Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Kevin Roberts of Fantasy Football Overdose. You can follow the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more information on St. Louis Rams stats, news and rumors – visit Fantasy Football Overdose.
The St. Louis Rams are sitting in a pretty spot heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. Their team finished the season without star quarterback Sam Bradford, yet still competed to the very end in most of their matchups, showing their overall growth. The defense was a quarterback-sacking machine, while they found their franchise running back in the powerful Zac Stacy.
Life is never easy playing in the brutal NFC West with the likes of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, but life certainly got a little sweeter for the Rams. After all, thanks to a trade they made with the Washington Redskins two seasons ago, they now walk into this year’s draft with two first round draft choices – the best being the number two overall selection.
The question on everyone’s mind is obvious: what do they do with it? Let’s break down the five most likely options, or at least the ones that make the most sense:
1. Trade It
This is probably the most popular move with fans and draft gurus, alike, and it’s also pretty likely. St. Louis doesn’t need pass-rushing specialist Jadeveon Clowney thanks to an already elite pass-rush, and as long as they still believe in Bradford, they don’t need a quarterback, either.
Still, Clowney would be an awesome luxury, while a tackle or stud wide receiver would surely be tempting. It all comes down to whether or not the Rams value extra draft picks in a pretty deep draft over landing an elite player. It also depends on whether or not they think they can still get a guy they covet if they slide down a few spots.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders could all be in play here to trade with St. Louis, but it’s much more likely that the Atlanta Falcons or Tampa Bay Buccaneers try to move way up. Atlanta badly needs both pass protection and pass-rushing help, so they have a lot of incentive to package some picks together to move up and land Clowney, should he still be available. Tampa Bay is in the same boat, while their new regime could also desire their own passer. At the two spot, they’d have their pick of the remaining litter.
Ultimately, I do think the Rams trade down. Guessing who or what, though, seems like a waste of time.
2. Draft Jadeveon Clowney
Clowney is the best pass-rusher in this draft and then some. He’s got an amazing physique with great speed and explosiveness, as well. The only problem is, St. Louis has two stud pass-rushers in Robert Quinn and Chris Long. They don’t necessarily need Clowney.
While being a clear luxury pick, it’s still possible the Rams just can’t pass up on a guy who is probably the best overall talent in this draft. Besides, drafting Clowney gives them an upgrade for the long-term over either Long or Quinn, and would offer flexibility down the road to let one of them go if they ask for too much money or if their play starts to slip.
3. Draft Sammy Watkins
St. Louis traded up for Tavon Austin last year and he didn’t work out quite as planned. He still proved to be an explosive and versatile weapon, but his touches need to be manufactured right now and he can’t be counted on as a true #1. Neither can any of the other Rams wide receivers.
You could argue Watkins might need his touches manufactured at first, too, but he has a better build and is much more likely to develop into a legit top receiver than anyone else in St. Louis. Thanks to his explosiveness and overall talent, he’s hardly a reach here, too. This is a very real possibility if the Rams are stuck at the two spot and feel they don’t need to grab a tackle.
4. Draft an Offensive Tackle
St. Louis does need tackle help, that’s for sure. Jake Long shredded his knee and Rodger Saffold is a free agent. If they can keep Saffold this becomes less of a need, so it will be interesting to see how things shake up in free agency.
However, here they could be, with the chance to pluck either Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson off the board. Getting either one of these guys would lock up Bradford’s blind side and give them some flexibility with Long’s rehab and their overall o-line depth. They have to be somewhat concerned that if they trade down, they might not be able to get one of these guys. That may be a risk they’re not willing to take.
5. Draft a Quarterback
The Rams have done nothing but support Bradford, but that’s just talk so far. They still haven’t locked him down with a long-term contract and they’re still sitting pretty in a spot where they could grab an elite quarterback prospect.
Drafting a Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater could allow them to trade away Bradford and if they seen one of those three guys as an upgrade, it’s certainly a move they could make.
I still think they believe in Bradford and will keep him, but creating any kind of doubt in other teams’ minds is key for trade value. Still, Jeff Fisher and his people didn’t draft Bradford and it’s not like Bradford has been so amazing that it’d be crazy to start over under center. With an elite defense and a solid rushing attack, perhaps the Rams could decide that all that’s missing is a true game-changer at the quarterback position. If Manziel slides to them, would it be possible they’d start wondering how much of an impact he’d have indoors on the turf? Absolutely.
In the end, though, trading down with one of the many teams that wants a top-flight passer or tackle seems to be the most likely scenario. Even if the Rams did that, they’d almost certainly still be able to do any of the other four options listed above, and it’s also possible the exact player they would want at the #2 spot would be the guy they still get.
Tags: St. Louis Rams