Kiper mock update: Rams at No. 1

Mel Kiper has a new mock draft/conversation starter posted with explanations for Insider subscribers. Todd McShay's projections are also there, but I've been using Kiper's choices as a starting point for discussion and that will continue.

I'll update the pre-combine and post-combine items making sense of first-round choices for NFC West teams, beginning with the Rams at No. 1:

1. St. Louis Rams

Mel's latest pick: Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma.

My latest thoughts: The Rams probably aren't sure which player they'll take first overall, but the team has prepared itself for taking a quarterback. Signing quarterback A.J. Feeley gave the Rams a veteran player familiar with the offense. Feeley could mentor Bradford all offseason, start games as needed and hand it over to Bradford when the Rams were ready to take that step. Bradford's workout March 25 could be the final hurdle in the decision-making process for the Rams. The Rams have gone the safe route recently by selecting Chris Long and Jason Smith second overall. Bradford carries more risk, but also the possibility for more reward. And the Rams need all the reward they can get, particularly with a new owner itching to take over.

Mel's previous pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska

My pre-combine thoughts: The Rams worked last offseason to rebuild their offensive line, with encouraging results. They need to rebuild the defensive line next and Suh would help them on that front. Long improved quite a bit last season. The team needs to replace aging defensive ends Leonard Little and James Hall, who might not be back. Adam Carriker's injury issues prove the Rams cannot count on him. Suh makes sense, in other words, even though the Rams should take a franchise quarterback if they see one in this draft.

My post-combine follow-up: The conversation turned to Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford during the combine, with Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also seeming to gain ground in a conversation Suh once dominated. Let's not forget why Suh once ran almost unopposed as the leading candidate to land in St. Louis as the No. 1 overall choice. Suh was, by most accounts, better than those other guys during the 2009 season. The quarterback question deserves exploration. Bradford certainly looked the part of a franchise quarterback at the combine. He was bigger and appeared sturdier. The Rams will have to consider him if Bradford checks out medically this offseason and performs well during his workout.