EARTH CITY, Mo. -- On Tuesday afternoon, I joined my 31 NFL Nation colleagues in participating in our mock draft.
The mock draft allowed for trades and was predicated on what we think the teams we cover will do rather than what we should do. The results, with a surprise at the top, allowed for a some curveballs.
We discussed each pick in the chat and I offered some explanations for my rationale behind taking Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald with picks 2 and 13, respectively, there.
But to clear things up, here's a few leftover thoughts on each pick:
The Rams could go a lot of different ways at No. 2 with Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins among the options. And yes, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel would fit into that mix as well. But ultimately, I believe the Rams, if they can't make a trade and Jadeveon Clowney is off the board, will take Robinson. He's the type of hammer they'd love to add to their smash mouth offensive ideology and could become the long-term answer at left tackle after spending a season at guard (or right tackle). The Rams ran the ball well for most of the season in 2013 but they struggled mightily against the stout defenses of Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona in three road trips at the end of the year. Having Robinson should help them take on those physical defenses.
With the Donald pick, it simply was a matter of taking the player that was the best player on the board and too much value to pass on. But also, just because the perception is there that the Rams don't need a defensive tackle, they've showed a ton of interest in the position in the run up to the draft. They would particularly like to have a three-technique who can get after the quarterback. Donald fits the bill and would add a whole new element to an already excellent defensive line.
For the record, I don't expect Donald to fall to 13. I'll have more thoughts on more realistic possibilities on Thursday.
No, those two picks aren't sexy, they might not draw rave reviews or grades and I would personally take Watkins at 2 and roll the dice that a top tackle is there at 13 (Notre Dame's Zack Martin was the only one available in this scenario). But this is the NFC West division. Win the line of scrimmage or die trying.
A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we began the day with a look at the wisdom in using a first-round pick on a quarterback to have a chance at exercising the fifth-year option on one. ... Next, we continued our prospect profiles with a look at Mizzou running back Henry Josey. ... In the second to last part of the draft preview series, we turned our attention to the group of safeties. ... After that, I provided some quick hit thoughts on the Rams and quarterback Johnny Manziel. ... After the Rams pre-draft news conference, I offered the thoughts of the Rams' decision makers on Manziel and Bradford.
Good read from David Fleming on Manziel's image rehabilitation via Instagram.
At 101sports.com, Chris Mortensen discusses the Manziel to the Rams rumors.
In the same corner of cyberspace, Randy Karraker makes the case for the Rams to take Watkins.
At stltoday.com, columnist Bryan Burwell writes the Rams must go with a tackle not a quarterback.
Bernie Miklasz weighs in on Manziel-Mania.
Former Ram Marshall Faulk picked Manziel and Martin with the two Rams picks in the NFL Network mock draft.
NFL.com names Snead as one of seven general managers under pressure going into the draft.