ST. LOUIS -- Moving the NFL draft to May was a move greeted with plenty of groans around the league. The buildup to the draft is already over the top and adding more time has only exacerbated that.
But this year, it might be a good thing for teams because it could give them some extra time to study the overwhelming proliferation of draft prospects in this class. In addition to the usual senior class coming out, NFL teams also have to sort through a record-breaking number of underclassmen who have made themselves available.
Wednesday's deadline came and went with around 90 juniors or redshirt sophomores declaring their intentions to head to the NFL. The list is full of names, many well-known, some not so much. The full list of players to declare early is available here. The previous record, set in 2013 was 73.
NFL teams traditionally are well aware of promising underclassmen but they don't spend a large amount of time studying them until after they've declared. More often than not, the cream of the crop amongst the younger players are pretty well known but with a list this deep, it may require more study than other classes might.
A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we had a little fun speculating on the possibilities of adding quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Rams. ... Next, we reacted to the news that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is a candidate for the open head coaching position at Vanderbilt. ... Then came the news that defensive end Robert Quinn earned the Pro Football Writers of America's Defensive Player of the Year award. ... Finally, we provided a lead in and reaction to Mel Kiper Jr.'s first mock draft for 2014.
Chat: On Friday, I'll be debuting a new weekly feature, a chat with you, the fans, to discuss all things Rams. You can submit questions now and I'll be answering them at 1 p.m. ET. Hope to see you there.
Kiper was kind enough to take some time out to chat after his mock draft went live. The transcript is here.
Not Rams-related but always worth reading the latest from Elizabeth Merrill, this time on Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as seen through the legs of their centers.
Over at NFL.com, mock drafts were the order of the day as well as Daniel Jeremiah released his first choices. He has the Rams taking Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. As I've mentioned before, I'm on board with any draft that lands Watkins in St. Louis.
Another Rams defensive end was honored Wednesday, this time it was Chris Long.
At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas discusses the improvement of the Rams rookie class.
Rams general manager Les Snead sits down to discuss the offseason approach with columnist Bryan Burwell.