3 Creative Moves the St. Louis Rams Could Pull on Draft Day
The endless draft chatter has been raging on for months now. The mainstream scenarios involving the St. Louis Rams' top two picks have been discussed ad nauseam.
It's well known that Sammy Watkins and Greg Robinson are the fan favorites at No. 2 overall, while Jadeveon Clowney, Jake Matthews and Khalil Mack are the less-viable alternative candidates, but there's not a lot of discussion about other options aside from those five players.
On draft day, it's possible the Rams will shock us all and go with "none of the above." After all, surprises are part of draft day.
The surprise could come in the form of a trade down, or even an unconventional name. Just be prepared for a shock or two at some point.
As a result, this article will cover three options that have been receiving little to no discussion. These scenarios do not reflect my personal preferences in any way. I'm simply putting these thoughts out there for the sake of conversation.
Trade Second-Round Pick, Jump Back into Round 1 for a Safety
One of the key debates of the offseason has centered around "cornerback vs. safety." Safety is the greater need, but cornerback is also a need and a more valuable position overall.
But why should the Rams neglect either?
St. Louis has plenty of ammunition in the draft, so the team has the power to jump back into the first round if necessary (which would give the team three first-round picks).
If Louisville safety Calvin Pryor tumbles on draft day, St. Louis can likely trade its second-round pick (along with its third-round pick and a late-round selection) to land somewhere in the back end of Round 1 and grab Pryor.
If the Rams grab Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard at No. 13, along with the Pryor, the team's secondary woes will be solved once and for all.
Not everyone can get excited over the thought of sacrificing the team's second- and third-round picks. However, if the Rams do trade out of the No. 2 pick and acquire an additional second-rounder along with their own, then this deal will not be nearly as costly as it sounds.
The only thing preventing the Rams from owning an elite defense is their questionable secondary. If the secondary can be instantly repaired with two high-end playmakers, then this deal will be well worth it.
Trade Chris Long for a High Draft Pick
Is this a move that will excite the fans? Probably not. And I'm certainly not an advocate for this move. But if the Rams land Clowney at No. 2 overall, there's not a lot of need for Chris Long.
If Clowney becomes a member of the Rams, then chances are that the Rams will let go of Long a year or two down the road anyway. So why not get something in return as opposed to letting him leave for nothing?
With Robert Quinn, William Hayes, Eugene Sims and Clowney at defensive end, the team can certainly live without Long. He can be traded to a playoff team that's one or two defensive pieces away from Super Bowl contention, such as New Orleans, New England or Denver.
If Long can be traded for a late first-round pick, the Rams can use the compensation to address a greater area of need, such as safety or cornerback.
If the Rams can somehow grab Clowney in the first, along with a talented defensive back or two, St. Louis' defense will finally be complete. The unit will be all set for long-term dominance.
The primary question is whether or not any team will be willing to spend a first-round pick to acquire Long and his sizable $14.9 million cap hit in 2014, according to Spotrac. It's a doubtful proposal, but if the offer is on the table, it's something the Rams need to consider.
Take the Best of the Rest at Quarterback in Round 2
Reports have been running rampant regarding St. Louis' apparent interest in drafting a quarterback.
Rams beat writer Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently reported that the Rams have interest in drafting a young passer and that the team has scouted numerous quarterbacks.
The article mentioned Tom Savage (University of Pittsburgh), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Aaron Murray (Georgia), Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) and Garrett Gilbert (SMU)—all of these quarterbacks are mostly mid- to late-round options.
But if the team is scouting mid-round passers, is it possible that the Rams might be willing to spend more than a third- or fourth-round pick on a quarterback?
What if Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Derek Carr slips to the Rams in Round 2? Since the team is evidently in the market for a quarterback, would it be willing to pull the trigger on one of those guys?
Most mock drafts work under the assumption that the Rams will use the second-round pick on a position of need. And while that's likely going to be the case, it wouldn't necessarily be a disaster if the team invested the pick in a young quarterback.
If Sam Bradford goes down with another injury, this would give the Rams a viable and exciting option at quarterback. The team would not have to throw in the towel, as it did this past season. On the other hand, if Bradford is healthy and effective, the Rams can groom the young quarterback, give him some garbage-time experience and trade him for a high draft pick.
This move would be an investment—a long-term investment.
If the Rams can turn that second-round pick into a future first-round pick (or a franchise quarterback), it will be well worth it. It's a move that will require time and patience—two concepts that are understandably difficult to sell to playoff-starved fans—but it's still an option worth exploring.