2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers the St. Louis Rams Should Target

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2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers the St. Louis Rams Should Target

2014 NFL Draft St. Louis Rams
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After a 7-9 finish last season and their ninth consecutive year without a postseason appearance, the St. Louis Rams and coach Jeff Fisher are on the hot seat. In Fisher's two seasons with the Rams, the team has failed to produce a winning record. The Rams will have serious questions to face this offseason. Is Sam Bradford the answer as the Rams' franchise quarterback? Will Zac Stacy be able to be the full-time back in St. Louis? Finally, the most important question of all, will the Rams reach the postseason in 2014?

Two streaks of three consecutive losses dampened any chances of the Rams competing for the division title in the NFC West. For the Rams to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, the team must draft well, especially in the later rounds, to improve their 21st ranked offense and their 13th ranked defense.

The Rams changed part of their coaching staff this offseason as first-time defensive coordinator Tim Walton was relieved of his duties. Former assistant coach Gregg Williams takes over the position. With the future uncertain as rumors suggest the Rams could move out of St. Louis, the on-field product will have to produce in 2014. The Rams will also have several player issues they must address this offseason. Tackle Rodger Saffold and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar will be free agents this offseason.

Most analysts grade what happens in the first to three rounds, but teams become great with what they do in the later rounds. Just ask the Seattle Seahawks last year, who had several key defensive players who were drafted in the fourth round or later with the Super Bowl MVP being drafted in the seventh round. For the Rams, the franchise has made some solid picks in the later rounds of the draft. Players like Deacon Jones, Larry Brooks and Pat Haden all were late-round picks who became great players for the Rams, so the team has had success finding diamonds in the rough.

Looking at this year's draft prospects, I identified five late-round sleepers that the Rams should target during the 2014 NFL Draft. Each of these players are going to be day three picks at least with each having a skill-set perfect for St. Louis. Any of them would play a crucial role for the organization in the near future.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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5. Russell Bodine, OL, North Carolina

Russell Bodine
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams' interior offensive line has a lot of age and lots of players who are inconsistent. Starting center Scott Wells and starting right guard Harvey Dahl are both 32, and starting left guard Chris Williams, who flopped with the Chicago Bears, is 28. The Rams will surely address the tackle position early in the draft with Saffold not coming back and left tackle Jake Long coming off injury. The interior line needs to be addressed here, and a good pick for the Rams late in the draft is North Carolina's Russell Bodine.

Bodine has experience playing mostly at center but has some time at guard. With the Rams drafting Barrett Jones last year to be the next center, Bodine can be an upgrade at guard over the likes of Williams and an aging Dahl.

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4. Aaron Colvin, DB, Oklahoma

Aaron Colvin
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams only had four cornerbacks on their roster last season, and after Cortland Finnegan was lost for the season, that number went down to three. The Rams need more depth in the secondary to compete with the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Seahawks just to not finish last in the NFC West. A good late-round pick who can pay dividends is Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin.

When healthy, Colvin was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection, which in a passing league is impressive. Colvin was also a three-year starter at a powerhouse program in Norman. Colvin tore his ACL in this year's Senior Bowl, but given the history of recent players like Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III bouncing back from their torn ACLs, Colvin should be ready to go for whatever team he plays for in Week 1.

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3. Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU

Cody Hoffman
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams will also look to find a bonafide wide receiver to complement Tavon Austin early in this year's draft. However, the Rams need more than one receiver to help Bradford and an average offense. Another slot receiver would help Bradford and could allow the Rams to use Austin in more unconventional ways.

In BYU's Cody Hoffman, the Rams would get a solid receiver who has had productive years in each of his four seasons with the Cougars. Hoffman was a four-year starter for a program known for proficient passing offenses and great receivers like Austin Collie.

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2. Isaiah Lewis, DB, Michigan State

Isaiah Lewis
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Safety is another need for the Rams. With the team selecting T.J. McDonald last year, the Rams need a complementary player to shore up a good secondary. Drafting a safety like Michigan State's Isaiah Lewis can move McDonald to free safety, his natural position, and Lewis can play his natural position at strong safety.

While McDonald is a playmaking safety, Lewis is a tough run-support safety who is a thumper. Lewis was part of a secondary at Michigan State that was a major reason why the Spartans were so successful in 2013. Also, Fisher likes his players with an edge and a certain level of nastiness and aggression on the field.

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1. Seantrel Henderson, OL, Miami

Seantrel Henderson
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Character concerns have never stopped Fisher in the draft. In 2012, the Rams selected Janoris Jenkins who had plenty of character concerns, and just last year the Rams selected Alec Ogletree who also had character concerns coming into the NFL.

If the Rams decide not to address their tackle position early, a great candidate late in the draft would be Miami's Seantrel Henderson. Henderson certainly looks the part at 6-foot-7 and 331-pounds. The former Hurricane is an ideal right tackle who could have the potential to play on the left side with lots of coaching, but a talented player like this late in the draft is just too good to pass up.


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