Sep 8, 2012; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Georgia State Panthers during the second quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

St. Louis Rams 2013 NFL Draft Preview: Justin Hunter and Manti Te'o

Okay, lets face it Ram fans. We’re not going to make a deep playoff run this year. Playing against a team like Green Bay Packers at home was a good indication of what to expect in the playoffs. The Packers are a force on offense, solid in defense and the Rams simply couldn’t keep up against a well drilled Green Bay Packers.

Do the Rams have a chance to make the playoffs? Of course they have. But they’re not a Superbowl team. The Rams have the defense to take them to the Superbowl, but don’t have the offense to go with it.
On a positive note, Washington Redskins had a loss against the New York Giants. Rams have the Redskins first round draft picks for 2013 and 2014 and each loss the Redskins earn, will strengthen the value of the Rams’ draft value.

The Rams have the luxury of picking up two first round draft picks in 2013 and 2014 thanks to RGIII. This is why the Ramblin Fan Draft Preview, will analyze one player from both offense and defense.

Position needs: OT, OLB, WR, OG, SS/FS, TE

OFFENSE
Justin Hunter (6 foot 4, 200 pounds)
Wide Receiver (University of Tennessee)
It was obvious that the Rams were lacking a true number one receiver against the Green Bay Packers. The offensive line gave Sam Bradford enough time to let the play unfold, but still struggled to find a target down field. This is a good indication that receivers weren’t getting open down field. In contrast, the Packers killed it with Jordy Nelson as a wide receiver who destroyed the Rams solid secondary, while stud wide out Greg Jennings was watching from the sidelines. A true number one wide out is a great game changer for your team. Chris Givens is starting to see more reps and is dangerous once the ball is in his hands, but he is not the answer for an every down threat that can move the chains.

Justin Hunter can be the answer for the Rams. The agile 6 foot 4 gazelle can make any defender miss and is more than willing to stick his head down to scratch for extra yards. Seven games into the season, Hunter has combined 39 receptions, for 567 and four touchdowns. These stats aren’t eye popping by all means but draft scouts will take into consideration that Hunter is up against stout SEC defenses almost on a weekly basis. It also never helps when your once highly talked about quarterback Tyler Bray’s performance has been less than average. The Rams are one or two pieces away from being a solid offense and Justin Hunter will help fill those missing gaps.

DEFENSE
Manti Te’o (6 foot 2, 255 pounds)
Linebacker (University of Notre Dame)
The Rams line up in a nickel package too many times, due to having the lack of play makers at the outside linebacker position. This will eventually create big plays for the opposing teams running game. Rams are dominant on the line, but should look to improve the linebacker position to extend their solid defense in to a real force.

Manti Te’o is the best defensive player in this draft. He’s a natural middle linebacker, but is more than capable of playing on either of the outside positions. Whether or not teams will take a chance on Te’o as an outside linebacker, will depend on his 40 yard dash time. No matter what team he ends up in, he will be a Pro-bowler. Te’o can react fast against the run, can quickly shed blocks, break up screens, and stop draws and checkdowns better than anyone. He has the knack to deliver a drive ending hit, but he also more than capable in being a stand out in coverage. Te’o has had a phenomenal year, combining 67 tackles with four interceptions and three pass deflections in only seven games. Look for Manti Te’o to be an instant starter in the NFL.

Follow the links to previous Ramblin Fan Draft Previews:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3 

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Tags: Justin Hunter Manti Te'o St. Louis Rams

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