EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Throughout the course of the past few months, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have been offering up mock drafts on a regular basis, providing different scenarios and possibilities for how this weekend's NFL draft could play out.
While Kiper and McShay have been known to disagree on certain players and picks, they've mostly worked in lockstep when it comes to the St. Louis Rams. Late last week, the duo had a chance to actually work together, providing a combination mock draft where they alternated picks through three rounds. The first round was televised on ESPN2.
With the Rams holding two first-round picks, Nos. 2 and 13, Kiper and McShay really did have the opportunity to work together as Kiper made the pick for the Rams at No. 2 and McShay handled No. 13.
As it turns out, the duo came out of the first round with the exact pair that I believe would be best for the Rams: wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the second choice and Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin at No. 13. Those picks would fill big needs and provide more ammunition to an offense that desperately needs more spark.
Arguments can certainly be made for other picks, such as top offensive tackle Greg Robinson of Auburn, but many scouts believe the drop off from Robinson to Martin isn't as big as the one that the Rams would have if they wanted to take a wideout at 13 (assuming Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans are gone as expected). Martin would be an outstanding complement to Rodger Saffold as starting guards while also providing Saffold-like versatility to play tackle as well.
Kiper and McShay addressed other needs in rounds 2 and 3. Check out the combo mock for a look at the direction they went there.
A roundup of the weekend's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... We began the weekend by reviewing the film from Friday's marathon chat session. ... Next, we continued the draft preview series with a look at the wide receiver group. ... We started Sunday with the next in the prospect profile series, taking a closer look at Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp. ... Finally, the next in the draft preview series examined the cornerback class and the team's needs at the position.
As always, NFL Senior Writer John Clayton's mailbag is worth a read to kick off your Monday morning.
Columnist Ashley Fox offers a good take on how moving the draft could alter the chance of rookies producing early in the season.
At stltoday.com, columnist Bernie Miklasz writes that the Rams are at a crossroads in their development.
Jim Thomas previews the wide receiver group.
At 101sports.com, McShay spoke to 101 ESPN morning talk-show host Kevin Wheeler about a number of Rams draft issues.