Read this article today and I'm still not sold on Bradford over Suh or McCoy with the number one pick but I would love if we got Demaryius Thomas in the second and Aaron Hernandez in the third. Dekoda Watson wouldn't be bad in the 4th round either.
Bradford in the First, Defensive Tackle in the Second?
Plain and simple, the Rams need a quarterback. St. Louis is 6-42 over the last two seasons and poor quarterback play receives much of the blame. Rams quarterbacks have combined for 42 touchdowns and 68 interceptions over the last three years, and St. Louis has been without a 3,000-yard passer in four of the last five seasons. With that said, Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) should be the pick at No. 1. He is very smart with tremendous accuracy and decent, albeit not elite, arm strength.
If Bradford is the pick, the next step becomes upgrading the interior of the defensive line. The Rams signed veteran Fred Robbins as a free agent but Adam Carriker missed all of last season with a shoulder injury and has been a disappointment as a former first-round pick. He is also more of a 3-4 end than a 4-3 defensive tackle.
Clifton Ryan, Darell Scott, LaJuan Ramsey, Gary Gibson, C.J Ah You and Leger Douzable, none of whom were drafted before the fourth round, all started at least one game for the Rams last season. None of them recorded more than one sack, and St. Louis ranked just 27th against the run. If St. Louis passes on Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) and Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma) in the first round, it could still get a disruptive player like Lamarr Houston (Texas) in the second round or Geno Atkins (Georgia) in the third.
Houston (6-foot-3, 305) had 68 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss and eight sacks last season. He also tested out extremely well at the combine and even ran a 4.85 40. Atkins (6-foot-1, 293) also tested out very well, running an impressive 4.78 40 and bench pressing 225 pounds for 34 reps. He is very quick to penetrate and get upfield but will struggle some to hold up against the run.
Cam Thomas (North Carolina) could also be an option if he’s available in the third round. Thomas (6-foot-4, 330) will never be mistaken for a pass rusher, but is strong at the point of attack and is very good against the run.
More Weapons in the Passing Game?
Former second-round pick Donnie Avery is fast and a big-play threat, but he is undersized and more of a complementary receiver. He led the Rams with 589 yards and five touchdowns last season. Aside from Avery, St. Louis doesn’t have a receiver on the roster that has ever recorded more than 437 yards or four touchdowns in a season. Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech) would be a great pick-up in the second round. Thomas (6-foot-3, 224) needs to refine his route-running and may take a year or two to develop, but he has as much potential as any receiver in the draft and has all the tools to be a Pro-Bowl level player at the next level. He’s a big, impressive athlete with very strong hands and underrated speed. Brandon LaFell (LSU, 3rd-4th round), Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas, fourth round) and Shay Hodge (Ole Miss, fifth round) also have some upside later in the draft.
Tight end Randy McMichael failed to make an impact during his three years with the Rams so Aaron Hernandez (Florida) or Dennis Pitta (BYU) could be options in the third round. Both are very talented pass-catchers although they don’t offer much in the blocking department.
Addressing the Front-7
At defensive end, Leonard Little, 35, and James Hall, 33, are aging and may both leave as free agents. St. Louis registered just 25 sacks last season, and Little and Hall combined for 11 of them. Former first-round pick Chris Long has just nine sacks in his first two seasons.
I’m far from sold on Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida), but his potential as a pass-rusher could be tough to pass up if he’s available in the second round. However, I still stand by the fact that he’s one of the most overrated players in the draft and shouldn’t be drafted before the third round. Jerry Hughes (TCU, second round) or Jermaine Cunningham (Florida, third round) could also draw interest.
Meanwhile, the Rams also have a huge hole at weak-side linebacker after trading Will Witherspoon last season. Paris Lenon started 10 games in 2009 and is likely gone as a free agent while David Vobora is a less than ideal solution at strong-side. Daryl Washington (TCU, second round), Navorro Bowman (Penn State, 3rd-4th round), Dekoda Watson (Florida State, 3rd-4th round) and Rennie Curran (Georgia, 4th-5th round) could all be options.