"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." - Jerry Seinfeld.
After taking a night to sleep on it, I feel as though Seinfeld's sage advice for his good friend George Costanza effectively summarize how I feel about the Los Angeles Rams' 2017 draft through the first three rounds.
If it were me calling the shots from the Rams' war room, I wouldn't have traded out of the 37th overall spot. I would've taken Forrest Lamp, Sidney or Zay Jones, even Budda Baker.
After having moved back to 44, picking up another 3rd round pick in the process, I wouldn't have drafted Gerald Everett. I would've selected Chris Godwin, Tyus Bowser, or Pat Elflein. Heck, I probably would've nabbed Adam Shaheen.
This was my thought on Cooper Kupp in February...
If you think the Rams should draft Cooper Kupp, I don't like you— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) February 20, 2017
There is a less-than-none chance I would've said "draft John Johnson" when the Rams were on the clock at 91.
The underlying issue here, aside from the fact that tuna salad has never worked for me, is that maybe I'm just not as good an Armchair GM as I thought.
If a player has some off-field issues, I've found that I'm more inclined to want the Rams to draft them because they're getting "a steal." A future Hall-of-Famer has oh-so-fortuitously fallen right into my favorite team's lap! Sure, Brandon...
Did I want the Rams to draft Sidney Jones, who recently tore his achilles, knowing full well he may never fully recover? Yep. Joe Mixon, despite the disgusting, unforgivable act he committed in 2014? Sure. Gareon Conley? Why not. I was hopeful the Rams would draft these guys because maybe, just maybe, more first round talent(s) leads to more wins. Ha!
You know who else thought that like that? Jeff Fisher thought that like that. Fisher never shied away from a player with character concerns. You see where that got him? You see where that's gotten the Rams?
I clearly haven't been getting the message -- especially the one conveyed by Rams' new head coach Sean McVay.
"We Not Me."
He's been saying it since the onset, and it's not just a cool t-shirt idea, but clearly something he's trying to instill in his players - new and old - as he looks to change the culture from a group of players -- some of whom may have their "me" and "we" swapped in the team's new mantra.
Maybe McVay is pulling a page out of the Bill Belichick book. Instead of drafting players solely on their accolades or talent alone, draft them because they have a mindset similar to his. Draft them because they'll put the team first.
In this piece from ESPN's Mike Reiss, Belichick talks about how he keeps players from various backgrounds motivated. His response, to me, resonates with what I think McVay is trying to accomplish in Los Angeles:
I think it starts there -- a love of the game, the passion for the game, a passion to be part of a team, be part of a group, be part of a commitment to perform at a high level, and be unselfish and to give up some of your own personal goals and desires for the good of the team for the opportunity to be part of something special in a team environment. I think those are the things that help us.
Does that mean the Rams all of a sudden transform into the Patriots overnight? Of course not.
Does it mean Gerald Everett will produce like Rob Gronkowski or be a better NFL player than Shaheen? It doesn't...but it doesn't mean he won't.
Can Cooper Kupp shake being a "small school guy" and develop into a star player in the NFL? Sure he can.
It's possible that John Johnson has a better career than some of the safeties taken in the 1st round of this year's draft.
Sean McVay and Wade Phillips haven't given me any reason not to trust them, so why question the picks, right?
And that's kind of where I'm at on April 29th, 2017, just a night's sleep removed from the conclusion of the 3rd round.
If tuna on toast hasn't been working for us as Rams' fans, maybe it's time we try the chicken salad on rye.