If you had to label the first two days of the draft, the first words that come to mind are “explosive” and “game changing.” The St. Louis Rams moved up the board to grab the biggest playmaker in the draft with Tavon Austin, snagging the best prospective outside linebacker in the draft at 30th overall. On Friday, the Rams took the hardest-hitting safety in the draft, right before finished Day 2 by picking up Tavon Austin’s teammate, Stedman Bailey.
Heading into Day 3, there were still a number of debatable “needs” on the roster. Adding another safety, interior offensive line depth, and, potentially, a starting-caliber running back were all likely on the Rams’ to-do list. They started off the day by immediately addressing on of those areas, taking Barrett Jones with the 113th overall pick in the draft.
Barrett Jones is the definition of “versatile,” starting at nearly every position on the offensive line at some point during his tenure at the University of Alabama. He is a smart player, with prototypical size, that relies heavily on technique and intelligence to compensate for a lack of brute strength on the interior. Most had Jones graded out as an early-2nd, mid-3rd rounder; getting him the 4th should have been illegal. He will instantly come in and compete with Chris Williams and Rok Watkins for the starting spot at guard, and will be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Scott Wells at center. With Rob Turner gone to Tennessee, and both Wells and Harvey Dahl coming off of injury-filled seasons, Jones might be one of the most valuable picks of this 2013 draft class.
Most in St. Louis were not surprised when Bradley Fletcher was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, especially after getting shifted down the depth chart at the end of last season in favor of Trumaine Johnson. While Fletcher would have been undoubtedly the best 4th corner in the NFL, it was unrealistic to assume he would stay and waste away on the roster. With him gone, the Rams are in need of depth at the cornerback position, with only three currently on the roster; enter Brandon McGee.
McGee grades well on paper, clocking a 4.40 40-time, a 33.5 inch vertical, and finishing with one of the best times in the 3-cone drill at the Combine. He is an “adequate-size” corner, that doesn’t seem to possess a “ballhawk” mentality in coverage. However, McGee could thrive in a dime package, possessing a skill set that is better suited towards covering underneith and on the outside of the field. Scouts also praised his abilty to shed blockers and use solid technique in tackling. In nothing else, McGee’s staight-line speed will make him an instant contributor on both punt and kickoff team.