NFL Draft: St. Louis Rams

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EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The pick: Tre Mason, running back, Auburn

My take: This is the first pick the Rams have made that caught me off guard. I thought the Rams might grab a receiver or quarterback if they were going to add at the skill positions but didn't expect any running back to be the choice this early. I have to think this was one of those situations where value was too good for the Rams to pass up. Reuniting Mason with tackle Greg Robinson allows them to get the nation's most dynamic rushing combo back together. Honestly, I feel as if the Rams could have had similar value at a position of need. Even doubling down on Florida State defensive backs with safety Terrence Brooks would have been a good play. Mason is a good back and could actually push for starter carries, but the Rams could have waited and taken another back to contribute later.

Message sent: At the scouting combine in February, coach Jeff Fisher said he wanted to give the bulk of the carries to Zac Stacy and though that's still possible, Mason has the ability to eventually wrest the job away. Barring that, the rest of the running back group has been put on notice. The Rams like Benny Cunningham and this move would seem to put Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead in danger of not making the roster. The Rams would probably be happy to get a pick for either at this point.

What's next: The Rams dealt their fifth-round pick to Buffalo earlier in the night, leaving them with a pick in the fourth, two in the sixth and four in the seventh before calling it a draft. The Rams still have needs at quarterback, on the offensive line, linebacker and in the secondary.

Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Rams 

April, 10, 2014
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Armed with the second and 13th picks in the first round and 12 overall selections, the St. Louis Rams sit in prime position to be one of the 2014 NFL draft's movers and shakers.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay's fourth 2014 NFL mock draft Insider came out on ESPN Insider today, and though the two-round exercise has a familiar name for the Rams with their first choice, McShay's selection at No. 13 comes as a bit of a surprise.

Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Rams

March, 13, 2014
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Long before free agency ever brought suspicion to reality, it was no secret that the St. Louis Rams were likely going to have to address the offensive line at some point in the 2014 NFL draft.

With the crazy turn of events that took place Wednesday night that ultimately landed Rodger Saffold back with the Rams, the need might not be as pressing as first feared.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the Rams won't continue to bulk up the line in this year's draft. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is standing by his consistent choice Insider of an offensive lineman for the Rams with the second pick in the draft. In his third shot at a mock, Kiper is again going with Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson at No. 2 but switching from Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans to Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at No. 13.

Adding Robinson would be no surprise. He has been a favorite of mock drafts for some time and he would provide the Rams a hammer in the run game with plenty of upside as a pass-protector. It might be considered a little high for a player who might have to follow the Jonathan Ogden plan and play guard for a year but either way, Robinson would bring a much-needed elite talent to the offensive line for the long term.

The Rams have watched as the safety market exploded and teams moved quickly to remove them from the shelves. Which means it's likely going to be a position the Rams must address at some point in the draft. Clinton-Dix is a logical choice because of his range and cover skills though I've been a bit underwhelmed when watching him. Adding a quality corner or even another high quality offensive lineman such as Notre Dame's Zack Martin might represent better value but that's not to say that Clinton-Dix wouldn't make sense.

Kiper-McShay Mocks 2.0: St. Louis Rams 

February, 6, 2014
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In their first mock drafts, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper each tabbed the same offensive tackle for the Rams, who own the No. 2 pick thanks to their trade with Washington two seasons ago: Jake Matthews of Texas A&M.

For the Rams' second pick of the first round, McShay projected Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix while Kiper went offense with Texas A&M WR Mike Evans.

Has there been a change for their second mocks? Here's the latest projection from each of our experts.

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Kiper Mock Draft 1.0: St. Louis Rams 

January, 15, 2014
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Armed with the Nos. 2 and 13 picks, the St. Louis Rams find themselves in an enviable position heading toward this year's NFL draft.

While general manager Les Snead insists the team's biggest need is experience, there are plenty of areas by which they can bolster the roster.

Offensively, the Rams have a line with question marks, as two 2013 Week 1 starters, Rodger Saffold and Chris Williams, are scheduled for unrestricted free agency, while two more, Harvey Dahl and Scott Wells, are possible cap casualties. Jake Long is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. Tackles like Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson would have plenty of appeal.

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McShay Mock Draft 1.0: St. Louis Rams 

December, 18, 2013
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The season may not have played out the way Jeff Fisher and the youthful Rams would have liked after an offseason of offensive upgrades and high hopes, but they can thank the Washington Redskins for a very nice consolation prize -- the No. 2 overall pick. Paired with the Rams’ own first-rounder (currently slotted at No. 14 overall) St. Louis can considerably bolster its depth and fill some holes.

So who could the Rams target?

Todd McShay released his first 2014 mock draft Wednesday, and in doing so identified the biggest areas of need for the Rams. The most urgent: O-line, defensive secondary, running back, receiver … and even QB. Here’s who McShay believes will provide the best fit for St. Louis at No. 2 and No. 14 overall

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Who will be No. 1 pick in 2014? 

December, 4, 2013
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Teddy BridgewaterAndy Lyons/Getty ImagesWith Marcus Mariota returning to school, Teddy Bridgewater is now the top QB prospect for 2014.
The number of potential No. 1 overall picks for the 2014 NFL draft shrunk by one Tuesday afternoon, with the announcement that Marcus Mariota will be returning to Oregon for his redshirt junior season.

With Mariota no longer in the equation, who will go No. 1? Let's answer that question by looking at the most logical picks for the six likeliest teams to land the top pick in the 2014 draft.

One note before we get started: It is still very early in the draft process, and I'm just scratching the surface with my evaluations at this point, especially when it comes to the quarterbacks. I still have nearly all of the 2013 season tape to study, in addition to background checks, measureables, pressure drops tests, etc. But what follows is a look based on what we know right now.

We've ordered the teams below based on which are likeliest to land the No. 1 pick, according to Football Outsiders' projections.

1. Houston Texans
Needs: QB, OT
Likeliest No. 1 pick: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Case Keenum is not the long-term answer at quarterback for the Texans. I think it would have been easier for Houston to take Mariota as its QB of the future, given his elite potential, especially since there are some long-term durability concerns with Bridgewater because of his frame. So there's a chance they would instead choose to address their offensive line and take Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews at No. 1.

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