They could have made it easy for me, my Bloguin brothers could. They could have ignored the "best player available" and addressed their many needs in the defensive spectrum, and let Julio Jones fall for two more days until I could submit my pick in the Bloguin Mock Draft this coming Thursday.
They could have, but they didn't.
With the tenth pick in the draft, Redskins Hog Haven selected the Alabama WR. And even if they had passed, Jones would not have fallen past the Texans at #11, says our old friend Mike Kerns from the Texans Tribune. Here's a full roundup of the picks so far:
- Carolina Panthers: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
- Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills: Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn
- Cincinnati Bengals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- San Francisco 49ers: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
- Tennessee Titans: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
- Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT, Southern Cal
- Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
With that trades down not allowed, where does that leave us? Looking for our own version of the "best available" talent, which will most likely fall on the defensive side of the ball. A quick roundup of candidates follows:
RB Mark Ingram - Alabama (Profile)
Realistically, this is the only offensive player left on the board that remotely fits a need for the Rams, and is also worthy of the #14 spot. CBS Sportsline's Rob Rang is among the scouts most bullish on Ingram, making comparisons to Emmitt Smith. Ingram is most often mocked to Miami, one spot after the Rams, but some have questioned whether he -- or any RB -- will be deemed first-round-worthy.
The big question here, though, is whether the Rams need Ingram badly enough to make this pick. Yes, Steven Jackson is approaching the age of statistical decline, but appears to be declining somewhat gently enough that finding a complementary player may be more of a priority than drafting his replacement. Moreover, with Bradford in the house, we are much more of a passing-oriented team. (The Rams' offensive line is adequate at pass protection but lousy in the run game, especially weak up the middle with none of Bell, Brown or Goldberg capable of prodiving a push of any sort.) A straight-ahead runner, even a versatile one like Ingram, might be wasted behind this line.
DE Aldon Smith - Missouri (Profile)
Smith could be a real possibility for the Rams after being skipped by the Texans. His raw skills as an edge rusher could be perfectly molded by coach Spagnuolo into a beastly successor to James Hall, making a fearsome tandem with Chris Long that in a short while could compare to the Colts' pocket-wrecking combo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. (Smith plays the role of Freeney in this comparison.)
There isn't much downside to this selection, but I expect the fine folks at The Purple Jesus Diaries to give Aldon a long look, with Ray Edwards heading out the door and Jared Allen searching for his lost mojo. (Hint: it was your ape drape, stupid.)
DT Corey Liuget - Illinois (Profile)
Liuget is becoming a popular "safe" pick in the post-Julio world, after being hyped by Mel Kiper in his second and third mock drafts. Last week, he was the Rams' selection (by Turf Show Times) in the SBN mock, citing his ability to slot right in as a "3-technique" player, able to play the run and pass equally well.
However, some doubt Liuget's ceiling, and in a class stacked with defensive line talent, could be considered a reach here. As far as talent currently on the roster, DT is a bigger need for the Rams than DE, but should we reach for a lesser player to fill that need?
Others strongly worth consideration:
- DE/DT Cameron Jordan - Cal.
- DE Ryan Kerrigan - Purdue
- DT Stephen Paea - Oregon
Dark horse candidates:
- DT Muhammad Wilkerson - Temple
- DT Kenrick Ellis - Hampton
- DE Adrian Clayborn - Iowa