With the Houston Texans shaking up everyone's draft boards via the first pick of the 2014 BRB Mock Draft, the Rams (represented by grandmasteroz) now make the first of their two first round picks.
With the second overall pick in the 2014 BRB Mock Draft, the St. Louis Rams select Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina.
"Thanks, Texans!" should be the first words out of the mouths of every Rams fan. Although Sammy Watkins would have been the pick had he been here, St. Louis can jump for joy for being able to pick the Clown. In the NFC West, the theme is defense, defense, and more defense. #2 is too high for a safety and a CB this year, and with Watkins gone, it really comes down to 2 positions- do the Rams take an OT or do they take Clowney/Mack?
I ruled out OT because the Rams could pick up a starting caliber OT with their next pick at #13. Resigning Roger Saffold let them get him at a cheaper price, and he can still start at LT. A draft pick at OT would play RT, at least for a year or two. It would be nice to upgrade Saffold and swing him to play RT, but there are other tackles that can do that adequately without wasting the #2 pick. The offensive line and WR corps need upgrades, but there is enough depth at WR (and another first round pick!) for these positions to be added later while still drafting impact players.
Although the Rams' defense isn’t bad, they could use improvement. Their secondary isn’t as good as it should be (although losing Innegan is addition by subtraction), giving up 345 yards a game through the air last year. The run defense is good, in the top 10, only giving up 109 yards a game. But where they really suffered was the lack of sacks, recording only 36 last season, good for 25th in the league. Even the lowly Texans had more than that.Pairing Clowney opposite of Robert Quinn will give St. Louis a very fearsome front four and should go a long ways towards helping the secondary look better this coming season.
There are also financial reasons that Clowney makes more sense for the Rams than to just trade down, or to reach for a CB/S. Chris Long (whom Clowney would replace on the left side) is due $13.2 million in base salary next year (via Spotrrac) with a $14.9 million cap hit. That is a lot of money for someone who only compiled 8 sacks and is heading into his 8th year. Although I wouldn’t expect Long to get cut due to his dead money hit (over $17 million), this pick signals the beginning of the end for Long’s career in St. Louis.
I thought long and hard about taking Khalil Mack here, as putting him next to James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree would give the Rams a fearsome LB corps that could rival the best in the NFL and give the NFC West absolute fits. But in the end, Long’s enormous contract and the talent of Clowney proved to be the deciding factors.
With that, BricAM and the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock. That pick is due to me no later than 7 p.m. CDT this evening.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts on Clowney to the Rams?