Nov 29, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) waits for the snap against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams 2014 NFL Draft Mid-1st Round Potentials: Nix III, Clinton-Dix, Mosley, And Mack


 

Obviously, the majority of the hype in St. Louis around April of next year will focused on the Rams likely Top 5 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, courtesy of the Washington Redskins. However, the St. Louis Rams are also currently slotted at No. 14 overall, a spot that plenty of less-talented teams would like to be in this offseason. In fact, one could argue that the Rams have been much more successful picking in this “mid-range,” taking both Robert Quinn and Michael Brockers with the No. 14 pick in 2011 and 2012, respectively. So, who are the likely “top candidates” for St. Louis this year?

 

Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Unlike last season, this year is filled with top tier quarterbacks and receivers that will likely fill out a bulk of the Top 10. However, there is also a severe shortage of bonified first-round prospects at a number of positions. One of those is on the interior of the defensive line, where Notre Dame’s Louis Nix III may be the only defensive tackle with a “lock” Top 32 grade, trailed closely by Minnesota’s RaShede Hageman.

Nix is a 0/1-technique nose tackle that should be able to make an easy transition into a 4-3 base defense. However, concerns about his weight and pass rushing abilities might send him tumbling down the board. At this point in the draft, if the Rams truly believe they need a “replacement” for Kendall Langford and his massive contract, Nix might be the only option.

 

Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

If you think the interior defensive line grouping is shallow, than don’t bother looking at the 2014 safety class. Despite his recent suspension, Clinton-Dix is far-and-away the best safety prospect in his class, with the “bonus” of coming out of an Alabama secondary that has produced some top tier players in the Nick Saban-era. Assuming the Rams aren’t comfortable playing another season with Rodney McLeod or Darian Stewart starting next to T.J. McDonald in the secondary, this will likely be the pick for St. Louis… assuming Clinton-Dix is still available.

 

C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama

If the St. Louis Rams haven’t already taken the bait on a player like UCLA’s Anthony Barr, it would certainly not be out of the question to see them use their second first-rounder on dominating, all-around linebacker to “complete” the Rams’ front-seven puzzle. Mosley has the experience and natural ability to step in and be a top outside linebacker in the NFL from Day 1. His large frame, fast-enough speed, and high football I.Q. would make him a perfect compliment to Alec Ogletree and James Laurinaitis in the second level of the Rams defense.

 

Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

If we are giving Anthony Barr the title of “best pass rusher” and C.J. Mosley the title of “most NFL ready” among the outside linebackers, we’d have to give the “biggest play maker” title to Khalil Mack. According to CBS Sports, Mack officially holds the NCAA record for career forced fumbles and recently tied the record for most career tackles for a loss. Many will take him a notch down under the “played against lesser talent” clause. However, with a solid Combine performance, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mack sneaks onto the fringe of the Top 10. If forced fumbles are the name of the game, adding Mack to the ball-stripping duo of Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree could be lethal.

 

 

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  • Beer O’Clock

    My picks would be:

    1a) Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
    1b) CJ Mosely OLB Alabama
    2) Deone Bucannon S Washington State
    3) David Yankey G Stanford
    4) Daniel McCullers DT Tennessee

    It’s time to shore up the defense and offensive line.

    • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

      I’m fine with the first rounders but I would like to tweak your 2-4 picks

      2): Anthony Johnson DT – Teaming him with fellow LSU alum Michael Brocker would solidify the Rams already powerful DLine

      3.) AJ McCarron QB – Time to look for Kellen Clemens’ upgrade and McCarron has been project by some as a good “game manager” and a “career backup” well McCarron’s Alabama offense is quite similar to those of the Rams so the transition is not that difficult.

      4) Dion Bailey FS USC – Jeff Fisher like his safeties versatile and Bailey can play FS or SS (and can compliment TJ McDonald)

      5) Max Copeland G/ Missouri : Intelligent, Has a nasty streak, has help open lanes for Missouri this season

      • Nathan Kearns

        Another good mock!

        Would still like to see a tight end somewhere in there, especially with only two “true” tight ends likely to be on the roster at the end of the 2013 season…

        • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

          Rams might go look for UDFA or FA’s for 3rd/4th string Tight Ends rather than draft one. They are quite set with Kendricks as the inline TE and Cook as the pass catching TE. Harkey has been good as the H-Back/FB too. Rams still has Mike McNeil in the roster.

          • Nathan Kearns

            Mike McNeill will be gone after the season, and Harkey and Kendricks take turns being on the injury report. Harkey is a competent FB fill-in, but neither are above-average as in-line blockers at the LOS.

          • Gary Stewart

            you mentioned nix as the only interior d lineman for us in the first round? the only way i like nix is if we trade with clev for their #4 and 25 pick we could take him at 25 but i wouldnt want hinm at what looks to be #12 as i see it as of late in the game vs seattle

    • Nathan Kearns

      Not a fan of the Jake Matthews pick, nor do I think it will happen… but, that is going to be a constant point of disagreement among Rams Nation for the next 4+ months.

      I’d like to see another tight end (preferably someone who can block) in the first four rounds, but I’ll just have to assume that someone juicy slips to Round 5 in your mock. Looks like a solid haul to me!

      • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

        Well it will be determined if Jake Long doesn’t improve his play for the next remaining games. It won’t hurt for the Rams to get the Best Available Offensive Tackle since Orlando Pace and Mathews is a swing tackle which still a good value. I won’t be surprise though if the Rams bargains for a multiple draft compensation for the Washington pick specially if the Redskins lose out the remaining games and manage to pick #2. For sure lots of teams needing a premium defensive end would shell out future compensations (Cleveland Browns comes to mind)

  • http://www.cnsqonline.com cesarnoel

    How about Stephen Tuitt. He can be a good 3 Technique DT for the Rams