With the selection of Graig Cooper as Mr. Irrelevant, MockThree is officially in the books and the Rams war room breaks into exhausted cheers.
With a 16-hour draft clock and the vagaries of interacting with 31 other war rooms, there has been little sleep in our "smoke-filled-room" over the past six days. (In fact, that "smoky" smell emanates from a combination of the beef jerky, barbecue chips and Kaldi's coffee that has been fueling our draft efforts.)
Now that the dust has settled, here's a recap of our draft efforts:
The draft got off to a bit of a stumble out of the gate, as our dream scenarios fell one by one and we were left with the fourth option on our board, Corey Liuget. But while we expressed some not-so-private frustration at the time, Liuget was on our board for a reason -- he's very quick off the snap, very polished with his technique, and able to get to the quarterback. He'll be able to come in and contribute in Spagnuolo's defense from day one.
Ironically, each of the War Room members had our own favorites for this spot, some more loudly than others, but Liuget was the one guy we could all agree on as a compromise pick. He's sort of the "BLT and fries" pick on the menu -- guaranteed to be good, but you probably won't brag about it.
Tim led the way with this pick, jumping on the running back option far sooner than some of us might have. As perhaps the most educated guy in the room, Tim laid out his arguments for Leshoure like bricks of an impenetrable wall, blocking any objections with his logical masonry.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of going running back at this juncture was that it broke up a three-way battle royale over which of the group of second-tier receivers to cast our fate with. Van, Tyson and I each had our projected heroes (I liked Titus Young) and goats (and not Leonard Hankerson), not a one aligning with the other -- a common symptom of this group of misfit talents.
At this point, I put my foot down. Literally. As the rest of the room cast out notions and ideas, I removed my mud-encrusted boot and two-day-old sock, stepped up onto my chair and planted my gnarled, unpedicured, cheese-smelling, hairy-toed, 37-year-old foot onto the folding table that housed our big board. When you ask an oldster into the room as a "senior advisor," you have to be prepared for the worst.
"If we're going to re-commit to the run, we have to rebuild the interior," I growled, as shock waves of putridity assaulted my brothers in arms. "Now." There was no further argument, and the road-grading Moffitt was an obvious choice.
This pick was all Van. Perhaps tired of the mounting waves of concern about player safety, or just looking to inject a little danger into the defense, he advocated for a man who might literally kill someone on the field with his intense tackling ability.
With a growing Viking bloodlust in the room as he retold tales of Johnson's heroic exploits, the call to draft Jeron built to a roar until the pick was announced. I believe things were set on fire, though my memories of that night are a little hazy.
Round 5: Rams draft SDSU WR Vincent Brown
Though still just an apple-cheeked babe, the head of our War Room showed a cool head and sharp eye that were far in advance of his years. This was keenly on display in this fifth round, as the rest of us nursed our hangovers and our grudges and watched in amazement as Tyson plucked a fantastic value pick in Vincent Brown.
Brown is a player that was once in consideration back in the group of 2nd-round receivers, but whose star began to fade after a sub-par Combine 40 time, and the fickle pre-draft buzz moved on to flashy projects like Kentucky's Randall Cobb. But Brown is a guy that steady-handed scouts love, and Tim wasted no time in mining some valuable points to back up the pick: "In the last two seasons, Brown has averaged 17.3 yards a catch and 19.6 yards a catch. He’s posted a long of 30 yards or more in 14 of his last 19 games, 8 of which were over 50 yards."
This is one of the picks that really excites us.
Round 7: Rams select Appalachian State LB D.J. Smith
With no immediate prospect of signing any undrafted free agents, there was no such thing as a throw-away pick in the 7th round. And so we actively sought out useful players who could come in and fill needs, even after more than 200 top talents had exited the board.
We hope we've found a gem here in D.J. Smith, who former Rams scout Dave Razzano compares to small-school star linebacker London Fletcher. If anyone would know, it would be Razzano, who was with the Rams when Fletcher walked on and went on to start all 16 games of his rookie season.
Round 7: Rams select TCU DT Cory Grant
Tyson went back to an old favorite here, re-mining one of his late-round gems from Mock One, and providing Spagnuolo with a stout new weapon for the interior of his defensive line.
While Liuget profiles to be an eventual three-down replacement for the 34-year-old Fred Robbins, the beefier Grant should rotate in nicely in the opposite DT slot on first and second downs, filling the space vacated by Cliff Ryan.
We have to salute @EmPuLsE for running three of the most entertaining and insightful mock drafts of this silly pre-draft season, and for having the audacity to invite more than 100 twitterers to form up in to 32 war rooms for this epic session. Now, we put our mocks away and get ready for the real thing...