St. Louis Rams' Biggest Scouting Combine Takeaways

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St. Louis Rams' Biggest Scouting Combine Takeaways
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Though the NFL combine is complete, the scouting process has hardly reached a conclusion.

College pro days and individual interviews will occupy NFL teams over the next two months, but for now, the combine has provided the St. Louis Rams with a pile of information to mull over before the draft.

Besides the notebooks full of numbers and statistics, here are several key takeaways from the combine for the Rams:

 

They Are Who We Thought they Were

If you were expecting the combine to add clarity to the debate over who St. Louis should select at No. 2 overall, think again.  

Outside of Jadeveon Clowney's minor hiccup on the bench press, the top three names associated with the Rams—Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Greg Robinson—all appear to be phenomenal athletes. No one dropped the ball and made the decision any easier for St. Louis. 

The situation is disappointing if you were expecting the combine to produce some answers regarding the No. 2 pick. But for us optimists, this is a good thing—the Rams now have the luxury of variety with that top pick. 

Would you prefer a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle, a true No. 1 receiver for Sam Bradford or a game-changing defensive player? 

As Chris Partlow said to Marlo Stanfield on HBO's The Wire, this situation "sounds like of them good problems."

 

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Watkins is Not the Only WR Worth a Look

Many of the Rams fans I've spoken with have a "Watkins-or-bust" attitude when it comes to drafting a wide receiver, but that's a viewpoint that needs to be reconsidered. 

It is true that the Rams have enough role players at receiver. They have guys to cover spots No. 2 and up on the depth chart.

And it's also true that the team is primarily lacking a No. 1 receiver on the outside to be the go-to-guy for Bradford. 

But it's a bit dense to presume the back end of the depth chart at receiver is flawless. Are Brian Quick and Austin Pettis so stellar that they require no competition? 

And who's to say there's not a No. 1 receiver in this draft outside of Watkins? What if Jordan Matthews or Mike Evans turn out to be the next Keenan Allen?

If the Rams are not open-minded, they could needlessly be singing the receiver blues once again a year from now. 

 

The Best Defensive Back From This Class is Not From Alabama

Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a name that has been frequently associated with St. Louis' No. 13 overall pick, but it's a name I've never been sold on. 

If the Rams are in a position where they trade down near the bottom of Round 1, or if Clinton-Dix slips into Round 2 (better players than him have slipped out of the first in previous years), then he becomes a much more appealing prospect. 

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But at No. 13, there are other defensive backs from this class making a stronger case for that draft slot, such as Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert. 

Sure, the Rams need a safety, but the team also needs a No. 3 cornerback. A No. 3 nickel corner in today's NFL is practically a starter on defense, so spending a high pick on the position is totally justifiable. 

Gilbert has the size NFC West teams covet, and his 4.35-second speed on the 40-yard dash is proof that he can run with NFL receivers. 

So what's better at No. 13? A safety with no elite or remarkable features, who would likely have a second-round grade if he didn't attend a certain SEC powerhouse, or a top-notch corner prospect who would make even Seattle envious? 

If my vote counts, I'm going with the latter. 

 

There's Pro Bowl Talent Available For Both of St. Louis' First-Round Picks

Tom Gannam/Associated Press

We know Rams general manager Les Snead has a desire to wheel and deal on draft day, but for the love of god, Mr. Snead, do not overthink it this year. 

Prospects such as Gilbert, Aaron Donald and Taylor Lewan made it clear at the combine that there's plenty of top-notch talent in this draft, and not all of it will crack the top 10.

Someone special will be available at No. 13, so there's no shame in staying put and taking two great players.

That's not to say an obviously beneficial trade should be overlooked. It's just that the Rams can have a great draft by simply staying put, so there should be no desperation to move.

So please, Mr. Snead, do not outsmart yourself on draft day. There's no reason to hoard second-round picks when the real game-changers of this class are in the top 15. 

 

Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and serves as the Rams' game-day correspondent. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or following him on Twitter.

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