Updating St. Louis Rams' 1st-Round Big Board Post-Combine

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 24, 2014

Updating St. Louis Rams' 1st-Round Big Board Post-Combine

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The top collegiate athletes from across the country are present in Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine. 

    The St. Louis Rams—like every NFL franchise—has a team of scouts and members of the front office in attendance in order to analyze and interview potential draft selections. Each draft pick is a potential multimillion-dollar investment, so the team will do its due diligence in its effort to determine which players are worthy of contracts. 

    And while the actual physical aspect of the combine is a bit overrated (game film is far more telling than workouts), the event does allow teams to partake in one-on-one interviews with the prospects. As a result, the combine can greatly alter a team's draft board. 

    This article will cover a number of player who should be on St. Louis' radar—whether it's at No. 2 or No. 13 overall. 

    A few of these players have been associated with the Rams for months (via mock draft, speculation, etc.), while others have been overlooked but now deserve consideration thanks to a stellar showing at the combine. 

     

    Note: All combine numbers are according to NFL.com.

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 266 pounds

    Arms: 34.5" 

    Hands: 10"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.53 seconds

    Bench Press: 21 reps (225 pounds)

     

    Positives

    Jadeveon Clowney is a rare defensive talent. He has the speed and quickness to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis, and he can hit like a train. 

     

    Negatives

    Clowney was advertised as a physical freak of nature. While he still falls into that category, he didn't do himself any favors at the combine. He was surprisingly soft on the bench press. And while his 40-yard-dash time is excellent, it's a hair above the 4.4-second time we were hoping for. 

    Clowney was supposed to light up the combine and make the decision easy for St. Louis. It didn't work out that way. 

T Greg Robinson, Auburn

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 332 pounds

    Arms: 35" 

    Hands: 10"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.92 seconds

    Bench Press: 32 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 28.5"

    Broad Jump: 113"

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.8 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.86 seconds

     

    Positives

    When was the last time a college offense was carried to a championship game on the back of an offensive tackle? Greg Robinson's outrageous combine numbers confirm what we already suspected—he's a very rare talent and well worth a No. 2 overall pick. 

     

    Negatives

    Thanks to Auburn's run-first offense, there's concern regarding Robinson's lack of experience as a pass-blocker. But given his off-the-charts athleticism, we can only laugh at those who doubt his ability to adapt. 

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 211 pounds

    Arms: 32" 

    Hands: 9.62"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.43 seconds

    Bench Press: 16 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 34"

    Broad Jump: 126"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.34 seconds

     

    Positives

    Not only does Sammy Watkins have Anquan Boldin-like strength as a go-to-receiver on the outside, but he also possesses the speed of a true deep-ball threat. Watkins had a great combine and appears to be the player we expected.

     

    Negatives

    It would be nice to see more deep balls on Watkins' game film. He has the speed to get downfield but was mainly utilized on short and intermediate routes at Clemson. It's not a major concern, just a minor footnote for teams to consider before sacrificing a top-five pick.

T Taylor Lewan, Michigan

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 309 pounds

    Arms: 33.87" 

    Hands: 9.25"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.87 seconds

    Bench Press: 29 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 30.5"

    Broad Jump: 117"

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.39 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.49 seconds

     

    Positives

    Taylor Lewan was frequently mocked as a mid-to-late first-round selection prior to the combine, but his dominate performance will easily put him into the top-15 discussion once again—probably even the top 10.

     

    Negatives

    There are concerns regarding Lewan's attitude and possible legal troubles, according to Sports Illustrated, and that's the primary factor working against him at this point. The last thing any team needs is another Richie Incognito headcase. 

T Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 308 pounds

    Arms: 33.37" 

    Hands: 9.87"

    40-Yard Dash: 5.07 seconds

    Bench Press: 24 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 30.5"

    Broad Jump: 105"

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.34 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.47 seconds

     

    Positives

    Jake Matthews has the build and athleticism to be a reliable starter for many years to come. Unfortunately, there's nothing truly elite about his play on the field. He'll get the job done, but don't expect many Pro Bowl appearances (unless he goes to the Chicago Bears or either New York team). 

     

    Negatives

    Matthews is a solid candidate for the back end of the first round, but he does not belong in the top 15—not when he's competing with Robinson and Lewan.

DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 285 pounds

    Arms: 32.62" 

    Hands: 9.87"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.68 seconds

    Bench Press: 35 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 32"

    Broad Jump: 116"

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.11 seconds

     

    Positives

    Aaron Donald is not a monster in stature like Michael Brockers, but he's an impressive athlete and completely dominated the combine. His outstanding performance should certainly put him on St. Louis' radar at No. 13.

     

    Negatives

    Donald had remarkable stats in 2013 (28.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks) and has the athletic ability to produce similar numbers at the NFL level—not a lot of downside with Donald.

WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 212 pounds

    Arms: 33.5" 

    Hands: 10.37"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.46 seconds

    Bench Press: 21 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 35.5"

    Broad Jump: 120"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 11.84 seconds

     

    Positives

    Jordan Matthews was excellent against top-notch SEC competition despite playing for a mediocre team. His impressive combine numbers back up what we've seen from him on film. 

     

    Negatives

    Matthews is nearly identical to Brian Quick physically. Rams general manager Les Snead is not ready to give up on his second-round pick of 2012. Drafting Matthews would basically be the end of Quick. 

CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

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    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 202 pounds

    Arms: 33.12" 

    Hands: 8.62"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.37 seconds

    Bench Press: 20 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 35.5"

    Broad Jump: 126"

     

    Positives

    Justin Gilbert is a physical corner with great size, and he has speed you don't typically see in a 200-pound corner. Gilbert dominated the combine after finishing with the top 40-yard dash time among defensive back (4.37 seconds). He also impressed with 20 reps on the bench press.

    Gilbert is a step above the other defensive backs athletically and deserves to be the top corner drafted.

     

    Negatives

    Gilbert plays stiff at times. He did not do much to ease those concerns at the combine, as he failed to run the shuttle and three-cone drills.

DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 299 pounds

    Arms: 31.62" 

    Hands: 9.62"

    40-Yard Dash: 5.06 seconds

    Bench Press: 27 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 29.5"

    Broad Jump: 102"

     

    Positives

    Timmy Jernigan may lack Donald's intriguing pass-rush skills, but he's the better run defender (which is what the Rams really need at defensive tackle).

    Jernigan was the anchor of a championship defense. Teaming up Jernigan and Brockers in the middle would give St. Louis a stout run defense.

     

    Negatives

    Jernigan was blown away by Donald in the workouts. Jernigan didn't necessarily hurt himself, but it'll be hard for any team to take Jernigan over Donald at this point.

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 208 pounds

    Arms: 32.37" 

    Hands: 9"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.58 seconds

    Bench Press: 11 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 33"

    Broad Jump: 119"

     

    Positives

    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has solid speed for his size. He's reliable in coverage and makes solid, fundamental tackles.

     

    Negatives

    Clinton-Dix is not a thumper. His low bench-press total only adds to concerns regarding his bulk and explosiveness as a hitter.

S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 207 pounds

    Arms: 31.37" 

    Hands: 9.12"

    40-Yard Dash: 4.58 seconds

    Bench Press: 18 reps (225 pounds)

    Vertical Jump: 34.5"

    Broad Jump: 116"

     

    Positives

    Calvin Pryor is a far more violent hitter than Clinton-Dix. He belongs in the NFC West and certainly belongs on a Jeff Fisher team.

     

    Negatives

    Pryor did not face the same level of competition as Clinton-Dix. Also, he's not as reliable in coverage.