However this time around, we find ourselves in this position under much different circumstances. Sure our Rams have come a long way since then. Obtaining the 2nd overall pick not because of their own poor record, but Washington's via the RG3 trade. No the Rams team that had that pick two years ago was terrible, and in one of the weaker divisions in the league at that time as well. Lots have changed since then and this division is an entirely different beast now. The Arizona Cardinals are no longer a laughing stock. The Seahawks are now your reigning Superbowl champs, coming off a domination of one of the greatest offenses of all time. Meanwhile the San Francisco 49ers were just in the previous Superbowl, and arguably this year's 2nd best team ahead of the Superbowl runner-up Denver Broncos.
Needless to say, things have changed...so where does that leave our Rams?
Bradford can't quite believe it either.
Simply put, the Rams have to win. Now. This organization simply cannot afford to go light on the gas and pace themselves any longer in a race that is becoming a sprint. The St. Louis Rams are in the toughest division in the NFL, and it's not even close. Also considering the fact that only 3 teams out of a division MAX, can all make the playoffs? Means that they need to get good in a hurry, or be left in the dust for the next 5 plus years...
So where should they start? Well, they can start this year by not trading the 2nd pick.
Yes they should keep the pick, and no they should not select a Quarterback with that selection. They should draft Jadeveon Clowney and here is exactly why.
Note: I was going to go into more depth on this, but Misone has a great fanpost up here where I share the same sentiments as him. It's a fantastic post so please read that, and I'm going to piggyback some from that post here.
Clowney in horns? Yes, please.
The expression that "You can never have enough pass-rushers." couldn't be more true, and this past Superbowl is evidence of that. Seattle has one of the deepest d-lines in the entire NFL. They were disruptive all night long, and Peyton never had a single moment to grasp for air as he was suffocated from his first drop back on and as a result, their offense couldn't get anything mustered.
But the Rams already have a great pass rush right? Why should they use such a high pick on a position of strength? Simply put, everything else on the defensive side will come together once the defensive line can maintain consistent pressure every game. Too many times have the pass rush been there for half of the 1st quarter, then disappeared all the way until the last half of the 4th quarter. What having an even greater pass rush would do for us, is mask the deficiencies of the secondary. The faster you can get to the QB, the less your secondary has to stick with their man and in a league where players can normally break loose after about 4 seconds? It's necessary to have a d-line that can pressure the QB in just about half of that consistently.
Very few will argue that Clowney is the most talented pass rusher in this draft. Couple that with the Rams suddenly finding themselves in "win now" mode, than it's clear that they should select him with the #2 overall pick instead of trading backwards for a lesser player that simply wouldn't have the same impact as Jadeveon.
Can you imagine Quinn, Long, Brockers and Langford giving offenses everything they have for a few drives? Then William Hayes, Sims, Clowney and Cudjo trotting onto the field and giving them even more hell? Offenses wouldn't be able to breathe, and this is not to mention how much help this would provide for a young struggling secondary. As mentioned, a greater pass rush equals much less time a defender has to cover a WR which can mean everything in a passing league.
Les Snead and company have been quoted as saying the St. Louis Rams had a 3 year plan for building a contender. That in the 3rd year, they will breakout and become contenders in NFL. It is now that 3rd year, and if they wish to have their plans come into fruition, than there is no single player in the draft other than Clowney that would contribute more to a winning football team right now.