Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Preaching patience when it comes to trades
By Nick Wagoner
When the St. Louis Rams left the NFL scouting combine two years ago, they had a pretty good idea of what was about to happen.
They held the second pick in a draft that had two of the most prized possessions in football: elite quarterback prospects. Even before the NFL converged on Indianapolis it was no secret that the hometown Colts would be taking Stanford signal caller Andrew Luck with the first pick. That left Robert Griffin III looming as the player that any quarterback-needy team coveted.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's strong showing at the NFL combine adds to the intrigue for the Rams, who hold the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.
Griffin promptly ran a 4.41 second 40-yard dash and lingering questions dissipated. The Rams' phone lines began blowing up.
More than a month from the start of the draft, the Rams struck a deal with Washington for the No. 2 pick.
This year, the Rams again hold the second pick and again have interest in sending it on to the highest bidder. What they don't have is the same clearly defined market.
"I think sitting at 2, this is gonna be a little bit different than the last one," Rams general manager Les Snead said. "When we went out to Indy the last time (2012), it seemed like everyone knew who Pick 1 was gonna be. And probably what Pick 2 was gonna be. I'm not sure we're gonna leave Indy and know who Pick 1's gonna be. If you'all do know, let me know. That would help the spring out."
At this point, it doesn't seem like even the Houston Texans, the team picking first, knows what their going to do with the first pick. Many assume it's going to be a quarterback. Some suspect they will go for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Some even think Houston might trade the pick before the Rams can.
It's part of the mystery that comes when there is not one quarterback who stands above the rest, let alone two.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher even joked about trying to coax the answer out of Houston general manager Rick Smith during a weak moment when the two spend time together at Competition Committee meetings.
"I spent the last three days in the same meeting room with Rick Smith," Fisher said, laughing. "I am going to spend another week with him in a couple weeks. Then I’m going to give myself another good solid week to find out what they are going to do."
Early impressions of this year's draft class indicate it could be one of the deepest groups to come along in awhile. That could mean that more teams look to move down than usual.
Snead said teams also have to look at the next draft class to get a handle on what might be coming next year.
"You start looking at, hey, if you go back (in trade) here, last year we might have been shut out," Snead said. "This year, wow, look at our options. At worst we've got a pick of these (guys). In going through all this in planning for a trade maybe, or just being prepared for whatever happens, you even go further looking into next year's draft. If this one is this deep, what are we thinking next year is gonna be like? Is it gonna be like, really thin? This year being deep, it's gonna affect trades for sure."
Snead, Fisher and the Rams have been more than willing to work out a deal in their first two years in St. Louis. That isn't likely to change this year. The only thing different might be the patience required for a swap to come to fruition.