Once again the Rams have the number 2 pick and though there is no outright certainty in this draft, there is talent to be fought over. So where should the Rams go with that number 2 pick?
QB – the Rams have faith in Bradford. Not an option.
Clowney – I know a lot of people like this idea but I say no. The Rams have two great edge rushers and though Clowney might be a slight upgrade with development, they also have big areas of need if they are to compete in the toughest division in football. Jamming 3 edge rushers into your defence won’t work against the run and I would rather stick with a front 4 that has been solid and make a big improvement in an area of need.
Sammy Watkins – the tackle, wide receiver and corner drafts are deep but I think the difference between Greg Robinson and say Kouandijo is greater than the difference between Sammy Watkins and Marquis Lee or Odell Beckham Jr. I’d wait before snapping up another wideout.
That leaves me with two sensible options.
Tackle (Robinson or Matthews)
Khalil Mack- Khalil Mack is an intriguing prospect. If the linebacker area lacked one thing last year it was sacks. Mack is a solid all around linebacker with room to grow in coverage and against the run. He could fit in nicely at OLB next to Laurinitus and Ogletree. It would give the Rams front 7 another dynamic along with a young talented linebacker core that could match any in the league.
What’s the similarity between Mack and the top 2 tackles?
You could probably pick them all up later than 2.
Which means…trade down.
The masters of the trade down are in a position to get yet more value out of the RG3 trade.
According to Jags GM Dave Caldwell, Snead would be willing to trade from pick 2 to 3 for a 3rd or 4th rounder. Taking that value into account I would say an added 2nd to trade to Cleveland, a 2nd and a 4th for Oakland and a 2nd and 3rd for Atlanta. Past that we are looking at future picks with eyes on QB needy Minnesota at 8.
I have a feeling Minnesota would be St Louis’s favoured option. A deep tackle draft means that at 8 they would still pick up one of the top 3 tackles or Mike Evans/Sammy Watkins if they chose to add to the wide receiver position. I don’t think Minnesota would look upon it so favourably.
A new stadium, a new head coach and a new QB would go hand in hand but in a team with so many holes, the boatload of picks to trade up makes me think they would be better looking at what sinks in the first or second than trading the farm.
With that, my two best trade options:
Atlanta – pick 6 – 2nd and 3rd
Clowney wants to go to Atlanta, Atlanta needs a player like Clowney to build their front 7 around. It’s a match made in heaven and for St Louis, a 2nd and 3rd would sit just right.
At 6, their main competitor for a tackle will have already picked a defensive end, meaning Robinson or Matthews will fall into their lap and Mack has a good chance of getting there too but would Atlanta bite?
I don’t think so. Dimitroff and Caldwell of the Jags have a great relationship for obvious reasons and I think Dimitroff would sit thinking that the Rams won’t take Clowney at 2. The Falcons would need to pay less to trade with the Jags along with the bonus of passing picks to a team out of their conference.
I see this as the perfect trade for the Rams but can only see this happening if another team is vocal about trading up for Clowney and Atlanta reacts to get their man.
Cleveland – pick 4- for a 2nd
Stacked with picks in a franchise undergoing yet another regime change, the Browns need to put down a foundation. The place to do that is getting your guy under centre and I tell you what, use that transition tag to good use. Whatever any team offers Alex Mack, match it and add a dollar. He is one of the top centres in the league.
Josh Gordon outside, Alex Mack at centre, and a new QB under centre is a framework to build an offense around.
Problem… Houston likely to go QB, Jags likely to go QB, 3 top QBs in the top 10. What if the Jags want your guy? Solution…go get him. The biggest waste would be drafting a QB because you have to rather than building around your guy.
As for the Rams, an extra second and a pick at 4 gives a fantastic outlook.
Snap up Greg Robinson at 4 and get a mauler at right tackle that can play left if Jake Long’s ACL is a long term problem.
The wideout class is deep so I go safety at 13 taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to add a rangy ball hawk in the secondary.
With Cleveland’s second I take Kyle van Noy, a more prototypical linebacker to add to that nasty front 7 and with the last second I take the best wideout to fall (Donte Moncrief springs to mind as a potential target).
Now that is what I call value for money.