2014 NFL Draft: Breaking Down St. Louis Rams’ Options With 2nd Overall Pick

Rams

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This May, when the St. Louis Rams more than likely have the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, they can thank the Washington Redskins.  Once again, they’ll continue reaping the rewards of the trade that sent the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Redskins for three first round picks and a second.

How has the trade worked out?  Depends on who you ask, largely based on their opinion of Robert Griffin III.  There’s no denying, though, the Rams have built quite a talented young nucleus with the bounty of picks from Washington.

Who have they added as a result?  DT Michael Brockers, CB Janoris Jenkins, RB Isaiah Pead, OG Rokevious Watkins, LB Alec Ogletree, WR Stedman Bailey and RB Zac Stacy.  Aside from Watkins, all of those players are either starters or significant contributors for a still-growing Rams team.  Brockers, Jenkins, Ogletree and Stacy are all considered some of the best and brightest young stars in the league.

But they’re not finished yet. They still have the likely second overall pick this year, where they could go in a number of directions.  What are their best options?

There’s a good chance they’ll trade down.  GM Les Snead has shown he’s not afraid to trade down, and the Rams could pull in yet another huge haul by trading the second overall pick.  They could get, at minimum, two first rounders and a third, if not two first and a second. Quite a bounty of draft capital right there, of which they could use in a plethora of ways, essentially giving them the freedom to move wherever they want in the draft to get a player they crave.

Or they could stay put and use the pick themselves.

Likely candidates for the Rams at two are LT Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), DE Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) or OLB Anthony Barr (UCLA).

Matthews is the clearest cut choice.  He’s clear and away, at least in my opinion, the second best player in this draft behind Clowney.  Plus, he fills a huge need along the offensive line.  LT Jake Long is entrenched on the left side, at least for the time being, and there’s a gaping hole on the right side.  Matthews is talented enough to excel wherever you put him on the line, much like his father was (the legendary Bruce Matthews, a 14-time Pro Bowler).

Clowney doesn’t really fill a need because of the presence of Robert Quinn (who has 18 sacks and should win NFL Defensive Player of the Year) and Chris Long (32 sacks the last three seasons).  Both are under contract for the next few years, but it’s hard not to at least consider Clowney, just because of his once-in-a-generation physical skills.  What about trading Long and the $35 million remaining on his contract for some picks and plugging Clowney in?  Possible, though unlikely.

Barr is the other option, and probably the least likely. The Rams have a hole at one outside linebacker spot with Jo-Lonn Dunbar likely being let walk after the year.  Barr is more of a fit in a 3-4, but has the athleticism to play pretty much any position in any defense.  Regardless of which position he plays in which defense, he’s going to put pressure on the QB, that’s certain, and that’s a characteristic that can’t be overlooked in today’s pass happy league.

Overall, my bet is the Rams either trade down to target Ha Ha Clinton Dix (FS, Alabama), which would fill a big need, or stay put and take Matthews to help solidify the line.

It will be interesting to see how the Rams approach this in the weeks leading up to the Draft.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on Google+.

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