They targeted quite a few players from less notable conferences throughout the remainder of the draft, selecting talent from the Southern, Gulf South, Big Sky, Mid-America, Mountain West and Lone Star conferences (along with the Big East, ACC and SEC, again).
Brian Quick from Appalachian State was one such player. The receiver, selected in the second round, wasn't widely mentioned as a player the Rams would consider early.
"Many will use the small-school component of Quick’s resume to suggest he will have a much larger learning curve to adjust to the NFL," NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell wrote. "Again, another myth tossed around as if it's gospel. Watch any college wide receiver, especially one that played in a spread, and you will see limited routes."
That would include Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, the player linked most strongly to the Rams before the draft.
"In fact, studying both extensively on film, you can make the argument that Quick, who’s significantly bigger than Blackmon, is more naturally athletic," Cosell continued. "Quick is a very fluid and smooth athlete with excellent lateral quickness and deceptive vertical speed due to stride length. It’s not a stretch at all, when you analyze Quick’s physical and athletic attributes, to understand why the Rams selected him early."
Cosell's NFC West review touches on several early choices from the division. He explains why he thinks each selection made sense for the various teams, and why criticism is premature. He seemed to like the selections, although he did not project Seattle's Bruce Irvin or San Francisco's A.J. Jenkins as first-round selections in his mock draft, which listed Rams second-round choice Janoris Jenkins as a top-five talent.
Apologies, up front, for forgetting who passed along the link for Cosell's review. I'm counting on reading a reminder in the comments section. Thanks much.