Did the Rams pick the right trade partner last year?

The Rams had 3 options last winter in dealing with their QB situation and their #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft. In no particular order the options were as follows: Option 1 was to trade Sam Bradford and use the 2nd overall pick to draft RG3. Option 2 was to trade the #2 pick to the Cleveland Browns. Option 3 was to trade the 2nd overall pick to the Washington Redskins. We all know which option they chose, an I believe they chose wisely, but I thought it would be interesting to look back at those options a year later.

Option 1: The Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins both inquired about trading for Sam Bradford. The men in charge of each franchise last year at this time (Mike Holmgren & Mike Shanahan) were long-time admirers of Bradford. Holmgren and Shanahan both wanted Bradford badly on draft day 2010. Holmgren and the Browns even tried trading up from #7 to the top of the draft so they could take him #1 overall but the Rams wouldn't budge. Shanahan and the Redskins didn't have the draft capital to move up from #4 and never tried, but Shanahan is on record stating he was disappointed Jake Locker didn't enter the 2010 draft because he figured Locker would've went to the Rams #1 overall and he would've landed Bradford. Research some of Shanahan's comments about Bradford over the years and you will see the respect he has for him. Of note is a 2010 press conference after the Rams and then rookie QB Sam Bradford thumped his Redskins 30-16. Shanahan said after that game he was looking toward the 2011 draft with the hopes of finding the next Sam Bradford to be his QB in Washington. He didn't say the next Brady or Manning, he said the next Bradford.

So both the Browns and the Redskins began talks with the Rams in early 2012 by asking about Bradford's availability. According to respectable sources, both teams were willing to surrender their 2012 1st rounders in exchange for Bradford. The Browns offered the 4th overall pick, and the Redskins the 6th overall pick. They were rebuffed quickly, according to Jeff Fisher. Fisher was asked repeatedly if he would even consider trading Bradford, every time to which he quickly responded, "That wouldn't be an option, no." When the reports came out that the Browns and Redskins had contacted the Rams initially to inquire about the availability of Bradford, Fisher was quick to point out that the Rams had never initiated any Bradford trade talk and that, "... there was no consideration whatsoever on our part to trade Bradford."

But what if the Rams had traded Bradford? Option 1a: If they shipped him to Cleveland in exchange for the Browns pick, they would've had their #2 pick, and the Brown's choice at #4. Obviously they would've used the #2 overall pick to select RG3. At #4 they would've had their choice of Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon. I don't know who they would have picked out of those two, but the odds are good it would've been Blackmon. If they had made such a move it would've altered their draft tremendously. The #4 spot was not highly coveted, so they would not have been able to turn that pick into multiple picks like they did from #6. They would not have been in position to draft Brockers but having Blackmon would've freed up their 1st second rounder to use on a DT such as Derek Wolfe. But taking Wolfe would've meant no Jenkins. If they take Jenkins at #33 then they don't fill the gaping hole at DT... You get the picture. The Rams, in my opinion, would be a lesser team via this route, both today and in the long term.

Option 1b: If the Rams had shipped Bradford to Washington, they would've been able to take RG3 at #2, and then could have duplicated the rest of their draft just as it happened. The trade down from #6, taking Brockers, Quick, JJ, etc... So the team would basically be what it is now with RG3 rather than Bradford under center. That is definitely a better scenario than the trade with Cleveland. I know this is what several fans here on TST would have preferred. But, in my opinion the Rams wouldn't be any better today than they are now, and would not have the surplus of draft capital to help improve in the long-term.

Option 2: What if the Browns had agreed sooner to give the Rams both of their #1's and their 2nd rounder in the 2012 draft, plus their 1st rounder in 2013? Mike Holmgren originally balked at the idea, but then reconsidered at the last minute only to be rebuffed by Fisher & Co. Under this scenario the Rams would've received the Browns 2 first round picks - #4 and #22, and their 2nd round pick - #37 overall, plus their first round pick in 2013 - #6 overall. It's hard to say what the Rams would've done at #4, but again I figure they would've grabbed Blackmon. Among the candidates at #22 were RT Riley Reiff, Guards David DeCastro and Kevin Zeitler, and the best RB of the 2012 draft Doug Martin. Who knows, maybe even Brockers would have fell that far. With Blackmon on board the Rams would've been free to take Jenkins with their 2nd rounder. Might have left a gaping hole at DT, but most of the draft would've been pretty similar. The kicker is that the Rams would have the 6th pick in the 2013 draft, plus their own at #16 if they had made the deal with the Browns. That 6th spot this year will be highly coveted by a few teams looking to jump the Cardinals and grab one of the remaining LT's still on the board, so it could be parlayed into multiple picks. Of course, a deal with Cleveland would've meant no extra first rounder in 2014.

Option 3: This is the route the Rams took of course. It landed them Brockers, JJ, and Pead, plus the 22nd overall pick in 2013 and another first rounder in 2014.

One can argue however, that if they had made the deal with Cleveland rather than Washington the Rams would be in better shape for the 2013 draft, with the option of parlaying the 6th pick into multiple picks this year or even into another 1st rounder next year. So how do you see it?

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