The Pros and Cons of the "Big 9" Prospects on the Rams' Draft Radar
Right now, if you go through the numerous mock drafts, projections, prognostications and predictions, most seem to think that the Rams' two first round picks will come from a group of nine players. While there are others who might be viewed as "dark horse candidates" (i.e. Eric Reid, Justin Hunter, DeAndre Hopkins, Sheldon Richardson, Menalik Watson, Eddie Lacy), this "Big 9" seems to represent the pool of prospects most likely to be holding up Rams jerseys on April 25.
Here is my summary of these propects' pros and cons. As I do not intend to rank them, I've listed them alphabetically:
Keenan Allen, WR, California
Pros: Viewed as a camera-ready WR prospect due to route running abilities. Has very good size for the position.
Cons: 2012 injury has kept him from workouts. Will run on April 9. Must prove he has separation speed.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Pros: Great playmaker and big play potential. Can contribute as kick returner and in running game. Seems to lack diva character of other playmakers.
Cons: Size viewed as potential durability concern. Will need to design plays to get him the ball in space.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Pros: Great athlete at the guard position. Can also play center.
Cons: Some view him as more of a zone blocking scheme prospect.
Matt Elam, S, Florida
Pros: Intimidating hitter with enough speed to be effective in coverage. Plays with a swagger that fits well with Rams currrent DBs.
Cons: Height a concern in terms of matching up with TEs and tall WRs. Some view him as more of an "in the box" safety.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Pros: Mauler from the right side. Could also play OG. Great passion for the game.
Cons: Not as big of a need if Saffold "gets with the program" and embraces RT assignment.
Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Pros: Great athlete for position. Very productive at Georgia. Should be able to handle 3 down role.
Cons: Making transition from ILB in 3-4 to OLB in 4-3. Has disciplinary issues at Georgia.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Pros: Elite size/speed combination. Can turn short passes to big plays with after the catch skills. Dangerous kick returner.
Cons: Inexperienced. Not known for extensive "route tree." Occasionally runs before securing the catch.
Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas
Pros: Prototypical size for position. Good in coverage and run support.
Cons: Average straight line speed. Did not make many big plays at Texas.
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Pros: Dominant blocker, particularly in running game. One of the top overall prospects in the draft.
Cons: Perhaps vulnerable to inside speed rushers. Single position - does not project at C or OT.