The St. Louis Rams #2 NFL Draft Pick: Who Would I Take?

Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Trovon Reed (1) and Auburn Tigers offensive linesman Greg Robinson (73) celebrate after the 2013 SEC Championship game against the Missouri Tigers at Georgia Dome. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Missouri Tigers 59-42. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

My rundown through the entire first round of the NFL draft continues as I  examine the St. Louis Rams who hold the #2 pick in the first round.

The Pick:  Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn

Anybody can see that the Rams are EXTREMELY interested in duplicating the lucrative trade deal they made with Washington back in 2012 for Robert Griffin III.  Either way though, to me there is no question that Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson should be the pick.  Physically he has every tool in the cupboard from the power, to the length and size and even the endurance and athleticism as exhibited in the fast-paced Tigers offense.

Why:  Sam Bradford more reliable protection in NFC West

The fact of the matter is St. Louis has not had a truly able offensive line in years.  What’s worse, they are now playing in an NFC West division with three of the best defenses in football in Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.  If their mission is to get the most out of Sam Bradford, who will be coming off a torn ACL, then the time has come to make a legitimate commitment to protecting him.  Jake Long was a nice investment last year but he suffered another knee injury and is only getting older.

Argument:  Jake Matthews and Khalil Mack rate higher on many boards

Among some of the issues with this pick will be the question of whether Robinson is even the best left tackle on the board.  Several people would consider that honor to go to Texas A&M stud Jake Matthews.  Certainly the second generation talent makes a strong case.  He has plenty of physical ability, experience playing on both the left and right sides, polished technique and is better prepared to start in a pro-style offense.  Then there is Khalil Mack.  Though officially designated an outside linebacker, his physical talent is enough to the point where he can play beyond that position, including defensive end.  He is a rare breed of player that does everything from rushing the passer to tackling to playing coverage and doing it all as good or better than anybody.  Jeff Fisher might love having him on that developing Rams defense.

Counter-argument:  Robinson isn’t even polished and already dominates

Yet facts are facts.  Game tape never lies.  Down the stretch of the season, despite his inexperience, Robinson dominated every defensive lineman who crossed path including some of the top prospects in the 2014 class.  If the biggest argument against him is rawness, then it’s clear he’s good.  The talent is said to exceed that of Eric Fisher, who went #1 in 2013.  The St. Louis Rams won a Super Bowl the last time they had a dominant left tackle.

That is why I would take Greg Robinson if I were in charge.  What are your thoughts?

Topics: Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, NFL Draft, Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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  • Nate

    The Rams should trade down. If they don’t it would be a tough choice between Robinson and Clowney. Clowney being the better talent, but Robinson providing a huge need. Their line, even with Jake Long, was awful. Another option is to take Clowney and pay for the best available left guard in free agency. Then they’re a db away from rivaling the other three nfc west defences.

    • Erik Lambert

      All very viable options. I still believe Robinson would serve them better. Fisher is always great about finding pass rushers so while Clowney would be a nice luxury, he’s less important to the task at hand.

      • Gary Stewart

        every scenario i have the rams trading down… to 4 w/ clev or 6 w/ atl but with more than likely at least 2 qbs in the top 5 would mean you could wind up with one of the top 5 elites no matter what at #6. if i dropped to say 8 it would only be if 3 qbs went early which means 2 trade downs because you would not know at 2 how many qbs were gone. but for the sake of this exercise if i had to take one player at #2 id go matthews jake long may or may not be ready saffold may or may not resign so taking matthews is simply BPA and the most versatile and plug and play player in the draft.

        • Erik Lambert

          Atlanta and Cleveland are your best bets. Few of the teams beyond that such as Minnesota or Buffalo don’t have the ideal means or motive to move up. The Vikings have to know a pass rusher or quarterback should fall to them while Buffalo can settle for a tackle or even a tight end. St. Louis won’t want to move further back than that due to the likelihood of missing out on an elite. A lot will depend on what Houston does with that first pick.

          • Gary Stewart

            there is one wild card not mentioned if i remember correctly oakland has a ton of cap space and may be active in free agency if they get most of what they want and totally covet a certain qb or clowney hell even mack for that matter they may be in play which leaves us at #5 and i would take their 2015 #1 as boot still leaving us an elite at 5 and gives snead the 2 picks he wants next year in rd 1 and we get an elite and dix still at 13.

          • Erik Lambert

            I’d call that a long shot. Oakland showed last year they prefer to trade down, and they don’t have many picks. Even with all the cap space I still expect them to stick at #5 or move down even. They have a long ways to go before they’re ready and it’s not time to move up yet. I won’t say it’s impossible though.

          • Gary Stewart

            so fine we trade down with cleveland take their #4 and 26 then trade our 26 and 13 along with our 3rd rounder to get their #5 giving us 4 and 5 instead of 2 and 13 and 75

          • Erik Lambert

            Why not. Two more ace players could mean the difference in that division.

          • Gary Stewart

            ok erik im awake and watching the qb wr rb combine section so the rams pulled off the trades above we now have #4 and #5 who do the rams take??

          • Erik Lambert

            Good question. If I’m them I go get Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews, whoever is on the board. Then I take Sammy Watkins. I know Khalil Mack would be the more obvious pick but can you imagine how scary a Watkins/Austin combination could be? Sam Bradford would have a field day, especially with improving protection.

          • Gary Stewart

            so many good options i think watkins and mack heres my take … with tavon and watkins sam wont need as much time and with mack rushing the passer and dropping in coverage the defense gets off the field on 3rd down better! the other reason i chose mack was because when we traded away #13 we gave up dix so we need to speed up the qbs time to get rid of the ball we would have to get a safety and a corner with the 2nd round and 4th round picks and of course this is all counting on the rams resigning saffold otherwise we might have to go matthews/robinson

          • Erik Lambert

            Hence why they remain hard to predict.

      • Nate

        Traditionally I’d agree with you, but the Seahawks have proven you can survive a second string o line with a strong defense. LOB gets all the press–deservedly so, but their d-line has incredible depth, keeping fresh, stopping the run and forced a lot of quick throws that allowed the d-backs to play close and physical. I think you go for best available. I believe that’s Clowney if he’s still there.

        • Erik Lambert

          They survive that o-line because Russell Wilson is so elusive, Nate. Sam Bradford does not have that same ability. He is a pocket passer first and foremost and needed the accompanied protection.

          • Nate

            I think that’s true about Wilson and Bradford, but I think using top picks to build around Bradford’s needs is myopic. He’s in his second make or break season. If he does what he’s always done I think using the pick for his benefit is a bigger gamble than Bradford himself.

            Why take a risk on a top pick? Robinson may be a future great, but he might not even be the best OT in the draft and they have Jake Long. If you’re going to argue Clowney’s not going to show up that’s one thing, but I don’t think that’s anyone’s concern. Take the best available if you’re not trading down otherwise it’s a waste. Use low risk options to help Bradford and Stacy.

  • Rick Talley

    Love to have him. Can you imagine the line next year, if Jake Long comes back and Saffold or talented rookie plays right guard? You move Robinson to right guard for the year; that would mean Long, Robinson, Barnes or Jones, Saffold, Barksdale! Zac Stacy would be SALAVATING! Plus, no more shortage od tackles. Even better would be trade back and still get Robinson. Go Rams!

  • Beer O’Clock

    If your primary purpose is to give Sam Bradford the best possible protection, then you’d be better off drafting Taylor Lewan who is a superlative pass protector.

    If your primary purpose is to make Zac Stacy a leading rusher and still give better pass protection, then Greg Robinson is your man. In the

    • Erik Lambert

      Lewan has plenty of good points but I feel Robinson has the most upside. His length-to-size ration is outstanding and the athleticism and speed are remarkable. His only drawback of note is lack of polish in pass protection. That can get cleaned up with more experience. Don’t forget he’s a sophomore. Besides, the Rams proved they were better as a run-first team in 2013. So the beauty is Robinson can help them right away like that and if they shift to Bradford he will have had enough time to polish his game.

      • Beer O’Clock

        Yeah, writers said the same thing about Jason Smith.

        If the Rams are targeting a run-first team, then why did we draft Tavon Austin who can’t block to save his life? Also, if the Rams are run-first team, we need to quit talking about drafting Sammy Watkins, stop blasting Sam Bradford, pick up a few more interior lineman and a TE who can block better than Cook and Kendricks.

        I have no problem drafting Robinson–but I’m getting conflicting messages from you writers.

        • Erik Lambert

          Because Tavon Austin is the perfect play action receiver. As teams climb up to stop the run he will begin to see single coverage and when the time is right will take it over the top on a play fake. The thing about “us” writers is that we have differing opinions. I’ve stated mine as clearly as possible but in truth the Rams are one of the hardest teams to predict heading into this draft.

          • Beer O’Clock

            Erik, I respect your opinions. You look at the world in potential and I look at performance–let’s just agree to disagree.

            I just can’t call a receiver who was #122 in the NFL in receiving yards and among the league leaders in dropped passes as the perfect play-action receiver.

            Greg Robinson is going to be a fine OT, maybe even great, but the pass blocking performance I’ve seen on tape does not make him worthy of a #2 overall–upside or no upside. Lewan has showed at the combine that he’s a better athlete than Robinson, tho

          • Gary Stewart

            beer im with you but with erik as well you are both right tavons numbers were terrible but he was always pressing and will calm down in year 2 his flashes were brilliant. the rams never really got to the play action going as i said b4 shotty needs to be more creative or pack his bags play action was not a very good option with clemens because he couldnt threaten the defense deep tavon will succeed when the linebackers have to react to the run fake and the secondary has to react to the potential deep ball then tavon gets the space he needs to operate

        • Gary Stewart

          beer, in fairness the rams changed course last year after figuring out zac could be the guy and fisher was too busy keeping his eye on waltons dismal defensive plans that he didn’t have time to work with shotty and his dismal offensive plans. so jeff told shotty to KISS (keep ot simple stupid) thats when the team took off on the ground this year fish can let williams go and concentrate on helping shotty get his head out of his … i like the stability theory but being stable at 8-8 isn’t gonna get it