The St. Louis Rams have plenty of options when the first of two first-round picks at No. 16 overall rolls around in the 2013 NFL draft, but the smartest move may be to trade down in what is a very weak class overall.
Trading down would not only give the Rams more picks, it would allow them to use one of those picks to select former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy to fill part of the void left by Steven Jackson.
St. Louis has some clear needs, such as at the safety spot or in the receiving corps, but it couldn't hurt to add a running back as talented as Lacy.
As the draft rolls on through the first round, a variety of teams are likely going to want to move up to take a player such as Jarvis Jones or a receiver such as Tavon Austin. It happens each year, and teams such as the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers are teams that could presumably make the jump.
The cost of moving down is minimal if you're St. Louis. For example, if the team is intent on drafting a safety such as Kenny Vaccaro (who may not make it to No. 16 anyway), moving down while gaining more picks could still land the team in a position to draft a prospect such as Jonathan Cyprien.
It also means the Rams will be in a perfect position to draft Lacy. Running backs these days don't normally go until late in the first round, if at all in the opening round. Lacy is the best back in the class and could still be on the board by as late as the mid-second round.
Lacy weighs in at 5'11" and 230 pounds as a bruising back who can get the tough yards thanks to his physicality. In 2012 alone, he ran for 1,322 yards and 17 touchdowns as he led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.
On paper, it looks like the Rams could squeak by next season with the duo of Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. The latter was a second-round pick out of Cincinnati a year ago, He lost snaps to Richardson, who the team had selected in the seventh round of the same draft.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, head coach Jeff Fisher has faith in both backs as a one-two punch next season, with Richardson as the starter and Pead presumably being brought in to change the pace:
"We drafted Isaiah because we felt like he has a chance to be a good back, not necessarily just a change-of-pace back for (Steven Jackson) but the guy," Fisher said. "Daryl (Richardson) can be the guy. Most everybody is using multiple backs in their offense."
Fisher's point about multiple backs is 100 percent correct. Today's NFL utilizes a running back by committee approach at the position, which is even more reason for the Rams to add Lacy to the mix in the backfield.
It's one thing to have a nice one-two punch at the position, but add in a third back who can rotate in and punish the defense for four quarters, and it's going to be hard to slow down the offense.
A three-headed monster similar to what the New York Giants have employed in the past with the likes of Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward would give St. Louis one of the league's best offenses.
Lacy, Richardson and Pead would take pressure off quarterback Sam Bradford and aid the passing attack overall, anchored by new tight end Jared Cook. Not to mention the trio would plow over teams on the ground.
The Rams do have multiple holes on the roster, but trading down and still holding on to the No. 22 overall pick thanks to the trade with the Washington Redskins last year leaves a little wiggle room for a luxury pick like Lacy.
It may not be the most pressing need, but adding Lacy only further upgrades what is quickly becoming the NFL's most under-the-radar roster set to surprise next season.
Lacy-to-St. Louis is a no-brainer, as is trading down.
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