Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Lamarcus Joyner (20) is tackled by Auburn Tigers offensive linesman Greg Robinson (73) after recovering a fumble on an interception during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Day 2 Preview: What The St. Louis Rams Need To Address

 

Heading into Thursday night, the St. Louis Rams had a myriad of areas that needed to get “checked off” on their depth chart. With their opening pick in the Draft, Jeff Fisher and Les Snead hit two birds with one stone, landing Greg Robinson to fill an immediate need on the interior of the offensive line, and providing some depth at offensive tackle. With their second pick, they landed Aaron Donald, an immediate upgrade on the interior of the defensive line. Donald not only provides the Rams will arguably the most talented defensive line in the NFL, he also improves the depth within the unit, and give St. Louis an “out” on Kendall Langford’s massive contract.

So, with a handful of spots addressed in the opening round, what positions do the St. Louis Rams need to cover on Day 2?

 

Safety

First and foremost, the St. Louis Rams absolutely have to take a flyer on a free safety prospect in the next two rounds. Unfortunately, there was a late-round rush of top-tier defensive backs at the end of last night, whittling the Rams options down to only a handful of players. If they plan on addressing that need with the No.44 pick, they will likely look to target either Lamarcus Joyner or Terrence Brooks; two defensive backs that made up half of the Florida St. secondary last season. Joyner is the prize of the two backs, with the versatility to swing from nickelback to safety without much of a dropoff. However, his small stature and lack of true “ballhawking” instincts might cause some pause when considering him for the centerfielder spot in the Rams secondary. Brooks is more of a prototypical free safety, and has showed the ability to drop down and cover slot receivers and tight ends. However, Brooks possesses questionable hands, and far too often dropped “gimme” interceptions in his time at Florida St. After those two prospects, the dropoff in talent at the position is pretty substantial. Dion Bailey might be a darkhorse candidate for the job, given his relationship with T.J. McDonald, and could drop to the Rams on Day 3 as a projected 4th round selection.

 

Nickelback

With Greg Reid and Brandon McGee on the roster, the nickelback position may have fallen down the St. Louis Rams priorities board heading in the opening round. However, you can never have enough covermen in the NFL, and with an extremely deep class of corners, the Rams could find a diamond in the rough anywhere between the 2nd and 4th rounds of the draft. If Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are looking for a “big-bodied” corner, there are number of high-ceiling options, including Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Keith Gill; both 6’3 tall, 200+ lbs. Hometown hero, Pierre Desir, might also be an attractive option in the 3rd round, after an impressive outing at the Senior Bowl. The trouble with both Gill and Jean-Baptiste is that neither truly possess the attributes that team’s typically covet in a nickelback. That could cause a marry-go-round in the defensive secondary, potentially re-positioning Janoris Jenkins to the inside in the nickel package.

 

Quarterback

With Manziel Mania out of the way in St. Louis, the Rams can now truly focusing on finding a “groom-able” backup quarterback for Sam Bradford. As many projected, there were only three signal callers taken in the opening round, leaving players like Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, A.J. McCarron, and Tom Savage still waiting to hear their name called. With a more pressing need in the secondary, the Rams will likely not use the No.44 pick on a backup, shifting the focus to projected Day 3 players. At various points, St. Louis has been linked to Aaron Murray, A.J. McCarron, Logan Thomas, and Tajh Boyd. The Rams should have their pick of the bunch starting in Round 4, unless Jeff Fisher and Les Snead secretly have their eyes fixated on a “mystery prospect.” Don’t expect to hear a quarterback’s name when the St. Louis Rams pick tonight.

 

Wide Receiver

After missing the boat on both Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, the St. Louis Rams could certainly look to upgrade their receiving corps with any number of prospects in the 2nd or 3rd round of the Draft. Players like Marquise Lee, Allen Robinson, Cody Latimer, and Jordan Matthews are still gracing the Big Board, and could all be strong possibilities with the No.44 overall pick. The Rams might also consider Martavis Bryant with their second pick on Day 2, taking a flyer on the big-bodied Clemson wide out that they spent a lot of time with this offseason. The Rams have already packed their receiving corps with plenty of talent, including six players that could arguable obtain a starting role by Week 1 of the regular season. But, like Jeff Fisher mentioned last month, “You can never have too many receivers…”.

 

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