NFL mock drafts: Five potential picks for the Los Angeles Rams

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 12:20 AM

Laquan Treadwell of Ole Miss: Future Los Angeles Ram?It’s well past time to count down the days until the first first-round NFL draft pick by a Los Angeles Rams team since 1994, so today LARams.net’ll just get right to looking at potential future Rams, as culled from the innumerable-yet-growing thicket of mock drafts online.

Of course, we can’t be sure just how many of these projections are even close, given that approximately 0.00001% of would-be Nostradami, a “group” essentially limited to noted NFL insider Adam Schefter, figured Todd Gurley would be the Rams’ selection in round one of the 2015 draft.  

But anyway. Here are five not-unlikely possibilities for Rams fans to ponder.

Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson – Of all the mock draft propagators out there, few are as prolific (and thus, by sheer numbers, contradictory) than blog networks like Bleacher Report and SB Nation. The latter at least put together an aggregated effort involving the entire roster of NFL writers; representing the Los Angeles Rams at this particular mock draft was Turf Show Times’ Joe McAtee, who deduced Alexander to be the selection at no. 15 overall.

By the halfway point, Alexander will likely be the proverbial “best player available” on the board and the Rams could see fit to fill the Janoris Jenkins-sized hole in the defensive depth chart. LARams.net digs the excellent blanket coverage Alexander showed in the college game and his tacking ability, should it translate well to the NFL, is a quality the Rams’ secondary has sorely lacked in recent years.

In fact, upon further consideration, the selection of Alexander feels like a nice decision indeed, despite a seriously weak offense – and just might make up for having to miss out on Trae Waynes last year.

Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama – Now here’s a bit of a weirdy from the mock-draft specialist site Walter Football; not only are the New Orleans Saints (drafting at no. 12) overtly interested in the big man and the Oakland Raiders (no. 14) explicitly in need at the position, but, as we all know, the Rams can’t really afford to address thinness of depth at their few spots (halfback, the front seven on D) already buoyed by star power.

Walter’s thinking, in part, runs as so:

…With Nick Fairley gone, there’s not much behind Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers. The latter will be entering free agency following the 2016 campaign, so Jarran Reed could step in as a starter in 2017.

A reasonable assessment to be sure, particularly as some analysts compare Reed’s skill set to that of Brockers (see the NFL-produced clip directly below), but last season’s NFL draft saw the Rams select four would-be starters plus Sean Mannion in the first four rounds. With three picks in the first 45 overall in ’16 and arguably five positions (OL, QB, WR, safety and probably CB) to be addressed before the regular season, LARams.net can’t imagine drafting a backup before, say, round five.

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU and Laquan Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss. CBS Sports’ Pete Drisco likes the former for the Rams, while Drisco’s colleague Rob Rang as well as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. in his post-combine mock are figuring on the latter.

True, there’s no denying that the Rams are suffering from a severe paucity of talent in the receiving corps, and both of these prospects are getting great buzz going into the draft.

All things considered, should Doctson or Treadwell still be available at no. 15, either would make a safe bet to have his name called by L.A. on draft day. (Treadwell may be the more likely, despite a quite good combine performance, due to the ugly injury which ended his 2014 season early.)

But does any first-round draft pick cause so much trepidation among a team’s fans as a wide receiver? In this day and age, most NFL followers are well aware of the difficulty of transitioning from this particular spot in the college game to the pros. For every “sure thing” living up to the hype like Amari Cooper, there’s a Kevin White who spends the season on the disabled list or an underwhelmer such as Devante Parker or a Nelson Agholor who … you get the idea.

Factoring in the dismal situation at QB leads the Rams fan into further pessimism now matter how much raw talent a first-round draftee might bring. Recent star WRs successfully transitioning into the pros immediately (Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins) have had the benefit of at least better-than-average talent at quarterback – and certainly far cries from the 32nd “best” passing game in the NFL.

Since one of these guys appears to be the most likely go-to, LARams.net’ll just keep fingers crossed as a hedge against mediocrity.  

Paxton Lynch, QB, MemphisAh, yes: The would-be franchise quarterback and potential star of a thousand “Hard Knocks” subplots – but LARams.net just can’t see it happening.

Seriously, even with Robert Griffin III joining Cleveland (giggle) to (presumably) take the Browns out of the running for a first-round QB, could the well-hyped Lynch go passed on by the 14 franchises selecting before L.A.? One could argue that only the San Francisco 49ers aren’t set at the position – despite the noises Jerry Jones is making in Lynch’s direction – and Jared Goff is the prohibitive favorite to be the first quarterback taken up.

In the home camp, we know that the glaring needs at several other spots must be addressed. Plus, the contract extension granted Nick Foles (Why, Les, why?), last year’s drafting of Mannion and the Rams’ low cap-space ceiling strongly imply another high-priced QB is not in the cards for this team.

So here’s perhaps a better (or at least sane) move for the Rams in lieu of drafting Lynch: Trading down with the New York Jets or, depending on the Kaepernick situation, the Denver Broncos.

Both are reportedly interested in acquiring a rookie QB and some established talent together with perhaps a second-round pick could well be had. This would likely mean missing out on Alexander or a top-tier WR prospect but, given this holey roster, a known quantity would fuel more optimism for the inaugural season of the Los Angeles Rams 2.0.

– written by Os Davis

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