Oct 19, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Jordan Matthews (87) carries the ball against Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Damian Swann (5) during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Commodores beat the Bulldogs 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams 2014 Four Round NFL Mock Draft


This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Premier Fantasy Football Projections visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.

 

The St. Louis Rams somehow were pretty competitive in 2013 despite playing half the year without starting quarterback Sam Bradford. Blessed with a strong running game and an elite pass rush, they went the distance with the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in one game, and pushed their opponents to the limits in various others.

In the end, the Rams were still just a mediocre team in 2013, however, and will aim to get better in 2014. Rumors have swirled all off-season that adding a new big target for the passing game could do the trick, although GM Les Snead has continued to say wide receiver is not a pressing need.

Whether or not the Rams go after a wide receiver early in this year’s draft will be one major storyline to watch, as will when/if they bring in a young passer to push Bradford.

One thing is for sure; the Rams need more talent on both sides of the ball if they want to have any kind of a chance in the insanely difficult NFC West.

Considering their major needs and player value in the 2014 NFL Draft, let’s mock the first four rounds of the draft for the Rams:

 

Round 1 (Pick 2) – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

A lot has been made about the Rams at the two spot. They will clearly field trade offers up until the last second if they have to, but they’re also not going to trade just to trade. Unless they get the exact deal they want, Les Snead and co. will be perfectly content grabbing an elite difference-maker.

With Jadeveon Clowney shaping up as the likely top pick in this year’s draft, that difference-maker right now appears to be an offensive tackle. Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is a real possibility, while the Rams could also opt for offensive tackle Jake Matthews. Robinson is more athletic and has more overall upside, though, so if they go tackle I think he’s their man.

Tackle looks like the most logical route at the two spot, as it gives a somewhat shaky line tons of flexibility. For one, Jake Long is returning from a knee injury and Rodger Saffold has also had some health issues. Landing Robinson could have the Rams using him and Long at either tackle spot, with Saffold pushed into guard. This would dramatically improve their starting five on the line and in turn would give them more depth in the event Robinson didn’t start right away, as well.

 

Round 1 (Pick 13) – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

The Rams need a safety – badly. T.J. McDonald might be worth a look at one safety spot, but they could honestly consider going after two new safeties. Regardless, they for sure need one, and it has to be a good one. Clinton-Dix was at one point far and away the top safety in this draft class, and at the very worst he’s a top-two option at the position. St. Louis has a terrific pass rush, an improving run defense and some talent at corner. They need a stud safety to make some plays and help the run defense get even better. Clinton-Dix is very balanced and should be able to help both against the run and pass in year one.

 

Round 2 (Pick 44) – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

Everyone wants the Rams to go for the sexy pick and take a wide receiver with one of their two first rounders, but with how deep the position is this year, they don’t really have to. Several receivers could fall to them, and they don’t even need an explosive guy. They just need a big target who can be a reliable possession guy and give them another target in the red-zone. St. Louis also brought in veteran receiver Kenny Britt, so the need should get pushed back to round two.

If they wait, a guy like Jordan Matthews should still be around and would be a fantastic addition. Matthews is probably one of the most underrated prospects in the entire draft, and is almost certainly the most underrated receiver. Blessed with good size, solid ball skills and excellent fundamentals, he fills a need and is an extremely safe pick – especially in round two.

 

Round 3 (Pick 75) – Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh

There continues to be a good amount of chatter about Sam Bradford and whether the Rams want to extend him. Either way, they need to bring in some competition at the quarterback position. It’ll be great if Bradford stays healthy and becomes the franchise passer St. Louis drafted him to be, but what if he gets hurt again or just doesn’t progress? It’s time for a true backup plan.

Savage is a huge passer with a rocket arm and nice athleticism. He has a long ways to go when it comes to accuracy, decision-making and consistency, but he’s an awesome project just dripping with upside. If they bring him on and Bradford kills it, he’s at the very worst an excellent trading chip going forward. At best, he ascends over Bradford and becomes the new franchise passer.

 

Round 4 (Pick 110) – E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri

The Rams cut cornerback Cortland Finnegan, so naturally they need to add talent to their secondary. Gaines is a very solid corner with some upside and he fills a major need. He could compete to start right away, but would ideally slide in as the third or fourth corner in the Rams’ secondary. He’s not the only quality corner that could be readily available in the fourth round, but he’s probably one of the more well known defensive backs that could last that long. St. Louis could always try to trade up and get a corner with a little more natural talent.

When it’s all said and done, the Rams are going to want to accomplish two things: make sure Bradford is protected better and land a safety that could potentially bring their defense from very solid to elite. They’re very close to taking a leap and competing for the NFC West title, but things need to start falling their way. Having a great draft and nailing on their first five selections would be a terrific start.

Tags: Featured Popular St. Louis Rams

  • Fangface

    I don’t think this would be considered nailing the draft. The explanation he gives for Robinson and Dix shows he clearly doesn’t have a handle on the Rams personnel.

    • Rick Talley

      Couldn’t agree more; very disappointed!

    • Nathan Kearns

      Ouch!

      • Fangface

        May have been a little tough but I’m sure you agree.

  • Gary Stewart

    failing to trade down, robinson/matthews makes more sense to me than watkins who may not see the ball as much as people think as long as shotty is the OC. i have been preaching dix from december forward. then when the rams hired gregg williams the deep free safety became almost a no- brainer. and while this may not be nailing it as rick and fang mention needs trump the BPA theory. i would have liked to see what would happen if they were able to trade down at least 1 extra pick and i would love to see khalil mack somehow in the fold but would be happy with matthews/robinson as well. savage is fine but will he fall to #75? one last thing for rick and fang you expressed displeasure/disapointment with the picks yet failed to explain your positions and reasoning. i follow alot of posts and respect the opinions of both of you but failing to say anything more than disappointing doesn’t give me much to go on care to expound on your beliefs? thanks guys!!

    • Fangface

      I’ve posted several times in the past month why I believe the Rams won’t be going OL at two. From the current state of the line I.e. Long, Barksdale, Saffold. Both tackles finished 2013 as top 10 tackles at their respective positions. Top 25 overall. Couple that with the signing of Saffold and the Rams only real area of need on the OL is LG. Is that really the best use of a number two overall pick? To the 20 yrs Jeff Fisher has been a head coach the earliest he’s selected an OL is the second rnd. IMO that’s not going to change. They like to draft and coach up from the later rounds and with the overall depth of this years class I think that’s the most likely scenario. As far as Dix and Mathews I’m a fan of both but this writer doesn’t get it. STL is all in on McDonald. He’s the starter. And I’m not sure Dix is worth a 13th pick. Maybe if they trade back from 13. But IMO rnd two has two better options in Buchanan and Brooks. Bucannon has underrated range. And STL needs a true number one WR not another possession receiver. That alone pretty much discredits the whole article..

  • Beer O’Clock

    Yawn. On the first round, it fills holes but poor value. You don’t pick a LT at #2 who needs to be coached up in pass protection. I’d like to have Robinson for the run game–tremendous run blocker, but he is very poor value at #2. Clinton-Dix is poor value at #13. He’s a very good cover safety, but hardly worth a #13–too slow, average hitter.

    In the second round, I prescribe to the philosophy that, unless you get a game changer like Watkins or Evans, you’re better off rolling the dice on the current group of receivers instead of rolling the dice (and wasting a draft pick) on another draft prospect.

    Savage is a great pick in the 3rd, if he lasts that long. Most likely won’t.

    • Nathan Kearns

      Agreed on most points. My newest dream mock includes the Rams taking Khalil Mack after a trade down, then jumping up from 13 to snag Mike Evans (somehow). Tack on a potential move up from 44 (or higher, depending on yield from trade at 2) and snag Su’a-Filo!

      Three top of the class players, in my opinion, with plenty of opportunity for CB (Jean-Baptiste), QB, and/or safety (Ward) on Day 2 and Day 3

      • Beer O’Clock

        Nice! Fills holes and good value. Evans, Austin, Givens, Bailey and Cook– I think Bradford would be smiling, shores up the OL and adds yet another disruptive force on defense.

        The only question mark is the Rams being able to trade down (which I strongly support) and still being able to get Mack. If they could do that, I would give Snead/Fisher major props. My belief is that trading down with Atlanta or Oakland, and the Rams are willing to take any of either Matthews, Mack, Watkins or Robinson (at least one should be available), it would be a huge win for the front office.

        • Nathan Kearns

          No faith in Kenny Britt getting some reps?

          I think your concerns are certainly justifiable. A trade down to No.6 assumes that Clowney is still on the board at No.2. In that scenario, you’d have Mack on the board at No.3, with Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Oakland to sweat through.

          I still have trouble believing that Jacksonville will pass on a quarterback and pray that their savior falls into the second round. Moreover, Gus Bradley is an intelligent coach, and has to know the benefits of taking a QB in the opening round under the new CBA.

          I’d say that same thing for both Cleveland and Oakland, although I think they can both buy some time with hometown-hero Brian Hoyer and Matt Schaub.

          If Mack can dip past Oakland, who could swing for Sammy Watkins or their top offensive tackle, Mack could magically land in the Rams lap. Or, at least, I hope…

          • Beer O’Clock

            Actually, I have a little less faith in my memory because I just plain forgot about Britt. I do have some faith in him–he has the tools to be an impact player but, somehow, the ghost of Danario Alexander continues to raise it’s ugly head.

            There’s a lot of QB talent that will be available in the early 2nd round and the differential between the big three and the 2nd rounders this year is very, VERY small. I think Carr and Mettenberger have as good a chance of being a franchise QB as Bortles and Bridgewater (I won’t include Manziel in the discussion because he’s so unique–for both the good and bad, it’s really hard to compare him to any recent draft prospect).

            You bring up a very good point on the CBA. The good thing about having a very early pick in the second round, though, is that it’s easy to swap it for a #31 or #32 in the first.

            The inside scoup on Bradley is that he’s smitten with Mack. Mack would be a great fit for a Bradley-esque defense (better fit than the Rams, actually). But, as we all know, rumors will often turn out to be only that. And, I absolutely agree: Jacksonville has to walk away next week with a franchise QB. I guess we’ll find out next week what kind of poker players David Caldwell and Bradley really are.