The Artists Formerly Known as the St. Louis Rams headed west and, on the 170th anniversary of the Donner Party taking off from the Midwest for the sunny climbs of California, the Rams announced (out of deference to Kobe Bryant) that the team had flipped the script on the RG3 debacle in which they used to set the foundation to a close-to-.500 franchise.
In one fell swoop, Stan Kroenke – the Snidely Whiplash of the NFL – authorized the green light that had his Rams checker-jumping from the 15th pick to the first pick in the 2016 draft at the expense of the first two days of the next two drafts.
The Rams gave the Tennessee Titans a draft harvest for the next 13 months. The Titans walked away with the 15th, 33rd, 43rd and 45th pick in this year’s draft and Los Angeles’ first- and third-round picks next year for the privilege of allowing L.A. to make the first selection.
NFL landscapers are giddy about the prospects for Tennessee, projecting that the 2017 first-round pick that the Rams traded will be as high as No. 2 – feeling Cleveland will have the first pick, But the NFL should be happy that Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman wasn’t dealt Tennessee’s hand.
If so, Draft 2016 would have been crazy.
Good luck to the QB the Rams select – the current Vegas smart money is that Jared Goff is the man, although nothing should be believed in April. The current under-contract Rams quarterbacks have been put on notice.
Prior to Thursday, the conventional wisdom was that the Titans were going to take offensive tackle Jeremy Tunsil.
That theory has been blown up like the Death Star.
As things currently stand, it would appear that the first two picks of the 2016 draft are going quarterback – you can decide which player you think the Rams are going to take. At no point prior to the blockbuster trade had any draft analyst projected that the first two picks would be quarterbacks. Now it seems like an inevitability.
It may not seem like it, but the Tennessee-Los Angeles trade could have an impact on who the Vikings select with the 23rd pick in the first round. When a player that wasn’t expected to go off the board as early as he is now projected to go, it has a domino effect on the rest of the round. With four picks in the top 45, Tennessee has the ammunition to move back into the top 10 picks if it wants to. If Spielman had that sort of latitude, who knows what sort of deals would get cut? At this point, it’s unclear whether the Titans are willing to stand pat and make use of their stockpiled picks in the order in which they come, but one thing is clear. By making the trade, the Rams eliminated one team in front of the Vikings that would be taking a wide receiver.
The conventional wisdom was that top WR prospect Laquon Treadwell would have to drop past a minefield of potential suitors before the Vikings would be on the clock. One of the most often discussed landing spots was the Rams at No. 15. Now that option is off the table.
It also may benefit the Vikings in that, by the time their selection comes up, there may be three quarterbacks off the board – Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch. Seeing as the Vikings aren’t in the market for a quarterback in the first round, as many picks that can be made at positions the Vikings aren’t considering is a benefit for them.
At face value, it would appear that the Rams offering of a bonanza of picks to move up 14 spots would only be of a direct benefit to the Titans. But, considering how it has changed the landscape of the first round of the draft, that one trade is going to impact the rest of the teams in the first round and the trickle-down effect may reach as far as Minnesota when all is said and done.