In the no-man's land that is the beginning of March, it's hard to really identify game-changing scenarios that would shake the foundation of your draft. Everything becomes a question of preference:
"My wild speculation is better than your uninformed drivel."*
"That situation is completely implausible because an NFL team has never shuffled around the millions of contract dollars that would be required!"
I don't think there is much debate about what our extreme weaknesses are, partly because instead of making mediocre choices trying to shore them all up last year, the Rams allocated a lot of resources to create positional strengths. It seems the powers that be are really focused on Elite talent and positions (D. Hawkins had a nice piece a while back regarding the definition of "Elite" if you need a reference article).
How low can you let Star Lotulelei drop, before you have to pull the trigger? Does drafting such a heartless bastard incense you so much that you take him off your board completely?
Star Lotulelei is an Elite prospect. Early in the off-season, it didn't seem like there was a legitimate chance that he would drop to 16. It was so unlikely, that it was insinuated that we would be stupid not to draft him there. Well, now there's a legitimate possibility he will be available. I've seen him mocked at 8, 10, 14, 18, and even outside the 1st round. Much of this is because the lack of real information regarding his heart condition. We are speculating on speculations, which isn't the firmest of ground on which to be standing.
That being said, drafting Lotulelei completely alters the draft. I think as much as everyone knows Fisher has a fetish for defensive tackles, no-one really expects that to result in one being an opening round choice. Lotulelei at 16 would be to Fisher what Saint Patty's day is to an Irish rehab.
Fetishes aside, I think the argument for Lotulelei would boil down to two ideas:
- The Rams medical staff is confident that Lotulelei's heart condition is not career threatening.
- The current Ram's regime is single-mindedly focused on choosing the best player available
Star Lotulelei would give the Defensive Line a capital "D", 2000's Raven-style. Regarding the rest of the draft, if we are going to put the finishing touches on our fearsome defensive front in such an exclamatory manner, I think it is important to fill out the defense completely. As we saw last year, the Front Office wants to not only plug holes, but to create elite strengths. This scenario provides us the opportunity to not only grab an elite player and create an elite line, but to create a truly elite unit, the likes of which we have not seen since 1999-2003. "Greatest Show on Turf" meet "Ray Lewis' retirement channel". You've gotta do it right.
So what does the rest of your draft look like? How do you adapt your FA strategy for the lost draft pick (assuming you weren't going to draft a DT that early). I think I would build off of my previous post by going:
- 1.) Star Lotulelei
- 1a.) Tavon Austin
- 2.) Eifert/Ertz (hopefully one will will be here)
- 3.) Swearinger or other Safety
- 4.) Zavier Gooden
This situation would be completely dependent on a Free Agent Right Tackle. If we can't make that happen, we will not have the luxury of the Eifert/Ertz pick (or a second wide receiver if you prefer). At that point, we could change to one of the second tier Right Tackle prospects.
There was a comment (If I can find it, I'll edit to accredit) the much larger number of draftees interviewed who had played tackle in college. Obviously, there is wide-spread debate as to the validity of using this as an insight to the regimes plans going forward, but I think it is reasonable to combine this evidence, Bourdeau's track record, the consistent praise of Rokevious Watkins, and the performance of our role players such as Turner to project a certain confidence Fisher may have in our Guard position. At the very least, Fisher and Snead may be confident enough to value Lotulelei and Rok/Harvey Dahl over Warmack/Rok/$ (I realize there are more options than just those two, feel free to use any combination when contrasting possible roster fall-out).
While previously I had wanted a second WR with upside (of which there is a great group), I think you have to choose between that luxury and that of a second TE with upside. I chose TE because of the versatility it gives us and the fact that Eifert and Ertz could be that second WR if you so choose to label them that way.
Let me know what you think. Stirring the pot:
- Do we try to fit in a second safety in the 2nd or 4th round?
- Are you confident enough in a 2nd round tackle to go a different direction with your cold hard cash?
- Maybe you aren't sold on Austin? Who do you replace him with? Do you trade down with 22 instead?
- Is Gooden your guy? Maybe we go with Ogletree early instead? Although that starts to get crazy.
*This is Always true approximately %50 of the time, given both parties are of equal intelligence with countering specialties relative to the topics being discussed.**