Rams trade down, take DT Brockers in first round
Friday, April 27, 2012
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Backed into a corner by the mad shuffling ahead of them, the St. Louis Rams added a big body to the defensive line by taking LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers with the 14th overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday.
Almost as important, the new regime headed by coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead stockpiled yet another draft pick.
“There’s not a head coach or general manager right now talking about their pick that doesn’t feel good. But we feel really good about this because we’ve got different needs than other clubs,” Fisher said “We’ve got another pick ... and we’ve got a guy that’s going to be a dominant impact player for the defense.”
The Rams appeared poised to take Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon with the sixth pick, then traded down eight spots after Jacksonville moved up to snatch Blackmon with the fifth overall pick. The Rams received the Cowboys’ second-round pick in that deal, leaving them with three of the first 13 picks in the second round, including the first pick of the day Friday.
Fisher said he wasn’t shocked by all the movement early in the draft, aside from the Browns jumping up one spot to take Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the third pick. But he said the Rams had rated Brockers among their top six anyway.
He said the Cowboys called when the Rams were on the clock.
“It was deal we couldn’t refuse,” Fisher said. “When have a number of players up there and the guy that you have interest in is no longer there, it makes sense to go.”
The Rams expect to address their most pressing need, wide receiver, on Day 2.
“We were comfortable in what happened, I can tell you that,” Snead said.
Brockers, a 21-year-old sophomore, had just two sacks in his lone year as a starter but the Rams believe he has pass-rush potential going forward. St. Louis released two defensive tackles, Justin Bannan and Fred Robbins, prior to free agency.
The defensive line has become a potential strength, with former first-rounders Chris Long and Robert Quinn at the ends and tackle Kendall Langford signed to a four-year free agent deal.
“Not only did we get one of the players we wanted, but we made the defensive line one of our strongest units on the team,” Snead said.
Brockers started all 14 games at left tackle last season, helping the Tigers rank second in the nation in total defense with a 261.5-yards per game average. LSU also was second in the nation at points allowed with just 11 per game.
Though Brockers has little starting experience from college, the Rams believe he’s ready to start right away in the NFL.
“For not being a four-year starter, he’s very instinctive,” Fisher said. “He’s the complete package. He’s not what you refer to as a project that’s going to take a couple of years.”
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