All the talk about the St. Louis Rams and the 2nd overall pick has been getting a bit stale for me lately. Yes, there's the possibility the Rams take one of Khalil Mack, Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins -- they're all exciting! But what about the Rams 2nd first round draft pick at #14? If you haven't noticed, the Rams draft picks in the top 10 haven't exactly flourished. Dating back to 2008, the Rams have had four top 10 picks: DE Chris Long, OT Jason Smith, QB Sam Bradford, and WR Tavon Austin. Long has solidified himself as a solid defensive end. The other three? Jason Smith proved to be a bust and is currently out of the league. Sam Bradford had a solid rookie year but has struggled with injuries and inconsistency since then as well as a lack of weapons. The jury is still out on Tavon Austin -- he made some beautiful, big plays but for the most part wasn't noticeable on the field.
Where the Rams have really struck gold is in the teen picks of the draft -- in 2011 and 2012, the Rams had the #14 overall pick in the draft. In 2011, the Rams took DE Robert Quinn. In 2012, the Rams took DT Michael Brockers. Players taken between 11-15, from what I noticed, have the potential to be just as good as top 10 players but something small prevented them from being taken there. A few examples consist of:
- 2013: 13) New York Jets - DL Sheldon Richardson; 14) Carolina Panthers - DT Star Lotulelei; 15) New Orleans Saints - S Kenny Vaccaro
- 2012: 11) Kansas City Cheifs - DL Dontari Poe
- 2011: 11) Houston Texans - DE J.J. Watt; 15) Miami Dolphins - C Mike Pouncey
- 2010: 11) San Francisco 49ers - OT Anthony Davis; 12) San Diego Chargers - HB Ryan Mathews; 14) Seattle Seahawks - S Earl Thomas; 15) New York Giants - DE Jason Pierre-Paul
While people continue to talk about the Rams holding the 2nd overall pick, it's quite possible the true difference maker the Rams pick up could be at #13. Looking at the potential players who could fall to #13, the Rams could find themselves in pretty good shape with a lot of different options. Looking at the holes the Rams need to fill, both cornerback and safety come to mind very quickly. The players that come to mind right away are Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix, Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert, and Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard. Any one of those players would have a large impact on the Rams secondary and could make an impact right away.
While there are defensive players who could fit at #13, the Rams still do need some offensive help as well. The two players that come to mind are Michigan OT Taylor Lewan and Texas A&M WR Mike Evans. Now, this means that both Lewan and Evans would have to drop which may not exactly happen. Mike Evans could be the wide out the Rams need to help them get to the next level. The guy is a beast and has the tools to become a big play receiver for any team he gets drafted to. On the other hand, Taylor Lewan has red flags all over the place and if he falls to the Rams at #13, there's probably a good reason why.
There's plenty of potential wild card situations like one player dropping down the draft board who was expected to be taken in the top 10 or the Rams trading away their 13th pick for a player they like in the late teens or 20's. The Rams are in a unique spot where they have two first round picks for the second year in a row. For this team to be successful for not just this season but for the future, Rams GM Les Snead has to get this right and I believe he will. Since Snead has come in, he's pushed more right buttons than wrong and this is his time to shine. With the 2nd and 13th picks of the 2014 NFL Draft, Les Snead and the Rams are in a great position to improve this team and make them legitimate contenders for the future.