Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Rams Mock Draft #1

1(14): Julio Jones WR Alabama
With practically every mock draft around predicting the exact same thing, and with the Rams' desperate need at receiver, it is hard to pick anyone other than Julio Jones at this spot. The best part about Jones, other than his size (6'4" 220 lbs.), and his work ethic, is that he put up his numbers (1,133 yards 7 TD) in a run-first offense. He is truly an exciting prospect.

However, the Rams need to find a receiver before the draft. They need to sign one of the top free-agent receivers that will become available (Sidney Rice, Vincent Jackson, Braylon Edwards). They have a huge need at wide-receiver, so they can not afford to put it to chance by waiting for the draft. There is always the possibility that Jones won't last, and there is also the possibility that his stock will slip. Fixing the receiver problem should be priority number one at Rams park as soon as the free-agent market is open. But for now, the Rams do not have a top receiver, which makes Jones the best option here (Jones could still be the best option here even if they do sign a top free-agent receiver).

2(46) Ryan Williams RB Virginia Tech
Running-back Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in 2009, but not far behind in stats was Ryan Williams. Williams arguably had better rushing numbers that Ingram in 2009. Ingram had 1,658 yards, while Williams had 1,655 yards; however, Williams had 21 rushing touchdowns, while Ingram had 17.

Williams missed four consecutive games in 2010 with a hamstring injury. Even when Williams returned to action, the lingering effects of the injury put a damper on his season. Although, Williams does not have a lengthy history of injuries, so that shouldn't be a major concern for the Rams. All things considered, Williams has a chance to be the steal of the draft at this spot.

Steven Jackson is still in his prime, but he certainly has a lot of miles on those legs. He needs some relief, and Williams will certainly be able to carry some of the work load. This pick would add another weapon to the offense, and it would also keep Jackson fresh for all four quarters.

3(78) John Moffitt OG Wisconsin
Between center Jason Brown, and right-tackle Jason Smith, there lies a disaster known as Adam Goldberg. For whatever reason, the Rams refuse to give former 3rd round pick John Greco a chance to play. It seems that he is in the doghouse for something. So therefore, the Rams need to find a new right-guard, and the Goldberg experiment can't go on for much longer.

I know it is three offensive picks in three rounds, but I think the offense clearly needs most of the improvements. The defense certainly has needs (outside-linebacker, strong-safety, defensive-tackle), but the offense is the reason the Rams failed to make the playoffs. They can win tough games with the defense they have now, but not with the offense. The offensive unit as a whole is desperate for upgrades.

4(110) Quan Sturdivant OLB North Carolina 
The Rams need some help at outside-linebacker. Diggs had a somewhat solid season until he was injured, so he will hopefully be back to help, but he will be 33 by the end of next season. Larry Grant and David Vobora are not good enough; they can maybe provide solid depth, but that's about the most they can offer. Chris Chamberlain is strictly a special-teams player; at least that's the way it should be.

Picks like this make me nervous. I don't like players that may only have recognition due to the great players around them (see: Marc Bulger). That could very well be the case for Strudivant, as he was surrounded by some very good defensive players at North Carolina. But even so, if he keeps his stock up, he could be the best option available at this spot.

5(142) Lawrence Wilson OLB Connecticut
What did we learn from the 2010 draft? If the Rams can't address a certain need in the first two or three rounds, then they draft multiple players at that position in the later rounds. They failed to find a defensive-end in the first three rounds of the 2010 draft, so they took three of them in later rounds (Hall Davis, Eugene Sims, George Selvie) . Same goes with tight-end, but they only took two of them later on (Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun). The strategy seemed to work, as Selvie and Hoomanawanui are seemingly promising prospects.

Wilson is a bit on the small side, but he was a solid tackler for Connecticut. He led his team with 140 tackles last season, and was named 1st team All-Big East. As a freshman he named as a second-team Freshman All-American. He will be a bit of a project, but he could develop into a very solid player.

6(174) Lawrence Guy DT Arizona St.
The Rams will be in trouble if something happens to the elder Fred Robbins. Robbins was absolutely key in allowing Chris Long and James Hall to have break out years. Robbins will be 34 by the start of the 2011 season. Darrel Scott and Clifton Ryan are being developed, and they might be able to get the job done. However, the Rams need more prospects to develop at the position.

Guy is 6'5" and 300 lbs. He has a 40-time that is under five seconds. These measurables make him an ideal defensive-tackle prospect for Spagnuolo's four-front defense. He ended his 2010 season with 41 tackles, and 1.5 sacks.

7(206) Owen Marecic FB Stanford
The great thing about fullbacks is that they are not wanted. It is very possible to get the best fullback of the draft in the last round of the draft; and that is exactly what the Rams would be getting here with Marecic.

Mike Karney is not very good. He can make some good blocks, but he is far from a sure blocker. He is also not a valuable special-teams asset, which should be a requirement in this day and age for a fullback. With Karney out, and Marecic in, it would be just another slight upgrade for the offense; and the offense needs all of the upgrades it can get, even if they are small.

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