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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Kiper mock 1.0: Thoughts on Rams

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mel Kiper's first mock draft Insider for 2011 serves as a good conversation starter for NFC West fans looking forward to April.

I'll continue with a look at his plans for the St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 14 overall choice.

14. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Kiper's give: When they drafted No. 1 overall last year, many people thought the Rams could be looking at wideouts within the top 5 of this year's draft. But their great improvement has them further down the board. Good thing for them, Jones offers top-10 talent at a bargain in this spot. Big and physical, Jones showed a more refined game this past season, eliminating drops and making catches all over the field from every formation. A perfect fit to grow with Sam Bradford.

Sando's take: Kiper's reasoning makes sense. The Rams do need to add weapons for Bradford. That was obvious throughout the 2010 season and particularly when the Rams failed to make game-altering plays with a postseason berth on the line in Week 17. Jones is listed at 6-4 and 211 pounds. He projects as a big-play threat with the speed St. Louis badly needs for its offense. Under Kiper's scenario, Jones would be the second receiver drafted, trailing only Georgia's A.J. Green. I would have a hard time arguing against this choice on the basis of need. It's a bonus for the Rams if Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery return to previous form following season-ending knee injuries.