TUSCALOOSA AL - NOVEMBER 26: Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide crosses the goal line for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26 2010 in Tuscaloosa Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Very, very nice writeup here by Sarge_32. Perhaps the most thorough and thoughtful of the lot so far. You all rock. Many thanks! Next up: the Miami Dolphins, appropriately represented by MiamiSteelersFan. - Michael B. -
The St. Louis Rams struck gold with their 2010 draft, nabbing QB Sam Bradford and T Roger Saffold, which led to season where they were playing for a division title in the final week of the season, which is just short of amazing considering the recent misery of the franchise. It is apparent Coach Spagnuolo and GM Devaney have a plan on how to rebuild this once proud franchise, and are now beginning to reap the rewards of that plan.
Looking past the relative success of last season, the Rams are still a 7-9 team with numerous holes to fill. The defense, led by recent high draft picks Chris Long and James Laurinaitis, made huge strides last year, keeping the team in numerous games that the offense could have gotten them blown out in. They finished the year in the middle of the pack in most defensive stats, again, a huge step forward from their past cellar-dweller status. In an offensively challenged division such as the NFC West, it was enough to be competitive. To continue the upward swing on the defensive side, more playmakers are needed. Outside linebacker, defensive tackle, and safety are all concerns for this unit, and will no doubt be addressed during the draft. As this mock has evolved, a couple of defensive players merited serious consideration for this pick. DT Corey Liuget would be an instant upgrade to the position, and would be a disruptive force in the middle of the line. As Spagnuolo has shown in his past tenure with the G-men, he likes a rotation of pass rushers, which means guys like DE's JJ Watt and Cameron Jordan would also have value to add to the mix of Long and James Hall, who will be 36 at the beginning of next season.
However, what the Rams desperately lacked the last several seasons is a serious threat at the WR position. Last year's turnstile of journeyman and youngsters such as Mark Clayton, Laurent Robinson, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Donario Alexander struck no fear in the hearts of Defensive Coordinators around the league, and allowed them to stack the line to stop the Rams' best player, Steven Jackson. For Sam Bradford to continue to evolve and improve, a clear #1 receiver has to be added. Luck has smiled on the Rams in this instance, and with the 14th pick in the BTSC mock, they take Alabama WR Julio Jones.
Despite a broken foot, Julio turned in a performance for the ages at the combine, which backs up his productiveness in the Crimson Tide's run first offense. His 4.39 time in the forty was somewhat surprising to many scouts, considering his 6-3, 220 pound frame. Bottom line is this is one of only two WR to earn anywhere near top ten grades, and is surprisingly available to the team with perhaps the greatest need at the position. This choice would solidify the Rams as the odds on favorite in the leagues worst division.
BTSC 2011 Community Mock Draft Selections
- Carolina Panthers -- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Denver Broncos -- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills -- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Arizona Cardinals -- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- Cleveland Browns --
'The Snow Cone Machine'A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- San Francisco 49ers -- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Tennessee Titans -- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
- Dallas Cowboys -- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Washington Redskins -- Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
- Houston Texans -- Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
- Minnesota Vikings -- Tyron Smith, OT, USC
- Detroit Lions -- JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin