Holding two picks at the turning point of the first round, who will the Rams target? No one knows, of course, but something approaching a consensus is emerging among the mock draft community.
I surveyed a dozen mock drafts that have been released in the past week, and two players have been mocked to the Rams more than any other: Alabama guard Chance Warmack and Cal receiver Keenan Allen. Each has been mock-drafted for us five times. Meanwhile, Texas safety Kenny Vacarro (four times) and Alabama tackle DJ Fluker (three) have been popular selections as well.
Of these players, Warmack is perhaps the least likely to be there for us. Somehow, the wide-girthed guard has managed to make quite a brand of himself, even going so far as to try to ignite "Warmacking" as a national trend. No mock draft has him slipping past the Rams; seven of the twelve I surveyed have him as a top ten pick. (The legendary Cowboys personnel evaluator Gil Brandt has him going fourth overall to the Eagles.)
While Warmack is the star, the consensus around Keenan Allen's position at the head of the receiver class may be the most subject to change. In each of the drafts that mocked him to us, he was the first WR off the board. But other receivers such as Cordarelle Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins, Robert Woods or even Tavon Austin will be knocking on the door, once Combine numbers come in and the tape-grinders have their say.
Here's a chart of picks by position, and the table of each mock's picks for us, after the break.
|Mock Draft||Rams Pick 16||Rams Pick 22|
|Charles Davis / NFL.com||G - Chance Warmack||WR - Keenan Allen|
|Walter Football (Jan 16)||G - Chance Warmack||WR - Keenan Allen|
|Dan Kadar / SBN||G - Chance Warmack||WR - Keenan Allen|
|Shane Hallam / Draft Countdown||G - Chance Warmack||WR - DeAndre Hopkins|
|Josh Norris / NFL.com||G - Chance Warmack||S - DJ Swearinger|
|Rob Rang / CBS Sports||G - Chance Warmack||TE - Zach Ertz|
|Dane Brugler / CBS Sports||OT - Lane Johnson||S - Eric Reid|
|Daniel Jeremiah / NFL.com||OT - Lane Johnson||S - Kenny Vaccaro|
|Albert Breer / NFL.com||WR - Justin Hunter||OT - DJ Fluker|
|Scott Wright / Draft Countdown||S - Kenny Vaccaro||OT - DJ Fluker|
|Mel Kiper / ESPN||S - Kenny Vaccaro||OT - DJ Fluker|
|Bucky Brooks / NFL.com||OT - Eric Fisher||S - Kenny Vaccaro|
|Matt Miller / Bleacher Report||OT - Dallas Thomas||WR - Keenan Allen|
|Gil Brandt / NFL.com||RB - Eddie Lacy||WR - Keenan Allen|
Of course, if all mock drafts looked the same, there wouldn't be much point. So let's talk about the outliers a little bit:
DeAndre Hopkins over Keenan Allen? I spent some time watching film on Hopkins this weekend. Expect a full writeup this coming week, but I see some Torry Holt qualities in Hopkins that I can get excited about. He isn't nearly as polished a route-runner (an almost impossible standard to hold someone up to), but the way he creates separation is impressive.
DJ Swearinger? Several mocks had Vaccaro off the board before the Rams could get him; Norris' mock was the only one that had Les Snead picking from his "Plan B" column. Here's his explanation: "Swearinger, who some might consider to be a second-day prospect, might end up going a little lower in the top-50 range, but few safeties offer the same combination of physicality against the run and range in coverage."
Eddie Lacy? Gil Brandt is one of the godfathers of draft analysis, who served as the Cowboys' chief talent scout during the Tom Landry era, and has been employed as a "draft expert" ever since. It's fair to say he knows a lot of things that we don't. But does he know something in particular about the Rams and Steven Jackson's contract situation? His mock offers no commentary, but the pick itself makes a loud pronouncement that he sees a new era coming.