It was already understood that Jadeveon Clowney would be a top-five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The only thing in question was just how high he would get plucked off the board. After burning up the track in Indianapolis on Monday morning, it looks like a sure thing that he'll be one of the first two players to hear his name called ... and that could be very good for the St. Louis Rams.
Clowney posted unofficial 40 times of 4.47 and 4.48 on Monday morning. Yes, 40 times don't mean much on their own, but it confirms his incredible athleticism, the same level of athleticism that makes him such a nightmare for an offense when he's playing in space. Even more telling was his explosion over the first 10 yards of the 40-yard dash.
So anyway, Clowney's stock is officially on fire, despite the best of efforts of the NFL Network talking heads to bring up the ridiculous "effort" questions based solely on his 2013 stats.
What it means for the Rams is that the second spot in the draft is even more desirable now, giving them several options depending on what the Texans do with the first pick.
1. Houston takes a QB; Rams trade the No. 2 pick - Perfect. The Rams can then lure a team like the Falcons or one of the many others that might fall in love with the chance to draft a once-a-generation pass rusher.
2. Houston takes Clowney; Rams trade the No. 2 pick - Clowney's off the board, but there are still three quarterbacks who are seen a viable franchise-type players in a league rife with team desperate for a QB. Advantage, Rams.
3. Houston takes a QB; Rams take Clowney with the No. 2 pick - Sure, pass rushers aren't exactly the Rams' biggest need, but it's hard to argue against taking the best player available ... in the entire draft. Plus, it gives them flexibility on salaries when Robert Quinn is due for a new contract.
4. Houston takes Clowney; Rams take Player X - Now this is where things could get dicey for the Rams. Fisher and Snead spent the week in Indianapolis doubling down on their commitment to Sam Bradford, telling the world that they had no plans to take a QB. So with three franchise QBs still on the board, why bother to swing a deal with the Rams when you know they're not going to take a QB? Whatever. The Rams can still have a player of their choice, and not have to worry about missing, say, Sammy Watkins or Greg Robinson by trading down.