With April Fool’s day behind us, we can now safely assume that Chris Long and a bulk of the remaining St. Louis Rams’ roster has been solidified; at least as solid as you can be at this point in the offseason. Free agency has nearly passed and the Rams’ coaching staff and front office have likely been hunkered into a small film room, dissecting every snap of every player on the St. Louis’ draft board. Naturally, some players stock will rise and fall with Pro Days and the added attention on their film. It follows then that the mocks from around the league will be changing as well.
Fansided.com has been pumping out a weekly mock draft since mid-November, and has recently released their first mock of April entitled, “NFL Mock Draft 2013: Buccaneers, Rams And Titans Hit Home Runs.” If that doesn’t hint at their pick in the first round, I don’t know what would. With the 16th overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select…
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/Tennessee
Patterson is projected to be one of the best offensive skill players in the draft, but he’s starting to slip a bit after a stunning Pro Day from Tavon Austin and a general need for help on either offensive or defensive line at the top of the draft. But the Rams have had their eye on Patterson for some time now and he’s exactly what they need moving forward. The defense is one of the best young units in the league, but the trick is getting the offense up to snuff and getting Sam Bradford a tall deep threat is the way to go.
With Tavon Austin heating up, many have him going in the Top 15, leaving St. Louis with a difficult decision in the 16th spot. Many have cooled down a bit on Patterson due to his lack of experience in college, but most, if not all, still have him marked at a Top 3 player at the position in his draft. He is certainly the largest boom-or-bust player at receiver in this class, so would it make sense for the St. Louis Rams to take him at this spot? In short… yes. St. Louis has been lacking a playmaker on the outside for nearly half a decade, and Patterson fills that role almost immediately. Even with raw talent, he can still take the top off of the defense and will demand attention on the outside. There is also no questioning his abilities once the ball is in his hands, and with players like Jared Cook and Chris Givens demanding the attention of the defense, it would be hard to image that Bradford could not find a way to get Patterson touches, especially in the “quick slant” game. It may take time to progress as a route runner in the NFL, but with the versatility to play at receiver, running back, and on special teams, Patterson would inevitably make his presence felt immediately on at least one area of the field.
With Jake Long, Jared Cook, and the newly acquired Cordarrelle Patterson on hand, the St. Louis Rams will likely need to look to improve a secondary that currently lacks a starter at either safety spot. With the 22nd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select…
Kenny Vaccaro, Safety, Texas
There are two certainties in the NFL Draft: the St. Louis Rams will take both Cordarrelle Patterson and Kenny Vaccaro is they’re available when they go on the clock. Right now it’s looking like Patterson will need to be taken first, and while it’s not a guarantee that Vaccaro will make it past the Dallas Cowboys, Vaccaro being added to that young and upstart Rams defense is something that will only continue to make the NFC West the best division in football.
If he falls this far in the draft, the St. Louis Rams will certainly be running to the table to hand in their pick. Vaccaro is viewed by most as the best all-around safety in his year’s class, and would fit perfectly into Fisher’s system. There are some concerns about his reliability in tackling, but those do not overshadow his ability to seek out the ball in the air and put a body on the receiver when they slant across the middle of the field. With Darian Stewart likely getting the nod as the other start, the pair of safeties would hold relatively similar skill sets, allowing Tim Walton to use them interchangeably in coverage, in run support, and in blitz packages without giving too much away to the opposing offense based on their alignment. The combination of Vaccaro and Patterson would fill two immediate needs in the first round, and allow the St. Louis Rams to genuinely use a “Best Player Available” mentality for the remainder of the draft.