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  1. #1
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    NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line
    By Daniel Jeremiah
    NFL Media analyst
    Published: March 24, 2014 at 07:04 p.m.

    The St. Louis Rams finished 7-9 in 2013, at the bottom of the NFL's most talented division -- but I think they have a real chance to close the gap a bit this offseason.

    Yes, the Rams have had a relatively quiet free agency period, but they needn't worry too much, as they have the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, courtesy of the RGIII trade from two years ago. That plus the 13th overall selection will present St. Louis with a rare opportunity to nab two of the highest-rated talents at two different positions in the same draft class.

    The No. 1 priority for the Rams should be making sure quarterback Sam Bradford -- who will be coming off a torn ACL that ended his 2013 campaign in Week 7 -- stays healthy for all 16 games in 2014. Thus, when considering how best to utilize their picks in May, I think they'd do well to start by looking at ways to bolster Bradford's protection.

    Here are four positions of need for St. Louis -- and four prospects who could fill them.

    1) Offensive tackle
    Retaining Rodger Saffold, who has the versatility to play guard or tackle, was a major plus for the Rams' offensive line -- however strange the circumstances behind his return might've been. That said, All-Pro left tackle Jake Long is coming off a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee, and his status for 2014 is up in the air. With the No. 2 overall pick, St. Louis will likely have a chance to take the top tackle on the board: Greg Robinson. The former Auburn lineman has the size (6-foot-5, 332 pounds) and nastiness to take the Rams' running game to another level; he also has all the tools to develop into an elite pass blocker.

    2) Safety
    St. Louis has confidence in second-year pro T.J. McDonald, but the young safety could use a running mate in the back end of the defense. There isn't a safety in this year's class worthy of being taken with the second overall pick, but the top two talents at the position, Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville's Calvin Pryor, could both be available at No. 13. I have identical grades for Clinton-Dix and Pryor, but I think the former Crimson Tide star, with his range and athleticism as a high safety, would better complement McDonald.

    3) Cornerback
    St. Louis got a whole lot younger in its secondary after releasing veteran Cortland Finnegan in early March. Third-year pros Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins have a lot of potential, but there's still a need to add more depth on the outside. I don't see the Rams using the second overall pick to address this position, but as with the top two safeties, the top two corners (Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Oregon's Darqueze Dennard) in the 2014 class could be available at No. 13 overall. Gilbert has more size and playmaking ability, while Dennard brings a tougher, more physical presence to the position.

    4) Wide receiver
    Rams general manager Les Snead made a bold move to trade up for Tavon Austin in the 2013 NFL Draft, and I don't think the wideout's up-and-down rookie campaign is indicative of his NFL future. The Rams have a number of other young receivers on their roster, but I can make the case that not one of them is a true No. 1. Selecting Sammy Watkins with the second overall pick could solve that problem. Yes, receiver is one of the deepest positions in this year's draft, but the former Clemson star is in a class of his own. If the Rams pass on Watkins at No. 2, they could add a big body like Texas A&M's Mike Evans, who would give Bradford an ideal red-zone option.

    Projections
    So what will the Rams do with their first-round picks (Nos. 2 and 13 overall)? Here's what NFL Media's analysts see happening, according to their mock draft projections (click here for full mock drafts):


    • Daniel Jeremiah: Greg Robinson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
    • Bucky Brooks: Jake Matthews, Darqueze Dennard
    • Charles Davis: Sammy Watkins, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
    • Matt Smith: Greg Robinson, Mike Evans
    • Chase Goodbread: Greg Robinson, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix


  2. #2
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    Re: NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    "WR is one of the deepest positions in this years draft"

    "Sammy Watkins is in a class of his own"..I want Watkins with the #2 pick.

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    Re: NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    Id just want a real WR on the Rams. Watkins or Evans either one. Hopefully it alleviates the 2 yard passes that have become the Rams staple over the past years.

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    Re: NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post

    Projections

    Matt Smith: Greg Robinson, Mike Evans
    This one! This one!

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    Re: NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    Gotta go with the law of averages here... OT(my preference of Matthews) and Dix!

    As good as Watkins looks... he seems too much like a bigger copy of Tavon Austin for me. Too much production with bubble screens and not enough down field. If we take a receiver early, let it be after a trade down and Evans, or 13 if he falls that far.
    I believe!

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    Re: NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    Gotta go with the law of averages here... OT(my preference of Matthews) and Dix!

    As good as Watkins looks... he seems too much like a bigger copy of Tavon Austin for me. Too much production with bubble screens and not enough down field. If we take a receiver early, let it be after a trade down and Evans, or 13 if he falls that far.
    Did you happen to catch (no pun intended) Evans pro day? I did not see it but heard in a writing that he looked fantastic and made Manziel look that much better. Didn't catch too much of his games, but watching him catch the ball at the combine, he could be something really special. Problem is don't think we would use a number 2 on him and he'll be long gone by 13. So there will have to be done in a trade hopefully. I would love to see him wear the golden horns!!

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    Re: NFL.com: St. Louis Rams' draft needs: Greg Robinson could bolster O-line

    Nope, didn't see any of it. I tend to agree that Evans most likely won't make it out of the top 10, but he'd definitely be an option for me if we trade down with say, the Bucs or Vikings, and miss out on the top OT's and don't go after Gilbert.
    I believe!

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