NFL St Louis Rams

2014 NFL Draft: Ranking St. Louis Rams’ Top 5 Needs

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Draft Needs for the St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams NFL Draft
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the St. Louis Rams finished at the bottom of the NFC West, but considering how loaded their division is, they realistically never had a chance. The Rams went 7-9, but were never serious contenders because they are in the toughest division in the entire NFL. The Rams are certainly a team on the rise, and with plenty of currency in the 2014 NFL Draft, they have a chance to take the next step in 2014.

In the upcoming draft, the Rams not only have their own first round pick (13th overall), but they own the rights to the Washington Redskins' first round pick (2nd overall) from the Robert Griffin III trade. The Rams are in a great position to add impact talent at the beginning of this draft that fill the needs on their roster.

The Rams have made it clear that they will be sticking with former first overall pick Sam Bradford as their quarterback. Only time will tell if this is the right decision, but the organization has made it obvious that they fully believe in Bradford as their QB. Because of this, taking Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles with the 2nd pick is off the table.

Most consider defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to be the most talented prospect in this draft. While there are concerns about his work ethic, Clowney is an athletic freak who has Hall-of-Fame upside. With the Houston Texans picking first and having an obvious need at QB, Clowney very well could be available for the Rams with the second pick. That being said, the strength of the Rams' roster is at DE, with Chris Long and Robert Quinn being the best duo in the league.

The Rams have bigger holes to fill than DE and they are not going to take a QB that early. Trading down and getting a better value on their selection not only seems possible, I think it is very likely. I am sure that the Rams are already working the phones to gauge interest on the second overall pick. It is hard to pin-point who it will be, but I imagine that a team will overpay for the pick in order to land Clowney or one of the top QBs.

The Rams are definitely in a position of strength, as they will have multiple early picks in a deep draft. St. Louis must come out well ahead after the draft if they wish to keep pace in their division. There is plenty of talent on this roster, but they do have key needs at certain positions that must be filled. Here are the five biggest draft needs for the Rams.

Daniel is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @D_Schmelzer, "Like" his Page on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Cornerback

Kyle Fuller NFL Draft
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Just yesterday, the Rams released cornerback Cortland Finnegan because he simply was not living up to his contract. They still have a nice duo of Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson at corner, but they severely lack depth. I would be surprised to see them take a CB in the first round, but they need to take at least one eventually.

Potential Targets (Projected Round):

Kyle Fuller (2-3), Marcus Roberson (2-3), Pierre Desir (2-4) and Ross Cockrell (4-6).

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4. Offensive Guard

Cyril Richardson NFL Draft
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams struggled on the offensive line last season, and they need to address the position in the draft. The interior of the offensive line was bad, and most of the players at the position are old. The Rams simply need to add some talented players inside. They are unlikely to add to the position early in the draft, but they will surely make it a priority at some point.

Potential Targets (Projected Round):

Cyril Richardson (2-3), Dakota Dozier (2-3), Jon Halapio (3-5) and Chris Watt (5-7).

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3. Wide Receiver

Mike Evans NFL Draft
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams have some nice talent at the Wide Receiver position, but none of them are established. Tavon Austin was very explosive at times last season, but he is more built for the slot. Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis all showed flashes last season, but they were way too inconsistent. The Rams need to find Bradford an outside WR with legitimate number one ability. Luckily, this is a deep WR class throughout.

Potential Targets (Projected Rounds):

Mike Evans (1), Kelvin Benjamin (1-2), Odell Beckham (1-2), Jordan Matthews (1-2), Donte Moncrief (2-3) and Brandon Coleman (3-5).

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2. Offensive Tackle

Greg Robinson NFL Draft
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Long was solid at left tackle for the Rams last season, and Rodger Saffold was not terrible. That being said, there is certainly room for improvement. Head Coach Jeff Fisher has said that Saffold is probably better suited as a guard, so it seems likely that moves inside sooner, rather than later. If the Rams are not able to trade down from the second pick, most believe that they will take one of the top offensive tackles. They could draft somebody to play the right side, and who could eventually end up as Long's replacement.

Potential Targets (Projected Round):

Greg Robinson (1), Jake Matthews (1), Taylor Lewan (1) and Morgan Moses (2-3).

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1. Safety

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix NFL Draft
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams really struggled at the safety position last season. T.J. McDonald will likely return at one safety spot, but the other will be completely up for grabs. I think the Rams will be targeting the top players at the position with their 13th overall pick. This is an obvious position of need, and the Rams are in a perfect spot to fill the need.

Potential Targets (Projected Rounds):

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (1), Calvin Pryor (1), Jimmy Ward (1-2), Ed Reynolds (2-4) and Terrence Brooks (3-5).