With the 47th pick in #Mockthree, the Rams select Mikel Leshoure, RB – Illinois.
A few in the Rams’ #Mockthree war room cheered and a few in the war room looked puzzled. If you were to ask Steven Jackson he would have told us to fill other holes this earlier. However, the last two years, the Rams have missed out on trying to supplement Steven Jackson’s work load, having Shonn Greene and Jahvid Best stolen from under their noses. So instead of waiting to secure this need, the war room took an ultra-aggressive approach by stealing Mikel Leshoure at 47.
Leshoure wrapped a productive career at the University of Illinois by setting a school record in touchdowns in a season. He finished tied for sixth on the Illinois career-rushing list with 2,557 yards just ahead of current NFL running backs Pierre Thomas and Rashard Mendenhall. He is a big, strong, power back but he has homerun ability. On his way to nearly 1,700 yards and 6 yards a carry last season, Leshoure put up longs of: 42, 35, 29, 39, 55, 70, 50.
When addressing this position, I think it is best to look for just a guy that is not just a change of pace. I think it is important to give SJ39 a breather for whole series at a time. Could you imagine having a fresher Steven Jackson entering the 4th quarter? How about a two-headed monster in Leshoure and Jackson wearing down defenses all game?
I love the pick. For the third year in a row, the Rams would have added 1st round talent from the Big 10 that slipped to the second round. It’s worked pretty well the last two years.
Editor’s note: There was a contingent in the Rams’ MockThree war room that was dead-set against drafting a running back in the first two rounds. However, from a “best player available” standpoint, Leshoure was hard to object to very strenuously. Tim’s proposal of being able to find a three-down replacement for SJ for whole series at a time helped turn the tide; Jackson appears to struggle to get his motor going when he’s coming off the field every third play or so. But give him five touches in a row and he is still capable of wicked damage.
In retrospect, the decision to draft Liuget in the first round is starting to look like a smart buy, given the continued run on defensive tackles that saw potential value picks in Muhammad Wilkerson and Marvin Austin come off the board before the close of the first round. However, with so much talent at the position, Oregon’s Stephen Paea slipped past the Rams here at pick #47, going to Denver three picks later. Would Paea have passed the Rams’ tight medical scrutiny? We can’t say for sure.