-round tackle.
Adding Jones to a tackle rotation also featuring Michael Brockers, Matt Conrath and Jermelle Cudjo would give St. Louis a solid presence on the inside.
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Weight: 206 pounds
For the past three seasons, wide receiver Jordan Matthews has been the go-to guy on the outside for Vanderbilt.
Matthews made his presence known in 2011 with 778 yards and five scores. He had a breakout year in 2012 with 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns.
In 2013, he built on his prolific career by adding a career-high 1,477 yards with seven scores.
The Rams would surely love to add Sammy Watkins to their wide receiver rotation with an early first-round pick, but Matthews would be a nice consolation prize.
The Rams need another talented receiver with size to push Brian Quick and Austin Pettis for playing time. Both players have been inconsistent and disappointing.
S Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Weight: 198 pounds
The Rams drafted T.J. McDonald in the third round last year, and the team is in need of another hard-hitting safety to play next to him.
Rodney McLeod started for the Rams in 2013, so there's no reason for the Rams to re-sign Darian Stewart. McLeod had some impressive moments, but his spot needs to be upgraded.
The Rams will search for a safety early in the draft. If they fail to lock up Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix in Round 1, don't be surprised if they pursue Washington State's Deone Bucannon in Round 2.
The Rams need better tackling in the secondary, and Bucannon will help accomplish that.
DE Michael Sam, Missouri
Weight: 255 pounds
Michael Sam had a breakout year for the Missouri Tigers with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, which earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Being a local player, he's certainly a fan favorite and would be welcomed with open arms.
The Rams could leave Sam at his current weight and play him at linebacker, but that would prevent him from doing what he does best—rushing the quarterback.
The other option—the more likely option—would be to increase his weight to approximately 270 pounds and keep him in the three-point stance as a defensive end.
The Rams already possess solid depth at defensive end with Eugene Sims and William Hayes, but neither player has Sam's potential as a sack artist.
After three to four years of grooming, Sam could ultimately replace Chris Long as the starter opposite Robert Quinn.