Early draft preview: Rams have options at RB

ST. LOUIS — The Rams surprised some when they selected Auburn running back Tre Mason in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

St. Louis didn’t necessarily need to take a running back with the No. 75 overall selection, because of the success of Zac Stacy as a rookie in 2014, but the record-setting tailback from Auburn was apparently too good to pass up for coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead, both of whom have connections to the Auburn football program.

As part of our early look at the 2015 NFL Draft, we look at the Rams’ depth at running back and a look at who may be available during the draft next spring.

Here are NFL Draft Report’s early grades on the Class of 2015 running back prospects.

The Rams’ depth chart includes three former draft picks at running back: Stacy (fifth rounder in 2013), Mason (third round in 2014), Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead (second rounder in 2012).

It’s unlikely the Rams would need to take a running back early in the 2015 draft, but it’s possible they could try to upgrade at that spot depending on what happens with their current crop.

NFL Draft Report projects Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and South Carolina’s Michael Davis as first rounders and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon as a second rounder.

There were no running backs selected in the 2014 draft until Tennessee tabbed Bishop Sankey in the second round at No. 54 overall. The position has obviously been devalued in the NFL in recent years, but the Rams shown their commitment to running the ball this offseason with the draft picks of Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson and then Mason.

St. Louis wants to run the ball and play stingy defense, a blueprint that has worked well for NFC West rivals Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in recent seasons.

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com

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