Print and Go Back NFC West [Print without images]

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Analyzing McShay mock: Rams

By Nick Wagoner

In each of his first four mock drafts, ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has offered his take on what each team, including the St. Louis Rams, would do in the first round come May 8.

On Thursday, McShay offered something a little different, providing his opinion on what he would do if he had to play general manager for all of the NFL's 32 teams. He's been pretty consistent in his selections for the Rams in his four projections, but that doesn't mean all of those picks are the same as what he would do if he was in charge. Or does it?

In the case of the Rams, McShay's choices for what he would do are the same as what he has projected for them. That means taking Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson with the No. 2 overall pick and using the 13th choice on Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.

As we've documented here on plenty of occasions, Robinson to the Rams makes plenty of sense. He's a powerful, dominant run-blocker who would fit what the Rams want to do offensively in every sense of the word. He is something of a project as a pass-protector, though, and Rams coach Jeff Fisher has strong ties to the Matthews family, which could potentially tip the scales toward Jake Matthews if the Rams opt to go with a tackle.

The Rams have expressed plenty of interest in Robinson, bringing him in for a pre-draft visit and he told reporters recently he has a private workout planned this week with the team. Clearly, there's at least some interest from the Rams' side.

While Fisher has said repeatedly his track record of not drafting an offensive lineman in the first round is not by design, I'm not totally sold the team will go that direction with this first pick even if a strong case can be made for it to happen. With South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney off the board, the decision figures to be difficult for St. Louis.

With the second of their two first-round picks, McShay has the Rams taking Mosley. To me, that pick would be something of a head-scratcher for the Rams. While Mosley is a good player and could certainly help complete the Rams' front seven, taking a player who likely wouldn't be on the field for all three downs at No. 13 doesn't really match need with value.

It's one thing to be interested in a linebacker such as Buffalo's Khalil Mack, an elite prospect who you simply find a place for and know he can make an impact even in limited downs. But Mosley isn't that level of prospect and the Rams have much greater needs than adding a third linebacker, especially after re-signing Jo-Lonn Dunbar to a two-year contract.

To me, if the Rams do go offensive line with the first pick, they'd be much better addressing their needs in the secondary, be it a cornerback or a safety with the 13th selection. Taking a linebacker here would be a bit of a curveball, but if that's the pitch the Rams want to throw here, there are other positions, quarterback included, which could be more enticing.