In my latest mock draft, I surprised a handful of people by selecting Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox as the sixth-overall pick for the St. Louis Rams. The common belief is that the Rams will select wide receiver Justin Blackmon if he is still on the board when the team picks, but that may not be the case.
St. Louis would be wise to pass on Blackmon, who is not the elite prospect that some may believe.
Not only is Blackmon smaller than he was listed in college, but his speed is nothing to get excited about. His size and speed being underwhelming is an issue, but that is nothing compared to how often Blackmon lets the ball get into his body. You want to see your receiver catch the ball before it gets to him. Blackmon does not to that and it is troubling.
The only way St. Louis should think about Blackmon is if they trade down for a team looking to move ahead of the Miami Dolphins for Ryan Tannehill. So if the Rams pass on Blackmon, who should they take? Easy. Dontari Poe or Fletcher Cox.
Poe is looked at by many as the top defensive tackle in the draft, so he would definitely be an option for the Rams. However, Fletcher Cox is a perfect fit for Jeff Fisher and the Rams defense, so he will definitely warrant consideration when St. Louis is on the clock.
Fisher has shown in the pass that he prefers versatile defensive linemen. He brought former Miami Dolphins Kendall Langford to St. Louis during free agency and he tried to do the same with his former player Jason Jones, who ultimately chose the Seattle Seahawks.
In Cox, you are getting a defensive lineman who can play both the three-technique and five-technique for Fisher along the Rams 40 front. It’s a perfect fit and could take the Rams defensive front to an entirely new level.
Every year there are players who get drafted a lot higher than people believe they will. Guys like Tyson Alualu and Jake Locker in the past and this year it could be Cox.
While there is still time until the draft kicks off, keep what you just read in mind. Blackmon is not the shoe-in for St. Louis like many would want you to believe. The Rams could very well look to trade down or draft a versatile defensive lineman. Both of those moves would be better for St. Louis than to reach on Blackmon.
When all is said and done, Blackmon could end up sliding out of the top ten — even being drafted after Michael Floyd. A lot can change between now and the draft, but this is the way currents are starting to flow.
Would Cox or Poe be a better pick for St. Louis than Justin Blackmon? Sound off in the comments section and vote in our poll.