The way teams value Baylor QB Robert Griffin III could go a long way in determining what the Rams do with the second overall pick in April's NFL Draft.
Soon after he was named the team’s general manager last weekend and perhaps even before it was official, Les Snead sat down with coach Jeff Fisher and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff to discuss the thing that will likely be the hottest Rams-related topic of the next two months.
Indeed, the debate about what the Rams will do with the second overall pick in April’s NFL Draft has long since begun amongst fans but the discussions at the Russell Training Center are only starting to heat up now that Snead is on board.
In fact, Snead and Fisher have spent most of the week meeting with the team’s scouts, all of whom came into town on Sunday night.
In his introductory press conference Tuesday, Snead was essentially asked point blank what direction the Rams would go with that selection.
“Yes, we’ve had the conversation,” Snead said. “And with that second pick, I think you ask the question because just like you, we realize there are many options with that pick. Here’s what I will tell you, we will be well prepared to take advantage of any option presented. Whether it’s trading the pick or picking a player at that pick.”
With a general manager and head coach in place, this week has been about getting the scouting staff acquainted with its new bosses. After that, they’ve jumped right into preparations for next week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
“This is the culmination of all their hard work,” Fisher said. “Their information is being presented to us. They've done a great job. So we don't change things. You're still getting the information, you're still getting opinions, you're still getting the grades, you're still getting all the character descriptions. And so on and so forth.”
Within those meetings, the scouts have introduced the prospects that will be at the combine, begun discussing them a bit and formulated a plan for what will be discussed and dissected in Indianapolis next week.
When that work is done and the combine is over, the group will re-convene in early April to begin stacking the board. It won’t be until that time that the Rams actually begin formulating what happens with the second pick.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped the rest of the football world from beginning to come up with scenario after scenario of how it could play out.
Conventional wisdom says that Indianapolis will draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April.
That expectation has ramped up the speculation for what the Rams could do with the second pick. The most commonly held theory among the acknowledged NFL Draft cognoscenti is that the Rams have three or four options with the pick.
Those options include staying put and drafting USC left tackle Matt Kalil, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon or Louisiana State cornerback Morris Claiborne.
The other option, the one that will probably be discussed ad nausea between now and the draft is a potential trade down for a team in need of a franchise quarterback such as Baylor’s Robert Griffin III.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay and NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock both see the Rams having plenty of dance partners for a potential trade for the second pick. While teams like Washington, Miami and Buffalo could have a lot of interest, both analysts advocate Cleveland – armed with two first round picks at No. 4 and No. 22 – as the ideal trade partner.
“I would do it,” McShay said of the Browns trading their two first-round picks. “I wouldn’t do it for any other position, but I would do it for quarterback.”
Looking at it from the Rams’ perspective, Mayock believes the opportunity to land two first round picks and still be guaranteed a shot at Kalil, Blackmon or Claiborne makes the Browns an ideal fit for a trade.
“I think the most logical one and the one everybody is talking about, I think the Browns will need a quarterback moving up two slots happen to have 4 and 22,” Mayock said. “If I was the Rams I would be ecstatic with that deal. If you are moving down two slots and picking up the 22nd pick in the draft, I’d be happy with that. Now the Rams might be asking for more and I wouldn’t blame them but I would ultimately be happy with that deal. If you look at it, two quarterbacks would be gone at that point so if you move down to 4, you are either going to get the wide receiver or the left tackle so you are going to get one of the two guys you would have taken anyway plus you get 22.”
Snead and Fisher have both made it clear they believe
What will start to crystallize next week at the combine is whether some of the other options start to separate from one another in terms of value should the Rams opt to use the second pick themselves.
As it stands right now, neither Mayock nor McShay believes that Blackmon, though the best wideout in the draft is worth the No. 2 pick but moving down a couple of spots would make that selection more viable.
Of course, that could change next week should Blackmon opt to work out and post a blazing 40-yard dash time.
“If you are sitting at 2, I don’t believe he is the right decision (right now),” McShay said. “But if St. Louis is able to get a deal that they like to move down, which probably and I don’t have the trade chart in front of me, I’m guessing it’s going to cost a second round pick to move down two spots to Cleveland. If you are talking about moving down a little bit more to Washington at No. 6, it’s going to cost even more, maybe a second and a fourth. But if you stay at No. 2, you have to take advantage of being there and get an offensive lineman if you don’t get a trade done. Matt Kalil, to me, from USC makes an awful lot of sense. But if they do move back to 4 or 6 and get extra picks then I think it’s a much better scenario to take a wide receiver and Blackmon would be the guy.”
The beauty of the draft process, though, is that plenty of other players could emerge for that second pick as well. Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Iowa tackle Reilly Reiff and others are among the top rated players who could state their case for going high in the draft in the coming weeks.
So while many may want to know exactly what the Rams have up their sleeve right now, the reality is that the process has only just begun.