St. Louis Rams Day 2 2014 NFL Primer

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerContributor IIIMay 9, 2014

St. Louis Rams Day 2 2014 NFL Primer

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    Day 1 of the NFL draft is now complete, and the St. Louis Rams made some serious upgrades to the roster. 

    The Rams beefed up both lines with the addition of tackle Greg Robinson at No. 2 overall, as well as the No. 13 overall selection of defensive tackle Aaron Donald. 

    With so much invested in the lines, expect the Rams to address skill positions on Day 2. 

    The Rams own the No. 44 pick in the second round, as well as the No. 75 pick in Round 3. It should be an exciting day, so read on for up-to-date predictions and analysis.

Day 1 Recap and Analysis

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    Rams general manager Les Snead has a reputation for wheeling and dealing on draft day, but he did the unthinkable in Round 1—he stayed put with both picks and selected the best player available. 

    The addition of Robinson with the No. 2 picks gives the Rams a mauling offensive lineman—perfect for the run-first offense that has emerged in St. Louis. 

    With the No. 13 pick, the Rams added the physically gifted Donald out of Pittsburgh. Donald will be a Day 1 starter and makes an already vicious pass rush even more dangerous. With Donald, the Rams now have a first-round talent starting at every defensive line position. 

    The Rams went with brute force in Round 1, so expect finesse on Day 2. 

Top Remaining Needs

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    Safety is the most glaring offseason need, but the current Rams regime has made it clear that it's not a position it values.

    With both Louisville's Calvin Pryor and Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix available for the taking at No. 13 overall, the Rams passed on both players and opted for Donald. 

    The position was also a major need last season, and the team waited until the third round before drafting T.J. McDonald, so expect a similar strategy this year. 



    The Rams have two starting cornerbacks in place with Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson, but the depth is dangerously thin. 

    In today's NFL, it's a good idea to have three starting-caliber corners on the roster, so expect the Rams to target this position on Day 2. 

    The Rams never had a shot at Justin Gilbert, as he was off the board at No. 8 to the Cleveland Browns. Expect the Rams to sort through the best of the rest and go from there. 


    Wide Receiver

    This is a deep draft for wide receivers, and luckily, the Rams could certainly use an extra wideout to compete with Brian Quick and Kenny Britt. 

    The Rams have invested heavily in pass-catchers in recent years—Quick, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens—but don't be surprised if the team grabs one more to top it off. 


Top Day 2 Targets

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    Round 2


    WR Marqise Lee, USC

    Marqise Lee was frequently projected as a first-round pick and is easily the top receiver still on the board. 

    The Rams need more playmakers on offense, so Lee would be an incredible Day 2 steal and is a better Round 2 pick than anyone could have imagined. 

    Lee is terrific when it comes to short and intermediate routes, making him a solid fit for St. Louis' offense. 


    DE Kony Ealy, Missouri

    The Rams do not have an immediate need at defensive end with Robert Quinn and Chris Long on the roster, but Jeff Fisher can't help himself when it comes to alluring defensive line prospects. 

    Kony Ealy is a hometown favorite and would be a welcomed addition. He was frequently mocked as a lock in the first round, so his availability in Round 2 is a pleasant surprise. 

    Ealy gives the Rams yet another dangerous pass-rusher off the edge. 


    WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

    Jordan Matthews was a dominate receiver in the SEC last season. He recorded 1,477 yards and seven scores in his final season with Vanderbilt. 

    Matthews was one of the few productive players on his team and managed to produce consistently against high-end competition, which makes him an attractive target. 

    At 6'3" and 212 pounds, Matthews has the size and physicality St. Louis needs on the outside. 


    S Terrance Brooks, Florida State

    The Rams missed out on the top safeties in Round 1, but the position can still be solidified with a solid Day 2 pickup. 

    St. Louis' No. 44 pick is likely too high for Florida State's Terrance Brooks, but Brooks can likely be had if the Rams trade back into the bottom of Round 2. 

    Brooks is the coverage safety St. Louis needs. If the Rams team him up with McDonald up top, the Rams will suddenly have a solid pair of safeties. 


    CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska

    A starting-caliber cornerback is hard to find outside of Round 1. There's certainly no Janoris Jenkins in this draft class, but Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a nice consolation. 

    Jean-Baptiste is a monster corner, standing in at 6'3" and 218 pounds. He's a bit stiff in coverage, but his physicality belongs in the NFC West. 


    Round 3

    S Dion Bailey, USC

    If the Rams fail to draft a safety in the second round, the team will be pressured into drafting one in the third round. If that's the case, Dion Bailey is a fine option. 

    Bailey is a reliable tackler and can make big plays, but his coverage is not up to par. This is not exactly ideal, as the Rams already have their hard-hitting safety in McDonald, so the team needs more of a finesse coverage safety. 


    RB Tre Mason, Auburn

    Zac Stacy is cemented as St. Louis' starting running back, but the Rams have few other options on the depth chart other than Benny Cunningham, who has problems with ball security. 

    At 5'8" and 207 pounds, Auburn's Tre Mason is basically a clone of Stacy. He runs with enormous power for a man his size and has just enough moves to make a tackler miss. 

    Mason would be a nice addition and is capable of carrying the load if Stacy goes down. 


    CB Marcus Roberson, Florida

    Florida's 6'0", 191-pound Roberson has decent size for a corner, and he is physical enough to disrupt receivers and secure open-field tackles. But he's certainly not known as a vicious hitter. 

    If Roberson is drafted, he'll be offer little more than depth. However, he has the talent to eventually develop into an adequate contributor in the defensive backfield.


What Are the Experts Saying?

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    Rams Ready to Wheel and Deal?

    According to Jim Thomas of, the Rams attempted to trade back into Round 1 for offensive linemen Zach Martin out of Notre Dame.

    This doesn’t tell us a whole lot about Day 2, but it suggests that the Rams got their two guys in the first round, so now Snead is ready play around a bit.

    Expect the Rams to explore numerous trades on Day 2.


    Competition for Sam the Ram? Think Again. 

    According to CBS Sports, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is fully committed to Sam Bradford as the team’s starting quarterback in 2014, and the Rams backed up those comments by passing on quarterbacks in the opening round.

    This isn’t a total revelation, but any quarterback taken in the remainder of this draft will be viewed as strictly a backup. With that being the case, both Day 2 picks are too high for a No. 2 passer.

    Expect the Rams to explore other positions in the middle of the draft, although it’s possible the team will pursue a passer on the third day.


    Keep an Eye on Linebackers 

    The Rams do not have an immediate need at linebacker. James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree are very productive, and youngsters Ray-Ray Armstrong and Daren Bates are ready to contribute. 

    However, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN, the Rams considered trading back into Round 1 for linebacker C.J. Mosley. 

    This tells us that the Rams are open to drafting a linebacker. It's possible they were particularly enamored with Mosley and aren't interested in other linebackers, but it's a position to keep an eye on nonetheless. 

Predictions for Day 2

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    A Defensive Back Will Be Drafted

    It could be a safety or a cornerback. It's too difficult to determine which one, but the Rams have a need at both positions and cannot afford to push addressing them back to Day 3. 

    If the Rams do not address the secondary, the pass defense will be a major area of concern in 2014. 


    Rams Will Not Touch a Quarterback

    We touched on this in the previous slide, but it's clear that the Rams are not ready to move on from Bradford. Any quarterback drafted will be a backup, and the second and third rounds are too high for a reserve signal-caller. 


    Running Backs Will Be Discussed in the War Room 

    For a second year in a row, there was not a single running back drafted in the first round. 

    It's not due to a lack of talent. On the contrary, devaluing the running back position is merely the current trend. As a result, there are very talented backs available on Day 2, and no one appreciates a top-notch running back more than Jeff Fisher. 

    This is not a position the Rams are expected to address this early in the draft, but it would not be a total surprise due to St. Louis' run-first offense. 

Updated Mock Draft

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    Round 1 (No. 2): T Greg Robinson, Auburn

    Round 1 (No. 13): DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

    Round 2 (No. 44): WR Marqise Lee, USC

    Round 3 (No. 75): FS Terrence Brooks, Florida State

    Round 4 (No. 110): RB Tre Mason, Auburn

    Round 5 (No. 153): CB E.J. Gaines, Missouri

    Round 6 (No. 188): LB Max Bullough, Michigan State

    Round 6 (No. 214): OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Canada

    Round 7 (No. 226): QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina

    Round 7 (No. 241): RB Henry Josey, Missouri

    Round 7 (No. 249): TE A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State

    Round 7 (No. 250): LB Devon Kennard, USC