The first round of the NFL Draft is where fortunes are made or lost. Make the right pick and it could end up being the makings of a dynasty. Peyton Manning is a perfect example of this. Make the wrong pick, however, and it could set the team back for many years. Ryan Leaf would be a perfect example of this dynamic at play. In this year's Draft, it was either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. Historical statistics suggest that only one of the two will succeed in the NFL, the Rams will be hoping it's Goff.
More than just hope, though, the Rams have done their homework on Goff. In fact, the Rams got to work doing their due diligence on both quarterbacks before they completed the trade with the Titans. They actually started the process back in February and their meetings with both quarterbacks served as an impetus for the eventual trade with the Titans. What eventually won them over was the zest of Goff and his approach to the private workout.
The day the Rams were scheduled to work Goff out, it began pouring down rain in Berkeley. The Rams approached Goff about moving the workout and Goff emphatically refused, wanting to show Fisher and Snead that he was capable of delivering strikes in even the worst climates. NFL weather, if there is such a thing, tried to derail Goff, but he managed to turn a negative into a positive and that left a lasting impression on the Rams' front office.
As soon as the Rams began the process of looking at a move, Fisher and Snead got to work figuring out ways to move with purpose. In other words, Fisher and Snead didn't just want to bring the Rams back to Los Angeles, they wanted to turn them into an immediate contender. Fisher and Snead knew this was about more than just making a splash, this was setting the franchise up to contend for a long time.
"Our vision," Snead said, "starting with Stan [Kroenke] at the top, Kevin [Demhoff] et al -- we definitely wanted come home. We call it home, but we didn't wanna just come home, we wanted to come home and contend, and contend consistently. If you look at our last four years, we've gone from bad to competitive. We've done it with the youngest team in football for the last four years."
The Rams have the pieces in place. Now it's about plugging a few holes, most notably a primary receiving target for Goff. The Rams may have to move some existing parts to create enough cap space and acquire the necessary draft picks to go and get those targets. As it currently stands, the Rams won't be picking again until the fourth round. That's not to say they can't find value in the later rounds, but the organization will need to do something prior to next year's draft. They gave away the front end of their 2017 Draft in the trade for the No. 1 pick.
All things being what they are, this is an exciting time to be a fan of the Los Angeles Rams. The franchise quarterback has been selected. The move has been made. The roster has been bolstered with young talent and savvy veterans. The support will be there for the organization and the NFC West has never been more wide open than now. It's a waiting game, for sure.
But Los Angeles fans have been waiting over 20 years for the NFL to return and it's done so with a bang. They'll find the patience to let Goff grow into the offense and the NFL. At this point, football is back in LA and that's really all that matters. Well, that and making sure their No. 1 overall pick gets the proper development.
Next year may be a different story, though.