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Wednesday, January 18, 2012
2012 Kiper mock 1.0: Rams thoughts

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mel Kiper's first mock draft Insider for 2012 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason.

I'll conclude with a look at Kiper's plans for the St. Louis Rams, who hold the second choice.

2. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St.


Kiper's give: There's a clear value question here, because I think St. Louis could leverage this position to trade down for more picks for 2012 and into the future, and then still target Blackmon perhaps a few spots later. But if the Rams can't find a dance partner for a trade, Blackmon still represents precisely what this offense needs. It should be noted there are a number of teams drafting behind St. Louis that need an elite wide receiver.

Sando's take: Jeff Fisher will put his stamp on this draft class. Trading down makes the most sense given the Rams' many needs. Fisher wants to emphasize running the ball, protecting the quarterback and forcing turnovers. All coaches value those things, of course, but Fisher focuses more on them. Some offensive-minded coaches might be more inclined to talk about quarterback play, for example. Fisher's Titans twice used first-round picks for receivers, taking Kevin Dyson 16th overall (1998) and Kenny Britt 30th (2009). Adding a receiver early in the draft carries obvious appeal for the Rams. They appear less likely to re-sign Brandon Lloyd now that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has left for New England. Fisher's Titans and Houston Oilers picked among the top 10 overall three times. They chose Vince Young third (2006), Adam Jones sixth (2005) and Steve McNair (1995) third. Fisher was not the ultimate voice in personnel, however.