Walter Football has updated their two-round mock for the 2018 NFL Draft out this week. While I generally don’t put a ton of their content on TST since, yanno, they go with more of a quantity over quality approach, it’s a weekend in late May. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
For quite some time, they’ve had the same pick for the Los Angeles Rams...the first overall pick in the draft:
1.) USC QB Sam Darnold
Taking a quarterback is a realistic scenario, despite all that the Rams have surrendered for Jared Goof. If they're bad enough to be selecting No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, they'll surely be ready to move on to another quarterback.
Sam Darnold has taken the Pac-12 by storm, as he's been incredible ever since taking over as the starter, which was capped off by his amazing Rose Bowl performance. A big quarterback with a nice arm, terrific accuracy and decent mobility, Darnold could end up being the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
First, on the nature of picking first overall. If this is to believed, it would require a massive failure in the 2017 season, one that would certainly include a monumental offensive failure albeit without a Jeff Fisher/Frank Cignetti/Brian Schottenheimer scapegoat on the sidelines to point to.
No, if the Rams are picking first overall (or even close thereto), we’re likely asking serious questions of QB Jared Goff. Questions that many people, like MMQB’s Peter King, are already asking. Now I’m as comfortable as anyone giving Goff the 2017 season to show that his rookie season isn’t a fair indication of his true NFL future. For the purposes of this mock though, we have to assume that it was a fair indication.
And if that’s the case, Darnold looks a fair candidate to replace him. If his 2017 season is anything like his 2016 season, he’s assured to be a top pick if not assured to be the top pick.
Anyway, it’s far off enough not to worry about all that much while being close enough to consider should 2017 go awry. Perhaps the question is where the threshold lies for Goff and the 2018 NFL Draft. What does he have to do to put to rest the concept of replacement? What makes it a legitimate course of action? I’m not sure I know, but I know one exists.
Onto the second round:
33.) Florida WR Antonio Callaway
It was odd that the Rams traded down when Zay Jones fell into their laps. Jones would've been perfect for them. Here's another second-round receiver who can help.
Weird retroactive analysis, but I guess Jones’ rookie season will either validate or invalidate it and the Rams as well in the process.
We saw Callaway on ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s WR big board coming in at #3 among underclassmen. He’s a hell of a talent. I think his draft stock might require some competence at QB depending on who wins the job between returning Luke Del Rio or incoming freshman Feleipe Franks. Rams fans might do well to get an eye in on Callaway and company when Florida takes on Michigan in the season opener at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
What really struck me is just the idea of going QB-WR in 2018. In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Rams picked up Goff, two WRs and two TEs (yes and a LB, but let’s focus on the big picture here). We just went heavy on passing targets with a TE and two WRs as three of the first four picks. To go QB-WR in 2018 would be asking a lot of every other unit.
That would be three drafts in a row without a significant investment in the O-line. Or the pass rush. Or the secondary. As good as Rams HC Sean McVay or DC Wade Phillips might be, spending all your quality draft picks on QBs, WRs and TEs in a three-year run is offering a ton of risk everywhere else on the roster moving into the prime years of the McVay era. And there’s no certainty that that heavy investment in that triad is bound for payoff ESPECIALLY if if the offensive line doesn’t improve substantially.
But as we get into Memorial Day weekend, just some food for thought. If the current investments in the passing game don’t pan out, would the Rams be better suited investing in replacements or developing the team elsewhere?