St Louis Rams: 2012 NFL Draft Prospect Watch, Preseason Edition

Ethan NovakAnalyst IIJuly 8, 2011

St Louis Rams: 2012 NFL Draft Prospect Watch, Preseason Edition

0 of 7

    Although the 2012 NFL Draft is nine months away, scouting of all the top prospects in the draft has been going on since most of them first set foot on their respective campuses. 

    As per usual, St. Louis will select in the first round with the hopes of finding the next great Ram.  Perhaps it will be a star running back out of Alabama, or a wide receiver out of Oklahoma State.  Their is no telling where the Rams will stand need-wise once they are on the clock next April, but as of right now they have plenty of openings.  

    So as of right now, who are the most appealing prospects for the Rams and where do they each stand heading into the 2011-2012 NCAA season?  Let's take a look.

     

    (Note: This list will change drastically throughout the season.  Players will be added and dropped based on the moves the Rams make throughout the season.  Once the NCAA season gets underway, Prospect Watch will have an article out every week.)

Zach Brown, OLB, UNC

1 of 7

    Size

    6'2", 230 lbs

     

    40-Yard Dash

    4.48s (has been clocked as low as 4.28)

     

    Evaluation

    The North Carolina Tar Heels were in a miserable situation in 2010 due to NCAA violations that left them without some of their top defensive players (including Rams' first-round draft selection, DE Robert Quinn).  Brown used the Heels' lack of depth to his advantage, emerging as a star on defense and leading the team in tackles.  

    A member of the UNC track team, Brown's deadliest weapon is his speed that allows him to cover a lot of ground in very little time.  He has good strength and playmaking skills, possessing a good feel for the game.

    Heading into 2011, Brooks will be expected to one of the leaders of the defense along with DE Quinton Coples. 

     

    Where Would He Fit In?

    As of right now the Rams are trying to get by with below-average to average outside linebackers and it was something that really hurt them in 2010.  Should they draft Brooks, they would have an immediate upgrade at the position and have two of the three linebacking positions filled for the near and long-term future.  

David DeCastro, OG, Stanford

2 of 7

    Size

    6'5", 312 lbs

     

    Evaluation

    An All Pac-10 selection in 2010, DeCastro is arguably the best guard in the draft.  He is big, physical, and dominating in both the running and passing game.  He was the main component in a line that kept star QB Andrew Luck upright throughout his incredible season that saw Luck finish second in the Heisman voting.  

    Where Would He Fit In?

    DeCastro would immediately be inserted at right guard, a position where the Rams have had an absolute hole at for the past few seasons.  

Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

3 of 7

    Size

    5'11", 224 lbs

     

    40-Yard Dash

    4.4s

     

    Evaluation

    Richardson is one of the most enjoyable players to watch in all of college football.  He possesses impressive lower and upper-body strength that allows him to break tackles and avoid going down after contact.  He also possesses enough speed to get around the edges and break away from defenses.  

    After having to split carries with Mark Ingram, a first-round selection of the New Orleans Saints, for the past two seasons, Richardson should really put his name on the map given the opportunity to have the backfield all to himself in 2011.  

     

    Where Would He Fit In?

    Richardson would become Steven Jackson's protege, likely being a change of pace backup for a couple seasons before taking over as the team's starter in 2013 or 2014.    

Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

4 of 7

    Size

    6'1" 212 lbs.

     

    40-Yard Dash

    4.54s

     

    Evaluation

    Blackmon possesses the size and hands to be a number one wideout in the NFL in the near future.  He possesses adequate speed, not great speed, but adequate.  In 2010, Blackmon put up ridiculous numbers with 102 catches for 1,665 yards and 12 touchdowns.  

    For comparison sake, he plays a style similar to that of 49ers' wideout Michael Crabtree.  They are nearly identical size-wise and both run routes in a similar manner.  They possess good open-field skills, reliable hands, and the ability to make huge plays at any moment.  

     

    Where Would He Fit In?

    Blackmon would likely be made the second receiver on the outside, allowing Donnie Avery (should he still be with the team) to move to the slot, a position that favors his abilities far more.   

Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State

5 of 7

    Size

    6'3" 305 lbs

     

    40-Yard Dash

    5.04s (clocked as low as 4.9s)

     

    Evaluation

    On paper, you won't be impressed at all by Worthy.  In 2010 the lineman managed just eight TFL and four sacks, but on film you'll see what has scouts drooling over the junior from Michigan State.  He was double-teamed on virtually every play yet still had the blend of strength and quickness to maneuver through or around them.  

    He plays with a lot of intensity and would bring a fiery attitude to the locker room.  A hard-worker throughout his career, Worthy figures to be one of the best defensive lineman available in 2012.  

     

    Where Would He Fit In?

     Worthy would immediately hop into the starting rotation.  The Rams are very thin at the position talent wise, and their best tackle (Fred Robbins) is beginning to get up there in age.   

Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

6 of 7

    Size

    5'11", 187 lbs

     

    40-Yard Dash

    4.52s

     

    Evaluation

    Notice something in that picture above?  On the left you have Ryan Broyles, in the middle you have Brandon Caleb, and on the right, Mr. Sam Bradford, QB of the St. Louis Rams.  

    While Broyles and Bradford didn't play together for too long (all of 2008 plus Bradford's injury-riddled 2009 season), they appeared to be on the same page week in and week out.  With Broyles fresh off of a 131 reception, 1,622 yard season, this might be something to strongly consider if you're the Rams front office. 

    The fact that he clicked with Bradford isn't the only reason Broyles should be considered however.  Broyles is as productive of a receiver as you will find in the 2012 draft class.  He has outstanding hands is one of those guys that just always seems to make good things happen.  He lacks elite size for an outside receiver, but then again it isn't like it is taboo for a receiver under 6'0" to play on the outside (see: Steve Smith).  

     

    Where Would He Fit In?

     He could fill any receiver role for the Rams almost immediately.  He has the hands and athleticism to line up on the outside and his skill-set would almost guarantee success in the slot.  

Fan Feedback

7 of 7

    -Who would you like to see featured in the next Prospect Preview?

    -Of the prospects listed, which would you most like to see suit up in horns in 2012?

    -What positions do you see the Rams addressing in free agency rather than waiting for the draft?

    -Is Tim Tebow as good of a motivational speaker as he believes himself to be?

    Leave a comment down below and let's get this conversation going Rams' fans!

    (Note: Next St Louis Rams' Prospect Preview will be up shortly before the start of the 2011 NCAA football season)