It looked for a while like the St. Louis Rams could get lucky in the 2013 NFL Draft and wind up with the top player in the entire class sitting there for them with the 16th overall pick. That player is guard Chance Warmack who may not be the most glamorous to come out in recent memory, but his on-field performance is worth far more. Even though some (including myself) believe Warmack is the best draft eligible prospect this year, he could get beyond the top 10 picks. That could pose an interesting dilemma for a team loaded with draft choices for the future like the Rams.
What most general managers like most about Warmack is his unabashed ability to be what he is regardless of outside opinion. That type of quality in a person is rare, but in a football player, it may be outright unprecedented. There’s no doubt that being a guard is a position where one gets used to be overlooked, but Warmack doesn’t seem to shy away from that. In fact, it seems that massive blocker may actually embrace that role as he said: “I’m not a glamorous person. Look at what I’m wearing. I love it, though. I love being big and mean. That’s what I like.”
Guards in general are not often considered first round options for NFL teams let along top 10 selections. This year features two such prospects, however, as Jonathan Cooper is nearly level with Warmack in the eyes of many scouts. Rams GM Les Snead expressed his fondness for both guys in the trenches saying: “Both of those players, they’re getting talked about for a reason. It’s not by chance. They’re good players.”
While most believe the Rams must improve their offense during the upcoming selection, upgrading the guard position would go a long way toward doing just that. Quarterback Sam Bradford was under siege from all angles last season, but the Rams were particularly vulnerable to blitzes up the middle. Adding a solid insulator to the interior offensive line would greatly aid Bradford in the passing game and whoever is carrying the ball in the ground attack.
Before penciling in a wide receiver or safety to the Rams in round one, it might be worth considering one of these top two guards. As GM Snead says, they aren’t in the early first round conversation by accident. These guys are the real deal, and both of them could easily be making multiple Pro Bowls before it’s all said and done at the next level.