Matt will be reviewing each team's pre-draft analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.
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St. Louis Rams (Last Year: 3-13)
The Rams simply couldn't get going in the 2007 NFL season, but if this team can do a great job in the draft and improve the overall depth on the team and stay healthy, I think they could shock some people in 2008. What will they do in the draft? I'll explain the Rams' range in each round and outline some strategy for a team desperate for more play-makers.
The second pick in the draft is one where I feel the Rams must maximize value. It's great that their main needs fit up with this pick because it's so high that it wouldn't be an awkward fit/value for their team. Let's examine all the prospects and I'll give my pick here:
Jake Long, OT, Michigan:
Long presents better value obviously at No. 2 to the Rams than No. 1. I think he can play left tackle, but he isn't going to be an All-Pro at the position. The right side would be a much better fit for him, but I think the Rams can fill a more valuable position on their team than right tackle. Also consider they might think Orlando Pace could actually be healthy for one season, but I think they won't pin their hopes on him. Alex Barron just might have been a little inexperienced last year and that was why he didn't truly catch on at the position because it was a big adjustment going from right to left.
Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State:
With Chris Long off the board to the Dolphins, the Rams might be looking for a pass rusher in their 4-3 scheme. Walter thinks they could target Gholston as a hybrid linebacker if they choose to install a 3-4, which is certainly a possibility. It all depends on what the Rams want to do systematically. If they want to run a full time 3-4 defense, I think they should go with Gholston here. But I'm not sure what they want to do (no one does), so I go with the best value pick at a position of need for the Rams.
Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU:
I've felt for a while now that Glenn Dorsey will be the pick here and I'll tell you why. It seems that Sedrick Ellis' stock has cooled off since his Senior Bowl performance (just like I projected since I had Dorsey as my No. 1 DT all along) so I don't think the Rams consider him. Why? I just don't feel he is the same kind of elite athlete at the position as Dorsey is. Ellis is a very talented prospect, but I never though he was on Dorsey's level.
Dorsey is a once-in-a-generation defensive tackle prospect. The best since Warren Sapp going back to 1995 - and without the character concerns. It's so rare to find elite players at this position and that is why this DT class is one of the most overlooked in this draft class by many draftniks that simply don't have a clue what one is supposed to look like. You have to go back to 2001 to find a class as talented as this one in the first two rounds.
Dorsey will play the three technique for the Rams, generating a lot of pressure up the middle and being a complete leader for their defense, much like Sapp brought to the Buccaneers. I think he has more value than any other player the Rams will be considering, and that is why he is my No. 2 pick.
So, on to the Rams' second-round pick at No. 33. What is their range here? I think if they were to go with Dorsey, they should look at a few positions here, most namely wide receiver, outside linebacker or corner.
I think the Rams' range in this slot is going to be some players such as Erin Henderson, Xavier Adibi, Antoine Cason, Brandon Flowers, Patrick Lee, Justin King, Tracy Porter, James Hardy, Earl Bennett, and maybe DeSean Jackson if he falls out of the first round.
What will the Rams be thinking in the third? While all of the previous positions I mentioned are possibilities, let's look at positions where they could get adequate value with at pick No. 65.
The Rams simply get better value in the third round at defensive end than the second round. Calais Campbell, Jason Jones, and Chris Ellis could all be possibilities. Strong safety also gives them more value in the third with prospects such as Thomas DeCoud, Craig Steltz, and Josh Barrett.
St. Louis Rams 2008 Offseason Needs
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