The St. Louis Rams missed out on the top wide receivers 2012. General Manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher weren’t going to let that happen again as they traded up to get West Virginia wide out Tavon Austin with the 8th overall pick.
Austin was rated by most as the best overall wide receiver in the draft. He was 2nd in the nation with 114 receptions last season, had the 8th most touchdowns (12) and finished 11th in yards with 1,289 on the season. He is quick and elusive and many scouts compare him to Percy Harvin or Randall Cobb. The thing to watch will be how he adjusts to taking big hits from larger NFL defenders. At 5’8 and 174 pounds, size is not one of his strengths. Some scouts also labeled his hands as “good, not exceptional”, saying that he would sometimes let hot passes through his hands and into his chest. Austin was also known for getting much of his yardage on shallow crosses and off of fly sweep or “touch passes”. I don’t view that as a major issue for the Rams, since he will be filling the void created by the departure of Danny Amendola. Paired with Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and the newly acquired Jared Cook, the Rams now seem to have plenty of options for Sam Bradford.
After trading down from 22 the Rams war room had to be delighted with the players left on the board. Safeties Matt Elam and Jonathan Cyprien were still available. However St. Louis opted to select Georgia linebacker Alec Ogeltree with the 30th overall pick. Ogletree is an explosive safety turned inside linebacker. His coverage skills may have been the best among the linebackers in the 2013 class. His speed and athleticism makes chasing down ball carriers one of the best parts of his game. However, the former Bulldog had a bad habit of overrunning a lot plays between the tackles and didn’t show the ability to recover well. Ogletree also struggled with 2nd level blocks in the 3-4 system at Georgia. Still, many project that he will have no problem transitioning into a 4-3 and could become a three-down player if he cuts down on wasted steps.
I’m not the only one excited about the picks either as one Rams legend and a few current players tweeted their feelings on the picks.
Rams Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk:
The #Rams are making moves.
— Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) April 26, 2013
Wide receivers Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and cornerback Trumane Johnson react following the selection of Tavon Austin:
Couldn’t be more excited about the pick! — Chris Givens (@CG1three) April 26, 2013
Defensive end Chris Long and punter Johnny Hekker after the Rams took Ogletree with the 30th pick:
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this last pick. A commitment to our defense being DOMINANT
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) April 26, 2013
— Johnny Hekker (@JHekker) April 26, 2013
In addition to picking up Austin and Ogletree the Rams ability to restock on draft picks after giving up a lot to move up is worth noting. After sending the 16th, 46th, 78th and 222nd picks to Buffalo in exchange for their 8th and 71st selections, the Rams were able to trade down and add to their arsenal, picking up the Atlanta Falcons 30th, 92nd, and 198th picks for the 22nd pick and a 7th rounder in 2015.
After all the trading the Rams have six picks remaining. St. Louis will make the 71st, 92nd, 113th, 149th, 184th and 198th selections before the draft ends, plenty of picks to address needs at safety, running back and the offensive line.