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Saturday, February 12, 2011
Mocks have Rams taking receiver early

By Mike Sando

Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones might as well drop by St. Louis Rams headquarters to pick up a complimentary jersey.

Multiple mock drafts have him catching passes from Sam Bradford for years to come.

Todd McShay's second and third mocks have Jones heading to St. Louis. Mel Kiper's first mock agrees (additional mocks pending). Rob Rang's first and second mocks offer no dissenting opinion.

The draft analysts know what we know -- St. Louis lacks sufficient weapons for Bradford -- and they're determined to send a top wideout the Rams' way. It makes sense, but a lot can happen before St. Louis uses the 14th overall choice.

The Rams' general manager, Billy Devaney, entered the NFL in 1990. His teams have never drafted a receiver in the first round. The Rams drafted Donnie Avery with the 33rd choice in 2008, the earliest one of Devaney's teams has used a choice for a wideout.

The Rams' new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, drafted a receiver 22nd overall (Demaryius Thomas) while making the personnel decisions with Denver last season. The Broncos also used third- and fifth-round choices for receivers during McDaniels' two-year stint with the team. The Broncos' top three receivers last season -- Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal -- were drafted between the 33rd and 124th overall choice.

The chart shows Rang's first-round mock projections for NFC West teams, with his latest picks in the right column.