If there’s one thing that general manager Les Snead proved along with head coach Jeff Fisher during their first NFL Draft process, it’s that they are unpredictable. While the initial decision to trade down prior to the draft beginning was in the forecast, the thought of doing so again on draft night was not. With that in mind, here are some possible choices that the St. Louis Rams could make in this year’s draft that don’t exactly follow the mold of the typical mock draft.
KEENAN ALLEN — This pick might not be exactly what fans are expecting coming into the draft, but if the Rams want to score more points in 2013, Allen would be a wise investment. Despite having an average at best quarterback during his collegiate career at California, Allen still managed to be quite productive. He is extremely dangerous in the open field and can run terrific routes. The one knock on him is the fact that he isn’t a consistent hands catcher at this point and he does have some injury concerns with his 2012 campaign being cut short by a knee issue. If he checks out medically, Allen would be a terrific addition to the receiving corps with Chris Givens blossoming and hopefully Brian Quick following suit in the upcoming season.
TYLER EIFERT — While tight end might not appear to be the biggest need for the Rams, Lance Kendricks has been average at best for the team and adding another weapon would give Sam Bradford a safety blanket when the pocket breaks down around him. Hailing from Notre Dame, Eifert is a much better blocker than most receiving tight ends and he showed some real improvement in 2012 according to analyst Mike Mayock who said: “Opposing defenses knew what a good pass receiver he was and they did everything in their game plans to take him away. Putting a ton of people on him. On tape, teams were doubling him, combo, all kinds of bracket coverage. To the kid’s credit, he took his blocking to a completely different level. Whether he was in line or in motion, I thought that was the biggest difference in his game.” That versatility and blocking ability makes him an extremely attractive option for the Rams anemic offense.
CORDARRELLE PATTERSON — Patterson has similar size to Allen at 6’3” 205lbs. and they are really very similar prospects. The thing that puts Patterson just a step below Allen is that his route running isn’t quite as precise. Still, that can easily be developed with coaching and repetition which he will get plenty of at the next level. Where Patterson makes up for that shortcoming is in his agility and deception as he is a violent runner with tremendous change of direction that can shake defenders in a heartbeat. He showed at Tennessee that he offers great vision in the open field with the ability to make things happen after the catch and also has terrific top end speed which will show up in pre-draft testing.
While none of these players will fix the offensive line woes for the Rams, don’t be surprised if at least one of these guys is in consideration as the 16th or 22nd overall pick this year. Offense seems to be the theme for this Rams club which only produced 18.7 points per game and 329.0 yards per contest in 2012. Look for them to make a serious effort to improve on those totals heading into the 2013 season.