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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Rams essentially moved up in first round

By Mike Sando

The St. Louis Rams were the only NFC West team without a quarterback need in the 2011 NFL draft.

They held the 14th overall choice, but with four quarterbacks taken among the first 12 picks, St. Louis got more value from the selection. How much more value?

If we exclude quarterbacks from the drafting equation, as the Rams did in this draft, the team got No. 10 overall value from the 14th pick. The difference in value between the 10th and 14th picks -- 200 points on the widely circulated draft-value chart -- equates to the 78th overall choice.

The Rams happened to hold the 78th pick this year. They used it for Boise State receiver Austin Pettis.

This draft featured more quarterbacks selected among the 12 choices than any since 1999, when there were five. The Rams were already set at quarterback that year. They held the sixth overall choice and got heightened value when Cleveland, Philadelphia and Cincinnati selected quarterbacks with the first three picks. The Rams selected receiver Torry Holt -- the sixth overall choice, but only the third non-quarterback.

After quarterbacks went 1-2-3 in 1999, the teams drafting next "settled" for Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, Holt and Champ Bailey. The next two players taken, David Boston and Chris Claiborne, never met expectations. Overall, however, teams searching for non-quarterbacks stood to benefit.

The Rams are hoping first-round choice Robert Quinn fits into that group with James, Williams, Holt and Bailey.