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Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Kiper mock 2.0: Thoughts on Rams

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mel Kiper's second 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: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois


Kiper's give: A relentless player who plays powerfully and locates the ball extremely well against both the rush and the pass, Liuget fills a need spot for the Rams. If (Julio) Jones still was on the board, I suspect St. Louis would target the receiver, but if he isn't and the Rams stay here, an interior lineman like Liuget offers much greater value than a reach on a wideout. I also can see the Rams going for an outside linebacker at this spot. Liuget has drawn more buzz from NFL folks, causing many to take a closer look. The reviews are very good.

Sando's take: Alabama's Jones, the player Kiper projected to St. Louis in his previous mock, was off the board this time. The Rams know they need to find additional weapons for Sam Bradford. That does not mean they need to gamble on a first-round receiver if the value doesn't seem right. Adding young talent to the defensive line would make sense because the Rams cannot count on veterans Fred Robbins and James Hall to continue producing at a high level for years to come. The team needs to prepare for life without them at some point in the future. Adding a starting interior defensive lineman to the rotation could help extend Robbins' career while taking pressure off the linebackers and creating more favorable matchups for Chris Long on the outside.