Awhile back on Ramblin’ Fan, we did a piece on if Buffalo’s Khalil Mack could be the Rams top pick. Credit Nathan Kearns on possibly being the first to call this, because although it seemed unlikely at the time, it looks like that could actually be the case. According to WalterFootball.com, it sounds like the Rams are falling in love with the Buffalo pass-rusher.
“Mack’s speed, strength and physicality is exactly what Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams are looking for. They feel they can do a lot of creative blitzes with Mack and their two pass-rushing defensive ends: Robert Quinn and Chris Long. They would have all three rushing the quarterback on passing downs, with Long or Quinn moving inside on occasion. Mack would also give the Rams another edge rusher if Long gets too pricey to keep in two or three years after extending Quinn. They also would have depth in case they have a serious injury.”
Walter Football also said that, speaking to sources, if St. Louis is stuck at number two, and can’t select Jadeveon Clowney, its pick is coming down to Watkins or Mack.
The Rams could certainly use an outside linebacker. The team did bring back Jo-Lonn Dunbar, but after a disastrous 2013, how much trust can the team really put on him? Last season Dunbar graded out 31st among 35 eligible outside linebackers, according for Pro Football Focus and allowed an atrocious 100% catch rate in coverage.
Jeff Fisher said that the team can never have too many pass rushers, and that’s exactly what Mack is. Fisher saying that could have been the first hint that he has given the media who have taken the bait and thought that Fisher was talking about Clowney when he could have actually been talking about Mack.
Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have also both said that they believe in their receivers and that they can get the job done, the team also just signed Kenny Britt. Although that may not take Watkins out of the picture, it may open things up for Mike Evans or a receiver later on in the draft.
With Clowney being the drafts best player and none of the quarterbacks being clear-cut franchise quarterbacks, the Texans very well could take Clowney at number one leaving the Rams with Robinson, Matthews, and Mack
Given that the Rams already have a Pro Bowl left tackle, and a sold right tackle, the Rams don’t need to draft one of the premier offensive tackles, that leaves the Rams with Mack or a trade down.
Not to say Mack isn’t a good player, in fact he is the third best player in the draft according to Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN and he has a great skill set. In fact Browns head coach Mike Pettine recently had this to say about Mack,
“Explosive athlete,” Pettine said. “He’s a guy that the tape backs it up. He can play on the ball, he can play off the ball, he plays violently, and he’s played some of his better games against better competition.”
Last season the Rams struggled in the NFC West, going 1-5, although some of that may have been due to Bradford’s injury, the Rams still need to do something to get better in the division. The 49ers and Seahawks won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Adding a talent like Mack would give the Rams a lot of flexibility on defense. If the Rams added to their defense again by adding Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at 13, the Rams defense could without a doubt become one of the NFL’s premier defenses in a flash.
The Rams shouldn’t completely neglect the offensive side of the ball, but offense isn’t a must in the NFC West. Both the Seahakws and the 49ers have offenses with average passing attacks and run the ball well. Who’s to say that Watkins would make an impact against the tough, physical secondaries in the division?
To be successful in the NFC West, you need to have a solid front seven which in turn gives you a defense that can compete in the division. Adding Mack, would potentially give the Rams the absolute best front-seven in football, no questions asked, if Mack does what some say he can do.
The Rams do run a 4-3 defense, and Mack has the size and skill set to produce wherevever the Rams would need him whether it be at defensive end or outside linebacker. Not to mention he could be one of the most NFL ready players in the draft.
The Rams do run a lot of their defense out of the nickel package, but we have yet to see what Greg Williams has in store, and when Greg Williams has a talent like Alec Ogletree and Khalil Mack, it would most likely be in his best interest to have both on the field at the same time.
Although it could be disappointing for the Rams to pass on yet another top receiver, coming from a guy that is extremely high in Sammy Watkins, you can’t help but be intrigued by what Mack brings to the table.