Something that has happened since the combine is the exposure of medical conditions. Players who were seen at the top of the draft before are dropping like flies. Recent examples include Jarvis Jones with his re-exposure of his spinal/neck problems, and Star Lotulelei with his heart condition.
These players were the cream of the NFL Draft crop until this past weekend, and then all the land heard NFL experts say things like "I wouldn't be surprised if these players fell due to their injuries" and blah blah blah.
Rams fans began to drool, as the 16th pick was made for steals and deals. And having the 22nd to scoop another one up? Just peachy!
Here are a couple of reasons that we as a community should pause before praising the heavens for medical checkups on these star players:
They Are Still Stars
Something to remember is that draft experts are often wrong. Teams gamble on picks because they believe in their potential and ability to make a difference immediately. Something we know about the top 15 picks is they are riddled with teams without stars. The Jaguars, The Browns, the Jets, the Titans, the Bills... they are all in need of a star. And if they thought someone was that much of a star, would they let them slide? Hell no, they would take the leap on a guy they know is going to rejuvenate a franchise. Jarvis Jones and Star Lotulelei may have concerns as of now, but they are names that fans are excited about. Those kinds of players, with the power to excite fanbases, don't make it to 16 or 22 all that often.
We Have Needs
While OLB is definitely a need, as Rocky McIntosh wasn't our best starter, we have other needs. The argument can be made that the addition of these broken stars would make our front 7 the gold of our blue and gold team. That may be true, but then the secondary would be pretty blue. May I remind you that we started Craig Dahl! And Stewart, his backup, is a RFA, probably not coming back. The same scenario can apply to WR, where two of our best may be gone by the end of March! And what about running back? What about the swiss cheese O-line?
By saying that you want Jones or Lotulelei as our draft picks is like saying a great defense made slightly better outweighs a bad o-line made much better. In that case, you are fixing things that are respectively not broken, compared to the rest of the team.
OLB is a need, so we'll focus on the BAMF's we can find in later rounds of the draft. Some players and traits to consider:
- Jamie Collins, of Southern Mississippi ranked near the top in every LB category at the combine, jumped a 11-7 broad and a staggering 41.5 vertical. Check out how high that is:
Zavier Gooden, Mizzou's beloved LB, ran a 4.47 at the combine officially. Unofficially, I watched him, and he was the fastest.
Jones' teammate on the other side? Cornelius Washington. 36 reps of 225 lbs. 39 inch vertical. 4.50 40 time. Beat Jones in the broad jump by 7 inches, which is seen as a measure of explosiveness.
So many players to consider. The class of DT's is nearly endless. I don't even have time to list them.
Missing on Jones or Lotulelei won't hurt us. There will be another player, i promise.
Fisher and Snead Develop Players
Brian Quick. A project WR taken at pick 33 last year. Why? Because the potential was huge. Fisher and Snead both enjoy developing players into committed workers. Bottom line, I think we can trust them to do that in this draft too.
Rams' Follies with Injuries
In 2010, the Rams were 7-9, and just missed the playoffs. In 2011, the Rams finished 2-14, well away from the playoffs. Big reason was... Devaney. Just kidding. But a bigger reason was injury! To name a few: Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, Sam Bradford, Ron Bartell, etc... As soon as week two, Mike Sando, the writer for NFC West Blog on ESPN, quote: "I cannot recall this many injuries of significance striking an NFC West team..."
Getting players that are prone to injury is asking for trouble. There are reasons players get injured, whether its bad players around them, reckless behavior, ruthless playing styles, or bad luck. More often than not, that doesn't change when wearing an NFL jersey.
Compare with Other Players That Could Be Taken
This is an interactive part. In the comment section below, pick two players from this list. These are all players that could be available from picks 15-25, the range that the Rams picks fall between.
- Lane Johnson
- Jarvis Jones
- Chance Warmack
- Johnathan Cooper
- Kenny Vaccaro
- John Cyprien
- Star Lotulelei
- Sheldon Richardson
- Sylvester Williams
- Cordarelle Patterson
- Tavon Austin
- DJ Fluker
- Barkevious Mingo
- Alec Ogletree
- Keenen Allen
- DeAndre Hopkins
- Tyler Eifert
- Eddie Lacy
- Eric Reid
- Matt Elam
- Arthur Brown
- Gio Bernard
- Menelik Watson
- Alex Okafor
- Larry Warford
There are 25 options! I would stay as far away as possible from the injured ones because I know these most of these far safer picks will be here!
In closure, there are many reasons to wipe your mouth of the drool from the medical examination fallouts. Stay on focus when thinking about what you want the Rams to do. Shiny new toys may be great, and Fisher would love to play with Jones and Star like action figures. But he also knows that you have to buy the essentials before you get a new toy.