Once the NFL Scouting Combine in is the rearview mirror and the first wave of big name signings in free agecy have passed, there is little for NFL fans to grasp onto when analyzing the Draft. Pro Days will come and go, individual workouts and “interviews” will be offered, and front office executives and scouts will continue to fill the air with smoke and mirrors in an attempt to ward others away from “their guy.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the media and the diehards in each team’s dan base will not latch onto some of those storylines and attempt to draw their own conclusion. So, for the St. Louis Rams, what recent rumors and moves might affect the team on Draft Day?
Teddy Bridgewater’s “mediocre” Pro Day
Much like the NFL Scouting Combine, the upper tier of draft prospects are rarely affected by their individual performances at their Pro Day. In fact, that is especially the case with Pro Days, as players are expected to perform to near perfection, conducting a personalized routine in a comfortable environment with the help familiar players and coaches. However, when the Pro Day doesn’t go perfectly, then an issue can arise.
That was the case for Bridgewater this week, with the potential No.1 overall prospect receiving mixed reviews on his workout. A relatively slow 40-time, combined with completing only 57 of 65 attempts left some scouts scratching their head. To make matters even more curious, Bridgewater competed for the day without his trademark “throwing” glove, causing some to question why he would switch to bare hands having not thrown without the gloves at any point last season.
What does this mean for the Rams? Likely nothing. At this point, an average showing at a Pro Day will not affect his place on the big boards that actually matter (i.e. the actual teams). Those interested in Bridgewater’s services will have their opportunity to put him their the paces at their individual workouts; with and without his gloves.
Oakland Raiders signing OT Donald Penn and QB Matt Schaub
Unlike the Bridgewater hype, the signing of these two bornerline-starters might have a genuine affect on the St. Louis Rams in May. With a potential stop-gap starter at two major positions of need, the Oakland Raiders are presumably less likely to move up in the draft order to secure one of the top prospects in the Draft class. Not only does that elimate a potential trade partner for the Rams, it might also cause some uncertain in the St. Louis War Room, should the team manage to trade down to No.6 in the order, or lower.
With, arguably, no immediate “need” in Raider Land, the team might feel more comfortable drafting one of the top skill players, like a Sammy Watkins. Worse, it may open up the opportunity for teams on the fringe of the Top 10 to leapfrog the Rams and take one of their targeted player; setting up a potential repeat of the 2012 draft when Jacksonville hopped Jeff Fisher to steal Justin Blackmon. The latest rumors are that the Raiders are still interested in drafting a quarterback at the No.5 spot, but, at this point, it is extremely difficult to tell truth from smokescreen.
Jared Allen potential signing in Seattle
Mass hysteria filled Rams Nation yesterday when the “signing” of Jared Allen was prematurely announced on Twitter. As it turns out, Allen had not signed a deal, and instead will take the weekend to mull over the handful of offers he has received in free agency. Under the assumption that one of the all-time great pass rusher would be added to the ‘Hawks defensive line, many automatically jumped back on the “we must draft Greg Robinson” bandwagon. Is that the case?
Jeff Fisher has, on multiple occasions, spoken about the concept of building a roster to compete within the division. Therefore, massive change on other NFC West rosters could, arguably, change the Rams mindset on Draft Day. However, it is doubtful that any single free agent additional to another squad will drastically change the outlook in the Rams War Room. If Greg Robinson was a top target prior to Jared Allen, he’ll stay there. If not, he will certainly not skyrocket up the board. Unlike media and the general fanbase, most coaches, scouts, and GMs are not affected by “Twitter chaos.” Jeff Fisher and Les Snead will have a plan heading into May, and Jared Allen will likely not change that plan in any way.