When it comes to the NFL Draft and mock drafts alike, Mel Kiper Jr. is the name known to football fans everywhere for his endless litany of draft information and of course, the hair. His gelled up look has been synonymous with everything draft-related on television for more than a quarter-century. When he speaks, the NFL world listens. Concerning the St. Louis Rams in the upcoming 2013 version of the draft, Kiper released an interesting prognostication for the first round.
It’s a foregone conclusion that the Rams will look to address their offensive line early on in the draft, but with two first round picks, it doesn’t necessarily have to be with their top selection. Chance Warmack is clearly the player that the team should covet as a plug-and-play impact fit at guard, but he will likely be gone by the 16th overall pick.
Kiper believes that the Rams will address their second biggest area of need with their first pick and take Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, before tackling the top need at number 22 overall with Alabama tackle DJ Fluker. Both of these players are really moving up draft boards at the moment and could very well cool off by the time the festivities actually come to fruition. Let’s look at each choice separately.
With Vaccaro, the logic makes sense. The team will need a safety as I pointed out in an earlier article this offseason, but some would question whether Vaccaro is even the top option at that position. Eric Reid of LSU is ranked higher on some boards, and that would plant the seed of doubt if the choice were mine to make.
As far as Fluker goes, if the top-tier linemen are all gone by the time the Rams select at 16 as Kiper’s projection predicts, then this choice makes sense. The team definitely needs a tackle, and Fluker seems limited to playing the right side which is a bit of a drawback for a first-round pick. He could easily kick inside to guard however with his power and versatility always adds to a prospect’s value.
It’s important to remember that it is still very early in the pre-draft process. Plenty of information will be made available over the course of the next three months that could significantly impact which names are being discussed as first round picks when April arrives. For now, at least Kiper has the correct positions pegged as the primary needs for the Rams. It wouldn’t be a disappointment to see the team add either of these players to their roster for 2013.
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