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Rams trade up for Joyner in 2nd, take Mason in 3rd

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Rams trade up for Joyner in 2nd, take Mason in 3rd
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Greg Robinson, from Auburn, waits for the announcement of his second overall selection by the St. Louis …

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Lamarcus Joyner was flattered by the investment. The Florida State All-American is eager to prove his worth.

The St. Louis Rams traded up three spots in the second round with Buffalo, also giving the Bills their fifth-round pick, to take the undersized but hard-hitting Joyner with the 41st overall pick of the draft Friday night.

''That was so special,'' Joyner said. ''That was like, 'Wow, all these great guys left on the board and they traded up for me.' I owe them for that, they sacrificed to me.''

The Rams were happy to snag him. They'd been worried that Tennessee would take Joyner, and the Titans ended up trading down after the Rams made their move.

''He was clearly the guy we identified,'' Fisher said. ''We didn't want to lose him. He's just an outstanding player.''

They leaned on their Auburn connection again in the third round, adding running back Tre' Mason after taking tackle Greg Robinson with the second overall pick. Fisher billed Mason as a change-of-pace option to go with Zac Stacy.

''Me and Greg, we're a dynamic duo,'' Mason said. ''Greg is my brother.''

Snead is a former Auburn tight end and Fisher's son, Trent, was a backup safety last season on the national runner-up team. They had enough information that they didn't feel the need to bring Mason in for a visit or give him a private workout. Mason had been a little surprised about the pick because there had been virtually no contact with the Rams.

''We did our homework,'' Fisher said. ''We felt like we knew everything we needed to know about the kid. We just couldn't pass him up.''

Mason, 5-foot-8 and 207 pounds, rushed for 195 yards in the national championship game loss to Florida State. He was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection running behind Robinson.

Stacy just missed a 1,000-yard season as a rookie last year. The Rams also like Benny Cunningham, an undrafted rookie last season who had a 100-yard game against the Bears.

Joyner made a top 30 visit to St. Louis and left with a ''great vibe from all the coaches.''

''It just felt like a great atmosphere and a great group of people,'' Joyner said. ''I just felt like I was their type of player.''

The 5-foot-8, 184-pound Joyner was one of four All-Americans for the national champion Seminoles and fills one of the team's pre-draft needs. He started every game his last three seasons and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe awards after leading the nation's stingiest pass defense.

''If I've got to pack on 100 pounds and move to offensive guard, whatever I need to do for the organization,'' Joyner said.

The Rams addressed the line on both sides of the ball in the first round, also taking defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the 13th selection. They entered the second day of the draft with a surplus of picks to use as collateral.

Joyner was second on the team with a career-high 69 tackles and led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 5 1/2 sacks.

''I'm aggressive, I'm physical,'' Joyner said. ''I know no man is going to want to play 60 minutes like I am.''

St. Louis lacked depth in the secondary even before releasing cornerback Cortland Finnegan due to injury concerns after the season. Joyner could provide an immediate boost in the nickel package and at free safety, and also is an accomplished return man.

Joyner started 27 games at safety and 13 at cornerback in college.

''You went to see him play and you just noticed his range,'' Snead said. ''He plays faster than he timed and he hits larger than he is.''

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