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NFL St Louis Rams

2014 NFL Draft: St. Louis Rams’ 5 Dark Horse First-Round Targets

St. Louis Rams Under the Radar First Round Targets

Greg Robinson Auburn
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2nd and 13th picks in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams could go in many different directions. Greg Robinson, Sammy Watkins and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are the players who most draft experts have them selecting in mock drafts. While all three prospects would be great fits in St. Louis, there are always many surprises in the NFL Draft. Here are 5 unexpected first-round draft targets for the Rams.

5. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan NFL Draft
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan Michigan
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

If the Rams do not take Robinson, I could see them targeting Taylor Lewan with the 13th pick or in a trade down scenario. Lewan is a talented offensive tackle who has the footwork and athleticism to handle LT at some point. He ran the fastest 40-yard dash for an offensive lineman at the combine with a time of 4.87. Lewan is a great run blocker, is just as impressive against a pass rush and has the toughness needed to play offensive line.

4. Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles NFL Draft
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4. Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles UCF
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the Rams have said that they are committed to Sam Bradford, if they took a QB early in the draft, it certainly would not be the first time a NFL team was dishonest. With a very strong arm, consistent accuracy and great leadership ability, Blake Bortles is considered by most to be the top QB prospect in this draft. It may not be likely, but I would not be shocked to see Bortles end up in St. Louis.

3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel NFL Draft
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel Texas A&M
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Envision this scenario. Clinton-Dix is off the board, and Johnny Manziel starts to slide. With their original target not available, the Rams will have a tough decision to make. His incredible playmaking skills and immediate ability to become a strong face of the franchise would make Manziel a tempting 13th overall pick for the Rams. They say Bradford is their QB and I believe them, but there are scenarios where they would have to consider a QB.

2. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Calvin Pryor Louisville
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Calvin Pryor NFL Draft
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams need to solidify the safety position in this draft. Clinton-Dix is the obvious target, but if they do not have a chance to select him, Calvin Pryor would be a nice consolation prize. Pryor may be a bit of a reach at 13, but I could see it happening, as well as the Rams trading back and targeting him. Pryor is a very aggressive, physical and athletic safety who is risky, but has tons of upside as well.

1. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack Buffalo
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

1. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack NFL Draft
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Most think the Rams will do one of three things with the 2nd pick. Take Robinson, Watkins or trade back. Personally, I think QB is also an option (albeit unlikely), as is Khalil Mack. While the Rams do not have the need for a pass rusher, Mack is a very athletic player who can play many different roles on defense. He is a fantastic pass rusher, has impressive instincts and is great against the run. There is always room for a player like Mack.