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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Sleuthing the draft with Rams GM Snead

By Mike Sando

St. Louis Rams general manager Les Snead recently joined ESPN's Colin Cowherd for a discussion on the recently concluded 2013 NFL draft.

Snead noted that the Rams felt vulnerable holding the 16th overall choice for fear they wouldn't be "jacked" about any of the players likely to be available with that pick. That was one reason the team traded up to get Tavon Austin.

Cowherd also asked Snead whether the team missed out on any of the players it really wanted. This tends to happen from time to time in a draft. It's refreshing when a GM acknowledges it the way Snead did in this conversation. Why pretend every draft goes 100 percent to plan when that almost invariably is not the case given all the variables at work?

"In this draft, there was one player where probably about four picks before I was like, 'Dang,'" Snead said. "The guys we did pick, they were targeted. But in every draft there's always one or two where you go, 'Ah, I can't believe it. I wish that wouldn't have happened.'"

Snead wasn't going to identify why player the Rams narrowly missed in this draft. We can narrow the list through some amateur sleuthing.

Snead previously said the first round went 100 percent to plan. The Rams traded up for Austin and hoped to get Alec Ogletree after trading back from No. 22 to No. 30. We can rule out those two picks.

The Rams also traded up in the fifth round to select running back Zac Stacy. We can eliminate from consideration the choices immediately before the team selected Stacy.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said the team was nervous that safety T.J. McDonald would not be available when the team picked at No. 71 in the third round.

"That was a 'hold your breath' pick, because we were a little bit nervous," Fisher told reporters after the draft.

We can eliminate that choice from consideration as well.

I'm guessing the team was targeting wide receiver Stedman Bailey with the second of its third-round selections. Bailey played with Austin at West Virginia. Receiver was a position the Rams wanted to address. No receivers were selected with the 12 picks preceding Bailey's selection. The San Francisco 49ers chose pass-rusher Corey Lemonier four spots before the Rams took Stedman. Seattle took defensive tackle Jordan Hill a spot before that.

That would leave the Rams' fourth-round selection of center Barrett Jones and fifth-round selection of cornerback Brandon McGee as more likely candidates, in my view.

Green Bay selected an offensive lineman, David Bakhtiari, four spots before the Rams took Jones. Offensive linemen Edmund Kugbila (Carolina) and Brian Schwenke (Tennessee) went off the board right before Bakhtiari was selected.

San Diego selected a corner four spots before the Rams took McGee.

The chart below shows the Rams' picks in the final row and the five players selected immediately before each one of them.

If the Rams missed out on only one player they really wanted and it happened somewhere on the third day, they had to consider themselves fortunate.