Los Angeles Rams forgotten man: Sean Mannion

Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sean Mannion (14) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sean Mannion (14) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports /

The city may be new (sort of), but the problem is an old one for the Los Angeles Rams: the lack of a genuine franchise quarterback. Averaging only 187 yards per game and woeful quarterback rating of just 69.0, the fanfare with which Nick Foles arrived with the Rams had been well and truly silenced by the time he was benched in November.

Case Keenum steadied the ship a little, bringing a trio of wins against Detroit, Tampa Bay and Seattle, putting up a career high completion percentage (60.8) and quarterback rating (87.7) along the way. While Keenum may well be a decent backup to have around, can anyone really see the guy leading the Rams to a Super Bowl?

After next Sundays’ little shindig between Denver and Carolina is over, all eyes will be looking ahead to the potential moves that could be made in free agency and the draft. Looking first at the free agent market, names that – at present – are due to become open include the likes of Michael Vick (too old), Kellen Clemens (tried that, Kurt Warner 2.0 he was not), Matt Schaub (eye starts twitching furiously at the very thought of it) and Sam Bradford (not happening. Really, not happening). Suffice to say the Los Angeles Rams new franchise quarterback will not be found on the open market.

What about the draft then? This one has quite a bit more weight behind it. Speculation about the Los Angeles Rams trading all the way to number one to grab Carson Wentz over the Cleveland Browns is, in my view anyway, too fanciful to have any chance of becoming reality. If nothing else, the Tennessee Titans are not picking at number one overall for no reason.

Despite bagging their franchise signal caller in Marcus Mariota last year, Jeff Fisher’s former team still has a shocking roster with any number of gaps that the first overall pick could remedy. I don’t think they will trade.

That said, there are other quarterbacks such as Memphis’ Paxton Lynch who are potential first round selections. Whether someone like Lynch is still on the board when the 15th pick is due remains to be seen. Of course, that’s assuming the Los Angeles Rams stay at fifteen.

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have no issues trading picks to move up and down the draft board to get the players they want. Even if the number one pick is a stretch too far, could they move up two, three, four places to get a new starting quarterback? Don’t rule it out.

The more perceptive among you will have perhaps noticed the irony in the failure so far to mention the man whose name appears in the heading of this article. It should not be forgotten that last year the Rams spent a third round selection to bring in Sean Mannion from Oregon State.

Mannion’s draft profile had him going in either the fifth or sixth round, so to take him as high as the Rams did is surely an indication of the potential they saw in him. Hopes should be higher for Mannion than, for example, a sixth-round dice roll such as Garrett Gilbert. And yet despite Nick Foles’ struggles, despite the “put the kid in and see what he can do” argument that came about when it became clear the Rams would not be in the 2015 playoffs, Sean Mannion threw a grand total of seven passes in his rookie regular season. Six of which were completed, by the way.

If you’re Sean Mannion, you’ve got to be hoping the Los Angeles Rams have their sights set on Laquon Treadwell to fill the other big need on the roster at wide receiver with their first round selection. If not, and the Rams do take a quarterback in round one then the question really has to be asked about where, or even if Mannion features in the teams’ plans for the future.

The official line suggests that Case Keenum will keep the starting job, and the organisation is probably not willing to lose face by getting rid of Nick Foles to whom they gave a contract extension before a down was played last year. If a new highly-drafted quarterback were to come in, will there still be room in town for Mannion?