The St. Louis Rams were a nearly unanimous success on the opening day of the 2013 NFL Draft, making a huge jump up from 16th spot to snag Tavon Austin in the 8th spot and then stealing Alec Ogletree all the way at the bottom of the round. Both players were considered by most to be the best prospect at their respective position, and both will be wearing the Golden Horns this coming season in St. Louis.
So, how can Snead and Co. follow up that Day 1 performance tonight? Well, one negative note of the Tavon Austin trade was that the Rams gave up their 2nd rounder, the 46th overall pick in the draft. However, the “other” part of that deal included switch 3rd rounders with the Bills, meaning that the St. Louis Rams will now pick 71st overall, instead of 78th. The Rams also managed to tack on an extra 3rd rounder, courtesy of the trade back with Atlanta, which will give them the 92nd overall pick in the draft.
The first thing that might come to mind is “trade up into the 2nd round,” which does not sound like that bad of an idea; especially with the talent that dropped out of the 1st rounder yesterday. However…
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) April 26, 2013
Even the post-Day 1 presser with Fisher and Snead hinted that the St. Louis Rams feel “their guys” will be available when the 3rd round rolls around. So, who might they be?
Barrett Jones is an upgraded, younger version of Rob Turner, with the capacity to play nearly any position on the offensive line. He has a solid frame, prototypical frame, possesses adequate strength for an interior lineman, and is known for his fundamentally sound footwork and overall football intelligence. Jones could immediately come into St. Louis and battle with Rok Watkins for the starting job at left guard, or inevitably serve as a “filler” when either Harvey Dahl or Scott Wells sustain an injury.
There is no doubt that the St. Louis Rams will need to address the safety position at some point in the draft. Clearly, the organization believes that there are quality defensive backs in the mid-rounds of this draft class. D.J. Swearinger has garnered a lot of attention in the past couple of weeks, but the real “diamond in the rough” is Phillip Thomas, a projected free safety out of Fresno State. Thomas led the NCAA in interceptions in 2012, on top of forcing four fumble, labeling him a “big play” safety at the next level. However, a gruesome leg injury and a dislocated ankle have pulled Thomas’ name completely off some teams boards. Thomas is a prime target for the 92nd pick. A ball hawk that has also been marked as a “sure tackler” by some scouts is a rare find at safety. Considering his medical sheet isn’t filled with those nagging, re-occurring soft tissue injuries, the St. Louis Rams would be foolish to overlook him at the end of the 3rd.
While some have become infatuated with Monte Ball or Le’Veon Bell over the last month, Bernard has been flying under the radar as one of the best running back prospects in this draft class. Bernard is a shorter, hard-nosed back with impressive quickness and lateral movement. He has some injury “red flags,” but most scouts believe he could thrive in a running back-by-committee system as a third down or goal line back… lucky for him, St. Louis is just that team. In all honesty, Bernard likely entered the draft a year too early, which could be bad for his wallet, but good for the St. Louis Rams.