The biggest news in the NFL this week has been the release of Eagles’ Pro Bowl receiver, DeSean Jackson. Despite pulling in 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns in Chip Kelly’s new offensive scheme, the “trouble” star had been reportedly on the trading block for much of the last two weeks. However, after not finding a viable suitor, the Eagles decided to simply cut Jackson, eating $6 million in dead money, and poking a massive hole in their roster. But, we’ll save that mess for the Philadelphia Eagles to cover…
For the St. Louis Rams, DeSean Jackson could play a major role for the organization in the very near future. No, not as a member of the Rams receiving corps, but rather, his potential impact on the Top 10 of the 2014 NFL Draft.
As soon as the release was announced, it was reported that ‘seven teams’ showed immediate interest in speaking with Jackson’s agent. Now, after it was made public last night the both the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets were ‘out’ of the DeSean Jackson market, it appeared to leave only a handful of realistic landing spots for the supremely talented, and supremely ecocentric, receiver.
First up on the docket to host Jackson will be the Washington Redskins, who, thanks to their 2012 trade for the services of Robert Griffin III, do not have a 1st-rounder in this upcoming, receiver-heavy NFL Draft. The other obvious, potential landing spot would be Oakland, where the Raiders still have massive areas of need at a laundry list of positions on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football.
If the Redskins are able to ascertain the services of DeSean Jackson, the effect on the Rams will be minimal. However, if Jackson were to end up on the Oakland Raiders, it could benefit the Rams in several, very positive, ways…
First and foremost, Jackson to Oakland takes the Raiders out of the running for Sammy Watkins in the Top 10. With a Pro Bowl-caliber player on the depth chart, they would likely shift their attention to their massive need at left tackle to protect newly-crowned quarterback, Matt Schaub, or for a pass rusher on the defensive side of the ball, to replace the departed Lamarr Houston.
Assuming that a wide receiver is the target in the opening round, that should help out the Rams in two ways. To start, it may add another potential trading partner to the mix for the No.2 overall pick in the Draft (i.e. Oakland), assuming they are, in fact, hunting the services of the top offensive tackle or top pass rushing prospect in the class. Secondly, it could give the Rams more “comfort” in trading down with the Atlanta Falcons, knowing that there are likely no teams in the Top 5 that both a) have a large enough need to take Sammy Watkins and b) would be willing to trade down and potentially miss on “their guy.”
Moreover, assuming that the Rams do not have their eyes on Sammy Watkins, the potential for the Rams to make a double-trade down in the Top 10 becomes much more realistic. In that same scenario where St. Louis is sitting at No.6 with Watkins still on the board, there are likely a number of teams that would be willing to “break the bank” and move up to snag the top wide receiver prospect in the class. In fact, you could make a case that every team picking from No.7-No.12 could be in the marker for a marquee receiver, which would certainly bode well for a Rams War Room in a hunt to move down the board and stockpile high-value picks.
Either way, nothing but ‘good’ can come from the Oakland Raiders signing of DeSean Jackson. For once, we should all be cheering for the Raiders to win, even if it is merely winning the services of a “troubled” receiver.