St. Louis Rams Mock Draft: Rounds Two to Seven, Selecting Playmakers
It looks like unless Sam Bradford comes off like Chad Pennington on his March 29 pro day that the Rams (barring a blockbuster trade) are going to make him the first overall pick in 2010 NFL Draft.
Assuming this, I went ahead and decided to help Billy Deavney and his scouting department and did a mock draft for rounds two through seven. My mock emphasizes surrounding Bradford with playmakers so that his transition into the NFL will be a smooth one. Well...at least give him a fighting chance.
I think the best thing the Rams could do to help Bradford would be to fire their offensive coordinator. The Rams 2009 offense was unimaginative and boring. The players I drafted in my mock are players that need a scheme that is uptempo and innovative, paging Mike Martz.
Keep in mind that I am not Mel Kiper, nor am I as smug as Todd McShay. But I am an enormous college football fan who watches a lot of games. My selections are generally based on what my eyes have shown over the course of two to three seasons and what players really popped off the screen to me.
As with any mock, there will be some who agree and some who will be outraged by my selections. I may have reached for a player or taken someone who you may feel does not fit the Rams scheme.
But I thought I would put it out there and see what you guys think.
Round 2, Pick No. 33: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
If Golden Tate falls to No. 33, I think you have to take him. But if he is not there, Georgia Tech wideout Demaryius Thomas is more than a consolation prize.
Thomas played in a run oriented offense at Georgia Tech, and often received single coverage. But in every Tech game I watched, Thomas was making plays.
He has great speed/size ratio, and is outstanding after the catch. He will give Bradford the option to spread the field because he is a big play threat every time he touches the ball.
With Thomas, Donnie Avery, Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson, and Keenan Burton the Rams have the making of a young and talented receiving corps.
Round 3, Pick No. 65: Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Ole MIss
I have seen scouting reports that have Dexter McCluster go as high as the first round, and I have seen him rated as low as a fourth-round prospect.
Whatever round he goes in, one thing is for certain: McCluster is a playmaker.
Because of his size, 5'8" and 165 pounds, I am hoping he is still available for the Rams at pick No. 65. If it wasn't for the fact that he is 5'8", he would be a top 15 pick.
The Rams could line up McCluster in the slot. He could be their third-down back and definitely could add something to their anemic return game. I don't want to hear a thing about Danny Amedola either. The Rams haven't had a dynamic player in the return game since Tony Horne, 10 years ago.
He could be Bradford's check-down receiver and give Steven Jackson a breather and hopefully add a few more years to No. 39's career.
Round 4, Pick No. 96: Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan
I became a fan of Donovan Warren after watching him in the Michigan-Notre Dame game last fall. Warren made some gave saving plays and played well one on one versus Golden Tate, (whom I consider the best receiver in the country last season).
He disappeared in other Michigan games I saw him play in since the Notre Dame game, causing me to believe that he is a inconsistent player. And the reason I believe he might be available for the Rams at the beginning of Round 4.
The Rams are thin at cornerback. Ron Bartell had a down year in 2009. I like Justin King's potential and the teams thinks Bradley Fletcher has some upside.
The Rams also signed free agent Kevin Dockery, continuing the exodus of Giants players to the Rams. Dockery should be viewed as nothing more than a nickel back at this point, he is 5'8" and limited in matchups against bigger NFL receivers.
Since the NFL is a quarterback driven, passing league, the cornerback position, besides quarterback has become the most important position in the league. Witnessed by the 38 corners drafted in 2009, most of any position.
If Warren is still there in the 4th round, he is a steal at this point.
Round 5, Pick No. 128: Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami (Fla.)
Continuing with the theme of playmakers and surrounding Sam Bradford with weapons, at the beginning of the fifth round I like The U tight end: Jimmy Graham.
Graham, a former 'Canes basketball player who switched to football after his basketball eligibility had expired, is gifted athletically but raw from a football standpoint.
The Rams re-signed Daniel Fells, who showed flashes that he can be a solid tight end in the NFL. I think Graham starts the season as No. 2 on the depth chart, but by Week 8 could be a solid contributor to the Rams offense.
I am a 'Canes fan and have watched a handful of games throughout the season and was impressed with Graham's size and hands. I also like 'Canes tight end Dedrick Epps, who would be a nice priority free agent signing for the Rams.
Graham might be drafted higher and him falling to the Rams in the fifth round may be a pipe dream. But if he is there at pick No. 128, he provides the Rams with tremendous value and has enormous upside as a tight end.
Round 5, Pick No. 151: Armanti Edwards, QB, Appalachian St.
After Appalachian State upset Michigan on Sept. 1, 2007, I tried to follow the career of their signal-caller Armanti Edwards. It was not always easy viewing ASU games in St. Louis, but I probably watched Edwards play a dozen times.
In my opinion, Armanti Edwards, not Tim Tebow, was the best college football player I watched over the past 3 years. I know Edwards did it against inferior talent and Tebow played in the SEC, but I stand my ground. I could see Edwards easily starting for South Carolina or Kentucky, even Florida and thriving.
The Rams could use Edwards in the wildcat formation, line him up in the slot, have him return punts and back up Sam Bradford. This, of course, is contingent on the Rams running a more imaginative offense then the one they ran in 2009.
I believe Edwards to be worthy of second-round pick, but because of his size, his position he is going to fall. I hope and pray he falls to the Rams in the fifth round, with the pick we received from the Eagles in the Will Witherspoon trade.
Edwards, to continue my theme, is a playmaker and the Rams needs as many of these players as possible to help turnaround this moribund franchise.
Round 6: O'Brien Schofield, OLB, Wisconsin
O'Brien Scholfield was a first-day prospect in the NFL Draft until he tore his ACL in practice at the Senior Bowl.
I don't know how far he will fall, but if Schofield is still around in the sixth round, the Rams should take him.
He may not pay dividends in 2010, but beyond that, if fully recovered from his injury he could prove to be a bargain. He dominated the East-West Shrine game and was really coming into his own towards the end of last season. He has playmaking ability as a pass rusher and is a sure tackler.
Coupled with James Laurinaitis, the Rams linebacking corps could be improved with the addition of Scholfield.
Round 7: Auston English, DE, Oklahoma
I know...another injured player.
I believe in the late rounds you need to take chances. The draft is a crap shoot, and if you can get a player that once possessed first-round talent in the seventh, you should take a flier on him. Auston English is one of those players.
Before all of his injuries, (leg, knee, ankle) English was a first-round prospect, and in my opinion, was a better overall player than the Rams Chris Long.
At Oklahoma, I watched English take over games with his speed and intensity. When healthy he has the ability to dominate, but I don't know how much he has left, or if he is done. If there are any signs that he has recovered from all his ailments...draft him.
Round 7: Stephan Virgil, CB Virginia Tech
I don't hear much, or really anything, on the draft prospects of Virginia Tech cornerback, Stephan Virgil.
He ran a slow 40 time, 4.69, and is not very big 6'0'' and 185 pounds, which is why nobody is talking about him.
But in the Hokies' games I have watched over the past two years, I thought Virgil was a good ACC cover corner. He has good ball skills, stays with his man, and is physical. I think he would be worthy of a seventh-round pick.
He couldn't be any worse than Rams 2006 first round pick Tye Hill, (coincidentally his trade with Atlanta brought this pick to the Rams).
At best, he is a special teams playmaker who played under Frank Beamer and 'Beamer ball," and somebody who might be able to contribute in dime packages.
5 Priority Free Agents
As with every draft, there are players who go undrafted that end up getting picked up, and end up contributing to their club or may even end up in the Hall of Fame. Kurt Warner anyone?
Here are five players the Rams should consider signing as priority free agents:
1. Dedrick Epps, TE, Miami (Fla): A good athlete, but needs to improve his blocking.
2. DeMarcus Granger, DT, Oklahoma: Once had first-round talent, but a bad back and character concerns may cause him to go undrafted.
3. A.J. Wallace, CB, Penn St: He's more of an athlete than a football player, but has some talent.
4. Trindon Holliday, KR, LSU: He's fast but diminutive and could contribute in the return game.
5. Juice Williams, QB, Illinois: At the least, he'd be good for selling preseason tickets in St. Louis.