It's widely assumed that the Lions will take a QB, Georgia's Matt Stafford, with the first overall pick, leaving the Rams with their choice of OTs with the second pick. What happens to the Rams draft plans for the #2 pick if Detroit doesn't go that route? What if they take, heaven forbid, OT Andre Smith, still widely considered the best OT in the draft?
Leave it to the Lions to screw everything up. This is becoming a real possibility. Check out this report from SI.com's day 4 Senior Bowl report:
Matthew Stafford of Georgia and Mark Sanchez of USC elevated the available talent at quarterback in April's draft the minute they decided to enter the process. The question is how high will they be selected? Some prognosticators think both will be top 10 selections, but officials in Mobile felt otherwise. According to scouts, Stafford lacks top pocket passer size and makes several questionable decisions throwing the ball. Sanchez has limited experience behind center and only spent one full season as a starter. Sources from USC who came to Mobile said they fear Sanchez may turn out to be nothing more than a "one year wonder."
While it would be a real side-splitter if Detroit took another WR with their pick, like Crabtree, the most logical pick would be OT. Look no further than our own Orlando Pace to see what an essential franchise bedrock a top-flight OT is. Assuming that would be Andre Smith, the Rams then have some decision to make.
In that scenario, in my mind, the most useful thing is to trade down, to somewhere just a little lower in the top ten. That opens up some new possibilities for them to draft a LB like Rey Maualuga or use the lower pick to take an OT like Michael Oher who matches up value-wise with that slot, etc. Options man, options. We explored the Oher versus Andre Smith question a couple weeks ago.
Oher has raw talent, but as the only big name OT at the Senior Bowl, he's been up and down. The other day, he showed the athleticism that makes for an elite left tackle (from Walter Football's Senior Bowl blog):
Michael Oher displayed phenomenal footwork yet and jaw-dropping athleticism again. He didn't have a perfect practice because he was beat a few times. Linebacker Clay Matthews bull rushed him to the ground; then on the next play, Oher handled his speed off the edge very impressively. I really don't understand why so many people don't like Oher.
But yesterday, he took a step back. From Walter Football:
Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher got beat once in pass protection from what I saw, and he has struggled just a little bit since his phenomenal Tuesday practice. I really was rooting for him this week, but I can't tolerate his inconsistency with technique at times, as he got too high and let defensive linemen into his body. This said, at least he is out here. He is a competitive football player. He hasn't lost any ground among the tackle class in my opinion. By far, I am sold he is the most purely talented lineman in this draft. It is just the technique issues that worry me.
With a good coach and a willingness to learn - the Rams now have the first and by all reports Oher possesses the later - those issues can be fixed. But you see where a #2 pick on a less-polished OT, who the Rams need to start immediately worries some.
Virginia OT Eugene Monroe is also an elite level OT prospect, but since he pulled out of the Senior Bowl, we'll have to wait until the Combine to see him.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. I'm not basing this on the report cited above about the Lions first overall pick, but don't be surprised if they do opt to take an OT with that pick and meet their QB needs via trade (Cassel) or free agency while they wait on next year's QBs class in the draft. The Rams will have a flexible draft board because of this, going in ready for several scenarios. Which one will it be?
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