ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 13: Robert Quinn #94 of the St. Louis Rams gets past a block by Anthony Castonzo #74 of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL preseason game at Edward Jones Dome on August 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams defeated the Colts 33-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Talking about the 2012 NFL Draft in November leaves plenty of room for gray area. A re-draft of the first-round of the 2011 NFL Draft should be a little more cut and dried. Fans and pundits have now had half a season to see teams in action, gauging April's needs with November's realities should at least make for some interesting hindsight. Former NFL personnel guru turned analyst Gil Brandt rolled out a re-do of the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft yesterday. It offered some interesting takes on what should have been, including a head-scratcher for the St. Louis Rams.
Brandt re-does the Rams 14th overall pick of North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn. And who does Brandt recommend as a hindsight pick? And what would we do with a re-do?
He gives the Rams another defensive end, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn. Here's his take:
Quinn had a good game last week in the win over the Saints, but hasn't done much else. Clayborn has seven starts and is a good pass rusher (three sacks) who gives effort on every play.
Long-time TSTers know that Clayborn was a guy many of us were high on prior to the draft. He got picked by Tampa Bay later in the first round. There's no doubt in my mind that Clayborn will be a good player in the NFL, but there's a flaw in Brandt's argument here.
First, Quinn has two sacks to Clayborn's three, so there isn't a huge difference in the stats. Second, Clayborn would not be starting in St. Louis. Like Quinn, he'd be playing in a rotation behind James Hall and Chris Long.
Finally, the Quinn pick was never about instant results. Quinn possessed oodles of raw talent as a pass rusher. So much talent, in fact, that many had him pegged as a top ten pick. He was never supposed to fall as far as he did in the draft, but concerns about his maturity and his rawness from not playing during UNC's 2010 season dropped him down the board. Another thing to consider is what Quinn brought to the Rams' defensive line. His speed should be the perfect complement to Chris Long's power on the other side for years.
If the Rams can continue playing like they did last week, Quinn could be in for a very solid second half as teams double up on Long and a more favorable situation on the score board allows the Rams to do more rushing with their front four.
As far as re-do goes for the first overall pick, there are a couple players I would consider...which isn't to suggest in any way that I am unhappy with the Quinn pick.
We still haven't seen what Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara can do in the NFL because of a training camp injury. He was among the top ten players on the Rams draft board. This being an exercise in hindsight, having a first-round cornberback on the roster right now would sure be nice. Put Jimmy Smith in the mix here too.
This will elicit some angry comments here and from the know-it-alls on Twitter, but I'd still put Mark Ingram in the mix. Steven Jackson was in full beast mode last week, but his absence earlier in the season really hurt the Rams offense. Cadillac Williams hasn't been as good as advertised, in part due to the fact that he's the kind of player who the offense makes better, not vice versa like Jackson. Having a running back of Ingram's caliber behind Jackson might have made a big difference, especially in that Eagles game when they lost him after two plays.
Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder is another player I would consider in a re-do, especially now that we're already talking about the possibility of the Rams drafting an OT in 2012. Solder would have given the Rams some much needed depth at tackle, allowing them to make a decision about Jason Smith's future in 2012, which they'll have to do anyway.