St. Louis Rams

May 8, 2014

Clowney? Robinson? Matthews? Who will the Rams pick tonight?

Though they enter the 2014 NFL Draft with plenty of needs to fill, the St. Louis Rams also have plenty of options.

The Rams own 12 picks in the draft, including two picks (No. 2 overall and No. 13 overall) in the first round.

"You've got 12 picks, make the most of the opportunity," Rams general manager Les Snead said. "That could be using some of your picks to go up and get a guy, it could be trading a pick for a better pick in the future. It could be picking a better player there. I'd say just stack good decisions. Try to stack as many good decisions as possible and there will be a flywheel, there will be a snowball effect and guess what, it'll turn into good things."

The mystery of what the Rams will do with the No. 2 overall pick -- the final in the bounty of picks they gained in the trade with Washington that netted the Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III two years ago -- is partly due to the uncertainty over what the Houston Texans will do at No. 1.

It's thought that the Texans will take South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, widely considered the best player in the draft.

However, Rams General Manager Les Snead mentioned the potential for a "wide open, dramatic draft."

"We don't even know what Houston's going to do yet," Snead said. "You're starting to get a lot of different rumors. Nobody knows who the first quarterback's off the board yet. In that top whole (No.) 7 to (No.) 10, there's a lot of things going on that I don't even know in your mocks if you'll get it right. So, I think that's what'll make it a little bit dramatic. It'll be fun to watch."

If Clowney is available, it'd be hard to pass on a player who had had 24 sacks and 47 tackles for loss in three college seasons even though the Rams have drafted several defensive linemen in the first round (defensive end Chris Long in 2008, defensive end Robert Quinn in 2011 an defensive tackle Michael Brockers in 2012) in recent years.

The Rams could trade down and gain additional picks, perhaps even an extra first-rounder next year.

"Man, people are still flirting," Snead said when asked if he's taken any trade inquiries. "Nobody's asking me to the prom yet. I think this week it gets slightly more serious, but again I think with our pick at (No.) 2, hey just like we're waiting on Houston to draw first blood. I think that's why we've always said this stuff may really come down to they make the pick and you've got 10 minutes."

Both ESPN draft experts, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, had the Rams taking Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson with the No. 2 overall pick.

The 6-foot-5, 332-pound Robinson would fill a major need. Robinson is a bulldozer in the running game, but he's also considered somewhat raw in pass protection.

The Rams could move down and still grab a quality offensive tackle like Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, whose Hall of Fame father, Bruce, played for Rams coach Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, or Michigan's Taylor Lewan.

Other options at No. 2 for the Rams are Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who at 6-foot-1, 211-pounds would provide the kind of tall big-play threat that they've long lacked, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack.

Watkins caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Snead said it's a deep draft for wide receivers.

"Sammy, if he's winning the horse race, it's for a reason, but he's not up by two horse lengths," Snead said.

The Rams took wide receiver Tavon Austin with the No. 8 overall pick in 2013 and wide receiver Brian Quick with the first pick in the second round in 2012, so it's questionable whether they'd be willing to invest another high pick at that position.

"We've drafted receivers," Snead said. "I think they take more time to develop than others. You've got to go through that process to get those guys on the field. This year's receiver class, pretty deep class."

Manziel was one of 45 players that had a private workout with the Rams, but Fisher said rumors that the Rams were looking to trade quarterback Sam Bradford to make room for Manziel weren't true.

"This is the time of the year where you don't have to pay particular attention to your sources," Fisher quipped.

A young developmental quarterback is a need for the Rams. Other needs include safety, cornerback, and a speedy running back to complement to power runners Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham.

Kiper has the Rams selecting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at No. 13, while McShay has the Rams taking LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at No. 13.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at or 239-2522.

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