With day 1 of the 2014 NFL draft in the rear-view mirror and fans left admiring (or despising) their favorite team's new toys, NFL front offices are gearing up for the 2nd day of the draft.
With all due respect to the AFC North, the NFC West is the most physical division in the NFL. If the Rams are going to compete for a division crown, they have to control the line of scrimmage. After drafting Greg Robinson at #2 and Aaron Donald at #13, the Rams showed that they are committed to winning games in the trenches.
The Rams Front Office filled arguably the biggest need on Offense when they drafted Greg Robinson. As a bonus, by passing over Bortles and Manziel (TWICE) they reaffirmed their commitment yet again to Sam Bradford. The selection of Robinson was expected by most experts and I haven't spoke to many fans who object to the pick. Robinson immediately makes the Rams ground game better. There are concerns about his pass blocking, but the Rams employ one of the best offensive line coaches the NFL has to offer in Paul Boudreau. He has to be chomping at the bit to get his hands on a player like Robinson.
However, when the Browns-Bills trade was announced, it left a lot of fans wondering... were the Rams offered that package of picks for #2? If Buffalo offered a similar package to the Rams, why was the front office hesitant to accept? Were they 100% sold on Robinson as the guy to solidify the OL? Did they not like the prospect of drafting Taylor Lewan at #9? Personally I hope that question is addressed at some point in the near future.
With their second pick of the evening, the Rams surprised a lot of experts by doubling down on their defensive front. In doing so, they created one of the deepest, most talented units in the league. With Donald added to the team's already outstanding defensive line, it would be a disappointment if the Rams don't lead the league in sacks in 2014. When Jeff Fisher arrived in St Louis in 2012 he challenged the defense to break the NFL sack record. With the addition of Donald, it looks like the Rams have assembled a defense that has a legitimate shot at that record. Watching these guys play next year is going to be a lot of fun.
With 10 picks remaining, the Rams still have plenty of ammunition to solidify the roster. If day 1 was any indication on how the Rams are going to approach the rest of the draft, it showed us that they were committed to winning the NFC West way, the Jeff Fisher way. They are going play smash-mouth football: run the ball and play dominant defense. With Day 1 in the books, it's hard not to be giddy about the direction the Fisher/Snead/Demoff triumvirate is taking the team.