- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Mel Kiper Jr. is back with his second 2013 NFL mock draft for the first round.
We're running through the projected picks for NFC West teams in reverse order. St. Louis is next up. The Rams have two picks in the first round: their own (16th overall) and one acquired from Washington (22nd).
Kiper's give: The Rams can afford to go a few different ways here because they have that other first-round pick. I think the offensive line has to be a priority at one of these spots. Johnson is a steady tackle who upgrades the team on the right side immediately and has the ceiling of a very good NFL left tackle. I've included snippets from Kiper's analysis before offering my own thoughts.
Sando's take: The pick makes sense from a need standpoint even though Jeff Fisher's teams have never used a first-round pick for an offensive lineman with Fisher as head coach. Rodger Saffold is the only long-term starting tackle on the roster. He's had a hard time staying healthy recently and could have the flexibility to play another position on the line. Barry Richardson, Wayne Hunter, Joe Barksdale and Ty Nsekhe are the other tackles on the roster. The Rams did a good job functioning in the absence of better offensive linemen. They need better players at the position, however.
22. St. Louis Rams: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Kiper's give: The Rams lock down some blocking help, then get a wide receiver who can help them immediately. That would be a productive first round. It's possible I've worried too much about how well Allen will run, because aside from what should just be a pedestrian 40 time, he can do everything else well.
Sando's take: The Rams will know by the draft whether potential free agent Danny Amendola figures into their future and at what price. They have an emerging big-play threat in Chris Givens. They figure to get more from Brian Quick this season. The Rams’ perceived need for help at wide receiver could be larger than their actual need. Still, the team could use additional offensive playmakers. Allen stands 6-foot-3, which could help him in a division featuring physical cornerbacks such as Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Allen grades out well as a competitive player with no fear making tough catches over the middle. The Rams could use those traits.