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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Kiper mock 4.0: Thoughts on Rams

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mel Kiper's fourth mock draft Insider for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason.

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 selection I'm sticking with from the previous mock, Liuget is a relentless player who displays leverage, power and the ability to locate the ball well against both the rush and the pass. He fills an immediate need at defensive tackle. I said before that if a receiver were to fall to this position, I think St. Louis would jump, but their position of biggest need doesn't offer a sensible value matchup right here.

Sando's take: Adding a physically dominant wideout should remain a top priority, but how likely would it be for a rookie receiver to become such a force? Conventional wisdom says there's no chance the Rams will have a shot at Georgia's A.J. Green, the most coveted receiver in the draft. I could see the team drafting a defensive lineman at No. 14 even if Alabama receiver Julio Jones were available. Kiper has Green and Jones going among the top six. As for Liuget? The Rams could feel good about continuing to build a defensive line that exceeded expectations in 2010, but lacked something in the middle even with Fred Robbins enjoying a very strong season. The Rams have struggled drafting defensive tackles over the years -- Claude Wroten, Jimmy Kennedy and Damione Lewis come to mind -- but their current leadership did not make those mistakes. In fact, the Rams have drafted only one defensive tackle, 2009 fourth-rounder Darell Scott, since general manager Billy Devaney arrived. That trend should change during this draft.