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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Trading Down No Sure Thing For The Rams

Another mock draft? Yes. The most recent 2012 NFL Mock Draft is out over at SB Nation, and since I took the time to do it, it's probably worth sharing. As for what the St. Louis Rams do in this one, you may be disappointed. But there's a bigger lesson here.

In the not uncommon move seen in other mocks, the Rams draft USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the second pick. No trade? Nope, and here's why.

Head coach Jeff Fisher and his offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer both made it pretty clear that pass protection is a top priority for rejuvenating quarterback Sam Bradford and the Rams offense. Drafting Kalil gives them an elite pass blocker ready to go on day one. The Rams could still trade this pick, but with Washington looking like a suitor for Peyton Manning, Miami making eyes at Matt Flynn and Cleveland possibly having second thoughts about giving up draft picks, St. Louis may not have much of a market for their pick.

The market for trading up could dry out once free agency happens. As I said above, Washington could be in the market for Peyton Manning, and many expect the Dolphins to sign Matt Flynn in free agency. That takes two potential trade partners off the list.

Cleveland is a bit of an unknown. They may or may not be willing to surrender the picks in order to move up for Robert Griffin III. There's a part of me that thinks they'll hang onto the picks and take a couple different routes for the quarterback solution.

They could sign a veteran, like Kyle Orton, to pair with Colt McCoy, and use their two first round picks to address other roster needs. Cleveland has been trading down in recent drafts. They might even do it again. Keeping two top 32 picks could at least get them an offensive lineman and a wide receiver or a cornerback or whatever else they feel like would put them in contention in a tough division.

Cleveland could also wait, and take a flyer on Ryan Tannehill or another quarterback (Brandon Wheeden?) in the first-round. The point is that they don't have to trade up for Griffin, though they probably should.

What about the other quarterback-needy teams? Well, one of those teams, Seattle, is in the NFC West. They aren't going to be trading up with the Rams, their division rivals. If Cleveland, Miami and Washington are all out of the running, the Seahawks could trade with Minnesota.

There's always the possibility of a dark horse candidate. Maybe Kansas City or some other team.

Either way, it's not lock that the Rams will be trading the pick.