While we wait with bated breath to see whom the Rams will select in the first round, there’s arguably less intrigue at No. 6 than there is at No. 33 and No. 39.
Assuming he falls to No. 6, I fully expect the Rams to select Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon. They could always surprise and take someone else, but you have to like the odds that Blackmon will be the team’s selection in the first round.
But which players could the Rams target in the second? Based on their needs and which players could be available, I’ve compiled a list of five prospects that the Rams could select at No. 33 or No. 39.
Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
There’s a chance that Zeitler could go in the first round, but if he’s still on the board for the Rams at No. 33, he would be a sound selection. He was one of the key members of an offensive line that helped Wisconsin finish eighth in the nation in rushing last season and at 6-foot-4 and 314 pounds, he has excellent size for the position. He plays too upright at times, but he shows good explosion off the ball and when he gets his pads into a defender, his opponents usually move backwards. For a team like the Rams that still figures to run the ball a great deal under Jeff Fisher, Zeitler would be a solid addition.
Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
With how thin they are at the position, there’s no question that the Rams need to be looking at outside linebackers in this year’s draft. Thanks to his excellent speed, Brown is a sideline-to-sideline player who is very instinctive and moves through traffic incredibly well. Thanks to his athleticism and his ability to decipher plays quickly, he’s also solid in coverage. At 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, he’s slightly undersized for the position in terms of his height (the average NFL OLB is usually 6-foot-2) and when offensive linemen and tight ends get their pads under him, he can be completely wiped out of a play. But if the Rams can bulk him up without compromising his speed, he looks like a starting-caliber weakside ‘backer to me.
Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Even if the Rams land Blackmon in the first round, don’t rule out the possibility that they could take another receiver with one of their two second-round selections. With how thin they are at the position, it would behoove the Rams to grab multiple wideouts in this year’s draft. Randle didn’t put up gaudy numbers in college, but as I wrote in another article – blame the shoddy play of LSU quarterbacks. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Randle has excellent size and despite his lack of burst off the line, he has plenty of speed thanks to his long strides. He’s a true vertical threat and someone that could work the seam at the next level.
Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
Hayward has a late-second, early-third round grade, but I think he’s one of the more underrated prospects in the entire draft. Vanderbilt had an excellent secondary last season and Hayward was the most productive corner in the Commodores’ defensive backfield. He racked up 70 tackles on the season (58 solo) and ranked first in the SEC in passes defended with 17. His six interceptions also ranked him second in the SEC and tied for fifth nationally. When you go beyond the stats sheet you’ll see a very instinctive, smart football player that has a knack for finding the football. He’s not someone that you can line up consistently in man-to-man coverage and he only has average speed, but as a Cover 2 corner I love his potential.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
I’m well aware of Adams’ failed drug test at the scouting combine and the fact that he was suspended for the first five games last year for “Tatoogate.” But while both incidents show bad decision-making and a poor lack of judgment on his part, Adams is still an intriguing talent. First and foremost, he’s 6-foot-8 and 320 pounds with long arms and a huge frame. He uses his hands and feet well in pass protection, doesn’t get blown off the ball by bull rushers and he does a nice job getting to the second level in the screen game. He can get too upright at times and over commit to one side or another when in pass protection, but on a whole he’s a very good prospect. I’m not suggesting that his off-field transgressions shouldn’t be scrutinized, but if he falls to the Rams at No. 39, he would be a steal based on his athletic talent alone.