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    Kiper mock 2.0: Rams thoughts

    By Mike Sando | ESPN.com

    Mel Kiper Jr. is back Insider with his second 2013 NFL mock draft for the first round.

    We're running through the projected picks for NFC West teams in reverse order. St. Louis is next up. The Rams have two picks in the first round: their own (16th overall) and one acquired from Washington (22nd).

    16. St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma

    Kiper's give: The Rams can afford to go a few different ways here because they have that other first-round pick. I think the offensive line has to be a priority at one of these spots. Johnson is a steady tackle who upgrades the team on the right side immediately and has the ceiling of a very good NFL left tackle. I've included snippets from Kiper's analysis before offering my own thoughts.

    Sando's take: The pick makes sense from a need standpoint even though Jeff Fisher's teams have never used a first-round pick for an offensive lineman with Fisher as head coach. Rodger Saffold is the only long-term starting tackle on the roster. He's had a hard time staying healthy recently and could have the flexibility to play another position on the line. Barry Richardson, Wayne Hunter, Joe Barksdale and Ty Nsekhe are the other tackles on the roster. The Rams did a good job functioning in the absence of better offensive linemen. They need better players at the position, however.

    22. St. Louis Rams: Keenan Allen, WR, California

    Kiper's give: The Rams lock down some blocking help, then get a wide receiver who can help them immediately. That would be a productive first round. It's possible I've worried too much about how well Allen will run, because aside from what should just be a pedestrian 40 time, he can do everything else well.

    Sando's take: The Rams will know by the draft whether potential free agent Danny Amendola figures into their future and at what price. They have an emerging big-play threat in Chris Givens. They figure to get more from Brian Quick this season. The Ramsí perceived need for help at wide receiver could be larger than their actual need. Still, the team could use additional offensive playmakers. Allen stands 6-foot-3, which could help him in a division featuring physical cornerbacks such as Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Allen grades out well Insider as a competitive player with no fear making tough catches over the middle. The Rams could use those traits.


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    Re: Kiper mock 2.0: Rams thoughts

    That works for me in concept. I'd prefer the combination of D.J. Fluker and Terrance Williams, but that's splitting hairs. If the Rams can aquire a starting RT and a new target for Bradford in Round 1, I'll be happy.

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    Re: Kiper mock 2.0: Rams thoughts

    I've not been a huge Lane Johnson fan during this process, but I'm starting to warm up to him due to his positional versatility.

    The Rams could keep Saffold where he is and play Johnson on the right side, no problem. If Saffold gets hurt or doesn't work out for the long run, Johnson could shift over to LT. Or they could start Johnson out at LT from the get go.

    While I prefer D.J. Fluker over Johnson when looking through the lens of the best RT for the Rams, Fluker does not offer that versatility. One could say Johnson is a bit of a risk because he's more potential than production, but Fluker carries his own risk because he's not quite as versatile in terms of being able to play both tackle spots.

    Allen makes a lot of sense @ 22. Then again, just about any of the Top 5 receivers in this class do. It'll be interesting to see how they separate themselves at the Combine.

    What I DON'T like is that Kiper has the Rams taking Johnson over Chance Warmack, who falls to Dallas at 18. Certainly possible due to positional value, but Warmack is the superior prospect IMO and should be the Rams' pick if available. Here is what Kiper says of that logic...

    Analysis: Follow my Big Board week to week and you're probably surprised I could fathom a situation where Warmack is still around at No. 18. But remember, the mock also takes into account where I hear teams are valuing guys, and in the case of a player like Warmack, the positional value aspect hurts him as a guard. Make no mistake, he's a stud, a dominant guard who makes your offensive line better the second he signs his contract. But he's staying inside, period, limiting his shot at the top 10. Dallas could certainly use an upgrade at guard, and I don't think the Cowboys can pass up Warmack at this spot on the board if he's available.
    Last edited by Nick; -02-10-2013 at 02:59 PM.

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    Re: Kiper mock 2.0: Rams thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I've not been a huge Lane Johnson fan during this process, but I'm starting to warm up to him due to his positional versatility.

    The Rams could keep Saffold where he is and play Johnson on the right side, no problem. If Saffold gets hurt or doesn't work out for the long run, Johnson could shift over to LT. Or they could start Johnson out at LT from the get go.

    While I prefer D.J. Fluker over Johnson when looking through the lens of the best RT for the Rams, Fluker does not offer that versatility. One could say Johnson is a bit of a risk because he's more potential than production, but Fluker carries his own risk because he's not quite as versatile in terms of being able to play both tackle spots.

    Allen makes a lot of sense @ 22. Then again, just about any of the Top 5 receivers in this class do. It'll be interesting to see how they separate themselves at the Combine.

    What I DON'T like is that Kiper has the Rams taking Johnson over Chance Warmack, who falls to Dallas at 18. Certainly possible due to positional value, but Warmack is the superior prospect IMO and should be the Rams' pick if available. Here is what Kiper says of that logic...
    I will be absolutely thrilled if we end up with Chance Wormack; heck Steven Jackson will probably sign for peanuts if we grab Wormack.

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    Re: Kiper mock 2.0: Rams thoughts

    As long as our RT is a RunBlocker first....or nastier edge, because Saffold is PassBlock minded...balance is neeeded

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    Re: Kiper mock 2.0: Rams thoughts

    Hope he's wrong. Please send Warmack & Elam instead. Much rather have that...

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