To help me try to get a handle not so much as what we think the Rams should do with during the upcoming draft, but what I felt was more importantly, what has Fisher shown as his footprint in the past. So, I went back and did some analysis of the last 8 Fisher drafts. 2012, with Rams, and then since he took the year off before that, the 2010 draft back to the 2004 draft with the Titans.
Here is what I found, and of course keep in mind like all teams there needs ebb and flow back and forth all over the field to address their needs. I thought that I might find that each year's draft would more than likely be fresh and new as they tried to find the balance between their needs, the strengths of the draft, including who is or isn't available in FA. I also wanted to look back and see if the 60% of small school draftees we took last year (I'm counting a small school as a non BCS school), so those picks could still be D1 but also D1A, D1AA and D2. Lastly, I wanted to see a pattern for how he has shown positions....and for this post I focused on WR and OL. Because there has been so much banter about how many of each we should take.
2004 4 of 13 small schools; 0 WR, 2 OL
2005 2 of 11 small schools; 3 WR, 3 OL
2006 4 of 10 small schools; 1 WR, 0 OL
2007 2 of 10 small schools; 3 WR, 2 OL
2008 4 of 7 small schools; 1 WR, 0 OL
2009 8 of 11 small schools; 2 WR, 2 OL
2010 3 of 9 small schools; 2 WR, 0 OL
2012 6 of 10 small schools; 2 WR, 1 OL
Overall: Again, 41% of his picks were small school. Non BCS schools. Which is why I try not to get hung up on name, because he has shown a propensity to pulling them out of a hat:) I see that many mocks have noting but major D1 schools on them. Just a "Quick" note, per his record that just isn't going to happen.
Further focusing on position trends. He average 1.75 WR per draft with only having one year of NOT taking any. I found that interesting, because not only had the league in the last 8 years has turned into even more of a passing league. In my mind I always had the Titans as kind of a smash mouth tough football team, not one drafting a bunch of WR's.
As for OL, ah here is the meat and potatoes of what I found to be surprising. Fisher averaged 1.25 OL per draft, and to me an amazing 3 times (that's 38% of his drafts) took none! Even last year, with that being our biggest need, he only took one,Rok! And that was in the 6th round!!. While of course I did not find any first round OL picks in his history, I did not see a definite trend of taking for example OL or WR only in the late rounds, or something like that.
I don’t know how much having Sneedly in the picture may change his prior habits, I would think it would have too. That being said, I really don't know who is head honcho on draft day calls...Fisher or Sneedly. But clearly has taken many more receivers than I ever would have guessed, and far fewer OL, than I would like:(
So sifting through all of this, that we are probably looking at another 2 WR, but chances over 2 OL (unfortunately IMO) would seem slim too. Making up for 4 of the 7-10 picks (assuming we trade down) leaving room for one each of a variety of needs, i.e. S, OLB, TE, RB, CB, etc. 9depending on how many additional picks we acquire.
So IMO think the positions drafted, in order (whatever round) will be something along this line. S, WR, OL, TE, OLB, OL, S, WR, CB, DT. FYI, in those 8 years, I never saw a back to back pick of the same position. Again, I'm not stating this is what I would like to have happen, his track record proves otherwise. That's nine picks accounting for the trade downs, hopefully will end up with more:)
So that is what Fisher has put his footprint on over the years. Here is how the rest of the league has addressed at least the OL situation, that we have so near and dear to our hearts!
Going back the same years in the draft from 2012 to 2004. There were 45 FIRST ROUND OL picked!! That's 5 per year, and yes the majority were tackles. Over those 9 years… only three teams have not chosen 1 OL in the first round. Those teams are NY Giants, San Diego and of course Fisher's Titans. The rest of the 29 teams all took at least one.
47% of the teams took only one OL in the 1st round.
31% of the teams took 2 OL in the first round. Yes we were one of those taking Von Barron:), and Smith. Both busts:(
9% of the teams took 3 OL 1st rounders in that period. Those teams were Miami, Seattle and the 49ers.
I would say that the current strength of those 3 teams truly is their OL’s. Yes, Miami is a distant second, and may be losing Long, but I think we all noticed this year that Seattle and the 9ers have beastly OL, that generally dominate the TOP offensively, keeping their defenses fresher. Hell we need critical mass just to keep up with our divisional rivals!!!
Many of the mocks I have seen on TST and the "experts", many times show the Rams taking one OL, like a Warmack. Well the 9ers took a first round OL in Staley in 2007, and they still were pathetic. One player, no matter how good is not going to truly change the culture/impact/effectiveness of the OL. It was not until the 9ers turned around, realized that they still had a huge need and drafted 2 first round OL, in 2010. With the 11 and 17 pick. In two years, with a majority of top draft picks on the line, they went from doormat (hence the two 1st round picks) to powerhouse. This is my argument with us only picking one this year, they could be another Barron or Smith, unfortunately it's true. So when you take away our bogus picks by a bogus FO and staff. Sneedly and Fisher have to make up for 8 years of bad OL drafts. That is why we are where we are, and throwing one great player at the problem will not fix it.
Luckily for us this draft is lining up perfectly for what are "strongest" needs are...OL and S. IMO we need a critical mass assault of the problem, drafting 4-5 OL (in case one or two bust), and minimally one safety, although I would like 2. That would be six or seven of the picks, leaving us 2-4 more depending on how we trade down, to handle our other wants/needs.
Well I hope you found Fisher's history as I did, coupled with how other teams have/have not handled the same problems over the years. Thanks for reading, and sticking with this long post.