– ESPN draft pundit Mel Kiper Jr. graciously answered two hours worth of questions on a conference call this morning with reporters from all over the country. Kiper has been in the draft business for a long time and is one of the most respected around for his extensive film work and networks within the league.
– With the Rams preparing to draft 14th overall in the first round, I asked Kiper about the Rams’ position, whether Alabama WR Julio Jones is the type of talent you’d make a trade to move up for and if the Rams stay at 14, what other options they could consider.
– In the first incarnations of his mock draft, Kiper had the Rams taking Jones at No. 14 but in recent weeks he has changed his mind and has Jones going before the Rams pick. In his current mock draft, he has the Rams taking Illinois DT Corey Liuget.
– Here’s what Kiper had to say about the Rams’ position…
(On directions the Rams could go with the 14th pick)
“If the top two receivers are gone then they could look defensive tackle because that’s the value. Outside linebacker, I don’t see anybody that would fit what they are doing defensively there if you are looking for a traditional outside linebacker. Maybe an interior offensive lineman they could look at. It’s a little early maybe for (Florida OL Mike) Pouncey, who I don’t think is as good as his brother Maurkice. That’s early. I wouldn’t take Mike Pouncey ahead of where Maurkice went because I don’t think they are similar players. I think Maurkice was a much better prospect.”
(On if it’d be worthwhile to trade up for someone like Jones)
“Jones would be worth trading up from 14 maybe to 10 or 9. If you are sitting there and Washington doesn’t want to go with a receiver though I think they could. It may be tough. It may be difficult to find somebody and you may have to get ahead of 10 or 11. I could see Washington looking at Jones. I could see Houston looking at Jones before the St. Louis Rams are up. Now if he falls to St. Louis, I think you’ve got to take him. I’d like to see him have a little more consistency catching the football, he had some drops, the durability issue is real. He’s had a variety of injuries. Now it’s the foot. So he has to stay healthy over the long haul in the NFL. But hey, they drafted (Sam) Bradford and he didn’t have any injury issues after being hurt at Oklahoma. Maybe Jones had injury issues at Alabama, comes in and goes to the Rams and they have the magic touch and the guys that had troubles in college don’t get hurt in the NFL. But is he talented enough? His combine was unbelievable. He’s a big, physical, hard nosed, great blocker that will help that running game and a guy that I really thought stepped it up this year as a main pass catching option for Alabama. He’s certainly worthy of being 14, he’s worthy of being as high as 8, 9 if you have to go up to get him. Right now he is No. 13 (on my board) so he’s right ahead of where they are picking. He’s worthy of being that guy. (Georgia WR) A.J. Green is certainly worthy of trading up to get if he drops into that 6, 7, 8 range.
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