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L.A. Rams: What Would Dan Quayle Do?

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Dan Quayle

The 2017 Los Angeles Rams are - for me, anyway - a blank page. Players like Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Alec Ogletree and Aaron Donald exist only as characters; to be written in after the dust settles. Living in New Mexico, I know a thing or two about dust. At times it hangs so thick in the air, you just can’t see what’s right in front of you...

Leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, the idea of trying to glean what’s next - for the team I’ve followed since my childhood - has never been more daunting. Being the pure intellectual I am, I thought I’d lean on a legendary statesman from the past to help transition my thought processes.

To begin, let’s look at the overall state of the team itself. The coaching staff features the youngest head coach in NFL history. It has a defensive coordinator - Wade Phillips -, who I’m pretty sure has been in, or around, the league long enough to almost triple-dip on its retirement plan. They follow the Jeff Fisher coaching era, which had a few highs, and more than its share of lows...

Say what you want about Fisher’s time with the St. Louis/L.A. Rams (and, I know you will!). It wasn’t his draft picks that bent his time with the Rams toward oblivion, as much as how the modern NFL game seemed to have left him behind. OK, there were some picks that still have me shaking my head. Drafting a guy named “I. Pead” - we now know - had a “things to come” kind of thing going for it. High pick fails like Greg Robinson and Tavon Austin have hit the Rams hard too...

Yes, I went there with Austin being a “fail”, but not because of his overall talent being lacking. Fisher just wasn’t prepared to morph his idea of football into how to use Austin’s skill-set the right way. His offenses became handcuffed by trying to force Austin into an offense that just wasn’t capable of doing much. Tavon Austin is the kind of player you draft when all the other pieces on offense are humming along, and needs that extra-special thingy to get them over the hump. I’m not going to beat the litany of bad Rams offensive coordinators to death here. I should, but I won’t...

Moving on to NFL Draft needs for the Rams, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of key position concerns to be addressed? In my opinion, Los Angeles needed to solve there issues at Center through free agency. That ending up being a swing n’ miss, they’ll have to find help in the later rounds: 4 thru 7. The second round has an enormous need based weight on its shoulders. Team General Manager Les Snead needs a home-run here in one of three areas: Linebacker, Receiver or Safety.

At safety, there’s this ginormous player named Obe Melifonwu. He turned heads at the NFL Combine. He ran a 4.40/40 yard dash, and nearly jumped out of the building in the high jump at 44 inches. He’s 6’4”, and weighs 228 lbs. A slightly raw talent, he has a bit of “Boom or Bust” factor to him. I believe he could be a Day 1 starter at free safety for the Rams. He’ll take a 2nd round pick to land him though, and there in lies a problem for Les Snead...

I mention Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson in a previous article, and I’m holding firm. Do I like picking a “meat n’ potatoes” player in round 2? Not really, but the key here is not to miss on this choice. Anderson will be a Day 1 guy. If he could be had in the 3rd round, he’d be the steal of the 2017 NFL Draft. He reminds me of Jack Ham, the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer. Anderson’s ability to slide inside - if needed - can’t be understated. FYI - For those who think safety-turned-linebacker Mark Barron will be a sure-fire fit as a 3-4 scheme linebacker, you may want to toss that around a bit more... If not Anderson here, think about football I.Q. at this position, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’m not sure Anderson is exactly “the guy”, but I’m bang-on regarding the traits the Rams need at outside linebacker going forward.

The receiver need for the Los Angels Rams is more than glaring. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are gone, so the need for a red zone threat looms large. I’m not entirely sold on tight end Tyler Higbee being the answer, so how will the Rams determine where to go here with a 2nd round pick? Honestly, this may very well be one of the weakest wide receiver classes I’ve seen in the last ten years. To that end, using a 3rd or 4th round pick on a receiver may be the way to go? University of Miami tight end David Njoku has draft-nicks swooning, but his 13% pass drop rate in college has me thinking he’s got more “bust,” than “boom.” If a wide receiver like Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp is around in round 3, I’d snag him...

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Many of you - including a certain person who resides in the Washington D.C. area - may think that I’m “rowing with one oar...”, or my cookies just aren’t quite baked? If so, you just KNOW what quote from former Vice-President and quote-ologist Dan Qualye is coming... Well, you’re WRONG! I’m going to let you go here to find it, and many others that had me laughing in the wee-hours of this Sunday morning...

Look, I get it! This season of arbitrary NFL Draft guess work gets a bit numbing at times. I know, because my head feels numb quite often. This is the time of year where I dial back may attention span to just short of a Goldfish’s. Woe be to the person trying to talk with me if a bird should suddenly fly over head...

Yet, trying to suss out just what kind of Los Angeles Rams team we’re about to see in 2017 has its moments, doesn’t it?