St. Louis Rams GM Les Snead already has two first-round picks to work with in the 2014 NFL Draft, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he traded down in order to snag three first round picks and get out of the unfavorable No. 2 spot. Since the Rams don’t need a franchise quarterback due to their faith in Sam Bradford and aren’t in the market for a pass rusher either, it makes much more sense for the Rams to swing a deal with a QB-needy team. That’s exactly what the Rams do in Erik Lambert’s latest 2014 NFL Mock Draft on NFLMocks.com, which you can read here, but I disagree with what the Rams do after trading down (with the exception of the decision to select Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, which is almost an obvious move at this point for the Rams with the 13th pick).
Lambert wisely has the Rams trading down from the No. 2 spot, but it’s interesting to see that he has the Atlanta Falcons trading up to the second slot in order to pull South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney off the board. Anyway, the Rams are able to trade down, but they fall all the way down to the 11th pick. That puts them out of range to pick up Sammy Watkins, who is clearly the best wide receiver in the draft class and is a special talent. I know most people are leery about the Rams using another top ten pick on a wide receiver due to the Tavon Austin pick last year, but past results shouldn’t dictate future outcomes and that kind of illogical reasoning could lead the Rams to miss out on a top prospect at a position of major need (WR).
Even if the Rams trade down too far to pick up Watkins, who would greatly help their team, they still had plenty of good options with the 11th pick. While I’m not against taking Jake Matthews with the 11th pick due to his incredible talent, I’m not sure how on earth Matthews would ever fall out of the top ten (especially looking at how valuable tackles were in last year’s draft). Additionally, the Rams don’t need to spend their first pick on an offensive tackle, because they already have a good tackle duo in Jake Long, whom they invested heavily in last offseason financially, and the underrated Joe Barksdale.
No, the Rams should have drafted a cornerback like Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, because their CBs are a mess. Drafting a WR like Marqise Lee or even Mike Evans (or whichever non-Watkins player you prefer) would have made more sense from a need perspective than Matthews. While I realize that Matthews is a talented player at a premium position, it’s not worth taking him (tackles can bust, you know) and bypassing other needs.
Discussing Rams draft strategy is often difficult, but I think the Rams need to trade down until they can feasibly take Sammy Watkins as late as possible (therefore getting the top WR and also getting another very valuable pick in the process whilst trading down from the unfavorable second pick) and then take Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. I think we can all agree that not only is Clinton-Dix the top safety in the class, but he’s a no-brainer pick at 13 for the Rams, unless if he is surprisingly pulled earlier by a team that is very high on Clinton-Dix’s talent (that’s not an impossible event).