Assigning Odds to Each Potential St. Louis Rams Round 1 Pick

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVApril 16, 2014

Assigning Odds to Each Potential St. Louis Rams Round 1 Pick

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    Mary Ann Chastain

    At this time, we're still clueless as to what the St. Louis Rams will do on draft day, but we certainly know which players are on their radar. 

    The debate over who to take at No. 2 overall has been heated and grows in intensity with each passing week.

    The Rams can get help up front (Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews), add a defensive playmaker to an already stout defensive unit (Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack), or complement the offense with a true No. 1 receiver (Sammy Watkins).

    Whatever path the Rams take, they must be sure they're making the correct decision. If the Rams blow this draft, they'll fall well behind their hard-nosed NFC West rivals. 

    This article will look at the top candidates for St. Louis' No. 2 overall pick and assign odds for each player. The odds will be determined by the player's overall ranking, the value of the pick and St. Louis' overall roster needs. The last slide predicts odds for the Rams' second Round 1 pick at No. 13.

    Note: If you add up the odds in this article, you'll notice that it does not quite fit mathematically. That's because there's a great chance the Rams will trade out of the No. 2 pick; my personal belief is that there's an approximate 50-percent chance that the Rams trade down, so keep that in consideration when viewing these odds. 

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

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    Odds of Being the No. 2 Pick: 6-1 (16.6 Percent)

    The Rams used a No. 8 overall pick to select wide receiver Tavon Austin a year ago, but Austin is more of a wild card than a true outside threat. The Rams are still in need of a possession receiver on the outside to become Sam Bradford's go-to guy. 

    Sammy Watkins fits the bill. He earned his stripes by dominating on short to intermediate routes, perfect for a St. Louis offense that is, at times, reluctant to take downfield shots. 

    That's not to say Watkins won't develop into a nice deep-ball threat. On the contrary, his hands and speed make it easy to believe that he'll one day shred secondaries with the long ball, even if his Clemson game film has fewer examples than we'd like to see. 

    Overall, Watkins is a fairly safe option and adds some pop to a Rams offense that has been stale for a number of years. 

OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

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    Odds of Being the No. 2 Pick: 6-1 (16.6 Percent)

    If a certain South Carolina defensive stud is off the board, it's not unreasonable to claim that Greg Robinson is the next best overall prospect. 

    Robinson's run blocking is off the charts. He plows the roads better than any offensive lineman in this draft, and at times he made SEC defenders look like helpless high school athletes. 

    Zac Stacy and the Rams running backs will play a prominent role in the 2014 offense, so it's only logical to beef up the attack with a run-blocking monster. 

    Mark my words—if St. Louis drafts Robinson, Stacy will produce Pro Bowl numbers in 2014 (barring injury).

    There are concerns over Robinson's pass-blocking due to Auburn's run-heavy attack, but these concerns carry little weight.

    Whereas run-blocking requires grit, strength, instincts and a vicious attitude (things that cannot be taught), pass-blocking deals with footwork, balance and blitz recognition (things that can be taught). 

    What people might not realize is that Robinson saw approximately 523 passing plays as a left tackle in his two years as a starter (a rough number), while Jake Matthews has seen 489 passing plays as a left tackle, so Robinson has actually dropped back to pass-protect more times than Matthews at the position. 

    You can argue that Matthews has seen more overall passing plays at the college level, but that's missing the point. I'm simply demonstrating that the image of Robinson as a player oblivious to the concepts and techniques of pass-blocking is not only highly exaggerated but flat-out false. 

    Robinson was one of the few players of this class who truly dominated his opponents on a regular basis. With his athletic ability, he's an All Pro in the making and an exciting option for St. Louis' No. 2 pick. 

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

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    Odds of Being the No. 2 Pick: 10-1 (10 Percent)

    It's not hard to believe that Jadeveon Clowney sits at the top of St. Louis' draft board. If he's available at No. 2, it would not be overly shocking to see the Rams grab him. 

    The Rams do not have an immediate need for a defensive end, but according to an ESPN interview with Jeff Fisher, that may not be enough reason to prevent the Rams from selecting Clowney: 

    “I’ve learned over the years you can never have enough pass-rushers," Fisher said. "And I think not only us, but other teams that are in our situation, are creative enough to find ways to get him on the field and put him in position to make plays.’’ 

    Adding another elite defensive end while neglecting more pressing needs is not ideal, but teams seldom get an opportunity to add a rare talent like Clowney to their rosters. 

    If the objective is to add the player most likely to develop into a game-changing superstar, it's hard to argue against Clowney. 

    I feel Clowney is the top player available. His odds would be higher, but he's in danger of being selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans, so that lowers his odds. 

OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

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    Odds of Being the No. 2 Pick: 20-1 (5 Percent)

    Jake Matthews is a fine option at No. 2 overall, but he's more of a vanilla option—a low-risk, moderate-reward type player. 

    If Matthews can develop into a solid 10-year starter, it will be hard to have any regrets if the Rams go this route.

    There's nothing wrong with the safe road. But if Clowney becomes an annual Defensive Player of the Year candidate for some other team, and Watkins becomes a perennial 1,000-yard receiver, it will be difficult to stomach the "what-ifs."

    If the Rams turn Matthews into a reliable long-term starter, there's certainly no shame in that. Things could be much, much worse (Jason Smith, Tye Hill). But something tells me the Rams deserve more out of that No. 2 pick—a player capable of changing the franchise as opposed to a player who merely suffices. 

LB/DE Khalil Mack, Buffalo

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    Odds of Being the No. 2 Pick: 20-1 (5 Percent)

    Khalil Mack is not the best player available at No. 2 overall, and he's not a perfect scheme fit for the Rams either. 

    Mack is a talented prospect and a lock for the top 10 (and most likely the top five), but passing on the other four players mentioned in this article in favor of Mack is nauseating. 

    Mack is quick enough to cover receivers, athletic enough to hunt the quarterback and shows up in big games (see Ohio State), but it's difficult to determine where he'd fit in on defense—he is a tweener in St. Louis' 4-3 system. 

    Mack would be an unpopular pick among the St. Louis fanbase. But if he is selected, there's no need to fret. With two defensive gurus on staff—Fisher, Gregg Williams—we have every reason to trust their judgment when it comes to selecting defensive talent. 

    That said, this pick is a highly unlikely scenario. Mack is much more appealing in a trade down. 

No. 13 Overall Pick Odds

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    Michael Conroy

    As a bonus, here's a quick rundown on my rough odds for the Rams' No. 13 pick...

    S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama:  5-1 (20 Percent)

    CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State: 6-1 (16.6 Percent)

    DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh: 6-1 (16.6 Percent)

    WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M: 10-1 (10 Percent)

    CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State: 10-1 (10 Percent)

    S Calvin Pryor, Louisville: 20-1 (Five Percent)

    OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan: 20-1 (Five Percent)

    OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame: 30-1 (3.3 Percent)

    TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina: 30-1 (3.3 Percent)

    DE Kony Ealy, Missouri: 40-1 (2.5 Percent)

    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 by following him on Twitter.