2014 NFL Draft Predictions: Rams Will Select Zack Martin


Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, I put out a list of projected St. Louis Rams draft picks from rounds one to seven. In that piece, I had the team selecting wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Justin Gilbert. But after some further consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that a much more likely possibility involves the team selecting Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin at pick 13.

The Rams would like to have someone who is capable of being a long-term replacement for left tackle Jake Long, but at the same time they feel like they can get a few more good years out of Long, and right tackle Joe Barksdale is a quickly-developing prospect who does not deserve to be replaced. When Rodger Saffold attempted to switch to right tackle prior to last season, offensive line coach Paul Boudreau talked about how difficult it is for a lineman to switch sides, so it wouldn’t really make sense for the Rams to start a tackle off on the right side if they planned on moving him back to the left.

In addition, the team is desperately in need of another starting-quality guard, so it would be most logical for the team to plug in any lineman who they may take at left guard, which would make it easier for the team to kick him out to left when Long ultimately vacates the position. While the top two tackles in the draft, Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews have experience playing guard, Martin worked out at the position during Senior Bowl week, and many feel that he has the potential to be an All-Pro guard.

With this in mind, it would be best for the Rams to hope Martin falls to pick 13 and pick up a playmaker such as Watkins or a pass rusher like Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack at pick two. For the remainder of Long’s time at left tackle, the Rams could have arguably the best guard tandem in the league with Martin and Saffold, and once Long is gone Martin would have the potential to shift over and possibly become an elite left tackle as well. While he may not have as much potential at the tackle position as Robinson or Matthews, Martin would make a greater impact in the near future, and his selection would allow the Rams to get more of a difference maker with the second pick.