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Free agency and the Rams #2 pick in the draft

Do you know what tomorrow is? If you guessed Wednesday, you're exactly right, but that's not exactly the point I was driving at. Tomorrow, the 2009 NFL Draft's top WR, Michael Crabtree, has surgery on his foot to for a stress fracture. The procedure includes a 10-week recovery program, leaving him plenty of time to get ready for the regular season. Consequently, he won't be running the 40 at the Texas Tech pro day on 3/26, but he doesn't really need to. But where does this leave his draft status?

It's doubtful that this injury makes Crabtree any less likely to be drafted among the first five picks of the draft. Between now and then there'll be lots of talk and debate about whether or not the Rams should take him with the second overall pick. The Rams could certainly use a WR of Crabtree's ilk, but I think it's unlikely they'll pick him. Why? When the Rams signed C Jason Brown, they made a very serious, very public commitment to building a tough, young offensive line. Passing on one of the top three OTs in the draft (Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher) would seriously undercut that goal.

With one of those tackles on board and Jason Brown in the middle, the Rams have two essential building blocks to make  their o-line the foundation from which the offense flows for at least the next five years. Not  that drafting a player of Crabtree's ability would be detrimental to the Rams, but it would leave them with major weaknesses up front.

In looking at the top five spots in the draft, it's unlikely Crabtree will be playing the NFC West at all. Seattle, picking fourth, probably won't draft Crabtree after paying ridiculous amounts of money for T.J. Houshmandzadeh. In fact, among the top five, only the Rams and Chiefs have a legitimate need at WR. The Browns could use a WR like Crabtree, but I boldly predict that the Chiefs will draft him with the third overall pick, giving the newly acquired QB Matt Cassel someone to throw to beside Tony Gonzalez.

Speaking of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, I like coming matchup between him and Ron Bartell. In fact, he could see plenty of double coverage. Bartell will still have his hans full keeping Housmandzadeh from getting those jump balls in the end zone, but I still like the matchup.