Sep 15, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Jesse Williams (54) stands on the sidelines during the first half of a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Alabama defeated Arkansas 52-0. Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
After the heart breaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings, it’s almost time to put the football minds in to the offseason. There’s no question that the NFL draft is the superbowl of the offseason, especially since the Rams hold two first round draft picks, which only makes it that more exciting. Last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings really sent the Rams defense back down to earth. Just after the Ram fans thought their running defensive woes were over, running back Adrain Peterson ran for over 200 yards and a touchdown. Although it was fairly embarrassing to watch AP walk all over the Rams, surely Les Snead and Jeff Fisher don’t take it to heart and go on to draft another defensive tackle in either of the first two rounds. Ram fans and other AP victims must remember, we’re watching a living running back legend.
Two players will be analyzed weekly (one from defense and one from offense) based on their current form in college football.
This isn’t a mock draft. This is simply an analysis of high valued players that will enter the 2013 NFL draft.
Position needs: OT, OLB, S, WR, TE
Jonathan Cooper (6 foot 3, 310 pounds)
Guard (North Carolina)
Despite the major improvements on the offensive line this season, Jeff Fisher’s and Les Snead will be aware off the issues that Rams still face at the offensive line, especially after their poor efforts against the Vikings defense. Robert Turner has been fairly impressive at the guard/centre position, but he isn’t the long term answer for the Rams at the guard position. Too many times has the interior defensive rush been too much for Turner to handle. If Sam Bradford is to stay off the ground, the Rams must look into spending a high draft pick on an offensive linemen.
Jonathan Cooper is an athletic guard who excels as a pass rushing offensive linemen. Cooper is quick to get to blocks on the second level and could be a fit in a zone-blocking scheme. He has the strength to open up holes in a power-man scheme, but a lot of scouts would love to see Cooper put on another 10-15 pounds to battle and push around the much more heavy and powerful NFL tackles.
If Chance Warmack is available when Rams need to be drafted, dont expect Cooper to be on their radar. If Rams miss out on taking Chance Warmack, expect Rams to be heavily interested in Cooper for the second round.
Draft Range – late first/early second round
Jesse Williams (6 foot 4, 320 pounds)
Defensive Tackle (Alabama)
Going into the Vikings game, it would’ve been safe to say that the Rams wouldn’t have been looking at the defensive tackle position, but since AP embarrassed the Rams, don’t be surprised if Jeff Fisher takes action early. Although Fisher loves drafting defensive linemen, hopefully he doesn’t over react and look too much into the Vikings game. The truth is, the Rams run defense have improved immensely and should look else where, as the Rams have other obvious positions that need to be addressed.
Analyzing Jesse Williams was simply for selfish reasons. How often do you get an Australian footballer (excluding punters) who has the talents to really exceed in the NFL. Williams is an aggressive, strong brute of a defensive tackle, who can take over games in an instant. Williams starred in his first season with Alabama. He does a superb job of eating up blockers to free up linebackers. Despite his inexperience playing the sport, Williams showed versatility to play multiple positions along the line. He had 24 tackles with four tackles for a loss and .5 sacks last year. For the NFL, Williams looks like an ideal 3-4 defensive end and/or nose tackle.
The Rams won’t look into drafting Williams, but expect Williams to catch a lot of attention leading up to the draft.
Draft Range – late first/early second
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