With the fourteenth pick of the 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft, the St. Louis Rams (represented by hakimdropstheball) select...
Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
As April approaches, everybody in St. Louis is asking themselves one sports question above all others: can the Cardinals really re-sign Albert Pujols to a long-term deal and keep him in town?
Oh yeah, this is about the St. Louis Rams. Right. Yeah, a lot of St. Louisans would gladly sacrifice the Rams franchise if it meant getting another World Series Championship. There are Rams fans here, but the dedicated are not as vociferous (at the moment) as other fans in town.
I'll make my first point simple: the St. Louis Rams need speed; and not just any kind of speed. I'm talking, S-E-C speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!
Of course, I had wide receivers AJ Green or Julio Jones in mind when I thought of SEC speed. The Rams need a big, fast wideout to improve their offensive chances. Their current top two receivers are Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. Hell, their entire receiver corps is filled with guys that would not be in the top 3 spots on most NFL teams. Laurent Robinson? Danario Alexander? Mardy Gilyard? These are not names from Madden's "Create A Pro" random name generator, these are the other guys on the depth chart.
Believe me when I say if Green or Jones is available, then the Rams are taking them. Local fans, local sportscasters, local radio talking heads, hell, even national sports talking heads believe the Rams need another wide receiver. With former Broncos head coach-and "offensive guru"-Josh McDaniels coming to town as the new OC, the Rams are going to want to make a splash on offense.
Of course, since Green and Jones are off the board (thanks a lot, guys) the Rams could opt for a different kind of offensive help. Starting running back Steven Jackson is not getting any younger and he continues to take a pounding carrying the rock. The team needs a quality backup to help alleviate pressure on the veteran. Not only that, but McDaniels is likely going to bring in new offensive schemes. And with craptacular wideouts, more pressure will be on QB Sam Bradford to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. So why not draft Mark Ingram or some other highly touted running back? Eh, you can find running backs later in the draft. But with Keith Toston and Kenneth "Trent" Darby as your backups, the Rams may need "a wishing well" to get greater production out of the backfield.
I also considered the Rams' needs at tight end and along the offensive line, but don't think the team should use a first rounder on a TE. As for the O-Line, the Rams gave up 34 sacks (good for 15th in the league) and 78 QB hits (12th highest in the league). I'm not saying it isn't important, but the Rams have greater needs than the O-Line at the moment. And since the team has spent one of their first two picks on O-Line help in the last two drafts, I can't see fans enjoying a third straight draft with a similar result. No, the fans want their deficiencies filled with sure-fire playmakers (or at least, a big name). And that's where the defense comes in.
I had considered going to the secondary for my pick, but the mock drafts I studied had some highly rated guys going higher, with a considerable drop-off to the third or fourth ranked corner or safety.
In 2010, the St. Louis Rams ranked 19th against the pass (223.6 ypg) and 17th against the run (113.1 ypg). But here's an impressive stat: the Rams defense recorded 43 sacks last year, fifth most in the league. With OJ Atogwe gone and now a member of the Redskins, the Rams will likely lose some ‘coverage sack' potential and need to get another bum rusher in there to really pressure the opposing quarterback and stuff the running back up the gut. Enter Nick Fairley. Over 14 games for the Auburn Tigers last year, Fairley recorded 24 tackles for a total loss of 106 yards as well as 12 sacks. Among his weaknesses that I've come across in various draft notes are "only played one productive collegiate season" and "work ethic questioned."
I believe Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, a former defensive coordinator for the Giants, would love to coach up a guy like Fairley, who could make for a formidable defensive tackle for years to come with the Rams.
I guess you could call this a case of draft the BEST. PLAYER. AVAILABLE.
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this years community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2011 CSC Community Mock Draft Section.
|Pick||Team||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
|1||Carolina Panthers||QB Cam Newton - Auburn||DatFan||35%|
|2||Denver Broncos||DT Marcell Dareus - Alabama||Jeff.l.b||71%|
|3||Buffalo Bills||QB Blaine Gabbert - Missouri||SpreeGoogs||52%|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals||DE Da'Quan Bowers - Clemson||coldpizza||73%|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||CB Patrick Peterson - LSU||GRIZZ||61%|
|6||Cleveland Browns||DE Cameron Jordan - Cal||theprogrammerman||11%|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||LB Von Miller - Texas A&M||who dat patate||68%|
|8||Tennessee Titans||WR A.J. Green - Georgia||shipgoalie05||48%|
|9||Dallas Cowboys||CB Prince Amukamara - Nebraska||saints fan in cowboyland!||67%|
|10||Washington Redskins||WR Julio Jones - Alabama||VAsaintsfan||56%|
|11||Houston Texans||DE/OLB Robert Quinn - UNC||Jon Banks||62%|
|12||Minnesota Vikings||OT Tyron Smith - USC||HansDat||46%|
|13||Detroit Lions||OT Anthony Castonzo - BC||NorthFan|
|14||St. Louis rams||DT Nick Fairley - Auburn||hakimdropstheball|