ATS 2014 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams, 2
Welcome to the Around the SPOT: 2014 NFL Mock Draft collaboration. For the next two-and-a-half weeks leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pro Football Spot panel of journalists will give their analysis on potential first-round draft prospects and their eventual whereabouts. Barring changes or conflicts, our schedule will go as follows:
Apr. 21-24: Picks 1-12
Apr. 28-30, May 1: Picks 13-24
May 5-7: Picks 25-32
May 8-10: 2014 NFL Draft
Our series continues with the St. Louis Rams. What are their draft needs? Who will they take at No. 2? Will they trade out of that pick? Why?
Team Draft Needs (By Ryan Marshall. Complete Breakdown at playthedraft.com)
No. 3: Best Player Available
No. 2: Offensive Guard
No. 1: Wide Receiver
Greg Robinson, T, Auburn (6)
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (4)
Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M (1)
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (1)
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo (1)
Trade Down to No. 3: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (1)
Greg Robinson, T, Auburn
Jeff Smith (@JSM8ith)
The highly touted tackle out of Auburn could literally be one of the best offensive linemen in recent memory. Greg Robinson has that type of potential. If the Rams can get someone who can protect Sam Bradford consistently, then this is an automatic win. If it works out that way, then they’ll find out immediately if Bradford is their quarterback of the future. This is a spot where the Falcons could trade up, but if the Rams sit still, then Robinson is a great pick.
Chris Licata (@ChrisLicata16)
The Rams’ top priority should be Sam Bradford’s well-being. Enter Greg Robinson. This ultra-talented tackle already possesses the skill-set to step in and contribute as an All-Pro run blocker. His exceptional athleticism hints towards him eventually developing into one of the NFL’s best all-around offensive linemen. One can make the case for Sammy Watkins here, but it’s hard to imagine St. Louis passing on the Auburn product with another selection just 11 picks away.
Anthony DiBona (@Anthony_DiBona)
The Rams really need to protect Sam Bradford. Drafting [GregRobinson] would be a major step in the right direction. They can’t afford to rely on Jake Long recovering quickly from his knee injury. Robinson would give them quite the insurance plan. He has the potential to be an elite offensive tackle. He is already an elite-run blocker. He’s a more-than-capable pass-blocker but can use some work in the passing game.
Even if Long returns and is 100-percent healthy, he’s 28 years old and not the long-term answer at left tackle. Robinson could play right tackle for a couple seasons or so before eventually switching to the left side once Long is out of town.
Jon Ledyard (@jledgePFS)
Greg Robinson is a giant of a man. He’s as powerful in pass protection as he is in the run game. His ability to move in space is rare for a lineman his size. He plays with the nastiness that teams want in the trenches. With Jake Long returning from a season-ending injury and the right side of the line in question already, Robinson makes a ton of sense here. Keeping Sam Bradford healthy must be the top priority.
Corey Brewer (@BrewerIPA)
Greg Robinson would make a difference from Week 1. He is incredible at run-blocking and solid in pass protection. Robinson has a huge body and he’s freakishly athletic. He is still very young and has the most upside of any prospect in this draft. If Robinson improves his craft and works on solidifying his pass-protection game, he could instantly develop into one of the NFL’s best offense linemen.
Tim Simpson (@Simpson805)
There have been talks about the Rams trading out of No. 2 and still getting an offensive tackle to protect Sam Bradford. Unless Houston doesn't take Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1, that asking price is a little too high. Sam Bradford got sacked more times than I have looked at my fantasy football lineup last year...and for those who don't know me, well let's just say it's way too much.
Jeff Fisher is trying to do everything in his power to make Sam Bradford work for St. Louis. Robinson could be one of the missing pieces to the puzzle.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Erick Trickel (@AlaskanBronco)
Selecting Sammy Watkins gives Sam Bradford another offensive weapon with Tavon Austin. With Watkins’ abilities, it will help open up the other offensive weapons. Watkins has a well-rounded game that adds versatility to an offense that needs it. Even though they need help on offensive line, they make the flashier pick here, filling the offensive line later.
Caleb Colmenero (@ColmeneroNFL )
The Rams are in a perfect scenario to trade down and acquire more picks in a deep draft class. But when a game-changing wide out similar to Julio Jones comes along, you don’t pass up on him. The Rams supposedly are set at wide receiver, but have overall struggled to find a No. 1 receiver in the past few years. Sammy Watkins and Tavon Austin would create a dangerous receiving duo. All they need is for Sam Bradford to play like a No. 1 pick.
Lucas Polglaze (@mhsradio)
I'm legitimately surprised that most mocks don't have Sammy Watkins going to the Rams at No. 2. The Rams are absolutely starved for receiver talent. Signing Kenny Britt from the Titans may make a difference...or it may leave them in the same old boat. They haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Torry Holt in 2007, much less a 700-yard receiver in a slightly shorter drought (also Holt, 2008).
Watkins is a franchise wide receiver who will make an immediate impact for beleaguered quarterback Sam Bradford, who has struggled without weapons.
Felix Davila III (@FelixNYG)
Since wide out Torry Holt was catching passes in St. Louis, the Rams haven't had a quality wide receiver for their 2010 franchise investment Sam Bradford.
Enter Sammy Watkins. By adding the former Clemson Tiger, the Rams could fire up their offensive attack to counter the strong defenses they face within their division. Having a top receiver will ease Bradford's return from injury and also take pressure off last year's pick Tavon Austin, allowing him to be used in the way he's best suited.
The only other option to consider here is tackle, but retaining Rodger Saffold on his rather large deal negates that need.
Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M
Kenneth Goit (@KennethGoit)
The Rams need an offensive tackle to protect Sam Bradford. Jake Matthews is the most-polished prospect to do that. Rams offensive line coach Paul Boudreau was very involved at Matthews’s Pro Day, along with Greg Robinson’s; however, Matthews is the more-polished tackle. Head coach Jeff Fisher coached Jake’s Hall of Fame father Bruce Matthews while with the Tennessee Titans. He may want to take on his son, too.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Joshua Huffman (@Armchair_Psycho)
Many expert mock-drafters have penciled-in Greg Robinson as the No. 2 pick. Why would the Rams draft an unpolished offensive tackle who’s extremely raw in pass protection when Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, or even %5BKhalilMack%5D remain on the board? The Rams can address this concern at No. 13 with Taylor Lewan or Zack Martin. Even if they wanted an offensive tackle at No. 2, Jake Matthews has the advantage because of Jeff Fisher’s familiarity with the Matthews family.
A team can never have enough pass-rushers. Fisher understands that. Adding Watkins could provide the final piece to an offense whose investments include 2013 top-ten pick Tavon Austin, 2013 third-rounder Stedman Bailey, 2012 second-rounder Brian Quick and 2012 fourth-rounder Chris Givens. That doesn’t include the $35.11-million contract with Jared Cook.
Option No. 1 is a trade down. That may prove hard in such a deep draft. So the Rams add an impact defensive player who’ll remind Coach Fisher of ‘The Freak’ Jevon Kearse, keeping up with the NFC West’s defensive powerhouses.
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Brennen Rupp (@brennen_rupp)
The Rams have a ton of options with this pick. Do they take the best offensive tackle on the board? Do they take Sammy Watkins to give Sam Bradford another weapon? Or do they take one of the top quarterbacks to replace the mediocre Bradford?
Trade it? If they don’t trade the pick, Jeff Fisher and company will take Khalil Mack. Adding Mack to a front seven that already has Chris Long, Robert Quinn and James Laurinaitis would make for a lethal defensive front.
TRADE DOWN: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (at No. 3)
Andrew Aziz (@AndrewAzizEC)
St. Louis Rams Receive:
2014 First (No. 3, 2,200 points)
2014 Third (No. 70, 240 points)
Jacksonville Jaguars Receive:
2014 First (No. 2: 2,600 points)
EDITOR NOTE: Trade Value Chart. Jaguars offer trade where Rams get another mid-round pick & still draft high enough for Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. Jaguars used No. 2 pick on Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.
Sammy Watkins is one of the best receivers to come out of college in the last few seasons. That’s due to his very good athleticism, explosiveness and flawless receiving skills. He must work on his fundamentals, especially his route-running, but this guy is probably going to become a star at the next level. Sam Bradford could use an all-around threat to throw to.
Check back later today for a breakdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars and who they’ll take / what they’ll do with the No. 3 pick.
ATS 2014 NFL Mock Draft Collaboration: Houston Texans, No. 1
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