These last few days have been filled with a whirlwind of “hot” stories, ranging from historically significant announcements to college basketball players shoving fans in the stands. These kinds of stories might be just enough to hold our increasingly short attention span until Feb. 19, when the NFL Combine officially begins. However, before our Big Boards and mock projections get completely distorted with 40-times and bench rep figures, we wanted to give one lost shot at our “ideal,” pre-workout 1st Round Mock Draft!
St. Louis Rams TRADE the No.2 overall pick to the Cleveland Browns for their No.4, No.26, and their 2015 2nd round pick
Despite the recent, troubling news that Cleveland Browns’ owner, Jim Haslam, has essentially replaced his entire front office, it does not change the fact that the bottom-of-the-barrier squad in the AFC North is in dire need of a franchise quarterback. With the term “dysfunctional” already being slapped on the new regime, they cannot afford to miss out on “their guy” in the upcoming draft. Regardless of whether that is Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, or Teddy Bridgewater, the only way to guarantee their selection will be to jump the Jacksonville Jaguars. The price might seem hefty, but giving up a late 1st-rounder and a future pick is nothing compared to several Top 5 trades in recent memory…
St. Louis Rams TRADE the No.4 overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons for their No.6, 2014 3rd round, and 2014 7th round picks.
Aside from an injury bug that wiped away half of their offense, the Atlanta Falcons main “problem” last season was an inability to consistently put pressure on the quarterback. With Oakland lurking at No.5 in the order, the Falcons cannot risk waiting for Jadeveon Clowney to fall into their lap. Assuming that Houston, Cleveland, and Jacksonville have taken the Top 3 quarterbacks off the big board, Atlanta will now have their shot at the top defensive player in the draft. Meanwhile, the Rams pick up another Top 75 pick in the draft (No.68, as of right now), and only have to drop two spots in the order.
St. Louis Rams SELECT Sammy Watkins (WR) with the No.6 overall pick
Under the assumption that Rodger Saffold has re-signed with the team during the upcoming free agency period, the only feasible option, after stockpiling picks, would be to add another dynamic weapon to the oft-stagnant St. Louis Rams offense. Sammy Watkins will fit nicely into a passing scheme that relies heavily on quick passes and yards after the catch, and will greatly benefit from Jared Cook, Chris Givens, and Tavon Austin demanding attention from the opposing secondary. While there are still concerns about his “downfield abilities,” Watkins’ first-class speed and crisp route running should allow him to produce on an NFL field from Day 1.
St. Louis Rams TRADE the No.13 overall pick to the New York Jets for their No.18 and 2014 3rd round pick
The New York Jets cannot afford to start another season without providing Geno Smith, or whoever ends up quarterbacking the team, with some offensive weaponry. With the No.13 overall pick, they should have their choice of any receiver on the board not named Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans. Staying at No.18 might not seem like much of a risk, but with the Baltimore Ravens sitting at No.16 and a handful of other receiver-hungry teams waiting in the mid-20 range, handing over a 3rd-rounder may be worth the “pick security.” Having heard legendary tales of Les Snead in the War Room, the St. Louis Rams would likely demand the “highest” of the New York Jets picks in that mid-round. So, the Rams net another Top 100 pick (No.80 overall) to move down five spots in the order.
St. Louis Rams SELECT HaHa Clinton-Dix (S) with the No.18 overall pick
Sometimes in the NFL Draft, “value” takes a backseat to genuine “need.” Clinton-Dix may not merit a Top 15 pick, but snagging the nearly-consensus top safety prospect after the midway point of the opening round would certainly not be considered “overdrafting.” Safety is inarguably the biggest hole on the St. Louis Rams defense. Clinton-Dix is a fluid, rangy centerfielder in the deep secondary that showed impressive skills in both zone and man-to-man coverage in his time at Alabama. He fits the “hybrid” mold that Jeff Fisher demands, with excellent size (6’1 tall, 208 lbs.) and an innate ability to anticipate and attack against the run. Most importantly, Clinton-Dix has performed at a high level against SEC competition, something that both Fisher and Snead have coveted in the past.
St. Louis Rams SELECT Ra’Shede Hageman (DT) with the No.26 overall pick
To steal a cliche from basketball phraseology: You can’t teach size! With there being a solid chance that Hageman will have been snatched up in the early 20s, the St. Louis Rams might have to surrender some of their bounty to move back up the board. However, falling to No.26 in this mock, the Rams could be able to add “the final piece” to their already-dominant defensive line; pairing Hageman with three former 1st-rounders. With a gargantuan 6’6 tall, 318 lbs. frame, the raw prospect out of Minnesota would immediately flourish on a defensive unit that would not require his pass rushing services. Hageman will inevitably draw two blockers on nearly every snap, which will be bad news for opposing defenses, considering double-teams are typically reserved for either Chris Long, Robert Quinn, or Michael Brockers. The St. Louis Rams’ defensive success requires getting pressure without using extra rushers. Adding Hageman to the mix would all but assure that trend will continue!
No.6 Sammy Watkins, WR (Clemson)
No.18 HaHa Clinton-Dix, S (Alabama)
No.26 Ra’Shede Hageman, DT (Minnesota)
Atlanta Falcons 3rd Round Pick (No.68)
New York Jets 3rd Round Pick (No.80)
Atlanta Falcons 7th Round Pick
Cleveland Browns 2nd Round Pick in 2015