2012 NFL Mock Draft: St. Louis Rams

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The preliminary order for the 2012 NFL Draft is set and it has been widely assumed since the beginning of the NFL season that Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford) would be the number one overall pick.

Each passing Sunday the losses started to accumulate for the Colts, the Rams and the Vikings as the three teams battled for the top spot.  With two weeks left in the regular season, Indianapolis was in the driver’s seat with one loss, while Minnesota and St. Louis were each at two losses a piece.

The Colts got their elusive second win against Houston 19-16 at home on Thursday to begin week 16 play, followed by a Vikings defeat of the Redskins 33-26 in Washington, and the Rams were shut out by the Steelers 27-0. With Minnesota essentially out of the Andrew Luck Lottery with three wins, the number one overall pick would come down to the final week of regular season.

St. Louis hosted San Francisco, losing 34-27 to the NFC West Champs, and Indianapolis fell 19-13 to division rival Jacksonville as both teams ended their seasons 2-14. Due to tiebreaker rules which state the team that faced the easiest schedule during the year (opponent’s win/loss record), the Colts held on to the number one pick, and the Rams stayed at number two.

The biggest question surrounding the Colts is what they do with Peyton Manning, who sat out his 14th season after having neck surgery, his third procedure in 19 months.  If Manning stays with Indianapolis he is due a $28 million option bonus on March 8th that triggers the final four years of his five-year, $90 million contract. If the Colts opt to not pay it and Manning declines to push back the date, the NFL’s only four-time MVP becomes an unrestricted free agent. News has circulated that a couple of organizations would be interested in Manning. According to the Miami Herald, the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Washington Redskins would be among the teams looking to sign the Super Bowl XLI MVP. If the Colts choose to retain the veteran quarterback, they will most likely have two starting QBs on their roster – one being the rookie Luck who has been compared to Manning throughout his collegiate career.

So what happens with the number two pick? Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has said several times the Rams’ head coaching job is the best in the NFL for three reasons: 1) Incumbent quarterback 2) more money to spend in free agency than any team in 2013 and 3) because of the second overall pick this year when a very good quarterback will be on the board means you can use the pick to ransom to the highest bidder. Congratulations to Jeff Fisher, who was announced the new head coach of St. Louis on January 17th, after signing a 5-year contract believed to be worth $35 million. Fisher will have his hands full filling several positional needs the squad requires. Protecting Sam Bradford will be one of them. In 2012 Bradford was sacked 36 times while completing 53.5% of his passes for six touchdowns and six interceptions in 10 games.

Wide receiver was a busy position in St. Louis this year: in October Bradford lost Danny Amendola for the season after bicep surgery, Mike Sims-Walker was released after signing with the team in July, and the team acquired Brandon Lloyd in a trade with Denver, reuniting 2010’s league yardage leader with Josh McDaniels his former head coach. The following month, Bradford lost Mark Clayton to the IR and in December Austin Pettis was suspended for violating the league’s performance enhancing substance abuse policy. To say the Rams are in need of a main target for Bradford is an understatement, although Lloyd told ESPN 101 re-signing with the Rams is a more attractive option now that Fisher is at the helm.

Another position the Rams will be interested in is cornerback. When all was said and done, St. Louis placed 11 cornerbacks on IR since the start of training camp, and another, Josh Gordy, was limited with an abdominal injury. That makes three possible positions very appealing to Fisher and his coordinators Brian Schottenheimer (offensive) and Gregg Williams (defensive). Williams left New Orleans to rejoin Fisher’s staff after holding the same position under him from 1997-2000 with Tennessee. Schottenheimer was not retained by the New York Jets and was rehired by St. Louis after serving as an offensive assistant under Dick Vermeil in 1997. Now that the bulk of the Rams’ coaching staff is in place, the organization will look to replace Jim Delaney, who was fired along with Steve Spagnuolo, as general manager.

Depending on the analyst, one of three things has been proposed in regards to the Rams’ second overall pick.

  1. Draft Matt Kalil – OT, USC
  2. Draft Justin Blackmon – WR, Oklahoma State
  3. Trade the pick to a team willing to pay a premium to draft Robert Griffin III – QB, Baylor

One way to get a better grasp of what Fisher could possibly do is to look at his draft history as head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans. I am including the first three rounds, but each full draft is available by clicking on the year, and 1994 is left out since Fisher took over as head coach with six games remaining in the season. Coordinator changes have been noted as well.

Houston Oilers

1995 – OC: Jerry Rhome / DC: Steve Sidwell

Rd. 1 – Steve McNair, QB, Alcorn State

Rd. 2 – Anthony Cook, DE, South Carolina State

Rd. 3 – Chris Sanders, WR, Ohio State

Rd. 3 – Rodney Thomas, RB, Texas A&M

Rd. 3 – Torey Hunter, DB, Washington State


Rd. 1 – Eddie George, RB, Ohio State

Rd. 2 – Bryant Mix, DT, Alcorn State

Rd. 2 – Jayson Layman, OG, Tennessee

Rd. 3 – Terry Killens, LB, Penn State

Tennessee Oilers

1997 – OC: Les Steckel / DC: Gregg Williams

Rd. 1 – Kenny Holmes, DE, Miami

Rd. 2 – Joey Kent, WR, Tennessee

Rd. 3 – Denard Walker, DB, LSU

Rd. 3 – Scott Sanderson, OT, Washington State


Rd. 1 – Kevin Dyson, WR, Utah

Rd. 2 – Samari Rolle, DB, Florida State

Rd. 3 – Dainon Sidney, DB, UAB

Tennessee Titans


Rd. 1 – Jevon Kearse, DE, Florida

Rd. 2 – John Thornton, DT, West Virginia

Rd. 3 – Zack Piller, OG, Florida

2000 – OC: Mike Heimerdinger

Rd. 1 – Keith Bulluck, LB, Syracuse

Rd. 3 – Erron Kinney, TE, Florida

Rd. 3 – Byron Frisch, DE, BYU

2001 – DC: Jim Schwartz

Rd. 2 – Andre Dyson, DB, Utah

Rd. 3 – Shad Meier, TE, Kansas State


Rd. 1 – Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee

Rd. 2 – Tank Williams, DB, Stanford

Rd. 3 – Rocky Calmus, LB, Oklahoma


Rd. 1 – Andre Woolfork, DB, Oklahoma

Rd. 2 – Tyrone Calico, WR, Middle Tennessee State

Rd. 3 – Chris Brown, RB, Colorado


Rd. 2 – Ben Troupe, TE, Florida

Rd. 2 – Travis LaBoy, DE, Hawaii

Rd. 2 – Antwan Odom, DE, Alabama

Rd. 3 – Randy Starks, DT, Maryland

Rd. 3 – Rich Garner, DB, Penn State

2005 – OC: Norm Chow

Rd. 1 – Pacman Jones, DB, West Virginia

Rd. 2 – Michael Roos, T, Eastern Washington

Rd. 3 – Courtney Roby, WR, Indiana

Rd. 3 – Brandon Jones, WR, Oklahoma


Rd. 1 – Vince Young, QB, Texas

Rd. 2 – LenDale White, RB, USC


Rd. 1 – Michael Griffin, DB, Texas

Rd. 2 – Chris J Henry, RB, Arizona

Rd. 3 – Paul Williams, WR, Fresno State

2008 – OC: Mike Heimerdinger

Rd. 1 – Chris Johnson, RB, Eastern Carolina

Rd. 2 – Jason Jones, DE, Eastern Michigan

Rd. 3 – Craig Stevens – TE, California

2009 – DC: Chuck Cecil

Rd. 1 – Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

Rd. 2 – SenDerrick Marks, DT, Auburn

Rd. 3 – Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina

Rd. 3 – Ryan Mouton, DB, Hawaii


Rd. 1 – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech

Rd. 2 – Damian Williams, WR, USC

Rd. 3 – Remie Curran, LB, Georgia

Specifically, Fisher has drafted four defensive lineman, four defensive backs, two wide receivers, two quarterbacks, two running backs, one linebacker, and one tight end with his first pick. In 16 drafts as a head coach, Fisher has never taken an offensive lineman with the first selection. Looking at the prospects at this stage, a defensive lineman going second overall is unlikely and can probably be ruled out.

Both Blackmon and Morris Claiborne (DB, LSU) could be available a little later if the Rams wanted to trade back to a team that desperately wants and/or needs Griffin III. St. Louis’ salary cap situation is estimated at approximately $10 million next year, but could improve if a few contracts are renegotiated. Most of the free agents signed in 2011 to one-year deals, which could help free some space as well. With that said, the Rams could address several needs using the value of the draft, and still come away with a top ten player on virtually everyone’s big board.