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    • Draft/FA Blog, After the Storm

      Now that the top free agents, at least most of the top paid ones, are off the market, and some pro days are done, the first round at least is starting to shape up. It's getting clearer which teams will be backed into a corner in round one, and may have to reach a bit. and which teams are more likely to take the best player available pretty much.

      As expected, a couple quarterbacks are moving up in mock drafts, and now three at least are predicted to go in round one. That could become four, depending how much Buffalo's new head coach wants to go get his college QB, Ryan Nassib.

      Cleveland, picking sixth, is giving Geno Smith a private workout, leading to speculation that their new regime isn't sold at all on Brandon Weeden.

      Will that workout freak the Cardinals, picking 7th, into trying to make a trade with a top 5 team? Without question Jacksonville, picking second, will try to deal down, as will Kansas City, picking first.

      Oakland, with the third pick, could force Arizona to get ahead of them to be relatively sure they get Smith, because you never know what they will do, and because they could trade, or even take Smith themselves, with Carson Palmer on the way out of Oakland.

      At any rate, the Rams don't care about who takes Smith, or any QB. They just hope as many as possible go in the top 15.

      I'm going to say that only one passer goes top 15, and if more do, I will be very happy.

      Based on the post combine/pro day so far player rankings, team needs and usual draft position for that position player, factoring second round value positions of strength, here is how it looks right now.

      These are the players sure to be gone at 16

      OT Joeckel, Fisher, Johnson
      CB Milliner
      QB Smith
      DT Floyd, Luteleilei, Richardson
      DE Ansah
      LB Jones, Jordan

      That's your top tier, and forget about them barring a trade.

      Here is tier two, four of whom will be gone by 16

      WR Patterson
      G Warmack, Cooper
      QB Manuel
      DE Werner
      LB Mingo
      CB Rhodes
      LB Ogletree

      I think one of the guards, Patterson, Rhodes, and Mingo will be those guys.

      The best player left looks to be a guard, Ogletree, Werner, or maybe a WR if one climbs.

      To me, looking at the WR talent, and who looks to go from 18 to 21, I think the Rams would be best served by waiting till 22 and targetting a WR, or moving up a couple picks to get the guy they want most.

      I rate both guards over all the wide receivers, and also Ogletree, Rhodes, Werner, and Mingo.

      However at 22, I would be thrilled with Justin Hunter, Tavon Austin, Terrence Williams, or DeAndre Hopkins. I might even be willing to deal down a bit if ALL are still there at 22, if I am sure I would still get one of them.

      I scout and scout these guys, watch the highlights, the combine etc, and I keep coming back to the fact that I really want Hopkins to be a Ram. They won't get him in round two, but maybe a short deal down from 22 would leave him on the board.

      I like his interviews, where he really seems like a humble, but confident guy, seems well spoken, and I just love the way he catches the football.

      Having said that, I'd be OK with Austin, Hunter or Williams as well.

      If two QBs or three go top 15, it would be a huge boon for the Rams, becase it would mean that BOTH guards could be there, with Cooper even projecting to center as well as guard.

      It's possible then that NO WR goes to 15, or that Richardson or Rhodes might even fall to 16.

      I love Rhodes, but I doubt he gets past Tampa Bay, the Saints and the Panthers.

      Werner is a key as well, if he goes top 15, another player drops.

      The Rams, by locking in Long and Cook, probably have eliminated those two positions from round one possibility, unless of course they see Saffold as one and done, and still keep Fluker on their wish list at 22. Chances are he won't get past the Bengals, at 21 anyway, replacing another big Alabama mauler, FA Andre Smith at RT.

      Ogletree has off field issues, or he would surely be high on the Rams list, and he might be.

      If the Rams don't snatch him, or he doesn't go top 15, I see the Giants and Bears salivating over him, and Dallas could even snatch him 18th, as a value pick.

      In my mock draft, figuring one QB, no Werner in the top 15, I have the Rams taking
      G Chance Warmack, but if Werner or another QB go early, they could also get Cooper, who I take because he could project to center, if Wells fails again. Then you cut wells to save cap next year.

      In my mock, Patterson and Austin are gone by 22, Patterson to Tennessee, and Austin to Pittsburgh. The Steelers may go RB with E. Lacey instead, since they like getting WR later in drafts, as they did Wallace.

      I have the Rams taking Hunter at 22, based on his upside. He's a healthy DX, with a poor man's Randy Moss potential. He's low mileage, and though he won't help the return game, he's my guy.

      I think the Rams will have signed a safety and/or OLB by draft day,

      In round two, I can see the Rams looking defense, but if one of those other top WR drops, or Quentin Patton, Robert Woods, Keenan Allen they may not be able to pass on them.

      If they go defense, the best available guys will be among LB K. Greene, S. Moore,
      C. Thomas, or safeties Cyprian, Elam, Reid, Shamarko Thomas or Shawn Williams.

      An outside shot would be a RB, but my guess is they start looking there round three

      And as they say, you can't have enough cornerbacks, so that's always possible.
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Draft/FA Blog, After the Storm started by Barry Waller View original post
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