I would like to share my take on how we should proceed in this most fortunate of situations we find ourselves in this May. Before I name any names I want to make it clear that I don't claim to be an expert at evaluating talent; just a long time Rams fan. So my evaluations of each player is kind of a combination of what the experts are telling me and my own gut feeling.
First- My board (Minus QBs)
1. Javadeon Clowney
2. Greg Robinson
3. Khalil Mack
4. Sammy Watkins
5. Jake Matthews
6. Taylor Lewan
7. Mike Evans
8. Eric Ebron
9. Justin Gilbert
10a. Aaron Donald.
10b Darqueze Dennard
There are a few core beliefs I have adopted over the years that go into the way I think we should approach this situation.
1. I'd rather have an 8 million dollar player who works for 6 million dollars than a 10 million dollar player who gets paid 13.
2. The higher the draft pick, the more important it is the take the best player available. Don't leave value on the board.
3. Reaching for a player is almost always a bad idea if it can be avoided. This is especially true at the top of the draft. BPA > Needs
4. Don't waste high picks on positions of low value like Guard and Safety. (our biggest needs)
I think that there is really only one or two players truly worthy of the number two pick (this year). Clowney is the top guy on just about every board out there and Robinson has just as much upside, but there are questions about his pass blocking ability that create a separation in value between the two. Either of these players would have gone #1 last year. Heck; four or five of these guys would have gone first last year, but fortunately for us this isn't last year! So; if the Texans do as I suspect and take a QB, we have two options under my formula; we either trade down or draft Clowney.
I know the arguments against drafting Clowney here. We are already stacked at DE; but unfortunately we had to over pay Long to keep him on board in darker days. If Clowney plays even halfway up to expectations we can either release CL, trade CL, or ideally talk him into a pay cut. I like having a big three.
Now I am not advocating that we grab Clowney at 2. I would much rather trade down a few spots and get GRob. Or we could trade down a bit more and get Matthews or a bit more for Lewan. A major stud should be on the board as low as 8, and if all the Tackles are gone than WATKINS would have to still be there and I could certainly live with him at that spot.
I do not think that we absolutely must get a tackle in this draft. The only two ABSOLUTE NEEDS we have guard and safety.
Am I being clear?
Am I contradicting myself?
I WANT a big vicious tackle but this year with its unique facts that can come only in a trade down. And if I trade down too far and have to 'settle' for Sammy, I am going to have sufficient draft capital to fix NEEDS in round 2.
Regarding the 13th pick:
If we are stuck picking Clowney at 2, than I hope Lewan falls, which is possible considering his legal problems. And a big red zone TD like Mike Evans would be nice. That's a WANT and more of a NEED than Watkins.
What I absolutely do not want to see is us reach for Ha Ha Clinton Dix here. He would be a good value at 20. Trade down if that's the way you want to go. Same goes for Calvin Pryor. If we can't trade out and the two aforementioned players are off the board grab Gilbert or Dennard or even Donald.
Great players win Super Bowls, especially when you have lots of them.
You see, I think it takes years to build a great team. We are getting close. We might still have a hole or two next year. Who wont? It is not the end of the world. We will be a far more attractive place for free agents, and we will have a whole new draft.
Thanks for your time.