2014 NFL Draft: St. Louis Rams’ Seven-Round Mock 1.0
Mocking All Seven Rounds for the St. Louis Rams
It’s hard to say anything negative about the way the St. Louis Rams have attempted to resurrect the franchise via the draft under the watch of head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead. This duo has harvested talent in the NFL Draft capable of immediately contributing at the professional level and gotten the most out of the majority of their picks.
What’s been holding the Rams back are some of the typical things that derail young, aspiring teams such as ill-advised penalties or mental lapses. The defense went for stretches last season in stuffing the run repeatedly only to get gashed then on three plays that ultimately cost them the game.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said about a pass defense that really regressed after a great first season with rookie contributors stepping up large. Janoris Jenkins had a sophomore slump in 2013 while the injury bug kept rookie safety T.J. McDonald on the shelf for an extended period of time.
All of these things are lessons learned for the league’s youngest roster two years running, and there’s no question the Rams will look to continue to add to their mental archive of experience this coming season. After two straight years with middling records, another impressive haul in the draft could be the push this team needs to become true contenders in 2014. There are needs in the secondary as well as in the trenches on the offensive line, but St. Louis has the draft ammunition to make the necessary changes to take that next step.
Though the Rams seem likely to be moves and shakers in this year’s draft with plenty of trades both up and down in their future, this mock draft doesn’t factor in the wild trade market due to its unpredictable nature. That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get an accurate depiction of what the Rams’ desires are in terms of need and player targets in the upcoming draft.
So let’s take a look at this full seven round mock draft for the Rams.
Round 1, No. 2 Overall -- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
It may seem like total overkill to add Jadeveon Clowney to a pass rush with Chris Long and Robert Quinn already, but if the Rams can’t find a trade partner it must be done. This kid is a once in a generation type pass rusher with freakish athletic talent and off the charts intangibles for his position. Just thinking about both Clowney and Quinn on the field together is goosebump-inducing.
Round 1, No. 13 Overall -- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Cortland Finnegan is as good as gone, and the Rams will need to find another corner to fit in with Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson in 2014. Justin Gilbert is the best in this class, and finding him still available at No. 13 overall would be a pleasant surprise for St. Louis. His 6-foot, 200-pound frame would give the Rams’ secondary some much-needed physicality that it’s currently lacking.
Round 2 -- Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The Rams stole Alec Ogletree last year at the end of Round 1, and if they can nab Ryan Shazier in the early-to-mid Round 2 area in 2014 it would be another case of larceny. The knocks on Shazier are a lack of ideal size (6-foot-2, 230-pounds) and his inability to shed blocks, but those seem like some of the same criticisms thrown at Ogletree a year ago. Shazier is a rangy athlete who is great in coverage and has a nose for the football. Adding him to the linebacking corps with James Laurinaitis and Ogletree would make the Rams a real handful on defense.
Round 3 -- Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
This is a case of stock down for Cyril Richardson, but the Rams would be thrilled to snag him with their third-round selection. At a massive 6-foot-5, 348-pounds there are obvious questions about him staying in shape, but the Rams shouldn’t hesitate to add some much-needed bulk to their interior offensive line. Injuries have been a theme up front for St. Louis the last few seasons, and Richardson would be an immediate asset for depth and a potential starter down the line.
Round 4 -- Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
He may not be the biggest safety at just 5-foot-11, 197-pounds, but Terrence Brooks certainly has all of the intangibles required to excel at the next level. As a former cornerback, Brooks has some tremendous instincts and the ability to read the quarterback’s eyes from the center field position. With closing speed to make the plays he reads and the athleticism to go along with it, Brooks would be a great partner in crime with last year’s third-round pick T.J. McDonald as the safety duo for the next decade with the Rams.
Round 5 -- David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Though he was playing in a less complex offense than he will see at the pro level and against much more vanilla defenses, David Fales has the makings of a cerebral surgeon under center. He’s a bit on the short side for an NFL QB at 6-foot-2 which will push him down some draft boards and bring out the doubters, but he has more than adequate size to get the job done. A ridiculous 72.5 percent completion rate in 2012 regressed to only 64.1 in 2013, but that’s because his team was 11-2 in 2012 and just 6-6 this past season. Fales has the arm to sling it all over the field, and he could be a perfect developmental QB to groom behind Sam Bradford next season.
Round 6 -- Jay Bromley, DT, Syracuse
With a terrific first step and great acceleration to get into the backfield, there’s no wonder why Jay Bromley piled up an impressive 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss with Syracuse last season. Many of the critiques on Bromley cite issues that could be easily fixed with coaching like playing with his pad level too high or not using proper hand placement. There is clearly potential with this young man when he’s on his game, and putting him on the inside next to Michael Brockers would be a terrific addition for the Rams.
Round 7 -- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
Brian Quick just hasn’t panned out as the big-bodied target that the Rams envisioned when they drafted him, but L’Damian Washington could provide some serious competition for the former second-rounder. Even though he will be chosen in the draft’s final round, the only thing holding Washington back is his poor route running and a tendency to make too many body catches. Both of these habits can be eliminated through coaching, and at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, he would be a terrific addition to a receiving corps lacking much size. Tack on his supposed 4.4 speed and this kid could turn out to be a late-round gem.