The first round of the draft is a wrap, and UNC’s Robert Quinn is the newest St. Louis Ram. There were definitely some surprises, reaches, and drops in the first round. With that said, I’d like to take a look at some key prospects the Rams could possibly target with their second round pick, that would provide value while filling a need as well.
DE – Da’Quan Bowers
Yes, I know we took a defensive end in the first round, but we all know Spags loves his pass rushers, and Bowers is officially in full free-fall. Not even a month ago, several mock drafts had him going as high as number one overall, but concerns over health in his knee have him tumbling. Could the Rams double-dip at DE? I doubt it, but it would be an intriguing pick, despite his possible injury status. Think of it like this; let’s say Bowers = Julius Peppers, but injury cuts his career down to five years. Would you not spend a second round pick on 5 years of Julius Peppers?
DT – Stephen Paea
Paea could step in and immediately contribute at the defensive tackle position for the Rams. Gary Gibson was OK last year, and Fred Robbins is getting long in the tooth, so some depth is needed at this position. Paea offers great explosion and solid strength. He’s a little short for what you would like out of a one-gap or three-technique defensive tackle, but makes up for that with a relentless motor. Spags would enjoy having the flexibility that Paea and Quinn would bring to the defensive line.
RB – Mikel Leshoure
As everyone knows, the Rams need a running back. There should be plenty opportunities for the Rams to get one at some point in this draft, but my choice would be Leshoure, whom I believe could end up being the best running back in the draft five years down the road. Many think we need strictly a change of pace back.
I slightly disagree. If you were to read the reports about him, he’d actually remind you a lot of Steven Jackson in not only size, but running style. What Leshoure would allow the Rams to do is relieve Jackson of some of his early down carries, allowing him to play more on third-down/passing downs. Leshoure, like Jackson, brings a good combo of power and size. He’s a good interior runner who is hard to tackle, and always falls forward. He could provide relief to Jackson, and also be the back of the future.
CB – Brandon Harris
Harris was a borderline first round prospect, so he would be a solid pick if he lasted to the Rams in the second round. He lacks the size that Spags looks for in his cornerbacks, but I wonder if his talent exceeds that in Spags eyes. Harris has shown the ability to be a solid to shutdown cover corner while at The U. He has excellent burst, and also has the speed to recover. He is also a willing tackler. I wonder if the Rams like Aaron Williams of Texas better because of his size, but to me, Harris is the better cornerback prospect.
OLB – Martez Wilson
Outside linebacker is also a noted need for the Rams. Wilson would be able to step right in at either OLB position, and provide some speed to the linebacking corps (4.45 -40). He is fluid in the hips, which should make him sufficient in coverage, but his speed also helps him get to the quarterback on blitzes. He’s also a solid tackler and a good run defender. If drafted, I would put him at the weakside position. He’d be able to roam the field with Laurinaitis and be a tackling machine, while also collecting a few sacks a year.
If all five of these prospects were on the board when the Rams come on the clock, my pick would be between Brandon Harris and Mikel Leshoure. I would lean towards Harris because the draft appears to be deeper at RB than CB.