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Los Angeles Rams: The QB vs WR1 NFL Draft Conundrum

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Conundrum: A logical postulation that evades resolution, an intricate and difficult problem...

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To draft a quarterback, or not? Picking a huge, pass catching nightmare of a wide receiver, or living with what's on the Rams current roster...? These two question will be at the forefront of Rams fans thoughts heading toward the 2016 NFL Draft. At the #15 overall pick, there's no guarantee a top echelon quarterback will be there when Los Angeles goes on the clock April 30th in Chicago. The University of California's Jared Goff, and Memphis' Paxton Lynch are getting loads of attention prior to the NFL Combine. But we've seen this before, haven't we? Names mentioned now as being "hot" seem to cool rather quickly, while other emerge via an eruption of media over-hype...

Cal's Goff troubles me. I like almost everything about him. Almost... That's the kicker when taking a flyer on a college quarterback. What weaknesses can you live with, or even gloss over at bit? For Goff, I can't get away from his physical build. Maybe I'm painting him with the slight frame brush of Robert Griffin III? "The III" was good for a single season of pounding, then he faded away. The Rams were never going to take Griffin, with hopes pinned to Sam Bradford. Washington pushed in all their chips on Griffin - in the form future draft picks - and lost. Goff strikes me as a VERY talented quarterback, but so was Sam Bradford. Injury potential has to head closer to the top of a team's evaluation formula. If not, well... Teams go in the tank - time after time - when their quarterback goes down. I think Goff's NFL career may be marred with the 'ol injury asterisk when all is said and done...

Memphis' Paxton Lynch has a huge upside, but there's an accompanying downside too: decision making. I can live with this little titch, as long as he shows intellectual potential during the interview process at the NFL Combine. ESPN's Jon Gruden does a great series of in-depth interviews with top quarterbacks prior to the NFL Draft. I'll be watching the Lynch segment closely...

So we have - for now? - two quarterbacks I'm going to put on the Los Angeles Rams' radar. (Yes, I'm leaving off a rather intriguing quarterback out of the frozen Dakotas)

Now, let's shift to the wide receiver part of the conundrum. Every team - looking to improve the offensive side of the ball - has the same problem to face, and it isn't even close to being a mere coin-flip. The problem is this: If you draft a quarterback, who does he have to throw to? If a Team drafts a wide receiver, who's going to throw the ball to him? In the end, it's actually a failed solution set that can't  be solved - or rarely is - in a single NFL Draft. High end skill position players don't last long on in the NFL Draft, and the percentages don't boded well as names disappear off draft day boards.

The wide receivers in this draft have talent, with Mississippi's Laquan Treadwell (6'2", 212 lbs.) leading the way at his position in the coming (April 30 to May 2) NFL Draft. Yes, Mock Draft gurus are beating the drum for others, but I'm convinced Treadwell will hear his name called as the first wide receiver taken. (Just a prediction: Dallas takes him at #4 overall).

Yet, I don't see this as a strong wide receiver class. You don't have A Julio Jones - A.J. Green caliber duo to ponder in the 2016 draft. That being said, a wide receiver hungry team has to resist getting into a bidding war for Treadwell, especially if they have a quarterback question looming. Do you see how the quarterback - wide receiver conundrum could start to spin out of control? No? Well, imagine a team who "thinks" they can get by with a quarterback already on the roster if they can get someone to catch passes? It would - hopefully - take some pressure off of a run game, right? It may even bump up touchdown totals in the team stats column. But, - and this is a huge, Brandon Bate sized "But" - putting NFL learning curves aside, relying on a rookie wide receiver to flip the fortunes of a question mark quarterback is a fool's errand at best.

If you lean toward draft a quarterback, taking a look at his rookie limitations may be something to consider. If his wide receiver corps is middling or weak, he more than likely settles into a "hand-it-off-and-get-out-of-the-way" first NFL season. He'll have to have a pile of quick check down pass plays; in the hope of trying to keep defenses honest. In point of fact, unless a team has a Marcus Mariota-Andrew Luck level prospect, they're virtually conceding a rookie quarterback's first season to the realm of mediocrity...

I think every team dreams of finding a Tom Brady-esk, 6th round wunderkind. It doesn't happen very often, especially in today's NFL. The "grocery clerk" Kurt Warner-s are rarer still. Snagging a potential star wide receiver is a lesser task than finding a quarterback to drive an NFL franchise's future. It is, and you know it... Finding both in any NFL Draft - let alone in the coming 2016 talent show in Chicago - isn't going to happen. It's a quest for the NFL's version of the "Holy Grail", and it can take years of sifting through college prospect sand to even catch a glimpse at a solution...