Between 2012 and 2013, the St. Louis Rams held 10 picks within the Top 100 picks of the NFL Draft. They used four of those picks on wide receivers Tavon Austin (No. 8 overall, 2013), Brian Quick (No. 33, 2012), Stedman Bailey (No. 92, 2013), and Chris Givens (No. 96, 2012). That's a fairly significant investment in the position.
Yet between those four players, who now have a combined seven seasons of experience, none has caught 50 passes in a single season yet, and Givens' 698 receiving yards as a rookie in 2012 is the highest mark of the quartet, as well. There have been extenuating circumstances -- chiefly injuries and the play of backup quarterbacks -- but the investment is not yielding much yet.
Which is why 3k of Turf Show Times, picking on behalf of the Rams in our 2015 NFL mock draft, finds himself in a bit of a pickle at No. 10 overall -- and is addressing the need again.
10. Rams: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
3k: The Rams are in a tough spot at No. 10 in this draft.
As it stands, there’s a need for a right tackle that would be a fit here. If they re-sign Joe Barksdale between now and Roger Goodell stepping to the podium, though, I don’t know that they’d follow it up by drafting a successor. There’s a clear need to update the interior of the offensive line, but the No. 10 pick certainly doesn't seem to be a place to do that per the conventional wisdom. That leaves quarterback and wide receiver as the obvious positions of need, though Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have shown no hesitation in (a) stocking up on defensive prospects early or (b) trading down in the first round.
So, while I’m a bit inclined to go with my gut and my top receiver in Jaelen Strong, the Rams just re-signed Kenny Britt and have a rehabbing Brian Quick going into his contract year. Size receivers aren't necessarily an issue for St. Louis. What the Rams need more of is the capability to work the intermediate band of the field, the 3-6 section of the route tree. Cooper’s versatility to work inside, but also drag the sidelines, is exactly what the Rams would be hoping to add to a Nick Foles-led offense.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: I've been on-record saying that the Rams shouldn't take another wide receiver high in the draft. The team has invested a lot of money and high draft picks into the position, and it's still too early to give up on Tavon Austin. But if wide receiver is the choice for St. Louis, Cooper is the best one in the draft. He's a very good route runner with good hands and enough size and speed. In other words, he is reliable. While the Rams have a lot of bodies at wide receiver, none is as sure of a thing as Cooper.
Dan's top five players remaining
- 6. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- 9. DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
- 10. Dante Fowler, DE, Florida
- 13. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- 15. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- 1-10: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
- 2-41: (coming April 9)