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Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Which direction Rams might go in draft

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams will have options with the No. 2 overall choice in the 2012 NFL draft.

They could trade the pick to a team seeking a quarterback. They could address glaring issues on their offensive line by selecting USC tackle Matt Kalil. They could land a needed weapon for quarterback Sam Bradford by taking Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Or they could head in another direction.

101ESPN's Bernie Miklasz and I discussed the possibilities during our weekly radio conversation Tuesday. I'll add a link to the audio once it's available, but for now, I've put together two charts relevant to Rams fans. Update: Here is the link.

The first shows how coach Jeff Fisher's Houston and Tennessee teams drafted by round during his 16 seasons as head coach, beginning with the 1995 draft. The second chart shows how general manager Les Snead's Atlanta teams drafted since his arrival there in 1998.

Fisher and Snead will not necessarily follow the same pattern their previous teams followed. The Rams have their own set of needs. Snead has never been a GM previously. Fisher has probably never had as much say over personnel. They will add their own personal touches.

I still found it noteworthy to see Fisher's teams draft zero offensive linemen in the first round. Snead's teams drafted only one, Sam Baker.

Fisher's teams drafted two quarterbacks and a cornerback when selecting among the top six overall picks. His teams never picked higher than 14th in the remaining drafts. Snead's teams drafted two quarterbacks, one receiver, one cornerback and one defensive end when choosing among the top eight overall choices.

At this point, I tend to think the Rams would prefer to land a playmaker for Bradford with their first-round choice.

As the first chart shows, Fisher's teams drafted four defensive linemen and three defensive backs in first rounds.

As the second chart shows, Snead's teams took three receivers and three defensive linemen in first rounds.