When the St. Louis Rams traded their second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins, they clearly had this year's version of the event in mind. Maybe they thought it'd be a higher selection, but the Rams, in the 16th and 22nd spots, have two chances to add big additions to their roster.
Post-NFL Combine mock drafts are out now, and many remain varied when predicting who St. Louis could take. In his latest mock, released Wednesday, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks sees the Rams going defense-offense with the picks, selecting Texas Longhorns safety Kenny Vaccarro at No. 16 and West Virginia Mountaineers wideout Tavon Austin at No. 22.
Here's Banks, starting with his thoughts on Vaccarro:
"It's a nice blend of priority need and first-round grade for the Rams, who can land the top-rated safety in a safety-rich draft. Play-making receiver Tavon Austin of West Virginia or Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert would be tempting here, but the smart move is to take Vaccarro before No. 17 Pittsburgh does."
And on the aforementioned Austin:
"The Rams need more offensive playmakers around quarterback Sam Bradford, and few in this year's draft are as exciting as Austin, who wowed the NFL crowd in Indy with a 4.34 time in the 40 and a great display catching the ball. If the Rams come out of the first round with Vaccarro and Austin, they will have taken a significant step toward improvement on both sides of the ball."
For comparison, SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn, in his latest mock on Monday, thinks St. Louis will opt to go with Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Chance Warmack with their first first round selection, then address the receiver spot at No. 22 by taking California Golden Bears wideout Keenan Allen.
Fairburn believes both picks fall under the category of "need" selections:
"The Rams are in position to come away with two solid players and get some value in the middle of the first round ... Allen's injury causes him to drop a little bit, but he's the total package at wide receiver. He compares favorably to Dez Bryant on the field."
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