What a first year for Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. He has done a masterful job in rebuilding St. Louis is such a short time. He quickly put together an outstanding defense and he has a franchise quarterback in former top overall pick am Bradford.
Fisher continues to tool with the roster. The Rams seriously upgraded their last tackle position with the addition of another former top overall pick in Jake Long. Long says he's finally healthy. If that's the case he could be a huge asset for this Rams offense. St. Louis also added a potential terrific tight end in Jarred Cook. He teased Titans fans the past few years, making splash plays now and then for the Tennessee offense.
The Rams did lose some pieces to their offense, most notably running back Steven Jackson. For years he was just a baller in St. Louis and he was on some pretty bad teams. He will be missed. So too will be wide receiver Danny Amendola. The often injured slot man was Bradford's top target more times than not. St. Louis also lost another receiver in Brandon Gibson.
St. Louis has to land one or perhaps two safeties in this draft. Kenny Vaccaro, the top rated safety, should be available at No. 16 and there's a possibility he could be there at No. 22. If they wait there's a good shot that Eric Reid, Matt Elam or Jonathan Cyprien is still on the board with their second pick. It's a deep pool of prospects at this position where players like D.J. Swearinger, Shamarko Thomas, Earl Wolff, Bacarri Rambo, and Ray Ray Armstrong will all be available in the mid-to-late rounds.
2. Running Back
With Jackson moving on to the Falcons, Fisher would like to draft a big back. Many have Eddie Lacy pegged to the Rams with one of their first two picks. I think St. Louis waits until a little later in the draft to address this position. There are several bigger backs that could be had in rounds two, three or four in players like Christine Michael, Le'Veon Bell, Knile Davis and even Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore may not be ready to go this fall but if he can come back anywhere near where he was at South Carolina he could be a steal for the lucky team that drafts him one day down the road.
3. Wide Receiver
The Rams have two talented young receivers in Brian Quick and Chris Givens. But they need to continue to replenish this position, especially with the loss of Amendola. The ideal fit for St. Louis would be the electrifying Tavon Austin. Will he still be on the board for the Rams first selection? He would be an ideal slot guy for that offense and would jump start their kick return game. St. Louis could also elect to go for another outside guy and pretty much have their pick of the litter if they choose to grab a player at this position with their top pick. If they bypass wide receiver altogether in the first round they could address this need in the second or third round. If they miss on Austin for the slot two potential guys to watch for in the later rounds are Ace Sanders and Marquise Goodwin.
I have done several mock drafts over the past month or so and I few times I have had the Rams drafting Jonathan Cooper. He may be there at No. 16 but likely doesn't get by the Cowboys at No. 18. So if the Rams want to plug in a super guard prospect in the first round they need to grab him with the first selection. That means they likely miss on Austin. If St. Louis decides to wait on this position for later in the draft there are certainly a handful of quality prospects they could land in the mid-rounds. The addition of Long will be huge for the Rams but they can't stop there. They must draft an interior lineman.
5. Outside Linebacker
Unless a big timer at this position slides to the Rams early I see them waiting to grab an outside linebacker a little later in the draft. Zaviar Gooden, Sean Porter, Sio Moore, Chase Thomas, Lerentee McCray, and DeVonte Holloman are all OLBs that should be available in rounds two through five.
Jake Long (OT)
Jarred Cook (TE)