Day three of any draft is generally going to focus less on starters, but a team with as many needs and as much turnover as the Rams have should be able to find gems – and use them extensively in the season to come. Here is a quick look at the players added to Jeff Fisher’s stable:
Pick 96: WR Chris Givens, Wake Forest
If you’re wondering how a receiver with near-track-star speed (4.39 time in the 40 yard dash) and a reputation as being an accomplished route-runner dropped into the fourth round, here are two answers: sub-six-foot height and two ACL surgeries on your medical sheet.
Chris Givens has both of those negatives on his resume, but if you watch tape from his breakout 2011 season, he looks neither small nor gimpy. In this tape against Syracuse (provided by college tape enthusiast @jmpasq), we see Givens running crisp stop-and-go routes, shedding tackles, getting behind safeties, and at the 1:30 mark, taking a 1-yard pass and with a simple juke turning it into a 22-yard touchdown.
While some project him as a slot receiver, nearly all of his work in this game comes outside the hash marks. Givens plans on wearing the #17 last worn by Donnie Avery, and has an opportunity to realize the potential that was expected of the former Rams speedster.
Pick 150: G Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina
Rokevious Watkins is big. 6’4″, 330 lbs or more. And he’s versatile, playing left tackle, right tackle and right guard for the Gamecocks in 2011, in what happened to be their best season ever. And he’s been tagged with the “undisciplined” label in draft previews, making him the latest project pick for Jeff Fisher’s veteran staff.
Watkins comes from Steve Spurrier’s pedigree, following in the footsteps of players as divergent as Kenyatta Walker (Tampa Bay’s version of Alex Barron) and Cooper Carlisle (an eleven year veteran who has missed only one start in his last seven seasons). As a tackle, he may draw Kenyatta comparisons (hence, the “undisciplined” label), but as a long-armed, big-bodied guard, a young Carlisle might offer a nice blueprint.
This pick came courtesy of the Rams’ trade-down gamble in the second round. So the question that bears watching is this: is the team better off with Isaiah Pead and Rokevious Watkins? Or should they have stayed and taken a high-round outside linebacker like Mychal Kendricks?
Pick 171: PK Greg Zuerlein, Missouri Western
Do chicks still dig the long ball? If so, we’d welcome an outbreak of slim-fitted Greg Zuerlein jerseys in the Edward Jones Dome. Because Zuerlein can apparently pound the long field goal with remarkable accuracy. He hit 9 of 9 from 50 yards out this season, and finished the season with 21 consecutive made kicks.
Zuerlein, who immediately made Josh Brown expendable (he was cut the following day), put his skills on display at Missouri Western’s Pro Day, drawing an assemblage of scouts to see “perhaps the country’s best kicker.” The double-take from a Rams scout after one long-legged boot is priceless. Hopefully to be echoed by legions of Rams fans for seasons to come.
Pick 209: LB Aaron Brown, Hawaii
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks praises Brown’s speed and athleticism and pegs him as a “special teams dynamo” for the Rams. He shows a never-say-die effort in the attached touchdown-saving forced fumble. His rap sheet (Brown was arrested earlier this season for his role in a bar fight, tweeted Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch) adds another element of “danger” to a dangerous draft by Jeff Fisher.
Pick 252: RB Daryl Richardson
Richardson can run a little, and possesses “quality physical tools” in the words of NBC Sports’ Evan Silva. That’s good enough for me for the final pick of the draft.