The issue's been building. The Rams just aren't in a great spot with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. We've felt the push coming on trading down for a bit now, and we've got a combine week mock from Dan Kadar over at MTD that explores that possibility.
In fact, Kadar's mock blows the doors off the trade market, and for good reason. We had five trades among the top 15 picks in 2012 (two of which involved the Rams). We had three in the top 13 a year later, one of which saw the Rams jumping up into the top 10 to take Tavon Austin. Of course last year included the Rams' selection of Greg Robinson at #2 overall via the RGIII trade and some Cleveland-Buffalo-Minnesota movement that affected three slots in the top 10.
Early trades are, of course, de rigeur since the ratification of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in the summer of 2011. If the last three years are any indication, this year's draft will feature some movement throughout the top 10 of which we haven't seen any of yet.
Take the wheel, Kadar.
|1||Tampa Bay||Jameis Winston||QB||Florida St.|
|2||TRADE: Philadelphia (via Tennessee)||Marcus Mariota||QB||Oregon|
|6||New York Jets||Vic Beasley||OLB||Clemson|
|8||Atlanta||Dante Fowler Jr.||DE||Florida|
|9||New York Giants||La'el Collins||OT||LSU|
|10||TRADE: Cleveland (via St. Louis)||DeVante Parker||WR||Louisville|
|11||Minnesota||Kevin White||WR||West Virginia|
So that's a thing. We'll be taking a look at trade partners later this week, since it's kinda tough to feel out prior to the combine and pro days. The Cleveland one looks sensible, with Josh Gordon seemingly turning into a reclamation project that won't be taking place in Cleveland. That leaves them with a seriously depleted wide receiving corps that could use a first round wideout. And as the above situation lays out, they get to jump a receiver-hungry Minnesota at 11, who's trying to find a target for young Teddy Bridgewater, to get the second WR in the draft to find a target for young Johnny Manziel. It makes sense.
But that would mean the Rams aren't all that wedded to a top wideout prospect of their choosing (minus Amari Cooper), and I'm not sure that's all that certain. In any case, Kadar puts the Rams on:
Brandon Scherff (OT, Iowa)
Not a new name, which is kind of the point. If the Rams can move down and still pick up one of the guys atop their board...that's kind of the reason you trade down. You're not really sacrificing anything.
To me, the real conversation is how far down the Rams should go. If you go through Kadar's mock, Pitt OT T.J. Clemmings and Miami OT Ereck Flowers go at 17 & 18. Stanford OT Andrus Peat comes in at 25. Are they that far down the Rams' board beyond Scherff? If not, this feels unnecessary. But if they're just that high on Scherff individually, then a trade down only makes sense if they're certain they'll be able to grab him (or any other name you fill in here hypothetically) whenever they do end up coming back on the clock.
The real worry for the Rams comes at the back end of the first round.
Starting at the 26th pick, there's a run of four names I'd be keenly interested in seeing the Rams involved with: Arizona St. WR Jaelen Strong, UCLA QB Brett Hundley (via a mock trade between Tennessee and Green Bay), Oklahoma WR Dorial Green-Beckham and South Carolina G A.J. Cann. If we're going to start talking about moving down at 10, we might as well start talking the idea of trading up from 41.
In the end, the Rams don't have a ton of capital going into the 2015 NFL Draft. Trading down makes sense only if they're trying to grab someone in this draft...and that someone might not be there by the time the Rams' second round pick comes back around.
Expect to see more trade discussion in the weeks ahead.