As much as I hate to say it, much less see it, Peyton Manning choosing to retire will definitely work to the Rams (or Vikings) favor. If his arm is really as weak as they are saying, I hope he chooses to retire, but not for the selfish reasons of the draft. Peyton is one of the greatest QB's I have ever seen play (I'm in my 40's, so I have seen a few.) I would rather remember him at the top of his game than see him try to continue his career without his full set of skills. The Other factor that can help the Rams is the mediocre success of the last two back-up QB's who were traded for, given nice contracts, and haven't produced (Arizona and K.C anyone?) After the jump, I will try to take these factors as well as Jeff Fisher's historical philosophy on the draft and make a prediction. This is not my dream draft, or even what I personally think is best for the Rams, but how I predict it may play out.
First of all, I don't think Cleveland will trade. They have an opportunity to take some elite talent in this draft and try to prop up Colt McCoy. The worst scenario they have is that McCoy doesn't work out, and they trade up next year for Matt Barkley or Landry Jones. They either have a great foundation with a year of experience in place for their new QB, or they get lucky, McCoy turns out to be good enough to win with and they keep building.
I think the shine may be rubbing off of back-up QB's moving into starting / franchise rolls. It doesn't seem to have worked out well in K.C or in Arizona, so Flynn may end up being the consolation prize for the team that is not able to successfully address their QB need in the draft. The three most likely candidates to want to trade up are Washington, Seattle and Miami. Seattle's only chance will be with the Vikings, so that puts the Rams in a nice spot with the Skins and the Phins. My best guess is the trade will happen with the Redskins. Dan Snyder is the most likely to over-trade for a pick , and Shanahan would like a mobile QB like RG3. Additionally, I think Ryan Tannehill's draft stock will go up following the combine and Miami may be content to wait on him, or just trade high enough to stay in front of the Seachickens.
Now for the Draft. I wouldn't be shocked if the Rams tried to trade down even further for even more picks in the second round, but for simplicity I will stay where we are. Based on Jeff Fisher's statement of wanting to be physical and protect the QB, I believe the first pick will be Riley Reiff. He grades out better as a run blocker than Kalil and is probably a little more polished at this point. The nice part about this scenario is that one of the two will still be available and I believe it is truly a no lose situation.
With the 1st pick of the second round, I believe the Rams will take either Dontari Poe or Jerel Worthy to meet the need to "pressure the QB and stop the run". Again, I am basing this on what I have seen of Jeff Fisher in the past. While I do believe we will have a winning team again, I don't see another incarnation of the GSOT.
With the Redskins second round pick, I think we will take Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina. Fisher historically LOVES DB's. I wouldn't be shocked if he takes one before this, but based on the most pressing needs, this is the area I see him shoring up the secondary.
With the second pick of the third round I believe we will address OLB. Possibly with Travis Lewis of OU or Sean Spence of Miami. Both have the speed and cover skills to be a major upgrade on the outside.
With the first pick of the fourth round I believe they will address the wide receiver position. It could be any number of players and I think it will be heavily dependent on combine performances. This is a position where the combine makes and breaks players. Someone like Ryan Broyles from OU could prove he has overcome his injury and be taken at this level, or someone like Dwight Jones from North Carolina could slide to here.
With the Redskins fourth Round Pick (I am saying we get the skins second and Fourth to trade up.) I believe they will further upgrade the O-Line. My guess is Ben Jones, C, Georgia, Nate Potter, G/T, Boise State or Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State.
Some of the late round, UDFA's I think that will be considered are Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey from Florida, or Marc Tyler from USC as possible RB's. Brad Smelly from Alabama or Chase Ford of Miami as Tight ends are possible as well.