Yesterday, the Rams were lucky. They were lucky that four quarterbacks were taken in the first dozen picks. They were lucky that Houston opted for J.J. Watt. And of course, the result was the Rams being lucky enough to have Robert Quinn fall in their lap at #14.
Tonight, the Rams would be glad to be the recipient of similar luck yet again. With plenty of quarterbacks still in play and other position now opening up for appropriate value, the second and third rounds are, as always, more open that the first.
After the jump, I'll look at a couple factors that will decide what options the Rams have available and, like Van did a couple hours ago, drop some names to keep an eye on and how those names are affected by the picks ahead of us.
Factors that will affect the Rams at #47and #78
- Quarterback city pt. 2: You can pin a large share of Quinn's availability to the Rams on the Jake Locker and Christian Ponder picks, to Tennessee at #8 and to Minnesota at #12 respectively. As PFT noted last night, there are three QBs that could come off the board in round 2: Andy Dalton (TCU), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) and Ryan Mallett (Arkansas).
Equally important are the five teams ahead of the Rams who could list a need at the position: the Bills (#34), Bengals (#35), Cardinals (#38), Redskins (#41) and 49ers (#45). Ram fans should be hoping all three are gone when we are back on the clock.
- Position decisions: The first round was dominated by linemen; 62.5% of the first round was made up of linemen on both sides of the ball, led by seven defensive ends (although Aldon Smith is now technically moving to a 3-4 OLB, but let's not quibble). With so many teams having filled the premier positions, the second tier positions now open up: RB, LB, S, TE, and of course the less coveted prospects at the premier positions.
You don't have to be a detective to recognize that the first three secondary positions I listed (running back, linebacker and safety) are positions of immediate need for the Rams, to say nothing of a certain tight end that has been linked to the Rams for quite a while. Nevertheless, as teams begin snapping off the top prospects from the lesser valued positions, the Rams will have less motivation to play BPA there. To a degree, it would help if the teams in front of the Rams, like at QB, continue to dig at DE and OT. And of course, I'd be ecstatic if a couple running backs came off the board just to ensure the Rams don't go RB in round 2.
- Trader Joes: The draft may have started with the Panthers, but it kicked into full gear when Atlanta mortgaged half of the Georgia Dome to trade up for Cleveland's #6 pick to select Julio Jones. There's no reason to think the wheeling and dealing that took place yesterday won't carry over to today. Already, there are six picks in the second round that aren't held by the teams who had initially inherited them.
The obvious player is everybody's favorite draft-destroying team, the New England Patriots. The Pats now own three second round picks and two third round selections. The chances that they actually make those five picks is somewhere between 0 and 0.000000001%. But it will be the unsuspected trades that have more impact. Just like Atlanta and Jacksonville yesterday, teams today who feel there's a player who is worth the capital and a team who is willing to agree to move down will jump up and shake up the draft. The Rams' second third of the depth chart isn't strong enough to do so, but you never know.
Names and games
Van dropped four names to keep an eye on in round 2 (Mikel Leshoure, Ryan Williams, Daniel Thomas and Kendall Hunter), but who else could come into view for the Rams tonight? If the Rams are interested in absolute electricity, Taiwan Jones could be a name worth remembering. Coming out of Eastern Washington, he hasn't faced the strongest competition; that aside, he's arguably the fastest and quickest running back in the draft.
Of course, once you get into the third round, the options really open up. Demarco Murray, Shane Vereen, Dion Lewis, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jordan Todman, Derrick Locke - they're all viable candidates in my estimation, depending on the Rams' FO evaluation and system considerations.
Everyone's favorite hot topic position, with Julio and AJ gone, WR wasn't worth even visiting yesterday. Tonight, though, it's certainly in play. You could throw out about two dozen names tonight that could be Rams by midnight, but let's break it down into two categories: possession receivers and athletic split ends.
On the possession side, I would throw out five names that jump out at me: Greg Little, Tandon Doss, Leonard Hankerson, Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. To some degree, those receivers could fill the role Eddie Royal held in Denver, though obviously the question would be where they would fit on the Rams' current depth chart.
I'd only throw three names out: Rudolph, obviously, but also Luke Stocker and D.J. Williams. With Hoomanawanui on board, unless McDaniels is suddenly interested in 2 TE sets (and his history certainly doesn't suggest he is), we can skip this.
There are too many names to list here, but the key for me is style. So many people suggested that the Rams would benefit from a more physical, powerful blocker at RG. On the other hand, the Rams have built a line that is more about technical proficiency than brute force. If they do indeed take a guard tonight, it will be a statement in and of itself as to the direction of the offense.
Like at guard, there is a demarcation here. The Rams could go for a larger, run-focused defender here as the eventual heir to Fred Robbins spot. On the other hand, the biggest improvement could come from the other DT spot, adding a pass rush threat that is more versatile than the effort-filled but skill-deficient Gary Gibson.
My favorite option for the Rams might be Drake Nevis. He isn't the most immediate run defender, but he's got a bevy of pass rush moves and great lower body proportion to make an immediate impact for the Rams.
Damn near anyone's in play tonight, but there are three names that, for one reason or another, have to be kept under consideration: Bruce Carter, Ross Homan and Brian Rolle. Carter, both because of his individual talent and the fact that having drafted Quinn, the Rams signaled a level of acceptance of UNC's defensive system; Homan and Rolle because they went to Ohio St., and for whatever reason, the Rams and Ohio St. LBs have been inseparable recently.
Speaking of long, this post was too long. So is the wait for the second round to begin.