The 2012 nfl draft will be full of speculation for the Saint Louis rams with even the name of the general manager unknown (hey, can we draft one of those?). The two players being mocked to the Saint Louis Rams recently have been Justin Blackmon of OKST and Matt Kalil of USC. But the true headline to this 3rd pick is one that will go unnoticed. Is the Wide Receiver position overvalued in the nfl today?
Two things have been painfully clear this year for the rams is that they are in dire need of help at the position of wide receiver and offensive line. The question is, which position can the rams afford to pass on with two elite prospects staring them right in the face on draft day. While watching the Rams current WR corps as been painful for the past few years, is a wide receiver Justin Blackmon the answer? Every position in the nfl has a domino effect, and while O and D line can be considered the anchor of the domino effect, WR is the most dependent position in football other than RB. To be a great oline, you simply need great olineman, but to be a great WR, you depend on many things. You need the online, you need a competent qb, you need a decent run game, and you have to have other WR on your team to give you breathing room. If you are a believer in old fashioned football, than you know the importance of protecting your QB over all other needs. The rams will likely eclipse the 50 mark for sacks allowed, a cardinal sin in championship football.
The common issue that has been displayed lately around the league is the overvaluing of the WR position. Like RB’s WR’s are a dime a dozen, “two nickels every time” as Warren Sapp would say. You can find a serviceable WR at any point in the draft, so some would question many analysts attesting to a NEED to draft a WR top ten. There are cases where this is acceptable (Fitzgerald, Calvin and Andre Johnson, Aj Green), but when you have a position so dependent on everything else on the offense clicking around them, picking top 10 should point you in a different direction. So the question is do the Rams have enough pieces in place to slide a WR into a winning situation? If we took Blackmon with the 3rd overall pick, do we have the line to give him and Sam time? Do we have a capable tight end and slot receiver to give him room on the field to work? Think about this for a second. Name the top 10 nfl receivers in the league today. Now how many of them have championships? How many of them has even played meaningful football at the end of December (not Andre, not Calvin, barely Fitzgerald and he had Boldin with him). Now look at the last few super bowl winners, and show me one that had to take a wide reciever in the top 10 picks of a draft, or even the first round.
So how does a team win super bowls? Simple really, you build a team INSIDE OUT. Build your offensive and defensive lines, and then you worry about the other positions. In no way am I saying that the WR position is useless, and I pray that we address it, but without the foundation (the lines), it would be useless.
In a Perfect world:
Round 1: Matt Kalil (OT)
Round 2: Dwight Jones (WR)
Round 3: Travis Lewis (OLB)
Round 4: Lemichael James (RB)