After compiling only six wins over the last three years, the St. Louis Rams are beginning to wear out the term “rebuilding period.”
In order to turn around a franchise that is in severely poor shape, St. Louis will need to draft players that can contribute immediately, are willing to work hard, and don’t have character or injury concerns like some of the players in this year’s draft.
The Rams need help in a lot of different areas including their offensive line, receiving core, quarterbacks, defensive line, linebackers, and secondary—pretty much everywhere.
Luckily, St. Louis has 10 draft picks this year including the first overall selection, an extra fifth-round pick, and two extra seventh-round picks.
Any NFL general manager will tell you that you can’t get anywhere in this league without taking a few chances, and that’s just what the Rams will need to do in order to pull themselves out of the hole they’re in.
In this seven-round mock draft, we’ll attempt to provide fans with some piece of mind by suggesting players that can make an immediate impact in the areas St. Louis needs help the most.
We also spiced it up a little bit with an intriguing trade and a few late-round prospects who we feel have the potential to be elite players in the NFL.
We’ll stress the importance of players with high leadership skills, work ethic, and proper technique throughout a draft that, in our opinion, could give the Rams a chance to once again be the “Greatest Show on Turf”.
Round One, Pick One Overall
Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
The Rams need a franchise quarterback.
They need a guy that can sell tickets, handle the media attention and expectations of being the first overall pick, and most of all, a guy that can win games.
We mentioned before that we’d be willing to take some risks to get back to the top, but truth be told, we think Bradford is a sure thing
His surgically rebuilt shoulder looks to be all healed based on his pro day performance and Bradford would even tell you that it’s stronger now than it was before the injury (and it probably is).
Bradford has excellent leadership skills, and is also one of the smartest young quarterbacks around.
He has all the tools you need to play in the NFL, and don’t forget that if he would have entered the draft last year he would have been the first pick overall instead of Matthew Stafford.
Most importantly, the Rams become significant with Bradford and drafting him will provide the energy boost they need in order to jump start this team.
St. Louis’ next biggest areas of need are tackle on both sides of the ball, but with this pick we see the opportunity to gain more mid-round depth and still walk away with a solid contributor for their defense and we’re going for it.
The Rams will trade picks 33 and 163 overall to the Giants for picks 46 and 115 overall and select…
Tyson Alualu DT, California
If the Rams aren’t going to take a defensive tackle in the first round (and they aren’t as long as Bradford’s arm holds up), then they’ll need to do something with this pick to help their defensive front.
Alualu has played in every game from day one of his freshman year, and has started every game since he was a sophomore. In those 38 consecutive starts, he racked up 172 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, and 17 sacks.
Alualu plays with the kind of intensity the Rams will need moving forward, and should also create enough of a distraction up the middle to take some pressure off of Chris Long. He’ll also play a big part in making the Rams run defense look respectable.
Round Three, Pick 65 Overall
Taylor Price WR, Ohio
If the Rams are going to draft a quarterback first overall, then he’s going to need a target to throw to. Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant are all the rage this year, but Taylor Price is the better value.
With Price, St. Louis dodges any injury or character concerns they might have faced with the other two, and can also wait until the third round to add him.
He’s tall at 6’2”, ran a fast 4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day, and is a better route runner than the other guys as well.
Price would be a legitimate No. 1 receiver for Bradford to go to and would also help take pressure off of Donnie Avery, who is better suited as a No. 2 guy anyways.
Round Four, Pick 99 Overall
Javier Arenas CB, Arkansas
Arenas is shorter than you’d like at 5’ 9” and slower than you’d expect, but that could be the reason the Rams will have a chance to get him here.
Most teams want a prototypical shut-down corner like Darrelle Revis and Arenas just isn’t that guy. He’ll get beat if left alone in man coverage against speedier or larger receivers, but he does have the skills to be a sensational zone cornerback in the NFL.
He plays bigger than he is, and although he lacks speed, he does use proper technique to stay with receivers and is quick enough to make plays either in the defensive backfield or the return game.
If he gets his hands on the ball in any situation, he has a chance to take it to the house. He’s got a good football IQ, great anticipation skills, is an active defender, and a sure-tackler in the open field.
Round Four, Pick 115 Overall (From New York)
Andre Roberts WR, Citadel
Roberts was electrifying at both the senior bowl and the scouting combine, proving that he has the speed, hands, and route-running ability to play in the NFL. He might be a little short at 5’11”, but that never bothered Steve Smith, and it shouldn’t be a problem for Roberts either.
Add all of that with his electrifying punt return abilities and superior elusiveness after the catch and you have a can’t-miss prospect.
Just in case you’re not convinced, he can also take direct snaps in the wildcat (20 first downs and 11 touchdowns in just 43 snaps), and is another hardworking and well-respected player who was a leader on his team.
Adding Roberts here would give the Rams a legitimate set of options at receiver and would help make Bradford’s job a lot easier.
Round Five, Pick 132 Overall
Daniel Te’O-Nesham DE, Washington
Te’O-Nesham is another high-motor/high-effort player who has adequate strength and technique to play defensive end in the NFL.
He started 49 games for Washington and compiled 194 tackles, 47 tackles for a loss, and a school record of 30 sacks. He’s a sure-tackler and always seems to make plays when his team needs them.
At 6’4” and only 263 pounds, he might need to add some weight to be truly effective as an end, but could also help immediately at linebacker on running downs. With the right coaching and conditioning Te’O-Nesham should be able to adjust quickly to the size and speed of the NFL and would provide a certain boost to the Rams struggling defensive line.
Round Six, Pick 170 Overall
Ciron Black OT/OG, LSU
Black was touted as one of the best tackle prospects in this draft a year ago but has been falling steadily ever since. The main reason for this is that scouts aren’t sure whether he projects best at tackle or guard.
He has the long arms to play tackle, but lacks the foot speed. He was effective at tackle in college, but has the strength to dominate at guard, etc.
Luckily St. Louis just needs someone who can play at any position.
While the Rams have done a lot to help improve their line, they clearly still need help. Black would have to the ability to start at guard and possibly compete to play at right tackle if needed.
All the confusion about his best position aside, he remains a monster in the run-blocking game (let’s help Stephen Jackson) and is durable, having started 53 games in college.
Round Seven, Pick 208 Overall
Dexter Davis OLB, Arizona State
Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Brian Cushing, was the first linebacker to be drafted.
He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash with 1.53 at the 10-yard split, put up 30 bench reps, and a 6.84 cone drill. Davis is nearly the same size and ran slightly slower at 4.64 with 1.55 at the 10-yard split, put up 25 bench reps, and a 7.08 cone drill.
Davis also started all 50 games of his career and provided his team with their most consistent pass rush while playing mostly at defensive end.
His career sack total ended at 31 (third place in school history behind Shante Carver and Terrell Suggs), and he also recorded two passes broken up and an interception, showing that he can be effective in pass coverage as well.
Davis will be a great addition to St. Louis’ linebacker corps and is a nice final addition to what should be a more stout run defense in 2010.
Round Seven, Pick 226 Overall
Nate Byham TE, Pittsburgh
Byham is more of a run blocker than a receiver due to his lack of straight-line speed, but he does possess reliable hands and good route running abilities. He also has the strength to catch passes over the middle and is tough to tackle after he catches the ball.
The Rams need help with run blocking.
They have one of the best running backs in the league, and this pick will give Bradford a safety net to throw to and help to open up more holes for Stephen Jackson.
Round Seven, Pick 254 Overall
Chris Hawkins CB, LSU
Hawkins was a highly recruited blue-chip player going into college, but didn’t see significant starting time until his junior season.
When given a chance he proved he could play with five interceptions, 18 pass deflections, and 93 tackles between his junior and senior years.
He has the straight-line speed to keep up with top receivers and should be a good press-corner prospect with good use of his hands at the line.
He’s a secure wrap-up style tackler, is aggressive against the run, and is not afraid to take on blockers on his way to the ball carrier. He’s also known for his ability to get up high and intercept overthrown balls, and will try to strip the ball when making a tackle.
Hawkins could very possibly become the kind of shut-down corner that NFL teams value so much.