It might be 80 degrees outside right now, but for me this is Christmas. The NFL Draft might actually be better than Christmas because it lasts for three days instead of just one. For any of you Rams fans out there who are as excited as me, I highly recommend you keep a close eye on Ramblin’ Fan over the next three days, as I am going to be covering this thing intensely. Also, anyone interested needs to follow me on Twitter @Ramblinfan, as I will be going pick-by-pick tonight for sure and probably something pretty close to it tomorrow and Saturday. It is my goal to provide the best possible coverage over the next few days, because this may be the most imporant draft in St. Louis Rams history. I hope to hear from you guys over the next couple of days, whether on here or on Twitter, because I’m interested in what you have to say. As proof, here is an excellent post from a reader giving his preview of the Rams first round pick. While I might not agree with everything he had to say, I think it is important to get his viewpoint out there.
Rams Realist says:
After last season, I can’t see anyway a team with either AJ Feeley, Keith Null or any of the QBs in the draft being able to take this team to more than 3 wins. Thats if Steven Jackson doesn’t break down with a shoulder injury from carrying the team. All jokes aside, the Rams need to fill way too many holes to even consider this team beating any division rival with a turnstile offensive line, limited defensive line with aging Leonard Little still leading the team with 6.5 sacks, a wide receiving corps filled with players who wouldn’t make it higher than 4th receiver on practically any other NFL teams depth chart (Avery being the exception), and a secondary that without Atogwe would drop from 25th in the league down to the bottom 3.
A few positives though, since I just doled out alot of hate for my team, would include Laurinaitis’ promising season and potential development as team captain, Chris Long sort of looking like he remembered how to play football, Donnie Jones’ excellent punting abilities, and Steven Jackson surprisingly not giving up on the team.
As for the draft, I’m not sure that Sam Bradford is the best option for the Rams. I know thatsa shocking statement considering I just mentioned we could have Keith Null starting again. However, Bradford is coming off a major injury to his throwing shoulder, which could potentially nag him throughout his career. Being the optimist, i see this situation of drafting him panning out with Bradford getting injured by week 6 and ending up witharound a 40/60 mix of TDs to INTs. In addition to this, having not played competitive football for the past 7 months puts him at a disadvantage to the other QBs in the draft. The last point to look at would be our receivers, all of which really aren’t very good outside of Avery, who can’t possibly get thrown to 10 times a game. Fun fact: we didn’t have a 600 yard receiver last year. Drafting a franchise QB with one above average receiver and a bunch of practice squad player filling out the other WR posttions, as well as a terrible O-line (tied for 7th most sacks allowed, which is augmented by the fact we are not a passing team) sounds like a baptism by fire guaranteed to get that player injured again.
My argument would be to take Ndamakung Suh and try to shore up a defensive line that could actually cause some trouble. Suh would likely draw double teams if he starts to establish himself and open up one on one opportunities for Little, Long andHall. With Suh capable of getting in the back field and causing mismatches, this would take strain off of the secondary as well. He is a fiery player, who would pair well with Laurinaitis in getting this defense moving in the right direction. Also, in his last two seasons at Nebraska, he had to learn to different defensive schemes andstill managed to post solid All-American stats in both years.
An addition tidbit of insight…The Rams could potentially take Suh and use their 2nd round pick on Colt McCoy, who they have valued over Clausen. I know its a similiar injury situation, but the pick could provide value in the 2nd round (possibly even if we were to trade down given that the 2nd round is now on a separate day and the GMswould be able to revalue their draft boards based on 1st round results, any trades that have occurred and remaining players). McCoy is more accurate than Bradford by a small to decent margin but it is important to point out that he has mastered the short routes within 10 yards (over 70% for his college career). These routes were the ones that he ran most while at Texas and has a clear feel for being able to put the ball where only the receiver can get it, often times leading to plays extending up field. He also is more mobile than Bradford, which could be key with buying time in a frequently non existent pocket. A final point, McCoy started 4 years at Texas in a high pressure QB situation within the Big 12. He secured the most victories in CFB history, proving himself as a winner.
To sum it up, if we took Suh, we could easily continue building a formidable defense anddefensive line. With our next set of picks, we could go for McCoy or in a really unlikely scenario, wait until later rounds to test out Tony Pike or Dan Lefevour, who analysts at ESPN like as the Dark Horse/Sleeper choice in this draft. Regardless, I feel as though we wont win many games and will still likely have a top 2 pick next season. If my logic is correct and we land the 1st pick again (possibly 2nd pick with the Lions finishing worse), we could take Jake Locker out of Washington, who almost every draft analyst agreed would have been the consensus first overall choice this year as a junior.
Personally, if we can get Suh and test out a McCoy/Pike/Lefevour 1 year trial run, which I think at worst results in that drafted QB sliding to back up or 3rd string next year and eventually netting us Locker, we should pursue this path. Oh and if all else fails, we can start Josh Brown at QB, I heard he throws a nasty fade route…