If you didn’t stay up to watch the end of the Rose Bowl last night, you truly missed one of the best college football games of the season. Not only was it a thrilling in sense that there was a game-winning, comeback touchdown in the waning seconds of the game, it was also exciting to see a number of players that will likely get the “franchise” tag on Draft Day. While Winston may be the prize of the 2015 or 2016 NFL Draft, there were plenty of other players that the Rams could have their eye on in this upcoming April.
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
As of right now, the junior running back has not “declared” for the upcoming NFL Draft. However, after putting up Heisman-caliber numbers, it is doubtful that his stock would improve much by returning to the already-full Auburn backfield for his senior season. With that said, most reputable scouting site have Mason pegged somewhere on Day 2 of the Draft (i.e. 2nd or 3rd Round). His 5’9 tall, 205 lbs. frame will be a turnoff to some teams that value durability and power, and his generously-timed 4.5 40-time will not help his case.
However, those were two of the main reasons that Zac Stacy feel into the 6th Round for the St. Louis Rams last season, even after leading the SEC in rushing yards in 2012. Jeff Fisher has been vocal about having multiple, starting-caliber running back since he came to St. Louis two seasons ago, which would make this pick less preposterous. Mason-Stacy could be a dynamic 1-2 punch in the NFL, similar to an upgraded version of the Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard combination in Cincinnati. Both players are physical, yet surprisingly elusive, and would certainly help ease the comeback of Sam Bradford into the starting lineup.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
If you don’t watch much college football, but saw the game last night, Benjamin was the enormous, towering receiver that snagging the game winning touchdown catch from Jameis Winston last night. He doesn’t possess the “NFL-ready” route running or awareness that you would like in a 1st-rounder, but he does possess nearly unmatched size (6’5 tall, 235 lbs.) and good enough speed to transform into something special at the next level.
Benjamin will likely be selected somewhere in the mid-2nd Round, assuming some team does not fall in love with him prior to the Draft. That could be good news for the St. Louis Rams, who could certainly be seeing some “extra” picks, courtesy of an expected trade down from the No.2 overall spot. The Florida State receiver would essentially be the Rams’ Brian Quick 2.0; a “work in progress” type of receiver, with an extremely high ceiling. His size and ability to stretch the field could work wonders for Tavon Austin underneath, and he provides an instant mismatch in the redzone for a St. Louis Rams squad that was already unstoppable in that area when Bradford was under center.
Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S, Florida State
The Florida State safety-turned-cornerback was on full display last night, making plays all over the field, despite playing against a not so pass happy offense. Joyner will come into the draft as one of the most versatile secondary players in the class. As one coach said,
“He’s a really good man-to-man guy. He can play the ball in the deep part of the field. He can tackle in space. He’s a great blitzer,” Pruitt said. “He’s just an all-around good football player.” – FSU defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt
“Versatility” is the name of the game in a Jeff Fisher-defense, from the defensive line, all the way back to the secondary. Joyner could fill in immediately as the ballhawking, No.2 safety next to T.J. McDonald, or he could immediately jump to the slot corner in the heavily-utilized nickel package. However, just like the other two players on this list, it would like take a high- to mid-2nd Round pick to snag Joyner in the Draft. Les Snead had better get busy on those phones…