Head coach Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams play in one of the most competitive divisions in all of the NFL in the NFC West. There are three great teams in front of them at the moment in the defending World Champion Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals.
Because of that, the 2014 NFL Draft this weekend was crucial for Fisher and the team to get some good pieces in place to try and topple all three of those teams in front of them. In all throughout the course of the weekend, thanks in large part to the Washington Redskins wanting RG III so badly a couple years ago, the Rams had 11 picks to find them some gems.
Here’s a look at all 11 of those picks.
|Rd 1 – #2(2)||Greg Robinson (OT) Auburn|
|Rd 1 – #13(13)||Aaron Donald (DT) Pittsburgh|
|Rd 2 – #9(41)||Lamarcus Joyner (CB) Florida St|
|Rd 3 – #11(75)||Tre Mason (RB) Auburn|
|Rd 4 – #10(110)||Maurice Alexander (S) Utah St|
|Rd 6 – #12(188)||E.J. Gaines (CB) Missouri|
|Rd 6 – #38(214)||Garrett Gilbert (QB) SMU|
|Rd 7 – #11(226)||Mitchell Van Dyk (OT) Portland St|
|Rd 7 – #26(241)||C.B. Bryant (S) Ohio St|
|Rd 7 – #34(249)||Michael Sam (DE) Missouri|
|Rd 7 – #35(250)||Demetrius Rhaney (C) Tenn St|
That’s a lot of talented players on that list, so let’s have a look at which selection was best, which was worst, as well as the final grade for this year for the Rams.
Best Pick: Aaron Donald
With their second selection in the first round at no. 13 overall, Fisher looked in the direction of defense by selecting Pitt’s standout DT Aaron Donald. While the first pick they made in Greg Robinson to protect Sam Bradford was a smart one, Donald may prove to be more beneficial in the end.
Both the 49ers and Seahawks have strong running games, but now with the explosive Donald right in the middle of the line, the Rams have an answer for those attacks. If you can take away the effectiveness of both teams’ run games, you have a chance to get the best of them, and that’s exactly what Donald is here to do now.
Worst Pick: Tre Mason
It’s not a knock on Mason’s talents at all, it’s just that he’s not what the team needs in the backfield. His pass-blocking is shaky, at best, and I’m not sure he translates well to being an in-between-the-tackles type runner in the NFL.
They already have a speedy decoy, one of the best in the league, in Tavon Austin, so forgive me if I just don’t see where Mason fits on this team and what they’re looking to do offensively.
Final Analysis and Grade
Aside from the pick of Mason, Fisher and company made some fantastic moves in this draft. While a lot of people were wondering if they were going to grab a flashy, skill position weapon in either Johnny Manziel or Sammy Watkins with that no. 2 overall pick, they decided to get someone who can help keep Sam Bradford healthy in Greg Robinson, and then followed that up with the great Donald pick.
And of course, you can’t talk about the Rams’ draft without mentioning the team making the most highly publicized pick of the entire event in the seventh round, making Michael Sam the first openly-gay player to ever be taken.
Even that pick was great from a football standpoint. Despite shaky workouts, as even Fisher himself said, this is still the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year we’re talking about.
Final Grade: A-