Hi everyone. This is my first FanPost, so I hope you enjoy and it stirs up some healthy debate.
At this point, although this draft is a loaded one, there appears to be 4 prospects that have risen to the top of most "experts" boards and separated themselves from the others - Clowney, Robinson, Watkins, and Mack. I believe it would be a huge mistake for the Rams to not come away with at least one of these players. That might mean staying put at #2 or self-limiting who our potential partners could be in a trade.
- Clowney - The near consensus "most talented/high upside" player in the draft. While he is one of the worst of the group from a needs standpoint, his potential would make him hard to pass up.
- Robinson - Many rate his upside just a half a notch below Clowney's, and he is a much better selection from a needs standpoint. In the short term he can play LT if Long isn't ready or slide in at G and form a lethal combination early. Long term he is an obvious replacement for Long who may not even be a Ram a year from now based on contract and/or injuries.
- Watkins - The consensus #1 WR in the draft and a player who grades out very close to top WR's of recent drafts like AJ Green. He would be an immediate boost to the offense and provide explosiveness that could help keep defenses off balance each game.
- Mack - While a super complete and talented player, Mack probably makes the least amount of sense from a needs/roster standpoint. We often play with only 2 LB's on the field and already have JL and Ogletree in those spots. He would be a luxury/situational pick that doesn't seem to make a ton of sense with the other 3 players potentially available.
While the jury is still out on the 3 consensus top QB's, there is the possibility that Houston passes on all of them and no one wants to give us much to trade up to the #2 spot. If Houston takes Clowney first I would not want to trade back past Jacksonville and risk losing out on Robinson and Watkins, unless it was Cleveland trading up for a QB.
There has been a ton of talk about trading #2 down to acquire more draft assets. However, I would recommend a different route and entertain trading back from #13 if the right offer came along. Several of the teams drafting right after us (Chicago, Pitt, Dallas) could be in the market to leapfrog the others and move up for Donald or one of the top CB's. Several other teams could want to move up to grab a top Safety or other players that are slipping down the board - TE, WR, LT, etc.
With our load of current picks and anything we pick up in a trade like this I would advocate using several to move back up into the late first, 2nd, or even 3rd round to acquire value at position of needs like S, OL and CB (maybe even trade up a couple of times). In those spots there are a ton of players we could use where needs match value. I would rather have a handful of extra picks in these rounds to get potential starters or quality depth than 12+ picks that might not return many impact players. The top 3 G's, 2nd tier CB's, 2nd tier Safeties, or falling Tackles come to mind.
Thoughts? And thanks for reading