Trade, trade, trade ... it's the subject of the season when it comes to the St. Louis Rams and the 2014 NFL Draft. General manager Les Snead has made it abundantly clear that his team has a limited number of options for the second pick in the draft as well as the fact that he's willing to part with it. Enter Jadeveon Clowney.
The draft's best pass rusher, maybe the pass rusher in years, is enticing a lot of teams to think about moving up to grab Clowney. And that could be very beneficial to the Rams. The latest mock draft from SB Nation has a preview of what that trade might look like. The Atlanta Falcons, Snead's former employer, swap pick No. 6 and pick No. 37 (second round) to the Rams for the second overall pick.
That nets the Rams FOUR players in the top in 45 picks of the draft, one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. In other words, they can cross a lot of needs off the offseason shopping list in one fell swoop, not to mention stocking up on talented young players at bargain basement prices, setting up a very team-friendly cap situation for the years ahead.
Here's what the Rams did in this mock draft.
6. TRADE St. Louis Rams - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
St. Louis really holds all the cards in the top part of the first round. If Snead manages to pull off a trade, he'll have an easier time maximizing value with this pick. Greg Robinson is still available here and makes a lot of sense. He can jump in and play right tackle right away and be a dominant run blocker early on.
A solid pick brings in a player that can get to work this season. More importantly, Robinson would be the long-term answer at left tackle, allowing the team to part ways with Jake Long and his expensive free agent bridge contract after a season. They do miss out on Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans in this scenario, but the draft is deep in wide receivers. ... besides, Brian Quick's going to turn into that No. 1 WR they predicting back in 2012 any minute now, I'm sure of it!
13. St. Louis Rams - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Cortland Finnegan hasn't lived up to expectations in St. Louis, so the Rams could look to add another cornerback early in the draft. Jason Verrett is our top ranked corner. Size and his shoulder injury are the only two concerns.
Verrett's size, under 6'0, isn't really an issue given Jeff Fisher's history with corners. The idea of chasing Alterraun Verner in free agency is nice, but developing your own players is always a preferred option. This would give them a unit comprised of Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson and Verrett ... not a bad trio to have at the top of the depth chart.
37. TRADE St. Louis Rams (via Atlanta Falcons) - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
St. Louis once again reaps the benefits of trading down in the draft. With the second round pick the Rams acquired from the Falcons, they pick up a big receiver to play alongside Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Here we are in the second round, and the Rams get the big-bodied, point-of-catch receiver they've been looking for, who was supposed to be Brian Quick. He's more polished than Quick, especially on his routes, and that helps. His lack of speed is notable, and this wouldn't be my pick here. But he would be an improvement over the bottom part of the WR depth chart.
44. St. Louis Rams - Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
With so many draft picks, the Rams are going to be able to add a ton of talent in the 2014 NFL Draft. Jimmie Ward, safety from Northern Illinois, would be just the type of rangy playmaker the Rams need on the back end. With the additions of Ward and Verrett, the Rams' secondary would be a force.
If the Rams are going to take a safety, I'd like to see them grab Clinton-Dix. No other player meets the need for a free safety and is as ready to play as the Alabama product. Stanford safety Ed Reynolds would be a decent consolation prize if they skip Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor.
Alright, later today, I'll take this trade scenario, and make my own picks with it.