First impressions: 2012 Rams draft

April, 29, 2012
4/29/12
1:00
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First impressions on the St. Louis Rams' performance in the 2012 NFL draft:

What I liked: The Rams added 10 players, including a league-high six among the first 96 selections. More than any team, they were in position to get quantity and quality, a luxury won when the team traded the second overall choice to Washington before the draft. And with four first-round selections waiting over the next two drafts, the Rams should continue getting younger and more talented under coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead.

Question marks: The Rams twice possessed a selection within the top six overall picks, but they emerged without any of the roughly 10 highest-rated non-quarterbacks in the draft. That was the price of moving down to acquire additional selections. It's not a knock on the Rams' strategy. I think they did the right thing. But if Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd becomes a superstar while Brian Quick struggles, the price could be high for quarterback Sam Bradford and the organization.

Trending: No team with Fisher as a head coach had ever used a first-round pick for an offensive lineman. The trend continued in Fisher's first draft with the Rams. The strategy will be for new line coach Paul Boudreau to coach up the existing tackles, notably Jason Smith on the right side. If that does not work, expect the Rams to consider using one of their two first-round choices in 2013 for an offensive tackle, putting Fisher's streak to the test.

Veteran put on alert: Josh Brown. The Rams told the veteran kicker he'd be released after the team used a fifth-round pick for Greg Zuerlein of Missouri Western. "We felt like this was going to be a need," Fisher told reporters after the draft. "We need to upgrade the position, so we couldn’t pass on this opportunity." Brown was generally good for the Rams, but there were some deflating misses from inside 50 yards when every point was precious last season.

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