Thursday night, the St. Louis Rams made Sam Bradford the cornerstone of the team, with the first over pick in the draft. The move surprised no one. Things didn't go quite as predictably on the second day of the draft.
Keeping their first pick of the second round surprised everyone. Not hours before the Rams picked Indiana OT Roger Saffold with the 33rd pick, GM Bully Devaney all but assured watchers that the Rams would be trading the pick.
After drafting Jason Smith with the second overall pick in last year's draft and signing free agent C Jason Brown, the Rams entered the offseason in a good place on the offensive line. Alex Barron was the weakest link, but many assumed that the Rams would just hang on to him as a quick fix for one more season. We should have learned a few things about making prediction tonight.
Like many fans, I kind of wanted to see a playermaker-type pick at #33, a wide receiver or a pass rusher. An offensive tackle maybe later in the weekend. This might have been the best move. It was definitely the marriage of best available player and a team need. Saffold, who many expected to go in the first round, gives the Rams a guy who should be a good right tackle in the NFL. Barron's better suited for the left side...so is Jason Smith. With Steven Jackson still likely to be the highlight of the offense, the Rams needed to improve their run blocking at the RT spot.
That's not what makes him a real anti-Barron, though. Check this out from his CBS/NFL Draft Scout scouting report:
Vocal leader willing to get into teammates, but also there to congratulate them on a big play. Plays with a mean streak through the whistle, does not back down from a challenge thrown down by a defender.
I haven't seen Saffold play, so I cant speak to his true potential. I do enough about Alex Barron to tell who the above statement DOES NOT describe.
Saffold played left tackle in college. It's not a bad thing to have an OT with first round talent who can play both sides.
And what about Barron? Consistent with the theme of the night, don't assume the Rams will trade him. Maybe Saffold isn't ready to start, maybe they want to keep some depth at the position given their experience recently.
Then there was the Rams second third-round cornerback in the last two years. I'm sure more jaws dropped when fans saw the Rams pick South Florida CB Jerome Murphy.
Do I need to remind you Spagnuolo made a name for himself coaching defensive backs in Philadelphia before he became identified with the crushing pass rush that put him on the map in New York?
Murphy sounds a lot like Fletcher, who also surprised draft watchers. What you can glean from his scouting reports certainly makes him sound intriguing. Here's what Spags' said about Murphy:
He's a bigger corner with some length, he's a press corner. He's feisty, aggressive, physical football player.
And here's Devaney:
We refer to players as scheme fits...this guy fits exactly what we do, big, physical press corners. That's his forte.
The hardest part about this pick, the most surprising thing was that it came with some other, more recognized names still on the board. I'm willing to give the Rams the benefit of the doubt on this one, given precedent established with the Bradley Fletcher pick. Plus, the guy says cool shit like this:
I know they used to be the Greatest Show on Turf and when I get there, I am going to put on a show.
Four more rounds left to go, and the Rams have seven more picks left to spend. Will there be a trade tomorrow involving the Rams? Who will the Rams pick at the top of round four?
The fun starts at 9 a.m. Central time tomorrow.