While Jeff Fisher won’t be calling the shots on draft day, his input will carry significant weight in selecting the Ram’s 2012 rookie class. From his days of directing the draft board for the Titans, we learned, contrary to popular belief, that Fisher is willing to take risks. In 2006 Fisher passed on the safe pick at QB, Matt Leinart, instead opting for Vince Young, despite his low Wonderlic score, side arm delivery, and reported poor decision making. In the second round of that draft, Fisher selected Lendale White by overcoming his concerns about White’s weight and work ethic. While neither of those picks may have worked out long-term, they are telling about the way Fisher’s mind works when selecting early round draft picks.
This year’s class has several high risk, high reward players that lend themselves to Fisher’s style. Namely Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, and Alshon Jeffrey.
All three of these players, carry noticeable risks, that are offset by huge upside potential. Below I’ve outlined when the risky players above may be drafted by the Rams, and the key players we’d likely have to pass on to select them.
Michael Brockers: Could be selected 6th overall by the Rams. The Golden Horns would be passing on one of three “elite” prospects, Richardson, Claiborne, or Blackmon, to select Brockers at 6. Brockers is said by some scouts to be the best DT in the draft, however he is young, has limited experience as a starter, and will require a lot of development to maximize his potential. His upside is that he could be the Ram’s Albert Haynesworth, without the off-field personal issues.
Janoris Jenkins: Could be selected with the Rams 1st pick in round 2 if the Detroit Lions don’t select him at 23, as has been widely projected. Jenkins has well publicized off-field issues with Ms. Mary Jane, as well as the added distraction of raising the four kids he’s thus far fathered. If Jenkins slips to 33, Fisher and the Rams could decide to take a chance on him, forgoing the remaining top receivers, such as Alshon Jeffery, Stephen Hill, or Mohamed Sanu, that may fall into the early part of the second round, but may not be available at 39. Aside from the remaining big name receivers, by selecting Jenkins, the Rams may pass on an opportunity to select stud RB’s David Wilson or Doug Martin. However, if he can straighten out his off the field issues and become a regular starter across from Finnegan, he may provide the Rams one of the scarier secondary’s in the league.
Alshon Jeffrey: Could be selected with the Rams 1st pick in round 2 if available. There’s a chance another team may take the risk with Jeffrey, despite lingering questions about his work ethic, and even his ability given his lastest year with South Carolina. Selecting Jeffrey is akin to taking Lendale White in the second round of 2006 as he carries a lot of the same concerns that White had coming out of USC. By selecting Jeffrey, the Rams may be forgoing an opportunity to select RB’s David Wilson or Doug Martin or WR’s Hill or Sanu. If he’s our choice at 33, and he’s able to get into shape, we’d finally have the coveted deep threat and red zone threat the Rams have lacked over the last too many seasons.
Given Fisher’s draf history, it is highly likely that at least one of these three risky draft picks could wind up playing for the Rams. Stranger things have happened. Who can forget Fisher’s three onside kicks in the first quarter of a 2004 game against the Colts?