2013 NFL Mock Draft: Rams projected to add a safety, wideout in first round

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

St. Louis, with two first round picks, is predicted to address both sides of the ball in a couple of recent mock drafts.

The St. Louis Rams, by virtue of their swap with the Washington Redskins a year ago, have two first round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, Nos. 16 and 22, respectively. In two recent mock drafts, the positions they're targeting are similar, but the names are different.

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks unveiled his mock draft 4.0 on Wednesday, and began with the Rams taking junior Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson with the 16th overall selection. Patterson caught 46 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns in 2012; he is the fourth-rated wideout in Matthew Fairburn's position rankings for SB Nation.

At No. 22, Banks sees St. Louis going with Florida Gators junior safety Matt Elam. Here's Banks on why a safety like Elam is a better pick than a defensive tackle or running back:

The Rams have plenty of good options here, like taking a top-15 defensive tackle in Missouri's Sheldon Richardson or pulling the trigger on running back Eddie Lacy of Alabama. But Elam carries a first-round grade and meets an obvious need. St. Louis would do well to just keep stacking bricks and build a foundation that's going to be around for quite some time.

For SB Nation, on the other hand, Dan Kadar's latest mock draft from Monday has the Rams addressing the same two position groups but in the opposite order.

With the 16th pick, Kadar sees St. Louis selecting Texas Longhorns safety Kenny Vaccaro (scouting report here). His ability to effectively play against both the run and pass being major reasons why the Rams would be interested in the early entrant.

Next, Kadar thinks the Rams will add Clemson Tigers wideout DeAndre Hopkins (scouting report), his top-rated prospect at the position, to their receiving corps with the No. 22 pick. Hopkins caught 82 passes for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012, and would help a St. Louis team in dire need of a true No. 1 receiver to pair with quarterback Sam Bradford.

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