Mixed emotions have been circling about the winner of the Superbowl. Part of me was hoping for Ravens to win, because no NFC West fan wants to see the 49ers rub the Lombardi trophy in their faces twice a year. The other part of me (although admittedly, not a lot of me) was seeing the bright side of a Superbowl win to the 49ers, as the NFC West will finally get the attention of the NFL world. All that aside, the offseason has officially arrived for every team. The Rams have made an early act in the offseason, by plucking Titus Young from the waiver list. It’s a great decision as there’s nothing to lose on the Ram’s side of the deal while there’s everything to lose on Young’s side. In a scenario such as this, you would usually see a player perform to his full capabilities and what better NFL coach than Jeff Fisher, to get the best out of a troubled yet very talented young man? Will Titus Young have an impact on the Rams decision, leading into the NFL draft?
Two players will be analyzed weekly (one from defense and one from offense) based on their current form in college football.
This isn’t a mock draft. This is simply an analysis of high valued players that will enter the 2013 NFL draft, so that readers are more knowledgeable of each high draft prospect come draft time.
DeAndre Hopkins (6 foot 1, 200 pounds)
Wide Recevier (Clemson)
The addition of Titus Young will have an affect on the decisions the Rams will make, leading into the draft and the free agency. It’s hard to judge what plans Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have for Young as of yet, but he was obviously added to the roster to make an immediate impact. With Young added to the roster, question marks linger around free agents, Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson’s career at St.Louis. The Rams should focus on re-signing Amendola, but the same can’t be said for Gibson. Gibson did emerge as a promising target for Sam Bradford, but as Chris Givens had a dynamic rookie year and Brian Quick still being a work in progress, there doesn’t leave much room for Brandon Gibson. Expect Austin Pettis to be back, as Titus Young and Pettis were a formidable force at Boise State University. Pettis could keep Young in check.
DeAndre Hopkins will be on Jeff Fisher’s radar, but it is unlikely that the Rams would pick a wide receiver in the first round. If Hopkins is still available in the second round, don’t expect the Rams to hesitate in choosing one of the most dynamic players in this year’s strong wide receiver class. Hopkins plays very fast, strong and aggressive. He is a legitimate deep threat who has the burst to get separation from the cornerback on the deep routes. He accelerates to full speed very quickly and has quick feet, which allows him to get in and out of breaks very efficiently. Hopkins is one of the better route runners and is superb in finding the cushion in the zone. The 2012 season saw Hopkins collect 82 receptions, 1405 yards for 18 touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins plays very similar to Torrey Smith from the Baltimore Ravens.
Draft range – Late first/mid second.
Arthur Brown (6 foot 1, 230 pounds)
Outside Linebacker (Kansas State)
With the addition of Jo-Lonn Dunbar, this has definitely eased the minds of the fans who were starting to count up a lot of positional needs prior to the 2012 season. There is still one obvious need at the strong side linebacker that the Rams will look to address either at the draft or the free agency. Arthur Brown could be the answer that the Rams have been waiting for.
Brown played at inside linebacker at the collegian level, but his size will allow him to move to the outside at the NFL level. Brown doesn’t approach the ball carrier with the best angles, but he’s able to get away with it, as he shows top end speed for a linebacker. He plays downhill and must learn to not over-pursue the ball carrier. As he is such a good tackler, Brown stays sound in his technique rather than going for the big hit. He has a good sense for blitzing and quickly finds the open lane to the quarterback. Big blockers can effectively neutralize him due to his lack of size (which may be an issue for some NFL scouts), but he still surprisingly sheds blocks fairly well. In 2012 Brown gathered 100 tackles, one sack and two interceptions, which included a pick six. Unless Brown has a good combine, he will fall to middle to late second round.
Draft range – Late first/late second.
Follow @davebarber92 for more updates