If there is one thing I enjoy as much as mock drafts, it has to be top ten lists. Since there is a major surplus of the former, I thought I would take a run at the latter for this week’s entry.
While this is likely to change based on free agency, this month’s Scouting Combine and Pro-Day performances, I tried to identify the Top Ten players most likely to be selected by the Rams with their pair of 1st round draft picks.
#10 – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
While he may be the player (of these ten) least likely to be available when the Rams pick, his stock seems to be slipping due to health concerns. There are also thoughts that his workout performances may not “wow” teams so it is not out of the realm of possibility that he could fall to #16 overall.
#9 – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Many will point to Jeff Fisher’s track record of not drafting offensive linemen in the first round, but if Chance Warmack is gone before #16, Cooper may very well be the best-player-available at #22. The Rams offensive line must be upgraded, particularly at LG and RT, and Cooper would be a great start.
#8 – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The odds of the Rams selecting a receiver in the first round will be heavily influenced on whether or not Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson are brought back. Patterson, while still quite raw, may be the first receiver off the board because of his tremendous upside. While he wouldn’t be my first choice as we already have a physically gifted but raw receiver being developed (Brian Quick), the need for playmakers on offense puts Patterson in play for the Rams.
#7 – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Rams GM Les Snead has talked about the need to add weapons for Sam Bradford, and while most people assume that means a play making wide receiver, it could very well be in the form of a tight end. Eifert fits that mold, especially as a red zone target, and is also a capable blocker.
#6 – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Perhaps better suited for the middle or weak side, where the Rams already have veterans entrenched, could be viewed as a fit for strong side LB as well by the team? If he falls to #22 overall, he could easily fit the bill as best-player-available at that point in the first round. Considering how much nickel defense is played in today’s game I wouldn’t spend such a high pick on a strong side linebacker, but that doesn’t mean the Rams wouldn’t consider Ogletree.
#5 – Keenan Allen, WR, California
Allen is quite the polarizing figure amongst draft analysts. Some compare him to AJ Green while others view him as a high-floor, low ceiling type of player who is unlikely to develop into a true #1 wideout. His stats don’t jump off the page but he has never had the benefit of great quarterback play. His stock could rise with a great Combine performance, but in any case he should merit serious consideration for the Rams if he is available and other likely targets like Warmack and Vaccaro are off the board.
#4 – Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Like Eifert, Ertz would represent another way to add “weapons” outside of the WR position. Ertz is less of a blocker but at 6’ 6” would represent a fantastic red zone target. Many mock drafts have him potentially sliding to the middle of the 2nd round, but with the growing emphasis on the position within NFL offenses, that would seem increasingly unlikely.
#3 – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
If not for the probability that he could be off the board before the Rams pick at #16, Warmack would be #1 on this list. He is easily the lowest risk player on this list but that doesn’t mean his ceiling is also low. Many would suggest that offensive guard is not a high value position and therefore would not warrant a first round pick. On the other hand, high quality offensive line play makes the quarterback, running back, and wide receivers that much more effective.
#2 Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
While Warmack may be the safest O-line pick in the draft, Johnson may represent the most upside. A fast riser in most mock drafts, Johnson could be a strong fit for the Rams in what is considered to be a weak class of tackles. Depending on his workouts and interviews he could easily represent the best-player-available at #16.
#1 Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
With free safety being my number one need for the Rams to fill this offseason and Vaccaro being the top rated player at the position, he would be a natural fit for the Rams with one of their first round picks. Adding athleticism to that position is critical considering the matchups with Kaepernick and Wilson four times per year. He may also not make it to #16, but if he does and Warmack is already off the board, Vaccaro would be my top choice.