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2016 NFL Draft: SI's Peter King Details How The Rams-Titans Trade Went Down

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Sports Illustrated's Peter King details the weeks prior to the megatrade and when the seeds were planted for the Rams to move up to acquire the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It's no surprise that the first full account of how the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans pulled off that mammoth trade to ship the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Rams comes from Sports Illustrated's Peter King.

King, the lead at SI's MMQB, has been one of the NFL's biggest (and most loyal) gatekeepers for decades now, so it shouldn't surprise that he pierced the story before anyone.

To me, there's not a ton surprising here. It's more a look at the wrinkles in fortune and fate that helped the trade happen. Consider the first two paragraphs of the story:

Each year at the combine in Indianapolis, the NFL holds a lottery to see which team sits in which suite to watch the workouts. Sometimes coaches and scouts sit down lower, in the stands; sometimes they sit in the suites upstairs, with a desk on which to take notes and the TV to watch replays of the dashes and the workouts. This year, the lottery left the Titans and Rams as neighbors at the suite level.

"The Titans," Los Angeles GM Les Snead thought to himself on the first day of the combine, seeing Tennessee GM Jon Robinson and his staff next door. "This will be convenient.:

I've long held that there are two combines: the one we all see (which isn't really very important at all) and the one we don't (which is absolutely crucial). This is part of what we don't see. And it's not just the chances that the Rams and Titans were seated next to one another; the real value of the combine is how that co-location ended up interwoven between the employees of the two franchises. We know that Rams GM Les Snead and Titans GM Jon Robinson faked bathroom breaks to help catalyze the trade talks, but we don't know to what degree Head Coach Jeff Fisher and the vast array of Rams employees were intermingling with Titans employees, let alone the 30 other NFL teams. That's the combine that matters.

As it was, this year's combine launched the foundation for the Rams and Titans to move forward on trade talks, and in the weeks since Indy, that's exactly what they did.

Individual workouts with North Dakota St. QB Carson Wentz and Cal QB Jared Goff. Adjusting for the start of the NFL New Year. Hard Knocks. Kobe Bryant. Wrinkles.

The reality is, that's how any big deal between any two giant corporations gets done. The context was appropriate for both to make the deal with the Titans having grabbed QB Marcus Mariota with the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and the Rams now at the tail end of having re-stocked their roster with young talents...and seeing them start to leave and the Snisher window narrowing.

But it's a worthy read from King if for nothing else to get a glimpse (albeit a heavily filtered one) of how the NFL sausage gets made as the Rams have less than 200 hours before they'll officially be on the clock with the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.