EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The Senior Bowl is over and the NFL world now turns its attention to the Super Bowl this week as the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos prepare to square off in the 50th edition of the big game.
That game, of course, doesn't involve the Los Angeles Rams, but with Senior Bowl week in the rear view, the first stage of the offseason is essentially complete as the biggest college all star games are done.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best performers in Mobile, Alabama, and how their draft stock could be affected relative to the Rams:
QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State -- There was no player in Mobile last week with more to gain than Wentz. The NFL world was curious to see how his immense physical abilities would translate against better competition with NFL coaching. By all accounts, it was a rousing success for Wentz, who has pushed himself up the list in the eyes of most outside observers. I mentioned in our Senior Bowl preview that Wentz could potentially play his way beyond the Rams' reach at No. 15 and there are strong indications he has earned his way into the top 10 and maybe higher. If the Rams decide to pursue Wentz, there's a real possibility they'd have to move up to do it.
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama -- Ragland was already considered one of the draft's best prospects and one of the safest players at the Senior Bowl. He did nothing to damage that stock and earned some points from scouts for his willingness to compete all week despite his already lofty draft stock. Ragland figures to go somewhere in the middle of the first round and could even be gone before pick No. 15 with teams like the New Orleans Saints keeping close tabs on him throughout the week.
DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky -- Consider Spence the defensive answer to Wentz. Coming from a small school -- though Spence actually started out at Ohio State -- the NFL world wanted to see how he'd do against top competition and he did not disappoint. There are still some off-field concerns, but he was the most dynamic edge rusher in Mobile and that's an area the Rams could look at, potentially even early on depending on what becomes of free agents William Hayes and Eugene Sims and Chris Long, who is entering the final year of his deal with a large cap charge still on the books. Spence is also a bit undersized, but the Rams under Jeff Fisher have rarely hesitated to spend serious draft capital on defensive linemen.
LB Deion Jones, LSU -- Jones and Boise State's Darian Thompson had to intrigue teams that are finding new and versatile ways to use players who might be undersized as linebackers in a traditional sense but are athletic enough to play more of a hybrid role. Arizona's Deone Bucannon and the Rams' Mark Barron both proved this season that such players can produce if put in the right place. The Rams probably wouldn't be in a rush to draft another player of that ilk but if Barron doesn't re-sign, the Rams would at least know how to deploy such a talent. Jones impressed with his quick feet and transition speed.
WR Braxton Miller, Ohio State -- In a solid if unspectacular crop of receivers in Mobile, it was Miller who provided the sizzle. He still has a lot to refine when it comes to route running and the nuances of his position but there's no denying his athleticism and versatility. He probably didn't do enough to make him a Day 1 pick but he could very well be a Day 2 selection. Plus, he still has the combine to wow scouts and bolster his stock. The Rams could use help at receiver and though Miller is best suited to the slot, Los Angeles could have needs for more than just one wideout with Brian Quick and Wes Welker headed for free agency and Stedman Bailey recovering from gunshot wounds.
OG Cody Whitehair, Kansas State -- It's unlikely the Rams will look to use a high enough choice to grab a guard such as Whitehair but there seems to be a consensus that he's a player capable of stepping in and contributing right away. The Rams could potentially look for another lineman if they part ways with Rodger Saffold but they do have young linemen such as Jamon Brown, Andrew Donnal and Cody Wichmann they believe can contribute as starters. Either way, it was a good week for Whitehair and fellow lineman Joe Dahl, of Washington State.