"I wanna thank you for coming out today, to see to it that, neither my opponents, nor me, wins the election!" -Montgomery Brewster
Once again, the Rams find themselves in the enviable position of picking #2 overall in the NFL Draft. This time (thank God) due to the spoils of the last time they held that distinction 2 years ago, and not by virtue of the previous year's performance. It's a good spot to be in, as it pretty much affords them the pick of the litter and endless options. But, with all those options come a lot of decisions to make. This is easily the most divisive drafts in recent history. Not only because of the options we have in front of us... but what we already have in place. It's almost enough to make one pine for the good old days, when the only choices were Bradford vs. Suh. Back in MY day... that was all we had to chose from and we LIKED it. (*in my best "old man" voice*).
Think about it... when was the last time a team could look at a top prospect and make a sound argument that we don't need him? At this point we need to realize that all the questions and concerns about this upcoming draft center around one thing... it's not who we pick, but when we pick.
Let's be honest. With the extremely deep talent pool this year, any pick we make is going to fly in the face of conventional draft wisdom. Never before have there ever been just as many reasons to pass on a guy, as there are to pick one. Fact of the matter is, (well... barring a QB selection. ;) ) we can't go wrong in this draft. All of the top 5 guys (opinions vary) in this years draft are good prospects. So, why shouldn't we draft any of them? Well, that big number "2" dictates a lot.
(This is, of course assuming in that the Texans pass on them.)
The South Carolina DE has risen up to be the consensus #1 prospect of the 2014 draft, often being touted as a "once in a generation" type of player. A good college career, coupled with a tremendous combine/pro-day has made Clowney the no-brainer of the draft. They're already molding his bust in Canton, as we speak. The Rams would be crazy not to jump all over this one.
Problem is... we've already got the best 4-3 DE in the league and arguably the best DE tandem, in Robert Quinn and Chris Long and conventional wisdom dictates that you don't use a top 10 pick on "depth". Yes... Chris long isn't getting any younger and his looming contract status could make him a cap casualty after the 2014 season is up. But, we're not the Seahawks. We're not the 49ers. We're in year 3 of the Fisher era. This is supposed to be "the year" we turn the corner. We're not the team that can use first rounders on projects, depth, or future use. The two first round picks in this year's draft have got to count for this year. You can't start 'fortifying' a team that isn't complete yet... and we're NOT complete.
Watkins is an electrifying WR and the "Help Wanted" sign is far more prominent on the offensive side of the ball, than the defensive. Even with the midseason discovery of Zac Stacy, the Rams' production borders on stagnant and Watkins has "instant offense" written all over him. He's gotta be the guy... right? Apologies to ramsrock ahead of time. Lol. But, the argument could be made that he's not.
The question with Watkins becomes... "what about the other guys?". You know... the other 5 WRs drafted over the last 3 years. Is Watkins really any better than all of them? A lot of judgments have already been made, but, in all honesty, the jury is still out. Once Schotty figured out how offenses work, Tavon Austin shined. When Austin went down, Steadman Bailey picked up the slack without missing a beat. There's no indicator that Chris Givens' sophomore slump was anything more than that. And Brian Quick is entering his 3rd year. A year when WRs are supposed to hit their stride. Not to mention we've added the ultimate "boom-or-bust" WR Kenny Britt to the fold, via free agency. Exactly how many WRs are we gonna carry??
Then there's the question of Watkins' ability to be a bonafide #1 WR. That's the kind of guy we're truly still seeking. And you simply don't spend the #2 overall pick on a role player.
The big road grader from Auburn seems to have muscled his way past Jake Matthews, as the draft's top offensive lineman. And for good reason. The guy's an absolute monster who destroys whoever you put in front of him. I'd venture to say the Zac Stacy is posting this guy's picture all over Rams Park, with the majority of them going in Jeff Fisher's private bathroom. He's a plug-and-play kind of guy, who you can immediately line up at guard next to Jake Long on the left side. His pass protection is said to be shaky, but the Rams boast one of the best O-Line coaches in the league. That can always be taught. In the meantime, visions of "Stacy-off- left-tackle" have been a prominent feature in my dreams for the upcoming season.
Wait, what? ... A guard? ...at #2 overall?? Well, that's just plain insanity. And I don't care if he IS going to replace Jake Long one day. See my earlier statement regarding the Seahawks.
With probably the least exposure, the University at Buffalo LB has been able to establish his trademark of versatility. He can play any of the 3 LB positions effectively. He can just as easily rush the passer as he can play containment, drop back into coverage of faster TEs, of step up to rap a RB in the mouth. A highly coveted skillset in today's NFC West, where Kaepernick/Gore and Wilson/Lynch are frequent visitors.
The stigma from coming out of the MAC conference (and it's level of competition) aside, LB isn't a glaring need. James Laurinaitis isn't giving up his spot in the middle anytime soon and Alec Ogletree's rookie season says he's not out there by by default. JoLonn Dunbar's production slipped a bit. But, not enough to make him a scapegoat for the defense's woes. Especially when there's far more blame to go around at other positions. Which brings us to...
The Alabama safety's nickname may as well be a direct message to any safety on the Rams' roster not named T.J. McDonald. As in "Ha-ha... I'm coming to take your job!". The rangy backstop has made his case as the best safety available to a team starved for any semblance of production at the position. Let's face it... the Rams pretty much played with 10 men on the field half of last season and it showed. Being the consensus weak spot of the entire roster. Clinton-Dix makes for a logical choice.
Oops... there goes that #2 distinction again. unless he's the second coming of Ronnie Lott, you just can't use that pick for a safety. The NFL tells us that there's just not enough value in that position to justify the pick, anyway. Not to mention the fact that he could very well still be available to us a the #13 spot.
Teddy Bridgewater/Blake Bortles/Johnny Manziel
Trade the pick away?
This seems like the obvious/most logical decision. Good teams... dynasties... are built through the draft. While the pick won't incite the kind of feeding frenzy it did 2 years ago, it still has some value. A lot of which will be determined by who the Houston Texans take at #1. Trade down. In a draft this deep, there's a lot to be said for having more choices.
But... how on Earth do you possibly justify passing on any of the above mentioned athletes?? ;)
Now, obviously I'm not saying the Rams should simply say "Oh, we're up?... Pass" when their time on the clock expires. What I'm saying is... don't panic. It's gonna be extremely tough for the Rams to screw the proverbial pooch in this draft, just because we used the #2 pick on so-and-so. We're in a unique position here and it's not a bad one to be in. Any of these options could help the team in some capacity. Trust that Fisher and Snead have done their homework and are making the call in the best interest of the team.
I guess I just don't want to see any of my fellow Rams fans throwing themselves off the Arch when "their guy" isn't picked. :)