Trading the second overall pick has become THE Rams draft topic with just over a week to go. Yesterday there was the report from NFL.com that the Saints had carried on some "informal" talks with the Rams about trading up to #2 and yesterday Bill Devaney's appearance on local sports talk radio 1380 as teevis89 pointed out. The wrap up from the Devaney interview at 1380 can be found here on STL Sports Insider. For those of you just dropping in on this topic, the gist of it is that the Rams will explore a trade and feel comfortable that they can drop down "a little lower than Kansas City's pick" and still get a player high on their draft board.
Kansas City picks 5th, so let's say they'll trade down no further than 8th, which is where the Ravens pick...the Ravens said to be interested in Matt Ryan. With a pick somewhere between 3 and 8, they should be easily able to grab one of the top OTs in the draft. Not Jake Long, but Boise State's Ryan Clady, Brandon Albert or Jeff Otah. Obviously, that meets a need, and I can't help but wonder if the Rams brass isn't thinking since Jake Long would be a likely fit at #2, why not trade down just a little bit and fill that need with a less expensive but still highly talented, ready to make an impact player.
If they went defense with a lower top ten pick, there's a slight chance they could take Chris Long or Vernon Gholston. Sedrick Ellis or Keith Rivers are other possibilities.
Trading down is not a bad thought, especially if a trade down netted the Rams a player from their trading partner that met one of their primary needs like CB or WR, or maybe even another second round pick. What's the drop off in talent levels between the possible choices at #2 versus the possible choices at 3 through 8?
Speaking of players available, the hype machine is shifting gears and last month's top five sure things have changed a bit. Remember when Vernon Gholston wasn't considered a top 2 pick? Well, now Don Banks at Sports Illustrated has Gholston going #1 overall to the Dolphins in his mock draft. The Rams select Jake Long in that scenario, but he notes that Gholston remains a distinct possibility. Here's the write up:
It's interesting to note that Chris Long, in that draft, fell out of the top five, going sixth to the Jets. Why? Banks states that there's some concern Chris Long has already reached his ceiling. If that's the case and truly reflects the sentiments of those in the know, then the Rams could still nab Chris Long by trading down. While not though to be a rushing specialist, Long doesn't exactly seem like a slouch in that department. The talking heads at NFL.com think Chris Long can do it all pretty well, whereas Gholston's the pure playmaker.
Here's a couple more draft links for you.
Move over Alex Barron. Brown's GM Phil Savage says that Jake Long could be Pro Bowler at RT his first year in the league. While there's no question there'd be some development time on the left side, the debate about whether or not Long can be an NFL LT seems to be all but gone now. Here's another riff on something in that link, for the kind of $$ Long's going to get it could well force teams to play him on the left side. Could that be part of the Rams reasoning in considering a trade down? Getting a first round talent, but not paying him LT money with a healthy Pace still around...
Finally, if the Chiefs trade Jared Allen, it could shake things up in the draft. Since they're looking for draft picks in exchange for Allen, it leaves the Rams out, but they could easily trade their #5 pick and another pick or two to the Rams in order to move up to #2 and draft Jake Long or Matt Ryan.
Hmmm...all this trade talk is making me hungry. I'm going to go get a muffin and mull it all over some more. It is casual Friday after all, and surely "casual" applies to one's 9-5 approach on such a holiday, right?