Playing the NFL draft 'what if' game

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
11:30
AM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In this week's Hot Read, columnist Jeffri Chadiha examines the conundrum teams face between drafting a quarterback or a potential generational talent at another position.

Chadiha even spoke to former Rams general manager Billy Devaney, who explained his decision to choose quarterback Sam Bradford over Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Here's what Devaney had to say on making the decision between signal-caller and another spot.



"There are teams right now where it's obvious they can't win with the quarterback they drafted," Devaney said. "But you have to play it out at that point, and it takes about three years for some teams to admit they made a mistake. It's the worst position you can find yourself in when you need a quarterback and you feel that temptation to force one. Those decisions cost people jobs."




That's a decision that doesn't seem likely to be there for the Rams this year as they've insisted repeatedly that Bradford is their guy for the foreseeable future. However, as we discussed earlier this week, the Rams currently hold the No. 2 overall pick from Washington and its possible that pick could actually turn out to be No. 1 overall.

Packaged with Chadiha's piece, we offered a number of interesting accompanying parts to shed some light on how things might play out in the race for the No. 1 pick as well as Todd McShay's thoughts on where each team might go with the top pick should they get it. In an Insider piece, Rivers McCown, of Football Outsiders, used their advanced metrics to determine Insider the likelihood of each team in the race for the top pick actually getting it.

McCown has the chances of the Rams getting that first overall pick from Washington at 8 percent but says there's a 35.3 percent chance of the pick landing in the top three.

But let's examine some possibilities of what might happen should the Rams get that first pick. Yes, it's way too early to be discussing realistically but is it really ever too early to talk draft?

McShay lists Insider the Rams' top needs as offensive line, safety and running back. I agree with the first two but not the third. The Rams need help at cornerback and, honestly, they're still in need of a dominant No. 1 type of wide receiver. Where McShay and I certainly agree is that the Rams would almost certainly look to trade the top pick if they had it. In fact, I'd be quite surprised if they didn't trade it. If the Rams stayed put, McShay believes Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews would be the most likely choice, and it's hard to disagree with that.

More likely, the Rams would move down and be looking at guys like Matthews, Alabama safety Haha Clinton-Dix, one of the top corners or a receiver if they believe one -- such as Clemson's Sammy Watkins -- has the ability to be the true No. 1 type wideout they have lacked since the days of Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

The other X factor would be if the Rams had a shot at South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Rams are obviously well stocked on the defensive line, but Jeff Fisher has never been shy about trying to load up in that area. Adding someone like Clowney to a group that already includes Chris Long, Robert Quinn and others would only serve to make the team's strength one of the league's elite.

There's plenty of moving parts that still have to play out in this entire discussion, but the bottom line is that any of these scenarios playing out for the Rams would go down as a win for the organization as the trade with Washington continues to prove its the gift that keeps on giving.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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