Is Number One the Right Move?


The Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams agreed to a historic, pre-draft trade. At 9:30 PM ET yesterday, the Titans agreed to trade the number one overall pick along with their fourth (113) and sixth rounder (177) for the 15th pick and the Rams’ second (43, 45), third (76) rounders in addition to the Rams’ first and third round picks in 2017. The trade was announced at approximately 9:09 ET this morning as the Rams were well aware of another sporting spectacle taking place at the Staples Center.

For starters, the Rams simply selling the farm is a poor decision. Their jumping of the Cleveland Browns to take a quarterback is more of a sure bet than the Rams going 8-8 or 7-9 is. Jared Goff and Carson Wentz are great talents but not generational ones, a trade of which this magnitude would suggest they are, and I firmly believe Paxton Lynch is the better of the two. Rams fans are also quick to note that the mediocrity in the passing game isn’t squarely on the quarterback as their receiving corp, or lack thereof, was quite underwhelming and thus leads me to the most important question: why bring a rookie passer in without a supporting cast?

Sure, Todd Gurley is going to help establish an offensive identity but he’s simply not a 350+ carry back. On top of that, defenses already know the Rams want to run the ball and have been more than willing to stack the box even on passing downs. I understand Tavon Austin is a chess piece as a threat to score, but who is going to provide depth as a number two guy? Kenny Britt is a year older, and saw his numbers drop from 2014, and Stedman Bailey is recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound. The struggles up front were well documented (albeit being young) and not upgraded in free agency, suggesting that whoever is behind center should be prepared to take some shots. Fisher is also entering the last of year of contract, a cause for concern if the Rams do not bring him back as the the rookie passer will have to learn a brand new offense rather than taking the next step in Year 2

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What is perhaps the most perplexing aspect surrounding the trade is the dedication Fisher and General Manager Les Snead have made to trading back to collect picks and build for the future; now they only have five. What they’ve done here is the exact opposite: they have put all of their eggs in one basket and hope their number one quarterback can win them games. More picks generate more chances to hit than miss, especially the three high-value chances the Rams had between the second and third round. Almost ironic in a sense is that the Rams were in a similar situation in 2012: sitting at number two, the Redskins agreed to trade three first rounder picks (2012-2014) and their second rounder to take Robert Griffin III, a quarterback many considered to be a franchise guy, only to be on a new team without having started a game in over a year.

Once more, here’s an interesting tidbit to be mindful of.

I’ve always tried to remain diplomatic and look at it from both ends, and will continue to do so. Case Keenum was obviously not winning them games and likely wasn’t going to start doing so with a defense that isn’t quite what it was this past season. Bringing in a fresh face is a chance to build a franchise and more importantly, a winner. Competing in the NFC West is a daunting task when you have two teams twice a year with great quarterbacks and equally great defenses and you have to do everything you can to compete. Only time will tell if this pick proves to work.