The St. Louis Rams had eight picks in their arsenal heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. With needs at wide receiver, safety, running back and along the offensive line, Jeff Fisher and Les Snead could have taken the best available players and built for the future. However, the Rams front office did just the opposite, drafting a class that sends the following message to the NFC West and the league: we are ready to win, and win NOW.
The Birth of The Greatest Show on Turf 2.0?
It is probably a bit early to dish out that moniker, but Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has to be happy with what his front office hauled in. St. Louis traded up to land the drafts top rated wide receiver in Tavon Austin, picked up his teammate Stedman Bailey, found a power back in Zac Stacy and picked up some extra protection in Barrett Jones. Add those picks to the offseason acquisition of hybrid tight end Jared Cook and the Rams offense looks more explosive than ever.
Austin and Bailey were a dynamic duo at West Virginia, combining for 228 receptions, 2,911 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2012. Pairing those two with Chris Givens, Autin Pettis, Brian Quick, Lance Kendricks and the newly added Cook and the Rams could have one of the best young receiving corps in the NFL. Expect offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to open up things up this season with plenty of four and five wide receiver sets.
The selection of Barrett Jones may have been the most bemoaned by fans, who might have opted for a running back with the 113th pick, but this pick needed to be made. The two-time All-American played well at all five positions on the line. To go along with his national championships Jones won the Rimington and William V. Campbell trophies in 2012 and claimed the Wuerffel, Outland, and Jacobs Blocking trophies in 2011. The addition of someone with his skill set is especially important considering the age and health issues that have plagued center Scott Wells. This might not have been the “sexy” pick, but it is a great value pick for the Rams.
Defense Gets More Athletic
Rams fans will undoubtedly spend the next few weeks salivating over the new weapons that were added to Sam Bradford’s arsenal, but the Rams also did a great job of adding athleticism and talent on the defensive side of the ball too.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree may have been the most athletic outside backer in the entire draft. 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. Getting him with the 30th overall pick could be one of the best picks of the draft if he can become a three-down player in the NFL.
St. Louis also addressed major needs in the secondary, drafting hard-hitting safety T.J. McDonald and an explosive cornerback in Brandon McGee. McDonald is a physical, inside the box safety, similar to Bernard Pollard. He possesses solid ball skills and can knock down the high passes and the low throws as well. He also uses his length to stay off linemen and tackle running backs in traffic and swallow up receivers in the flat. His 6’2, 219 pound frame will make sure that he doesn’t get outmuscled on the line and that he can hold his own in jump ball situations as well.
McGee is quick. He displays great recovery speed and has strong hands. The former Hurricane plays loose and is capable of sticking routes over the middle or flipping and covering the sidelines on the deep ball. He should translate into a solid fourth option at corner for the Rams.
My Grade: A-
The bottom line is that St. Louis filled every need and added skill players on both sides of the ball. This draft has the potential to make the Rams competitive inside and outside of the NFC West. I believe the Rams had one of the five best drafts of any team in the NFL and anyone who grades them lower than a B+ needs to have their head examined.
How do you grade the Rams Draft?