Representing the St Louis Rams in the 2009 BGN community mock draft Nick Pampani selects...
Jason Smith, OT Baylor.
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get a pick but even right now as I write this I do not know who to pick. See sometimes people see an early pick and think it’s easy and come on this is the Ram it should be obvious, and that’s what I thought as well. I even had my selection made as soon as I saw I had them, but as I did my due diligence I saw A LOT of intriguing factors. Such as this is their second year in a row with a top 5 pick. They play in arguably the weakest division in football. They have a new coach. The re of their division has relatively new coaches. With the right picks they could propel themselves on to the division title and by using players properly even the Super Bowl (please see Cardinals and Warner). Either way this pick deserves a lot more thought then the "obvious" answer.
Like I said before the correct player could mean playoffs and the wrong one could mean rebuilding and when looking at the Rams situation I came up with 4 players and 3 basic positions to look at. I looked at the O-Line, the defensive front seven, and Wide Receiver.
I’ll start with wide receiver. It is no mystery that they need an answer here after losing two hall of famers in two years and it is even less of a mystery who is the top receiver on their(or anybody’s) draft board is. The truth is that Crabtree is great but with his injury he is not worth the 2nd and to top that off the Rams will have a real shot at a great receiver at 34. So I have to say there is NO WAY they will draft Crabtree.
My next option was Aaron Curry. If you look at their weaknesses there is a glaring weakness on defense and Curry could be that corner stone to build Spags defense around. However Spags has been on teams like the Eagles and Giants and has been unusually good at building the second and third level of the defense through mid and late round draft picks. He also already has a young linebacking core as well as probably looking at the LB position in later rounds.
OT is an obvious choice. With Pace gone they really could look towards the future and bring in a top notch LT to build his franchise around. Most compelling of all is Steve Spagnuolo is a product of Andy Reid who we all know only goes Lineman or QB in the first and the Rams have a QB that they are happy with for now. They may look QB next year but there is a good chance they take the Best OT on the board for their pick. Right now that is Jason Smith.
The last player on my list is Brian Orakpo. I know this decision might cause some outrage in BGN and with all Rams fans but hear me out. Orakpo has improved every year in college and looks to overcome adversity extremely well. He also is a smart kid who learns everything he can from the vets ahead of him. Combine him with Chris Long and Leonard Little and he will learn a lot. Also that combination looks a lot like the Giants team that won the Super Bowl. Little will not last too much longer and Orakpo versatility could still be used in a hybrid D-end Linebacker position. This seems a lot like something a coach like Spagnuolo would do. Defense wins games right?
With all four players left on the board I narrowed my list to two and still haven’t made a decision. Orakpo would be the exciting and sexy pick however Jason Smith is almost a sure thing, and all things considered I had to choose Smith.
Jason Smith is possibly not the best pick however it’s rare that you will find a tackle as versatile as Smith. He was originally a Tight End and still has the athleticism as one. He also is one of the strongest Tackles in the draft as well. This means he has the ability to move and pick up the blitzer while still being able to fill the gap. His straight means he could move the pocket and make holes for Seven Jackson to break the big runs that the Rams have been missing. All around he could be that replacement to Pace and actually be that immediate impact player and be an improvement from last year. Smith is a safe pick and will make their sexy pick look better when they take a receiver in the second (just my thoughts).
My take is after the jump. D3Keith and the Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock.
Commish's take - Seems like a slam dunk pick to me. After releasing former all pro LT Orlando Pace, the Rams are in serious need of a replacement to man that LT position for the next 6 or 7 years. Jason Smith should step right in where Pace left off.