2nd overall picks don't come along very often. I know the Rams have had a few top picks in recent years, but they used one on Bradford and traded the other. Plus, this is the different. The Rams have been building up their talent pool over the last few years. They were supposed to break out this year after drafting Tavon Austin, but it didn't quite happen. Well, next year is the year.
With a pick like this, you have to take the best player available. And no, that doesn't mean taking a left tackle with the 2nd overall pick. In my opinion there are two ways to do this:
You either trade the 2nd overall pick for 3 more firsts, similar to the RG3 trade, although preferably all in this draft, and you use those 3 1st rounders to take a tackle, take Manziel, and whoever else. You shore up your depth.
But, if they keep that 2nd overall pick, you can't pass up a generational talent like Clowney. I don't care what off the field issues he has. Except for maybe one in 100 times, the best on field talent wins games. People complained about the personalities of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Dez Bryant, but their teams didn't go anywhere without them, and they made their teams way, way better. None of the other stuff mattered. Only in very rare circumstances does the off the field stuff actually outweigh the massive talent on the field, and even then, like with Ochocinco, it still really wasn't that. It was just that his talent declined. If Ochocinco had put up Pro Bowl numbers last season, he'd still be in the league despite his legal troubles. At least he should be.
Do I still have concerns about the QB situation? Absolutely. No matter what anyone says, Sam Bradford has not proven he can be a winning starting quarterback in the NFL since being drafted. You see how bad a team like Green Bay is without a good quarterback, but then when Rodgers comes back, they immediately win again. It doesn't matter. Top quarterbacks will take their team to a winning season pretty much every year no matter what. Tom Brady's whole team fell injured and he still managed it. The fact Bradford hasn't been able to do this speaks volumes. There are legitimate points to be made about his supporting cast, and especially his offensive coordinator, but that's the whole point. You could also make similar points about other teams around the NFL, and yet the ones with top QBs get it done anyway. Hell, even RG3 managed it last season as a rookie.
But I digress. Suffice to say, I'm not sold on Bradford. And I'm a big Manziel fan myself. He reminds of a more aggressive Russell Wilson. He has elite mobility and accuracy, and there's not much more to it. He's being very underrated in my opinion.
However, he'll probably still be there by pick 14. And you just can't pass up a player like Clowney. You need look no further to the rest of our division to figure out why. It was drafting thoroughbreds like Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis that turned the 49ers around. It was drafting Earl Thomas early for the Seahawks. J.J. Watt for the Texans before they regressed again this year. Elite weapons on defense are the perfect players to use high draft picks on. Can you remember the last team that turned its fortunes around by drafting an offensive linemen high? It doesn't work like that. Yes, the 49ers drafted some linemen high, but only after getting Willis first. The offensive line can be addressed in the 2nd round, or even with the 14th overall pick, although I wouldn't use that on one either. But the 2nd overall pick is that rare opportunity to get a true franchise changer, a Pro-Bowler, and that's Clowney. You pair him with Quinn and now all of a sudden the defense is starting to come together where it can really compete with the 49ers combination of the Smiths, Willis, and Bowman. I personally don't believe in overkill. i don't believe in too much of a good thing. The defense this year had some strengths, but it is from where anyone could say "we don't need to work on it anymore." The safety and corner positions obviously need huge, huge improvement too, but that's not where the special player is available. Clowney is the one available, one of the most freakish athletes to ever play the position, and if the Rams try to outsmart themselves and pass on him for whatever reason, it will be a huge mistake that the franchise will regret for a long time. Players like this don't come along often, and in truth the Rams will be lucky if he's available at #2. The Texans losing today may be a huge blow to this franchise.
But if he is available, there's no other choice, it has to be Clowney. It will be Ogletree's second year next year, Tavon Austin will be more comfortable on offense, hopefully there will be a new offensive coordinator... if the Rams use the pick on Clowney and draft well the rest of the draft, and have a good offseason, next season should be the year where the Rams give the 49ers and Seahawks a run for their money. The QB play will have to be better too, of course. Way better.