How RB Tre Mason Fits with the St. Louis Rams

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How RB Tre Mason Fits with the St. Louis Rams
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The St. Louis Rams used the No. 2 overall draft pick on dominate tackle Greg Robinson, and the Rams just added Robinson's teammate in Round 3 (No. 75 overall)—running back Tre Mason. 

Is RB Tre Mason a solid pick?

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Adding players from the same college team seems to be a reoccurring strategy from St. Louis' war room, or a stunning coincidence at the very least. 

The Rams signed young cornerback Greg Reid from Florida State in free agency and added his former teammate and fellow defensive back, Lamarcus Joyner, in the second round of this year's draft. 

Last year, the Rams used a first-round selection to acquire receiver Tavon Austin out of West Virginia, and they went on to draft Austin's teammate in Round 3—wide receiver Stedman Bailey. 

The Rams have repeated this strategy yet again. Robinson opened up the run lanes for Auburn, and Mason exploded through those lanes. Both players helped create the most dominate rushing attack in recent college football history. 

Mason has experience running behind Robinson. He trusts Robinson to open up the holes, and that chemistry is an important aspect to the run game. 

Here are several thoughts on the Mason selection, as well as ideas on how he'll fit into St. Louis' offense in the 2014 season: 

 

Running Back a Shocking Selection? Not Really. 

The Rams grabbed Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, and Stacy more than cemented his status as the Rams' primary back after recording over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns on offense. 

With that kind of unexpected production from a late-round pick, it appeared the Rams hit the jackpot and had the running back position secured. 

Even Benny Cunningham—an undrafted rookie last season—had success in the No. 2 role. Against Chicago last season, Stacy was forced to leave the game at halftime with an injury. Cunningham stepped in and rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown. 

With two young, promising backs already on the roster, why use a relatively high pick on Mason? 

Even Mason himself was a bit surprised, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

However, after watching the sophomore slumps of Sam Bradford, Janoris Jenkins and Chris Givens, Rams fans know better than anyone not to read too much into rookie production. 

If Stacy struggles next season or goes down with a Week 1 injury, are the Rams really comfortable having Cunningham carry the load? That's a risky proposition for an offense that values the run game. 

Bottom line: On a Jeff Fisher team, there's always a need for another running back. 

 

Mason's Role on Offense in 2014

This pick is not an insult to Stacy. In fact, it's pretty obvious that Stacy will once again carry the load on offense. Mason is simply another back to rotate into the mix. 

With Bradford returning from a knee injury, there's no guarantee that the aerial attack will be running on all cylinders. As a result, the Rams may depend on the run game more in 2014 than they did in previous years. 

Stacy will get the majority of the pie and touch the ball about 25 times a game. Mason will ease his way into the offense. Expect less than 10 carries per game the first few games, and then Mason's workload will increase and near 15 carries or more per game. 

If Stacy goes down with an injury, Mason will be counted on as the workhorse. And since Mason and Stacy are similar backs, the offense will not miss a beat. 

Mason is a bowling-ball back, like Stacy. He's not the most physical runner, but he's tough and has the ability to bounce off tacklers and pick up yards after contact. 

At 5'8" and 207 pounds, some might expect Mason to have blazing speed, but that's not the case. He's more of a physical runner. 

However, Mason ran a solid 4.5-second time in the 40-yard dash, via NFL.com. That's hardly elite speed, but he has enough juice to reach the next level and break off a huge gain. 

Overall, it's a solid pickup for the Rams. It can very easily be argued that Mason was the best overall player available for that pick. 

 

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.

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