Oct 13, 2012; Columbia, MO, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) is congratulated by offensive linesman Chance Warmack (65) and tight end Michael Williams (89) after Lacy scores in the first half of the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field. The Crimson Tide won 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFL Mock Draft (Week 15 Edition): The St. Louis Rams Select…


 

Although the St. Louis Rams are not out of the playoff hunt yet, the combination of wins and losses needed to sneak into the playoffs is pretty complex. The Rams situation is kind of like an obese mare lining up in the cages for the Kentucky Derby: it probably won’t win, but there is a chance, if they rest of the competition falls down, that it could still win the race. Regardless, the push out of the playoffs will send most fans attention towards the 2013 NFL Draft, something that has typically occurred halfway through the season, when the Rams had been officially eliminated from playoff contention by Week 7 of the regular season.

As mentioned before, Fansided.com will be pumping out a weekly NFL Mock Draft, up until the big day in April. You can check out this week’s  full draft here.

Without further pause, with the 15th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, “the St. Louis Rams select…”

Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M

Sam Bradford need some help, so the Rams can help him out by grabbing the other offensive tackle from Texas A&M. When you play on the same team as Luke Joeckel and are still able to stand out on the film, you know you have the chops to transition to the NFL and make an impact. Matthews would be just what Philip Rivers ordered.

This is the same player the St. Louis Rams were slotted to pick last week, and with good reason. Jake Matthews will likely continue to be linked with the St. Louis Rams unless his stock drastically increases at the conclusion of the season, which is entirely possible. Most see Matthews as the second best tackle in the draft class, sitting behind teammate, Luke Joeckel. Bradford’s beating on Sunday showed why the St. Louis Rams will need to spend at least one of their first rounders on a top offensive line, and this could very well be the spot.

Again, thanks to the trade with the Washington Redskins, the St. Louis Rams will get two picks in the first round. Sadly, with the ‘Skins continuing to win, that pick is falling lower and lower down the draft board. Currently, the mocks have Washington picking in the 19th spot, meaning that the Redskins did not make the playoffs in this simulation. With that 19th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, “the St. Louis Rams select…”

Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama

Warmack is one of the top prospects in this year’s draft class, but he slides because of position. Just a year ago, many considered guard David DeCastro to be a top ten talent, but he fell to the Steelers at the bottom of round one. I did have St. Louis going OT with their first pick, but that won’t scare them away from Warmack who is too good to pass up. In 2010, the same draft that the Rams selected Sam Bradford, the 49ers took back-to-back first-round offensive lineman and it changed the attitude of that team. The same strategy should be welcomed in St. Louis.

 

This is my personal favorite offensive lineman in the draft, and, again, with good reasoning. Warmack just received nearly every possible honor as a senior at the University of Alabama, including being named to the AP All-America First Team. Warmack is good against the run, using his relatively short stature to gain leverage on the defensive tackles and anchoring them in the pass rush. He is truly a monster in run blocking, with good lateral agility, making him a key blocker on traps and pulls. With Scott Wells, Harvey Dahl, and Chance Warmack, the St. Louis Rams would have one of the nastiest interior offensive lines in the NFL, bar none. If a Top 10 talent falls to the St. Louis Rams this late in the draft, you can beat the house and kids that Snead and Fisher will be running to the podium to hand in this pick.

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  • johnforamerica

    I see you’ve moved away from your “we need to draft defense” stance… way to listen to the commenters! ;-)

    Great post though, as always.

  • Beer O’Clock

    100% Agree–OT and Chance Warmack. Shore up the O-Line and then we can see what Bradford will be able to do. Unfortunately, Jake Matthews will be gone by the time the Rams pick.

    • WarmackAndSS?

      A bunch of mocks have Matthews dropping into the bottom tier of the first round, so hopefully that means he will be there for the St. Louis Rams to snap. Still, I wouldn’t care to see Warmack taken with the first 1st rounder… The dude is a straight hoss, and their is plenty of talent at OT already on the roster (Williams, Hunter) and in FA to work with (Clady, Long), if necessary.

      Still, would hate to see the Rams miss on a premier safety! That is something they desperately need on the defense, and the only elite safeties FA are either extremely old, injury prone, or going to, undoubtedly, be resigned at their own team.

      Prefer a mix of offense and defense in the 1st round, but no one will complain if St. Louis decides to bolster the line for Bradford… and, hopefully, Jackson

      • Beer O’Clock

        Not sure which mocks you’re referring to.

        Rang has Matthews at #12, Brugler has him at #12, Campbell at #7 and Walter has him listed in 2014 at #5.

        Walter also has Matthews rated as the second best tackle behind Joeckel and ahead of Lewan and Fisher. Since his mock draft has Lewan at #6 and Fisher at #13, it’s safe to say he won’t be available to the Rams on Walter’s 2013 mock draft either.

        I guess time will tell.

        The Rams do need help at safety and OLB, no doubt. But, until the offensive line can give Bradford enough time for his receivers to get open, the Rams will lose to teams like the Jets and Vikings (at home).

        There are more quality safeties available in FA than OTs, though Jake Long would be a nice addition. If his rehab goes well, there will be quite the bidding war for Long, though.

        Lastly, I don’t know which Ram team you’re watching, but the Ram team I’m watching does NOT have plenty of talent at OT. Saffold, when not hurt, is a good tackle. He gets hurt a lot. After him, the Ram’s OTs are well below average (I’m being kind).

        • DA RAMS

          I have seen several mocks around the blog-o-sphere with Lewan and Fisher ahead of Matthews on the board, including some with Fluker being taken ahead of him (I wish). There are also a couple with Joeckel being the only OT off the board in the Top 15 picks, especially with the teams that need help at quarterback and on the defensive side of the football being higher up the draft ranks.

          I don’t know where people keep getting this idea that there is going to be a plethora of free agent safeties on the market that the St. Louis Rams will be looking at…. Every “big name” guy is either too old, injury prone, or is a 95% lock to resign with their current team:

          Ed Reed (old, wont sign anywhere besides BAL)
          William Moore (injury prone, will get resigned by ATL)
          Dashon Goldson (will resign with SF)
          LaRon Landry (injury prone, likely to resign with NYJ)
          Louis Delmas (not a chance DET doesn’t resign him)
          Jairus Byrd (doubtful to leave BUF, but more likely…)

          Trade or the draft are the only two ways that the Rams are going to get a safety with skill superior to Stewart or Dahl. It is a spot that Fisher should draft for his own system, preferably a young guy to match up with a veteran like Quintin Mikell.

          IMO, Bradford has had plenty of time this season to throw the ball in a majority of games this season, but contantly holds it for too long in the pocket and is forced to eat the sack. Some of that has to do with blocking, but a majority of it has to do with the inability of the receivers to get open down the field, especially during the Amendola-less middle of the season. Minnesota was clearly a mark on Barry Richardson, who is the weak point of the offensive line. However, the three spots that have given up the most “pressures” this season have be RT, LG, and LT. And, to be fair, the vast majority of actual sacks given up by the LT and LG came against Hunter while hurt against Miami, Barksdale at LT in his one start, and when Ojinakka and Shelley Smith were getting time at LG while Turner shifted over to center. Turner (at center), Dahl, Saffold, all rank in the top tier of players at their position, especially in pass blocking. Right now, with Wells hopefull healthy return next season, the line should be solid, with the exception of whoever the hell lines up at right tackle. DRAFT BABY DRAFT!

          With the exception of last week against Minnesota, the offensive line has never been charged with more than 2 sacks in seven of the games against Top 15 sack teams that the Rams have played (GB, MIA, AZ, SFx2, SEA, BUF). That is pretty solid considering ALL of those teams average more than 2.0 sacks per game…

          We are watching the same team, but maybe you didn’t see how Wayne Hunter performed on the left side of the offensive line when he was filling in for Rodger Saffold. He was rated as one of the top tackles in the league during that time, with the exception of the Miami game, which is understandable considering he had not practiced for a majority of the week with a knee injury. Everyone is taboo on Hunter because he was garbage in New York, but he played well for the Rams in limited time, and might fair even better on the right side of the line. We have yet to see Chris Williams play, although that might change if he gets the start at right guard for the now-injured Harvey Dahl. Both have starting potential, and Hunter has shown to be effective on the Rams line, at a much tougher position; Bradford’s blind side…

          Like you said though, time will tell! Thanks for the comments

          • Beer O’Clock

            Well, I appreciate your insight though we look at things differently.

            In response:
            I named my mocks. Other than ESPN (McShay, ect), where you have to pay to read (which I’m not willing to do), the mockers I named are reasonably well-regarded and have a fairly good record. I have seen some drafts that have Lewan in front of Matthews (and even more that have Matthews in front of Lewan). Haven’t seen one where Fisher is ahead of Matthews.

            I hope that Matthews is available. He would be a great addition to the team and help them from day #1

            Re: Rams offensive line
            What I see is a very limited offense that is designed to compensate for extremely poor pass protection. It requires a 3 step drop/dink-pass attack with good running to sustain drives. It’s the reason why the offense breaks down when Amendola is injured. 3-step dink passing only works when you have receivers that can separate quickly. Teams with good man coverage stop the Rams’ offense cold—like the Jets.

            Your statistics don’t tell the correct story. Playback the first three quarters of the Rams games and compare them to those of the Patriots, or the Broncos, or the Falcons, or the Packers, or the Seahawks, or the Cowboys or the Saints. They can throw short, medium or long with consistency. They score points.

            Look at the Rams passing statistics (especially for the first three quarters when the Rams aren’t facing lead-protecting zone coverage like they did vs. the Vikings in the 4th quarter). That tells the correct story.

            When Bradford looks downfield for medium or long throws, he (much too often) gets hurried or sacked. So, the Rams don’t look downfield very often. It is designed to reduce sacks, but it’s limiting. It’s the primary reason the Rams have such a poor third down conversion record. On third and long, the Rams often throw screens or short passes (or run Jackson). They don’t trust their offensive line enough to throw downfield in an obvious passing situation.

            Your elite offensives have much, much better pass protection.

            Wells is good, but was out for a while. Dahl is good and now he’s out. Saffold is good when he is healthy, which is about 60% of the time. Turner has done a good job coming off the bench, but hardly elite. The rest are well below average. As long as Wells, Dahl and/or Safford are on IR, or playing hurt, the Rams will have an ineffective offense.

            Oh yeah, Hunter did do a better job here than he did in NY. He would make a good backup on a normal team.

            This is a strong draft for tackles. There will be at least four drafted in the first round, most likely three in the first 12 picks. Warmack is a stud and rated by most scouts as a “sure-thing” He has all the measureables and most likely will be a Pro Bowl OG early in his career.

            The 49′ers drafted two OL in the first round two years ago and look what it did for Alex Smith (and now Colin K.).

            OK, that’s my view. I do understand yours, as well.

          • WarmackAndSS?

            Fair enough, I blame the short passing game more on Schotty and the offensive scheme that Fisher wanted to install on his team, as opposed to limitation in pass protection. The same thing happened when he was calling the plays in New York, with the exception that he had, at one point, supreme talent on at both running back AND wide receiver.

            In the opening quarters of the game, the play calling has been predictable (run, run, pass on 3rd and long,). Since they have regularly thrown an offsides, delay of game, or illegal formation penalty in their to back them up even farther, the defense has been able to pin their ears back and go all out on Bradford in the critical down (another reason that the 3rd Down % has gone south this season). It also doesn’t help that Daryl Richardson has been forced into the backfield on 3rd down, but is often used in pass protection (not necessarily his strong suit). Moreover, Schotty has regularly abandoned the run in favor of quick passes, which are either being dropped or being forced into tight coverage because the receivers cannot get separation off the line quickly enough for the precise timing routes.

            I think we can both agree that the dink-and-dunk offense is good for rookie progression, but not going to be effective if the team plans to expand offensively and be a threat to score on every drive. I think we disagree on the reasoning behind that style of offense, but it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round.

            I don’t mind the idea of taking a lineman, but there are some huge holes on the defense that are not going to be filled unless there is some drastic trading going on in the offseason. Both OLB and S are going to be slim pickin’ in free agency, if anything at all. Drafting seems to be the only route available, and with Snead at the head of scouting, the two boom-or-bust positions should swing more to the positive side.

            As you well know, Craig Dahl is pathetic in coverage, even a simple “two-deep, man under” style of defense. He is much stronger in run support, but as we all saw during Peterson’s 82 yard touchdown, is often overly aggressive, leaving daylight if he takes a block. Worse than Dahl is the Haggan/McIntosh combo, which has been downright dreadful. Both aren’t agile enough to play three-down football, neither are a threat in the pass rush, and both are mediocre tackling and inept in coverage. Until those two spots are filled, the St. Louis Rams will continue to get exploited by premier offenses in the league. Bradford but the Rams up in the fourth quarter against the Lions, Dolphins, and 49ers (Round 1), but the defense was not able to hold on for the wins.

            I wouldn’t be upset with a guard/tackle combo, but would be sad to give up on some of the younger talents that have not really been given the chance to be coached into a potential starter. Williams has been injury riddled his whole, young career, but was once a top tier draft pick that could easily be a starter in this league if healthy. He can’t help that he got pushed down the depth chart by Orlando Pace in Chicago. It would also mean that the team is essentially giving up on Rok Watkins as a starter, meaning that the team wasted the 5th rounder on a glorified back-up guard, which we already have in Turner. I think there is “potential” for a starter already on the roster, and there are definitely more elite, realistic options available in free agency on the OL than at OLB or SS. Still, it would be tough to complain with a Matthews/Warmack draft…

            Glad I am not in the war room come April

      • Guest

        ….also, I don’t know which Ram team you’re watching, but the Ram team I’m watching does NOT plenty of talent at OT. Saffold, when not hurt, is a good tackle. He gets hurt alot. After him, the Ram’s OTs are well below average (I’m being kind).