EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Today we continue our series of 10 for No. 10, a look at 10 players who could be in the mix for the St. Louis Rams with the 10th overall selection.
For the purposes of this exercise, it's a little more difficult to peg who will be available and who won't, but out of the 10 we evaluate here, there is a good chance that some will be on the board when the Rams pick. Based on early returns, we're going to eliminate Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. from the conversation. Those three, above all else, seem all but certain to be gone when the Rams pick.
We've already looked at Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Why the Rams should consider him: Perhaps the most polished prospect in the draft, Cooper seems to be the rare player with very little bust potential. Already a crisp and seasoned route runner, Cooper did nothing but make plays in his time with the Crimson Tide. In 2014, he had 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns and was widely regarded as one of the best players in college football. The Rams managed to re-sign Kenny Britt and have a group of young receivers they insist they like moving forward, but Britt only signed a two-year deal and Brian Quick is coming off a major shoulder injury and due to be a free agent after the season. Cooper is good enough to become the No. 1 receiver the Rams have been missing since the days of Torry Holt.
Why they shouldn't: Some might wonder why a team that doesn't seem too concerned with building a dynamic passing game would spend the No. 10 overall pick on another wide receiver. Likewise, the Rams traded up to No. 8 to take Tavon Austin in 2013, and Austin hasn't produced at the level of that choice yet. At this point, receiver looks more like a want than a need, though the argument to get a true difference-maker is hard to ignore. Cooper doesn't have many holes in his game, but he is a shade under 6-foot-1 and that lack of height might make it more difficult for him to win the jump balls in the NFL that he did in college.
Chances he's available at No. 10: Of the players we'll go through on this list, Cooper and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota are the two that seem most likely to be gone. We went ahead and listed Cooper here because the Rams have shown interest and brought him in for a pre-draft visit. Also, there aren't many teams in front of the Rams that have pressing receiver needs, but Cooper is a top-five talent so it's still hard to imagine him tumbling all the way to No. 10. Jacksonville, Oakland, the New York Jets, Chicago and even the New York Giants could find a player like Cooper too good to pass up.