Aug 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive lineman Ra

The "Ideal," Pre-Combine 1st-Round Mock Draft For The St. Louis Rams


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!


Quick Recap:

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

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  • Jason Stock

    Im ok with the trades, but Sammy Watkins is nothing new for the Rams. He fills the same slot as Chris Givens and Stedman Bailey. What we don’t have is a big physical receiver who can go up and get the ball, much like Anquan Bolden. Mike Evans would be my pick for a 1st rd receiver.

    At 18, I think Taylor Lewan, Darqueze Dennard or Justin Gilbert would be a better pick for the Rams than Clinton-Dix. Safety is something that can be addressed in the second round.

    At 26 I would like to see Ryan Shazier. Teamed with Ogletree and Laurinaitis, the Rams would have one of the most athletic LB corps since Baltimore circa 2000.

    • cesarnoel

      Sammy Watkins is a very physical receiver he even did a “beast mode” move against Florida State.

      Rams needed a top flight safety who can play both the run and the pass very wall and Clinton-Dix is the best hybrid safety that Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams prefer since they passed over Kenny Vaccaro last year.

      Adding Shazier would be a nice prospect but the 3rd linebacker usually comes out on three-wide out sets rendering his playing time to only 30%. Drafting a player that high to play only 30% at the time is a bit expensive. The Rams can draft their successor to Jo-Lonn Dunbar in the 2nd,3rd or 4th rounds in the persons of hybrid linebackers Christian Jones or Telvin Smith of FSU, Shane Skov of Stanford, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland or Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaucho. Christian Jones would be my best pick as he can play all three LB positions very well and he can also lineup and rush the passer as a DE if needed be.

    • Gary Stewart

      jason what people seem to forget is the value of a FS on the cornerback position. similar to a cover corner who takes away one side of the field, a FS like dix means the corners can play tight and press while knowing the back side is covered. (something williams prefers as well) when our opponents saw their wr beat the corner last year they knew the safety wasn’t gonna get there with dix back there early in the year there will be a few surprise picks. then when the qbs figure out how far dix can go we get more sacks as they try to find a better way to get yards than trying to pass deep on dix

    • Alessandro Marcucci

      The Rams don’t have a #1 receiver/go to guy on the outside & it has been a major problem for many seasons now. Sammy Watkins is a “legit” #1 guy, he will be putting up 1000yards seasons in the NFL barring major injuries you can bank on it. Comparing Chris Givens to Sammy Watkins is comical.

    • Nathan Kearns

      Aside from the Taylor Lewan suggestion, there is nothing you said that I would disagree with…

      However, Mike Evans is not worth a No.6 overall pick, and having three trade-downs inside the Top 10 is a tad bit unrealistic. Moreover, in defense of Sammy Watkins, while he might not necessarily do anything “new,” he is a premier talent and has the height/weight/size to consistently shine on the outside… unlike some of our undersized players (i.e. Tavon Austin and Chris Givens).

      6. Watkins, 18. Dennard (Gilbert will be gone, IMO), and 26. Shazier (I think he’ll be gone as well) in the opening round would be just as amazing as my mock. However, that had better mean they picked up Louis Delmas, Bernard Pollard, or some other top-notch, moderately priced FA to fill the gaping hole at safety!

  • cesarnoel

    We have exactly the same mock draft even the trades.

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  • Rick Talley

    What the hell is going on around here? Where are all the Rams fans? 3 comments on a dynamite…and plausible, scenario like this? Great job, Nathan

  • Rick Talley

    Sorry….lock-up. I’m with Jason; the Rams will not target Watkins (which, by the way, might provide another trade down scenario with someone who does). Nope, a big receiver will be coming our way: Evans, Robinson, Benjamin….or, farther down, someone like Matthews or Donte Moncreif from Ole Miss ( who I really like). Bottom line is this: RAMS ARE IN THE DRIVERS SEAT FOR THIS DRAFT. They can use help a lot of places, but they don’t have just a huge weakness. The Rams are much better than most people think ( it’s the conference, stupid). Another interesting, and seemingly unimportant item, is that they get 4 compensatory picks. Great for trade throw-ins to move UP FOR PLAYERS THEY REALLY WANT. So, old Les will just sit there and work the Rams board. I CAN’T WAIT!

    • cesarnoel

      The very least the Rams can draft in the very late rounds would be Mizzou’s L’Damian Washington he would fit the BIG, Speedy receiver

    • Nathan Kearns

      I don’t necessarily disagree with any of your points! The only think I’ll say it… if the St. Louis Rams draft Kelvin Benjamin, I will throw up! Go Rams!

  • Rick Talley

    Oh, and one more observation. If the safety from Cleveland (Wells) isn’t franchised, I think there is a good chance he’ll become a Ram. Plus, I think we’ll be much more interested in one of the top corners (Gilbert or Dennard, in that order) than a safety in the first round. History kind of suggests that, too. Last year we passed on Vaccaro, and he was way better than Clinton-Dix or Pryor. If they draft safety, I think it will be somebody like Bailey out of USC or Buchanon from, I believe Washington. Just my 2 cents.

    • cesarnoel

      Bailey and Buchanon are more SS than Hybrid Safeties. Gregg Williams and Jeff Fisher prefer their safeties interchangeable. TJ McDonald might be considered an in the box safety but he has experience playing deep in USC as he was their FS. If Rams missed out on CLinton-Dix the next best hybrid safety available is Terrence Brooks of Florida State.

      • Rick Talley

        I agree that Terrance Brooks is another Rams prospect at FS. But the other guys I mentioned, Bailey and Buchanon, have the athleticism to cover and play that hybrid-type safety you mentioned the Rams like. As a matter of fact, Bailey did play more traditional FS in college: that is what he is listed as in prospect lists. Buchanon is a beast, and after the combine you’ll hear more about him, and see him moving up boards. Jimmie Ward is another guy that will be considered, that played SS at Northern, because he also can cover ( noted for best coverage skills at Senior Bowl). He is already moving up boards. The thing all those guys have in common is size and athleticism. Nothing against HaHa. Good player. I just think the Rams, (1) will pick up a safety in FA, (2) will look at physical corners that can play man coverage, before safeties, and (3) will go elsewhere, position-wise, in the first round…..which means no HaHa.

        • cesarnoel

          The best available FA safety is Jarius Byrd which is expensive unless Titans will dump Michael Griffin. They will draft a top FS this year. If in case they decide to cut Cort, they can replace him with Alteraun Verner (another former Fisher/Williams draftee) atleast Verner is a clear upgrade to Finnegan.

        • Gary Stewart

          i hear flack from people all the time when i suggest that barr should be fine at olb for the rams in a 4-3 so now i find myself on the other side the rams have this year to get the most out of this draft and finding a player that you can mold is not what the rams need what they do need is a plug and play FS and dix is that guy reaching for the 18-20th best player to get him at 13 when he fits so well is the optimum move and one i will be disappointed to see the rams miss out on !!

    • Gary Stewart

      rick my scenario has the rams trading back 2 to 4 4 to 6 and then assuming minn may want to jump above tampa in case they fear tampa would take carr at #7. the rams trade back 6 to 8 gathering an extra pick or 2 again. the 4 qbs teddy johnny blake and derek would be off the board by #6 and assuming clowney is taken by atl then that leaves matthews robinson barr watkins mack and mosely left with only oak and tb ahead of us at #8 which means 4 of those guys would be avail at #8 where i have us taking BPA any of those 6 would work for me including watkins and even mosely barr and mack we gotta win this draft big!!GO RAMS!!!

      • Rick Talley

        Good observation, Gary. The only thing is, I think one or more of the qbs mentioned will slide. Very unusual to see

        • Rick Talley

          As I was saying, very unusual to see 4 quarterbacks chosen in top 10, let alone top 5. I think there will be one or two that everyone will want.

  • cesarnoel

    The only concern I see with the trade down from pick 13 to pick 18 is that Chicago (#14) or Dallas(#17) might pick Clinton-Dix ahead of the Rams.

    • Gary Stewart

      same thing i said cesar i want us to take haha badly enough to forego the 80th overall pick to be sure we get dix, if however dix is off the board at 13 then i would be ok with pulling the trigger with the jets. but only if dix is gone at 13.

      • cesarnoel

        Totally agree. We just hope the Lions won pick Clinton-Dix first.

    • Nathan Kearns

      In my opinion, there isn’t that much separating Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor. Adding the 3rd Rounder, which is typically considered a borderline-starter, is well worth that risk to me!

      • cesarnoel

        I just read Calvin Pryor’s Scouting report on this website’s sister site WithTheFirstpick dot com and they reported that Pryor has not much experience on deep coverage and he more of a in the box safety. The Rams desperately need a safety who is good in deep cover while good in run support that’s why Clinton-Dix is more fit.

  • Henry Owen

    Don’t think we’ll take a DT until about round 3 or 4, Langford is still relativley productive.

    • Gary Stewart

      henry langford is relatively productive is exactly the reason i love the hageman pick his ability to command double teams is what makes the pick so awesome and langford will still get plenty of snaps in a ram rotation on the d line, plus it means an extra year or so before we have to alter the def line for $ reasons

    • Nathan Kearns

      No doubt that Langford turned on the burners after Sam Bradford went down with injury; although one could argue that the dominance of Robert Quinn contributed heavily to that success.

      However, Langford is due $6 million this season, and $7 million next season… more than double the current contract of Robert Quinn. If the St. Louis Rams want to sustain their top defensive player, they are going to have to start cutting some of the contractual fat over the next two seasons.

      Hageman is not only an instant upgrade over Langford on the interior of the defensive line, but would also be, thanks to the new CBA, significantly less expensive!

      • cesarnoel

        Totally Agree with you on this one.

  • Gary Stewart

    sorry im late rick lol love this mock it pretty much mirrored mine from a day or two after the colts lost in the playoffs i had the rams trading for clev same except i had 4 26 and this years 3 rd pick then i had the trade to atl for the #6 and atl 2nd and 4th round picks , but then i had the rams trading one more with minnesota from 6 to 8 and adding a 2015 2nd rounder then i had us taking BPA at #8 assuming minn took the 4th qb at #6 and clowney went to atl at 4 it meant oak and tb had the first two choices among matthews robinson barr mack mosely and watkins. 4 of those 6 would be avail to the rams @ 8 i also refused to risk the haha dix spot and had the rams taking him at 13 which meant we did not get the extra pick from ny jets but otherwise it is very close to mine!!

  • Casey

    I like Sammy Watkins but Mike Evans would be a better fit and if the Rams TRADE the No.4 overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons The Rams could get better picks then Atlanta No.6, 2014 3rd round, and 2014 7th round picks. At least a 2nd round pick to go with the No.6.

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  • Kenneth Tarlow

    and I have a bridge I’d like to sell you

  • Alessandro Marcucci

    I really hope we end up landing Sammy Watkins, his addition alone in the offense will make it fearsome again! Watkins on the outside, Tavon in the slot along with Stacey in the backfield with a healthy Bradford & the Rams will be putting a lot more points on the board next year guaranteed. Hope we than use the #13 & #44 picks on Defense or a OL. Cheers