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    2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo
    By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
    March 6, 2014 9:36 pm ET

    1. Houston Texans -- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF -- Still can't shake the feeling that Bill O'Brien is leaning towards Bortles up top. There's a lot of time left in these mocks and I'm sure at some point I'll go in a different direction. But for now, the Texans are taking the prototypical quarterback. Bortles, by the way, probably would've been pretty good in Gary Kubiak's system. Ironically enough.

    2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) -- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson -- The Rams have a great setup for this draft. They can auction the pick if Jadeveon Clowney falls (or if someone wants a quarterback) or they can grab their top option at wideout or offensive line. (They could also take Clowney if they want.) Watkins is an elite-level talent and one of the rare wideouts worthy of this high a selection. With line depth in this draft, St. Louis can gamble.

    3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina -- Quarterback's a need and Teddy Bridgewater is intriguing but how can the Jags pass up on Clowney falling into their lap? Answer: they can't.

    4. Cleveland Browns -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M -- Me doth think the Browns protest a bit much about their lack of interest in Mr. Football.

    5. Oakland Raiders -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville -- The Raiders are desperate for talent all over the place and Bridgewater being pro ready helps GM Reggie McKenzie in a big way when it comes to selling his regime to the bossman.

    6. Atlanta Falcons -- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn -- The Falcons need to beef up their run and pass game and Robinson will help solve that problem quickly. He's a mauler when creating running lanes and needs work on his pass pro, but he'll have time with Sam Baker at least being capable.

    7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo -- It's possible Mack, who shredded the 40 at his pro day, doesn't fall this far. And the Bucs could use some help on the offensive side of things. But it's tough to pass up a talent like Mack here.

    8. St. Louis Rams (MOCK TRADE with Minnesota Vikings) -- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M -- With no quarterbacks on the board for the Vikings, they're willing to move down for a third (or more; that's not the point really) from the Rams, who have plenty of ammunition to jump up and grab one of the best two tackles in this draft. Jeff Fisher's tight with the Matthews family (he coached Bruce Matthews) and this would be an incredible haul, once again, for St. Louis.

    9. Buffalo Bills -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA -- Weapons for EJ Manuel should be a serious consideration here, but they also need to beef up the linebacking corps and continue to generate a pass rush. Barr is raw but he could be a dominant pass-rushing force at the NFL level if properly refined.

    10. Detroit Lions -- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M -- How hilarious is it that Lions fans are pining for their team to take a receiver in the first round again? Just like old times. And there are other pressing needs but pairing Evans with Calvin Johnson is potentially unstoppable.

    11. Tennessee Titans -- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State -- With the Lions surprisingly passing on a corner at 10, the Titans get their pick of the defensive back class in order to replace Alterraun Verner. Gilbert's the guy.

    12. New York Giants -- Eric Ebron, TE, UNC -- Rueben Randle can probably step up and take over Hakeem Nicks' role but the Giants still need some offensive help. Ebron can significantly boost their versatility on offense.

    13. Minnesota Vikings (MOCK TRADE with St. Louis Rams) -- Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame -- Rick Spielman has an affinity for the Irish it seems and there's nothing wrong with improving your ability to attack quarterbacks by beefing up the middle of your line. (Ask the Lions how that works out.)

    14. Chicago Bears -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh -- Sticking with this one from the first time around. Donald is uber-productive and measures up on everything except for size.

    15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, S, Alabama -- One half of the deep defensive backfield is locked up for the foreseeable future thanks to Troy Polamalu's extension. Why not pair him with a thumping speedy safety in HHCD.

    16. Dallas Cowboys -- Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU -- This defense has to get some power up front in order to be effective from the edges. Jernigan's a powerful, fast tackle who has upside especially under Rob Marinelli.

    17. Arizona Cardinals (MOCK TRADE with Baltimore Ravens) -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan -- When Lewan started falling, the aggressive Steve Keim's eyes lit up and he made a play in front of potentially tackle-needy teams to grab Lewan here.

    18. New York Jets -- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU -- Do the Jets have any choice but to get weapons for Geno Smith? Sure doesn't seem like it. Beckham's a speedster who blew up the combine and can give the Jets some big-play potential.

    19. Miami Dolphins -- Zach Martin, OT, Notre Dame -- And this is where Dennis Hickey wishes he'd been aggressive and gone after Lewan instead. The consolation prize isn't terrible, though, in terms of getting Martin back. Has there ever been a more obvious draft pick based on need than the Dolphins first rounder this year?

    20. Baltimore Ravens (MOCK TRADE with Arizona Cardinals) -- C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama -- Ozzie Newsome loves him some Alabama guys. And he wisely spied an opportunity to trade down, acquire some draft picks and still get the same player he would've gotten at 16.

    21. Green Bay Packers -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State -- The last few picks are really showing how deep this draft is. Dennard could go as high as 10 to the Lions but when he falls this far there's no way Ted Thompson can't pounce on him to beef up the secondary.

    22. Philadelphia Eagles -- Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville -- With Patrick Chung likely out in Philly, the Eagles have to beef up the back end of their passing attack. Pryor is a steal at this point, a speedy safety who can hit.

    23. Kansas City Chiefs -- Marqise Lee, WR, USC -- Alex Smith needs more weapons and Lee's a strong route runner with good hands who can step in and make an impact right away on the Chiefs passing game.

    24. Cincinnati Bengals -- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn -- With Michael Johnson heading off into free agency, Cincy needs to add another impressive, cheap pass rusher to put across from Carlos Dunlap. Ford fits that role.

    25. San Diego Chargers -- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech -- Aside from the good games against Peyton Manning, the Chargers were a pretty terrible defensive team. They need help on offensive line as well, but beefing up a bad secondary is critical.

    26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts) -- Brandin Cooks, WR, OSU -- The $100,000 winner is a high-character kid who can make an impact from the get go with whoever drafts him. Paired with Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and John Football and all of a sudden the Browns offense is kind of interesting.

    27. New Orleans Saints -- Jason Verett, CB, TCU -- The Saints use the draft to keep boosting their secondary by grabbing Verrett a year after nabbing Kenny Vacarro.

    28. Carolina Panthers -- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama -- With Kouandjio's medicals checking out (via CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora) there's a good chance he might not even last this long. But he's a hog molly who fits what Dave Gettleman wants and more importantly, needs.

    29. New England Patriots -- RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota -- With Vince Wilfork getting older and dealing with a major injury last year, the Patriots need to restock the middle of their defensive line. Hageman ran a 5.02 40 at the combine despite being 6'6" and weighing well over 300 pounds.

    30. San Francisco ***** -- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU -- Benjamin isn't the most refined wide receiver but he's a freakishly fast and tall target for Colin Kaepernick.

    31. Denver Broncos -- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri -- Despite being incredibly close to a Super Bowl championship, the Broncos have plenty of holes to fill, particularly on defense. Ealy might be a steal at this point and can immediately improve their pass rush.

    32. Seattle Seahawks -- Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech -- Still think the Seahawks want to figure out how to open up the offense and stretch the field. Adding a pass-catching target (who can improve as a blocker) in Amaro does that.


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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    It'd be a nice haul, but there's no way I give up a 3rd to move up to select Mathews with Lewan and Martin still on the board.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    Keep in mind that even in this scenario, at the time you move up from 13 to 8, you dont know whether lewin or martin will be on the board when pick 13 comes around. If the rams think that lewan would be around at 13, i think a lot less likely they make this kind of move, but, if they think lewan will be gone (ie in my view, he will NEVER make it past the giants at 12 and i doubt he makes it even that far) and they dont think as highly of martin, its the kind of deal that is intriguing. Some of this still depends on what happens with saffold.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Keep in mind that even in this scenario, at the time you move up from 13 to 8, you dont know whether lewin or martin will be on the board when pick 13 comes around. If the rams think that lewan would be around at 13, i think a lot less likely they make this kind of move, but, if they think lewan will be gone (ie in my view, he will NEVER make it past the giants at 12 and i doubt he makes it even that far) and they dont think as highly of martin, its the kind of deal that is intriguing. Some of this still depends on what happens with saffold.

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    general counsel
    You're right GC.

    I was assuming that the mock played out the way it was written, which obviously isn't neccessarily going to be the case.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    Keep in mind that even in this scenario, at the time you move up from 13 to 8, you dont know whether lewin or martin will be on the board when pick 13 comes around. If the rams think that lewan would be around at 13, i think a lot less likely they make this kind of move, but, if they think lewan will be gone (ie in my view, he will NEVER make it past the giants at 12 and i doubt he makes it even that far) and they dont think as highly of martin, its the kind of deal that is intriguing. Some of this still depends on what happens with saffold.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    GC, very much agree with you that so much of what we do in the 1st round concerning the OL depends on the outcome of our negotiations with Saffold. My question to you then based on your assumption that Lewan isn't there at #13, (assuming we don't make this trade) who would be taking him as Matthews would likely be available based on the premise of this mock. If indeed the Giants go for offensive line help, that leaves one of Matthews or Lewan to us at #13. On a separate note, I'm beginning to develop a liking for Lewan as I feel he's a Jeff Fisher type player who's nasty and chippy. I would hate to see AZ get him.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    I am not an expert on who needs what. Some teams i know a lot better than others. There are lots of other people on this board that know tons about other teams needs. However, what i do strongly believe, based on 40 plus years of watching the draft and recent draft history, is that if there are 3 elite offensive tackles, none of them will be around at #13 in todays nfl. It could be trade up, or some team that i cant identify that would take lewan before 13.

    I have pointed out all along that while i think different teams will have different views on mathews vs robinson, i think all teams will consider both of them elite guys. What is very tricky however to evaluate is the gap teams see between mathews/robinson and lewan. Is Lewan an elite guy, or is there a material drop off after the other two? I am not educated enough to know the answer to that question. Lewan appears to have done well at the combine athletically. We all know that is not the same as game tape and my michigan friends tell me that he had a disappointing last season.

    At the end of the day, the demand for quality offensive tackles, especially left tackles, simply exceeds the supply and if Lewan is viewed as a top prospect, he will be gone before 13.

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    Last edited by general counsel; -03-08-2014 at 04:18 PM.


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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    I like it. A lot. We're already in position to get one elite prospects but if I could get two elite prospects I'd jump on it.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    No argument, I agree that when you have 3 top rated OT's they are likely to go before #13. I think the media has been over-hyping the 3 QB's that are expected to go in the top 10 that it's crowding out some of the other players except for J. Clowney, S. Watkins and K. Mack.

    I happen to believe that we're going to see some real surprises on the first night of the draft fueled by numerous trades of which I expect the Rams will be a player. Promises to be interesting.

    Go Rams!

    Go Rams!

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    To be totally honest, I haven't studied this year's draft class as closely as I should have...BUT...

    From what I can tell, there are 5 elite potential players in this year's class. I'm not saying that they will be the only ones that will become elite players, nor am I saying that all five will become elite (if any). What I am saying is that ON PAPER, these players look to become elite. Then again...AM stereo looked good on paper, too. (Yes, it really existed, and it sucked, and it's been gone for a LONG time...). The Rams have a chance to grab one of these players OR trade our pick, and take our chances.

    The problem I am coming across is the need vs. BPA. We NEED to build up our O line - especially now that we have the situation with Saffold. We NEED to build up our secondary. We NEED to get a #1 receiver. We NEED to get another RB that can augment Stacy.

    The problem is that we have Matthews, Robinson, and Watkins to choose from. Robinson and Matthews are both extremely talented, and IMO, both could help our offensive line immensely. Then there's Watkins...I won't lie, I REALLY want Watkins, but I do have doubts. Is he really a #1 WR? Is he the real thing? Would he really help? Is it worth taking a OL later in the draft to get him?

    Right now, I see the Rams grabbing either Robinson or Matthews at #2...Robinson would be my guess. While I would really like to take Watkins, I don't see it happening. Who we get at #13 is anyone's guess.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    I think I would cream myself if this happened. I still think I'd rather go OT at 2/4/6, then trade back to the top 10 for Mike Evans, but I think Evans is really hard to read (both draft position and skillset). I just think he has sooo much potential with his size and speed.

    Either way, as long as we don't go Clowney, I think I'm a happy guy.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    Yes, with the entire picture painted, you could make the argument that trading up for Matthews is unnecessary if Lewan is there at 13. But as GC said, when pick 8 is on the clock, the Rams would have no idea who would be available @ 13.

    Plus, I'd argue that regardless of the scenario this mock presents, Lewan being there at 13 is not a likely one. Most seem to regard the top three offensive tackles for this class as being superior to the top three tackles from last year, and they were all off the board in the first four picks. Of the 11 combined most recent mocks from CBS Sports, NFL.com, and McShay/Kiper, only three of them have Lewan available @ 13.

    Possible? Sure, and this mock shows one way. But I wouldn't consider it very likely. I think it's far more likely he's off the board when the Rams pick again.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    I'm not entirely sold on Minn wanting to move back. Be interesting if they did. If that didn't happen and Lewan isn't there at 13, I would love us to get either Gilbert or Dennard, however those two play out. Might even work out great for us to get Dennard. With people being excited by Gilbert's combine numbers having Dennard at 13 would be awesome. He was considered No. 1 if I am correct pre combine.

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    Re: 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Rams make bold play for WR/OL combo

    So I'm one of the people that wants us to build the o-line, but I think there is a lot to be said for choosing Watkins early. If we can agree that need a very good tackle who can start at RT and sub in as need for LT, perhaps we select the WR and still have a good draft. If we did that we have two options at the #13 pick. First, we could potentially trade down (assuming there is a partner; I think that may happen) and still pick up someone like Zach Martin or Yancey as well as maybe another 2/3 round pick. Second, if there is no partner, there are still some very good players there for us to consider, mainly the cornerbacks and safeties (my preference would be Gilbert). Under the second scenario, we can potentially get a good RT in the second round and a G in 3.

    In short, I wouldn't hate that kind of draft even if my preference is OT right away. My real worry is that there will be a run on the top WRs and OL in the top 10, making our 13 not good for fitting our needs.

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