Saturday, April 14, 2012
Rams trade up? A little bit of skepticism
By Mike Sando
The St. Louis Rams' need for a wide receiver has not diminished in recent days.
But would the team really trade up two spots in the 2012 NFL draft to select Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon with the fourth overall choice? I do not think that is likely, but a recent report caught my attention.
"Rams and Eagles among about four teams interested in trading up to No. 4 with Browns, sources say," a headline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer said Friday.
The story itself says nothing about the Rams expressing a specific interest in acquiring that choice to select Blackmon or anyone else. It refers to public comments from Rams coach Jeff Fisher suggesting Cleveland could be one potential trading partner.
"At the NFL owners meetings last month, Fisher said he'd consider trading up with the Browns depending on what they wanted in return," the story said. "He didn't specify which player he'd trade up for, but the Rams are believed to have interest in Blackmon. Fisher re-iterated Friday that he'll trade up, down or stay where he is."
If the Rams absolutely had to have Blackmon or any one player in this draft, they could have held onto the No. 2 overall choice. Instead, they traded that pick to Washington with an eye toward building for the long term. They are in position to choose from a group that could include Blackmon, tackle Matt Kalil, cornerback Morris Claiborne, running back Trent Richardson and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, among others.
We've discussed whether Blackmon would be worthy of such an early choice and, earlier, how the 6-foot-1, 207-pound prospect compares physically to wideouts drafted among the top three selections.
I've noticed a differentiation in physical attributes and career success among receivers based upon standing within the first round.
The first chart shows wide receivers drafted among the top three overall choices since 1990. All were at least 6-3. They averaged 220 pounds. Five of the six have been selected to a Pro Bowl as a wide receiver (as opposed to a returner).
The second chart shows receivers drafted fourth through sixth overall, also since 1990. Half were at least 6-3. They averaged 205 pounds. Two are just getting started, making it premature to evaluate their careers. One of the other four, Torry Holt, earned Pro Bowl honors as a wide receiver.