Feldman: Early look at Rams options in NFL Draft
by Brian Feldman, FootballStL
Posted on December 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM

(FootballStL) -- When an NFL team isn't going to the postseason the obvious next thing to do is start peaking towards the draft. That's where teams typically find the talent necessary to build a championship caliber squad.

And, as any Rams fan knows, they will once again have two first round draft picks courtesy of the Robert Griffin III trade with the Redskins a couple years back. That pick, as of this moment, would be the second overall in the draft.

Not too shabby.

Clearly there is still a long way to go before it's determined what the Rams options are (heck, they don't even know for sure where they're picking yet and what underclassmen will make themselves eligible). But we still have a pretty good idea as to what the top talent in the draft will look like and what the Rams' needs might be by then.

The sexiest name in the draft will be South Carolina DE Jadaveon Clowney. He's received more publicity for his out-of-this-world pass rushing ability than any man should know. And opposing offenses have tailored their entire game plan towards making sure he doesn't beat them. The man is that freakishly good.

The thing with Clowney is he plays a position that the Rams not only don't NEED help, he plays a position that's actually a STRENGTH for the Rams. With Robert Quinn and Chris Long entrenched as starters, Williams Hayes has proven to be a tremendous backup who plays on pass rushing downs. How would they make Clowney fit? If they take him they'd be paying him way too much money to just come on the field for a few third downs.

Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews is a much likelier selection should the Rams keep the top pick from Washington. Not only is he valued as a top five pick based on his talent, he happens to play a position that represents a need for the team. Sam Bradford needs to be protected. That's just a fact. Some of his inconsistencies certainly can be blamed on him but Bradford hasn't received the necessary help to allow his potential to be reached. Yet.

Matthews could make a lot of sense because Rodger Saffold is a pending free agent is may not return to the team in the future. Jake Long's knee injury also further complicates matters as he isn't a lock to be ready for the start of next season. Whether it's free agency or the draft, offensive tackle (heck the offensive line in general) needs to be upgraded. Matthews could make sense there.

Other possible selections at the top of the draft include UCLA OLB Anthony Barr and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins. Barr is more of a 3-4 OLB but his pass rushing ability is special. He apparently lives and breathes football and could potentially fill the other outside linebacker spot opposite Alec Ogletree and stay on the field as a pass rusher in the nickel. Watkins is a physical specimen who projects as a true number one option in the NFL. Yes, the Rams have taken a lot of wide receivers in the last few years but none are the total package like Watkins.

The other option, as always, is to trade down and accumulate more picks. The problem with predicting that right now is simple. We have no clue what the other teams in the league value. If we don't know who likes what, how can we possibly know what they're willing to offer? If no one is enamored with any particular player and only wants to part with a 3rd round pick to move up a couple spots, that wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for the Rams. Maybe someone will fall in love with a player like Washington did with Robert Griffin III two years ago but that's not something we'll know for a while.

Until then, trading down is just talk unless your name is Jeff Fisher or Les Snead. Only they know what really is going on.