MockThree is steamrolling forward like a ... well, like a steamroller. Sorry, it's late on a Friday and my metaphor bank is about empty. And as we enter the meat of the draft, the Rams war room had a mission to add some serious beef to the team.
Round 3: In for a penny, in for a pound.
With the 78th pick in #MockThree, the #Rams select John Moffitt, G, Wisconsin.
In round two, the Rams war room deviated from its original mission and made an aggressive move to secure the future of our running game, drafting Mikel Leshoure. The only problem? The Rams had almost no inside running game last year behind our offensive line, especially after John Greco fell out. (What happened to Greco? That is one of 2010's great unsolved mysteries.)
Only two guards were taken in the first round -- no surprises in Mike Pouncey and Danny Watkins -- but another four flew off the board in round two, starting a little run and putting the Rams in a dangerous spot. It was either grab our guy now, or depend on capricious fate to either return Greco to us healthy, or open the gates to free agency so we could land a blue-chip replacement like Logan Mankins.
Fortunately, the run on guards subsided and Moffitt fell to us, which made the decision pretty easy. We also considered Will Rackley, but Moffitt had the benefit of playing on a dominant and punishing Wisconsin line against superior competition, and is seen as more complete and ready to start than Rackley, who has pass protection issues.
Moffitt is known as a powerful straight-line blocker who is quick to engage and hard to shake off. He enjoys finishing his blocks in the run game, and is tenacious and instinctive in pass protection. His weakness, though, is a lack of nimbleness that prevents him from delivering those second-level blocks that were so important to the Pat Shurmur swing-pass offense. We believe that will be less of a concern under Josh McDaniels.
Round 4: Return of the Fear Factor
With pick 112 in #MockThree, the #Rams select Jeron Johnson, S, Boise State.
After our pick in Round 3, another huge run began -- this time on safeties, with possible Rams targets Jaiquawn Jarrett, Deandre McDaniel, and CB/S hybrid Marcus Gilchrist among those on our draft board that quickly disappeared. But left waiting for us was a pair of intriguing opposites at strong safety: UNC ball hawk Da'Norris Searcy and punishing Boise State tackler Jeron Johnson.
This decision was not so easy, as both could come in and contribute; it really boils down to projecting the direction that Spagnuolo wants to take the deep middle of his defense. Knowing that he likes to play both his safeties close to the line, and expects them to be as involved in the run game as the pass, and watching how rarely he freed Oshiomogho Atogwe to "do his thing" as a defensive center fielder, the answer became clear.
While Searcy could be a very nice replacement for Atogwe, his skills might not get put to full use in the Rams backfield. An enthusiastic and productive layer of the lumber like Jeron Johnson, though, will always have a home in a Spagnuolo defense. And just imagine if both he and Jerome Murphy get regular duty patrolling the lanes ... crossing route receivers will beg for mercy.
And I like that idea. A lot.