In the offseason world of mock drafting, smoke screens, and trade rumor, we often forget that the NFL Draft lasts longer than first 32 picks. Naturally, as you progress through hundreds of potential selections, the ability to “predict” teams’ decisions becomes more and more unrealistic. As a result of that, and maybe a tad bit of laziness, most mockers stop at the end of Day 1 or Day 2.
However, we all know about the numerous “success stories” of players that rose from the ashed of the later rounds into prominence in the NFL. Without focusing on the Tom Bradys and Richard Shermans of the league, you can find plenty of solid starters that had to wait until the 4th round or later to hear their name called. Even for the Rams, you don’t have to look too deep into the roster to find some recent late-rounders that St. Louis might have “hit” on: Zac Stacy (5th), Chris Givens (4th), Eugene Sims (6th), Johnny Hekker (UD), Greg Zuerlein (6th), Rodney McLeod (UD).
So, putting the No.2 overall pick aside, who might the St. Louis Rams be able to steal in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft?
Pierre Desir, CB (Lindenwood)
The St. Louis hometown product has done nothing but rise up the boards over the last few months. Desir dominated the East-West Shrine Game, leading to an invitation to the Senior Bowl, and eventually a spot in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. His performance during those workouts earlier in the week did nothing to dissuade those who might covet the small-school prospect in the later rounds. Desir measured a hair over 6’1” tall, stacked on a 198 lbs. frame, and sported an impressive-long 33″ arms. During the defensive back drills, he should excellent fluidity and loose hips, as well as natural catching ability. If Cortland Finnegan is on his way out the door, the St. Louis Rams will someone other than Rodney McLeod or unimpressive Brandon McGee to step in as the nickelback. Pierre Desir could certainly be that guy…
Projected Round: 4th-5th
Tre Boston, FS (North Carolina)
The cornerback-to-safety convert was a Mike Mayock favorite at the Combine this week. Affectionately nicknamed “Bos” and wearing the No.10 jersey (Bos”10″), the North Carolina prospect proved to be a jack-of-all-trades in college, showing glimpses of dominance in all three “key” aspects of the safety position: zone coverage, man coverage, run support. Boston is still learning the ropes in the deep secondary, but has enough measurables and college productions to take a flyer on in the draft. At the very least, he’ll be a special teams lifetimer that will make his fair share of jaw-dropping hits on coverage teams. At best, Boston could be a Quintin Mikell-level, solid starter in the secondary.
Projected Round: 7th-Undrafted
Kevin Norwood, WR (Alabama)
Norwood has to be on the short list for the most underrated skill position player in the 2014 NFL Draft class. The former Crimson Tide wide out never really “stood out” on their run-heavy, defensive dominant roster. However, standing at 6’2” tall with 31” arms, 10” hands, and posting an impressive 4.48 40-time at the Combine, there is no doubt that Norwood will be a steal for some team in the latter portion of the draft. Best suiting as a slot receiver, the Senior Bowl standout possesses the size, agility, and route running skills to develop into a solid starting outside receiver in the NFL. Unlike a Brian Quick, Norwood is less of a boom-or-bust prospect, and more of a mediocre-or-”above average” caliber of player. If the Rams want to add a polished, possession receiver to replace some of the inconsistency in the corps, Norwood would be an excellent option.
Projected Round: 6th