Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view as draft prospects pose for a group photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

2013 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams Still Need Receivers, Linemen

Yes: People are already trying to predict what the St. Louis Rams will do and when they'll do it via 2013 NFL Mock Drafts.

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NFL Mock Draft 2013: What Will Matt Barkley Do As A Rookie?

2013 NFL Mock Draft season is already upon us. Click here for more mock drafts, news, rumors, and analysis.


NFL Mock Draft 2013: What Could The St. Louis Rams Expect From Robert Woods?

Robert Woods is, like Justin Blackmon and Julio Jones before him, the consensus pick for the St. Louis Rams in 2013 NFL Mock Drafts. What could he produce as a rookie?


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Little Faith Shown In St. Louis Rams' Rebuilding Project

We've talked a lot, already, about the St. Louis Rams' typical moves in this early 2013 NFL Mock Draft season—most of the time, lately, they seem to pick Robert Woods—but there's one thing we haven't discussed explicitly: mock draft types seem to hate the Rams' rebuilding project. Sorry, Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, and company: The Rams keep drafting at No. 3 or No. 4.

And most of the time, at least, it's probably not because these guys expect Robert Griffin III to collapse in his rookie season for the Washington Redskins.

The Rams have a lot of weak spots—Sam Bradford's coming off a year in which he made no gains, and their league-worst offense was joined by a defense that was just as terrible—but they have plenty of reasons for optimism, too. The problem, I guess, with mocking them higher is that they just have too many unproven elements we haven't yet had a chance to get excited about. Things should change when it comes time for the Rams to have their periodic unexpectedly strong preseason; maybe then we can talk about a Rams team that's at least in the second half of the Top 10...


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Is This The Year Teams Stop Overdrafting Running Backs?

Disclaimer, for the purposes of anything I say about a 2013 NFL Mock Draft as it relates to running backs: Anyone who followed our mock draft coverage last year will already know that I’m not a fan of teams drafting running backs early in the first round. It just doesn’t make sense; they have short functional lifespans and they’re increasingly marginalized as impact players both by their decline in playing time as individuals and their decline in offensive playbooks. With that in mind—I might not be objective enough on the question to call it, but could 2013 be the year teams stop overdrafting running backs?

The reason I ask: Marcus Lattimore is the first player chosen in the latest 2013 NFL Mock Draft from WalterFootball, and he’s all the way down at No. 14—behind three quarterbacks and three more wide receivers.

This could just be an issue of draft strength at the position, but the amount of quarterbacks and wide receivers picked first speaks to the new reality of NFL offenses: Passing is the focal point, and it’s only going to look more like the focal point in the future.

More NFL Mock Draft news and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Arizona Cardinals Could Chase Quarterbacks If Kevin Kolb Falters

The Arizona Cardinals have been connected to quarterbacks since Kurt Warner retired, and despite landing big trade target Kevin Kolb in the 2011 offseason they're being connected again in the early 2013 NFL Mock Draft going. Kolb had a good half-season in 2011, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt, but he also missed much of the year after suffering a concussion—and this is the worst possible offseason for that. The Cardinals, in the meantime, are where they always seem to be, stuck somewhere between the kind of disaster that gets you a No. 1 draft pick like Matt Barkley and the competence that gets you into the playoffs. WalterFootball.com's most recent mock draft has them adrift at No. 11, where they get Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas.

The good news is that this quarterback class, though it isn't nearly as strong at the top as the last one, appears to have some interesting first-round depth. Landry Jones and Logan Thomas will both also be factors somewhere in the middle of the first round, and if the Cardinals end up there again they're unlikely to give Kolb the benefit of the doubt.

More NFL Draft news and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Draft Results: Dontari Poe, Quinton Coples Bookend Michael Brockers As Bust Candidates

Good news for St. Louis Rams fans after SB Nation's recent attempt to divine, through the 2012 NFL Draft results, just who's most likely to bust: It appears to be every defensive lineman but the one they chose, Michael Brockers. Dontari Poe, selected ahead of the Rams' first-rounder at No. 11 by the Kansas City Chiefs, gets Joel Thorman's pick, while Ryan Van Bibber chooses Quinton Coples, who went at No. 16 to the New York Jets. Brockers may have earned some less-than-stellar draft grades in terms of his ceiling, but it looks like his floor will allow him to avoid bust status—at least here before we've played any games...

Among Rams picks the most likely bust candidate seems like high-risk second-rounder Janoris Jenkins, who also happens to be their best breakout candidate. That kind of volatility, after all, is what you get when you have the chance to select a guy with Top 10 talent in the second round.

More NFL Draft news and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Matt Barkley, Landry Jones Will Compete For Round 1 Attention

Matt Barkley is the consensus No. 1 pick in every 2013 NFL Mock Draft I've seen so far, and that's likely to continue at least until the point when it begins to make sense to actually do 2013 mock drafts. Then articles like this one from Charley Casserly comparing him to fellow senior Landry Jones of Oklahoma might begin to have a little more pull on mock-draft-momentum, which right now seems a little stagnant.

Casserly, for his part, likes Jones's arm compared to Barkley's but thinks his delivery, with its too-low release and sloppy footwork, can't stand up to Barkley's vaunted NFL-readiness. That leaves Barkley looking like the No. 1 he's been from the moment he's been for complacent mock-drafters since he first announced he wouldn't participate in the 2012 draft, and Jones looking like a first-round quarterback with some problems to work out before he can start in the NFL—the Ryan Tannehill part of the first round, that is.

More NFL Draft coverage handpicked from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Offensive Line Helped Well-Stocked In The Middle Of Round 1

So far, 2013 NFL Mock Draft mavens have been giving St. Louis Rams fans the worst of all possible worlds as their implicit prediction for the team's 2012 performance. Not only have the Rams been choosing as high as No. 3, in the latest WalterFootball.com mock, the Washington Redskins, who owe the Rams their first-round pick after the Robert Griffin III trade, are generally going no lower than the middle of the pack. The good news: That's a pretty good place to find offensive linemen.

Take a look at last year's NFL Draft results, if you don't believe me; after Matt Kalil went No. 4 to the Minnesota Vikings another offensive lineman didn't go until Riley Reiff, a Top 10 talent in some eyes, went all the way at No. 23. Then David DeCastro, the best guard prospect in years, followed at No. 24, with Kevin Zeitler going at No. 27. Jonathan Martin, who had a mock draft bubble in which he went as high as No. 15 overall, didn't leave the board until the second round.

So no matter what the Redskins do in 2012, so long as they finish under or around .500, the Rams should be in good shape to take a top offensive line prospect in 2013. Which is good, since most 2013 NFL Mock Drafts have the Rams taking a wide receiver—hello Robert Woods—with their own pick.

More NFL Draft news and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Draft Results: Michael Brockers Key To St. Louis Rams' 2012 Plan

The St. Louis Rams' NFL Draft results might not have left you with the impression you were looking at a team that believed itself to be rebuilding, and if the interview with Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead Turf Show Times dug up is any indication, they honestly didn't. Michael Brockers and company are apparently part of a draft strategy designed to get this young team winning, unit-by-unit, as soon as possible.

Which works for me, at least theoretically. Certainly the two units the Rams addressed most directly in the draft and the leadup thereto seem solid now; this team's young defensive line could go up against any in the NFL if Brockers can develop with Chris Long and last year's first-rounder, Robert Quinn, and the secondary, anchored by big free agent Cortland Finnegan and big draft risk Janoris Jenkins, could be a major improvement on last year's porous, injury-prone construction.

But can a team win, unit by unit, when its offense is still in doubt? That's the question Brian Schottenheimer and his two new wide receivers will have to answer next year, no matter what Brockers does.

More NFL Draft news from SB Nation St. Louis:

  • Here's a complete look at the St. Louis Rams draft results, with links to more of our 2012 NFL Draft coverage.
  • I don't know what's going on, but people are already looking forward to the next draft. Here's our 2013 NFL Mock Draft coverage.

NFL Mock Draft 2013: New Mock Has Rams Targeting Robert Woods

Another May day, another 2013 NFL Mock Draft—and another draft scenario in which the St. Louis Rams are targeting one of their two most glaring needs, in this case wide receiver, that weren't totally addressed in a 2012 NFL Draft that didn't go as expected. WalterFootball.com has updated its far-off mock draft again, and this time they have the Rams taking Robert Woods with the No. 3 overall pick. (Hopefully that's by way of the Redskins...)

The Rams actually did a better job with their wide receiving corps than they did the offensive line in 2012, taking Brian Quick to lead off the second round and selecting Chris Givens later, but Robert Woods is one of the biggest names in the 2013 draft world here in 2012 and he's a popular pick for anybody in the range most mock draft types have the Rams choosing in right now.

Of course, all this depends on how Brian Quick performs in his rookie season—but right now I wouldn't complain about the Rams landing Woods, except inasmuch as it means they were one of the worst teams in football again.

More NFL Draft news and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: St. Louis Rams Have Less Obvious Needs, Too

The St. Louis Rams have some really obvious needs—needs they've had since before they ended up taking Michael Brockers with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft—and that's made their behavior in the average 2013 NFL Mock Draft a little more predictable than it might otherwise be. If Robert Woods is available wherever the mock draft writer has them finishing, they take a wide receiver to breathe down the necks of this year's picks, Brian Quick and Chris Givens; if he isn't available, they take whichever offensive tackle has leapt up the draft boards most recently.

This is all fine, and probably accurate, but the Rams do have other needs, as they demonstrated by taking Brockers in the first place. This is a team that won two games last season; they did it by underperforming in all the facets football has to offer. If Cortland Finnegan or Janoris Jenkins doesn't take, they could need a defensive back; if Isaiah Pead doesn't impress as an every-down back and Steven Jackson finally collapses, they could, unfortunately, draft a running back. All kinds of things could happen in the next year, though the thing I hope happens is that they just play really well and take a complementary player with, say, the 25th pick in next year's draft.

More NFL Draft news and analysis handpicked from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Which Quarterback Will End Up On Top Of Draft Boards?

Most 2013 NFL Mock Draft coverage is, here in May of 2012, more noise than signal, but it's clear that the draftnik community as a whole has settled on Matt Barkley, USC's quarterback and a possible Top 5 pick if he'd declared last season, as the consensus No. 1 overall pick for now, even if we don't know who will do the No. 1 overall picking yet. (Who, after all, would have guessed the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams as the prime competitors for that role in 2012?)

One thing, though, seems equally clear: Matt Barkley isn't Andrew Luck, and his place atop draft boards isn't nearly so immutable. If there's no Luck or Robert Griffin III anchoring this draft, it's equally true that Barkley's just one of a number of quarterbacks who could, with a great college season or the decline of a particular NFL team into the draft's top two or three picks, leap to the top spot in NFL Mock Drafts everywhere by, say, November. Mocking The Draft thinks Logan Thomas and Tyler Wilson might give him a run for the top spot on draft boards by the time it's feasible to really begin making them up.

More NFL Mock Draft coverage handpicked from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Your Worst Fears About Your Team Confirmed In Latest Mocks

There's a lot standing between us and next April—an entire NFL season and an entire college football season, however, are the main ones that make it difficult for anyone without Biff's sports record book from Back to the Future Part 2 to make an accurate 2013 NFL Mock Draft. What these things really do is confirm our worse fears about our favorite teams. Are you worried about the St. Louis Rams' wide receivers and offensive tackles? Guess what: Mocking the Draft has them taking two offensive linemen and a wide receiver in the first 36 picks next year, starting with No. 4 overall.

Their names—they're Tyler Lewan, Marquess Wilson, and top senior OT prospect Ricky Wagner—don't really matter. What's important is that the Rams needed wide receivers and offensive tackles, and they didn't address those needs with their first round pick in 2012, so less than a month afterward they're still on the minds of the draft-minded.

More NFL Mock Draft news and analysis from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Is Matt Barkley In Andrew Luck's League?

An easy answer to the question, sure to be debated for the rest of the year in 2013 NFL Mock Draft discussions, of whether Matt Barkley is as good as Andrew Luck: If Matt Barkley is as good as Andrew Luck, then Andrew Luck isn't as good as Andrew Luck. It is, after all, a little strange to imagine that last year's NFL Draft class might have had not one, not two, but three epochal, world-changing franchise quarterbacks if he'd gone back to school.

Most people seem to feel the same way—at least for now, with a full year of college football still to come and Luck and Robert Griffin III's rookie seasons still to come, but if you're looking for some examinations of the topic, here they are: In the National Football Post, after Stanford's narrow October win over USC, Wes Bunting noted Luck's physical superiority while lauding Barkley's NFL-readiness. Soon after, there was also Washington coach Steve Sarkisian's infamous pregame comments about Barkley, whom he suggested he would take ahead of Luck were he an NFL coach.

More NFL Draft coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Offensive Tackle Among Top Draft Prospects In 2013

St. Louis Rams fans and 2013 NFL Mock Draft early-risers take note: DraftCountdown.com has released its list of top senior prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft, and among them is Wisconsin offensive tackle Ricky Wagner, who's rated No. 9 overall. The Rams' need for offensive line help is well-documented, and if Jason Smith and/or Rodger Saffold struggle again in 2012—and the Rams have a Top 15 pick, something Jeff Fisher will hope to avoid—they could find themselves taking a player like Wagner in yet another attempt to clear the way for present quarterback-of-the-future Sam Bradford.

Wagner is really the only prospect on this list who makes a lot of sense for the Rams—it includes three quarterbacks, including consensus No. 1 Matt Barkley, along with several defensive backs and defensive linemen—positions the Rams have addressed in each of the last two drafts.

More NFL Draft coverage, handpicked by the editors at SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: What Will St. Louis Rams Do With Two 1st Rounders?

The St. Louis Rams' 2013 NFL Mock Draft position would be hard enough to predict in a normal year, but the Rams' 2012 draft did not produce a normal year: Les Snead managed to hook the Washington Redskins for three first-rounders and a second-rounder in exchange for the chance to select Robert Griffin III, and those last two first-rounders will come in 2013 and 2014. If Robert Griffin III and Jeff Fisher both have a less-than-stellar debut in 2012, the Rams could have two Top 10 picks.

So what will they do?

It's easy to say offensive tackle and wide receiver, and I'm certainly hoping about it from here in May. But if the Rams find themselves in a position to make two early picks and the talent isn't there at those positions, they shouldn't be afraid to go elsewhere—if they're making a Top 10 draft pick, drafting "for need" is an absurdity.

More NFL Draft coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Rumors 2012: St. Louis Rams Wide Receivers Should See Major Shakeup

The St. Louis Rams' wide receivers could have easily been mistaken, at times, for the St. Louis Rams' run-out-there-and-do-nothing guys, were it not for the media guide, so it shouldn't take an inveterate NFL rumor mill watcher to imagine that a major shakeup might be in order. Nevertheless: With the 2012 draft in the books, the Rams now have the personnel to make that shakeup, at least halfway.

Out: In this order, Danario Alexander, Austin Pettis, and Brandon Gibson are all potentially in trouble. Alexander's the best of the three of them, but he's been injured so frequently that the Rams might find it difficult to count on him again in 2012. Pettis is part of their big wide receiver shakeup from last year, but his rookie season was far from confidence-inducing, and he fell behind fellow rookie Greg Salas on the depth chart before Salas's injury. Brandon Gibson--well, he's Brandon Gibson. Unlike many Rams wide receivers, he won't embarrass the team, but the Rams are, for once, trying to avoid peaking at not-embarrassing.

In: Steve Smith seems like an out-of-town version of Danario Alexander, but the Rams are keen on him for whatever reason. Brian Quick is the future-No.-1 out of this group, but he's The Raw One, too, so Chris Givens will have to pick up some additional flack.


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Quarterback Controversies Are Complicated On Draft Day

Going into the inexplicably early 2013 NFL Mock Draft season, the St. Louis Rams have a lot of holes to fill, but they also have a major advantage: They already have a quarterback they're comfortable with. I'm increasingly convinced that needing a quarterback is the biggest hindrance to flexibility a team can deal with going into the NFL Draft.

There are two related, simple problems to deal with, both coming back to one inescapable fact: they're just really, really, really valuable. Quarterbacks are incredibly important, and if a good one is available you can't not draft him. More dangerously still: If a kind of good one is available, teams find it weirdly difficult not to draft them.

The clearest example in last year's draft was the Miami Dolphins' decision to draft Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill wasn't a great quarterback prospect, he just happened to be the third best available after a historic Top 2, which sent his stock higher in a tech-bubble kind of way.

So that's what the Rams have going for them, in addition to all those draft picks from the Washington Redskins' own experience of the quarterback bubble: More slack on Sam Bradford.


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Who'll Pick No. 1 Next Year?

This is the biggest question—and maybe the most ridiculous part—of the incredibly early 2013 NFL Mock Draft speculation going on all over the internet: Who will actually pick first? WalterFootball.com, the epicenter of all this pre-prognosticating, more or less admits it's guessing in its latest draft, when it suggests the Minnesota Vikings just because they might be interested in trading up to get Matt Barkley if Christian Ponder scuffles.

The question you're really asking, with something like this, is: Which team near the top of the 2012 NFL Draft picked badly enough to end up near the top of the 2013 NFL Draft? It's a tough one to answer, and one you hope the Rams won't be significant contenders in. Of course—they traded down and picked a defensive tackle, so they won't have the chance at redemption you expect from, say, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. If the Rams are going to stay out of the Top 5 or—could it be? Top 10 in 2013, it's going to be from the sheer quantity of picks they compiled, and not their No. 1, with all apologies to Michael Brockers.

More NFL Draft coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:


NFL Mock Draft 2013: Robert Woods Will Obsess St. Louis Rams Fans Next April

The St. Louis Rams and their fanbase have, for the last two drafts, been beguiled by top wide receiver prospects—Julio Jones in 2011 and Justin Blackmon in 2012. Neither one ended up a Ram, so it's no surprise that in early 2013 NFL Mock Draft speculation, USC's Robert Woods has become a popular target. A junior next season, Woods has already put up enormous numbers (with the help of their star quarterback, presumptive No. 1 Matt Barkley.) So: Will the Rams select Robert Woods if they're in a position to do it in 2013?

If that wasn't a rhetorical question—well, it depends. The Rams' last two draft classes have left them with two wide receivers, and their first shot at it, 2011's Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, was a qualified failure. They didn't produce enough to keep the Rams from drafting Brian Quick and Chris Givens even higher in 2012. If Quick and Givens produce, the Rams aren't likely to take a wide receiver when they're more likely to need an offensive tackle.

If one or both of them fails, though, and—perhaps more importantly—Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold finally stop disappointing, the Rams could be in the market for the draft's top wide receiver for a third consecutive year. Poor Sam Bradford.

More NFL Draft coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:


2013 NFL Mock Draft: Jason Smith Has One Last Chance To Protect Sam Bradford

As soon as this year's entirely-too-early 2013 NFL Mock Draft season began—hours after draft day—the possibilities for the St. Louis Rams' first consensus pick resolved quickly into two possibilities that will be familiar to last year's draft watchers: Offensive line or wide receiver—particularly, D.J. Fluker or Robert Woods. I'm fond of the offensive line pick at the moment, because the way the Rams have acted in this year's offseason makes it clear to me that, whatever your feelings on next year's NFL Mock Draft likelihoods, they're going to give Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold just one more chance to keep Sam Bradford out of harm's way.

Smith is the bigger bust—he went No. 2 overall back in 2009—but Rodger Saffold was the more surprising disappointment in 2011; the 2010 second-rounder was coming off a very strong rookie season when injuries and ineffectiveness held him to nine starts.

Jason Smith's massive pay cut in the offseason probably earned him some slack with the fans, but it also established just how critical his situation is—he'll need to fulfill all that promise he showed at Baylor now, or he'll be doing it with some other team in 2013.

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