It’s rare to find immediate starters via the NFL Draft. Generally the process of development takes a year or two to fully prepare any given player to play at the professional level. For the St. Louis Rams, they would love to duplicate the performance of their 2012 draft class again in 2013 with a number of positions needing players who can contribute right away.
This past season, the Rams enjoyed the rookie success of several individuals including starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins (2nd round pick), starting defensive tackle Michael Brockers (1st round pick), third wide receiver Chris Givens (4th round pick), and even cornerback Trumaine Johnson (5th round pick) eventually became a key contributor in the nickel. Draft classes like this one don’t come around very often, but General Manager Les Snead could very well make another impressive haul this April for the team.
Finding a starter for the offensive line won’t be too difficult as the Rams are sure to experience plenty of turnover in that area of their roster this offseason. Tackles Barry Richardson and Chris Williams are both free agents along with center Robert Turner. The team will likely cut ties with tackle Wayne Hunter due to his massive contract while Rodger Saffold’s contract is set to expire next offseason.
Some feel that the Rams could easily use both of their first round picks on the offensive line in April, but that seems like overkill unless an extreme value presents itself. What would make more sense for the team is to find a starter for the line with one of their selections and use the other at the safety position where Craig Dahl is a free agent.
Clearly Chance Warmack, guard from Alabama, is the top choice should he still be available at the Rams first pick of 16th overall, but if he is not available, Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina is a nice consolation prize. At 6’3” 310lbs. Cooper has the size to be effective at the next level and is super athletic giving him the ability to pull block with ease. He would work well in a ground attack like the Rams.
While it might not be a popular decision, trading down is definitely an option too for the team again this year with either of their first round choices. Rather than reaching for a player that they don’t feel as strongly about, perhaps Snead and company will move down the board and stockpile more picks for later rounds and the future.
There are certainly a number of different ways that the Rams could go in this year’s draft, but expect them to make the correct decision for the long-term. This management group is on the right path to building a winner in St. Louis as evidenced by their 2012 draft class so it would be foolish to expect anything other than a similar performance in 2013.
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