Rams for six months and still has Eric Fisher mocked to them at pick 16 in both my trade down and no trade down mocks. Let alone my contention that the offensive line is the biggest need this team has. I appear to be a hypocrite and a man that doesn't stand behind his beliefs.
The truth is, my mocks represent a combination of what I hope will happen, who I personally believe the Rams should pick in the first round and what I think Fisher and Snead might do. Of course, I do take into consideration what I believe are Fisher and Snead's tendencies and possible strategies. I also take into consideration the composition of the draft, what the first 15 picks may look like, who is available, positional value, etc. The off season leading up to the draft is now in full swing. The Senior Bowl, the Combine and other evaluations are all coming up in the next two months. As each day passes, I am becoming more and more convinced that my mocks will have to be revised for the first round. The revisions will not include drafting an offensive lineman with either pick in the first round. Listed below are the ten biggest reasons that led me to come to that conclusion.
Scarcity of first round OL talent
When Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan decided to return to school the number of offensive linemen considered to be first round picks was reduced to four(Chance Warmack, Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Jonathan Cooper). As of this writing, Joeckel, Warmack and Fisher are being touted as top 15 picks. This scarcity greatly reduces the chances of the Rams drafting an OL in the first round. Although both Lane Johnson and D.J. Fluker have been rising up draft boards and may very well be taken in the first round, there is debate as to whether they should even be considered first round prospects. Would they be in consideration as first rounders if Lewan and Matthews had declared for the draft? Suffice to say they are not the first round locks that Warmack, Fisher and Joeckel are. For now, I am considering only four OL as sure-fire first round picks.
Demand exceeding supply
I have already talked about the dearth of first round offensive linemen available in this draft. To complicate matters, there appears to be many teams that count OL as one of their primary needs going into this draft. This excess demand, coupled with scarce supply, will make it very difficult for the Rams to pick an OL, especially since many of the teams who need OL draft ahead of the Rams.
I am arbitrarily eliminating Jonathan Cooper as a possible pick for the Rams. He is better suited to a zone blocking scheme (many are suggesting he is better suited for Center as well). He does not appear to be a good fit for the Rams blocking schemes. Of course eliminating Cooper reduces the number of first round OL that we could draft to three.
Trading up/trading down
The possibility of the Rams trading up to acquire an OL appears to be remote. We have too many needs going into the draft to seriously consider that option. This front office also appears to favour accumulating picks, not giving them up. Trading down is another story. They were the most active team in trading down in last years draft. Given the depth of the draft and lack of a strong first round class talent-wise, you can bet the Rams will be listening to offers for at least one of those two first round picks. Again, this serves to lessen the probability of taking an OL in the first round.
The offensive line coach of the Rams pulled off some minor miracles this year in coaching up the line to be better than expected, especially with all of the injuries that occurred. The theory of including Boudreau here is "why draft an OL in the first round when we can draft a decent prospect in the second/third round and coach him up?". I know, and appreciate, the argument of "can you imagine what he would do with first round talent?". The fact remains that, with a coach like Boudreau, it does take some of the pressure off of having to draft an OL in the first round.
Depth in this years draft
There are as many as 17 guards and tackles that I project will be drafted in the first three rounds in 2013. There is a talent drop off after the first round; however, there is significant depth to this class. This, again, takes away some of the urgency of having to draft an OL in the first round. It certainly reinforces the point made about Paul Boudreau.
Is offensive line our biggest need?
Many have made a very strong argument that OL is not the Rams biggest need. They believe the Rams should focus on drafting playmakers in the first round (on both sides of the ball, but particularly the offensive side). Would anyone be terribly shocked or surprised if we took Cordarrelle Patterson and Kenny Vaccaro in the first round? Would we be calling for Fisher and Snead's heads?
What fans and mockers think
I thought back to last years draft when I contemplated writing this post. I remember scratching my head at some of the picks the Rams made. Brockers perplexed me a little (did even ONE of us mock Brockers in the first?) As did Quick. Pead as well. How many of us thought "what are they doing here?". How come they didn't take Reuben Randle or Cordy Glenn or Lavonte David? The fans, mockers and prognosticators all have limited information in relation to what really goes on in the minds of Fisher and Snead. Not to mention our own personal biases. Most of the time we base our picks on who we think the Rams NEED. Just because WE think the Rams should draft an OL in the first round does not mean a thing in relation to what THEY think. This point alone lessens the probability of us drafting an OL in the first round.
The Ramfan1313 factor
This point is probably the single biggest factor in this post. Rest assured, if I mock an OL to the Rams in the first it will not happen in reality. Earlier I mentioned that I would be revising my mock to not include an OL in the first round. Before April though I will no doubt revise it back again to include an OL in the first round. The Ramfan1313 factor will, in the end, be the deciding factor in why we will not draft an OL in the first round. Unless this article tips the scales back again!! One thing is for sure, whatever I think will happen will end up not happening!
Ooops! I forgot one! Fisher's draft history! No OL drafted in the first round in his career! Wait...........that's an absurd notion....he never needed to with the line he had....and each draft and team is completely different....so strike that one out. So sorry, only nine reasons instead of ten.....
What are Fisher and Snead most likely to do? They will no doubt take the BPA on their board that makes sense/fills a need, all the while taking into account positional values and leaving open the option of trading the picks if a good opportunity arises.
Please share your thoughts. Your comments and opinions are much appreciated. PS....I still want Fisher in the first!!!