As I watch free agency news I can say that I am happy the Rams have not overpaid for players like Jairus Byrd and Alterraun Verner, who while very skilled, would only complicate the ability of the team moving forward to truly field a roster that can compete with the 49ers and Seahawks. While players like Antonio Cromartie and Kenny Britt are still out there who could be bought at a discount and provide instant impact, it's the draft where I think the Rams are going to have to really make their splash. After signing Saffold back, Greg Robinson cannot be considered anymore with the number 2 spot. While he is a beast, fans remember Jason Smith who had big boom or bust implications going in as well. I like Jake Matthews, Xavier Sua-Filo, and Taylor Lewan just as much and they could easily be acquired through leveraging the 13th pick. Also, Sammy Watkins cannot be taken as a top 5 pick! While he is a great player, he is not a transcendent athlete. He is slightly undersized for an X receiver and he did not burn the 40 like I thought he would. Players like that do not go top 5. Also, after seeing the emergence of Josh Gordon from the supplemental draft, the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl with relative no names, and the pretty weak showing of free agent receiver signings, there is no reason to value a position whose players come a dime a dozen. Taking a receiver with your top pick 2 years in a row is Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders-esque and is how you end up unemployed and last in the NFC West AGAIN.
So far Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have been steadily pushing that they are more than content with Sam Bradford. But is this a ploy to maybe generate interest from teams who are not impressed with such a weak QB market? In such a market, I believe that Bradford would be easily overvalued and could be traded for a late first rounder which would make fans feel a lot better that he didn't drop to being valued as a second or third rounder.The Browns are sitting with a late round pick (26) that I really believe they would prefer to use on a QB rather than with the number 4 pick. They are also an organization whose infrastructure could not handle the star power that Manziel brings with him. I firmly believe that Bradford is still a better QB projection than Bortles and Bridgewater and if you can get him much later than them why not make the move? All he may need is a change of scenery and mixed with a good offensive line and Josh Gordon he could be a serious contender. With this pick I would be much more comfortable with the Rams taking Haha Clinton Dix or Calvin Prior as they are good players but do not merit the top 15 status that players like Eric Berry and Earl Thomas had.
So lastly with the number 2 pick, this is a luxury now since we can still take a tackle and safety in the first round. I firmly believe that barring the transcendent athletes ( Calvin, AD, Pat Peterson etc. etc.), you have to go with a premier position with a top three pick and that is OT, DE or QB. We have to make a splash to have any sort of relevance in a young division that has the same constant growth rate as us. Dynamic quarterbacks are imperative in this league. We already passed on RG3, and Bradford has given us no indication to do the same this time around. Jeff Fisher, given his pedigree, is the best equipped of all the coaches picking in the top 5 to handle Johnny Manziel and has proven his best years were with a mobile QB in Steve McNair, RIP. Jared Cook has potential and athleticism to be as effective as Vernon Davis, Tavon can be as good as Percy Harvin, and potentially signing a still young Kenny Britt (who had his best years with Fisher and would hopefully behave for him) would be equatable to having a Michael Crabtree in my opinion or an aging Larry Fitz. This would imply that the Rams already have one of the better receiving corps in this division, and with the emergence of Zac Stacy the running game is no joke either. We cannot keep on building around an average QB in hopes that we will somehow have an offensive explosion when we already have as much talent as some of our competitors. I don't care if Bradford broke Peyton's rookie records, we aren't the next Broncos. Also, given his durability issues and heavy financial burden on the cap space, signing a rookie QB would help us for the next couple years to build our team even more while he grows. Manziel is going to be amazing in the league because of his great intangibles and skillset, but he needs a team around him that is ready to step their game up with his play. I really believe that the Rams have the team that will best support him and allow him to succeed. Last year after Bradford got hurt, look how much better we got when Schottenheimer ran his bread and butter, and run first offense. Manziel makes a lot of sense here where he can keep the defense honest with the keep option as well as better utilize Tavon in ghost motion potentials. His similarities to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense would make for an amazing rivalry and Johnny's Rams would be the instant face of the league and a huge monetizing factor. This move only makes perfect sense, we need this kind of risk return potential to have any chance of competing with the best.