Over the course of the past few weeks, more and more mock drafts that I have seen for the upcoming selection have the St. Louis Rams’ dream scenario playing out. The team would very much love to address both the safety position and the lacking depth chart at the wide receiver spot. While it looked like that may not be possible for a significant period of time in mock land, the tide seems to be turning the closer we get to the draft.
The Rams made a move that suggests they too are buying into the idea of filling both spots in round one by re-signing guard/tackle Chris Williams to a one-year deal. If you remember, the former first round pick for the Chicago Bears out of Vanderbilt signed on with the Rams midway through last year when the rash of injuries that hit their offensive line began to mount. Apparently the club appreciates the depth that Williams adds to their depth chart, and keeping him around also will put him in position to compete for a starting spot at guard during camp.
This also gives the club some added flexibility as far as the NFL Draft is concerned. Many pegged the Rams as considering a guard with one of their two first round selections, but that moves down a level on the list of needs now for the franchise.
As for the trend now in mock drafts, many have the Rams able to snag wide receiver Tavon Austin with the 16th overall selection. While I may not agree that this is the most pressing need for the team, I do concur that waiting until pick 22 would not allow them to secure Austin. If he is rated significantly higher than Keenan Allen or DeAndre Hopkins on the Rams’ big board, they would likely have to grab him early.
The 22nd pick varies depending on how highly Kenny Vaccaro is viewed in terms of personal rankings. Most projections have him gone by 22, but some still have him on the board at that point. If he is gone, Jonathan Cyprien is every bit the player and he showed that at the Senior Bowl. Some would argue that these two are basically the exact same player with nearly identical measurables and physical testing results from the Scouting Combine. Either way, the Rams would be thrilled to land one of the two.
Ideally, this scenario would play itself out for the Rams and General Manager Les Snead would look like a genius for signing Williams to solidify the depth along the offensive line ahead of time. Irregardless of the eventual layout of the draft, the Rams have made a savvy signing to add depth to a less than fortified offensive line. Look for the draft to be a continuation of what has been a terrific offseason thus far for the franchise.