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Morning Ram-blings: QBs worth No. 1

4/16/2014

Although finding legitimate NFL starting quarterbacks in the later rounds of the draft is the equivalent of finding the needle in the haystack, there are also no guarantees about taking one early, even with the first overall pick.

With that in mind, ESPN NFL Insider columnist Mike Sando put together a pieceInsider that sort of melds the idea of what a No. 1 pick on a quarterback is worth moving forward by looking back at the production of current quarterbacks around the league.

In the piece, Sando polls talent evaluators Bill Polian, Matt Williamson and a NFL general manager, asking them which current quarterbacks in the league would be worthy of the first pick right now. To be clear, the idea isn't based on building for the future, simply on the production and ability of the quarterback at his current stage of development.

All told, 18 quarterbacks received some sort of mention though they were placed in different categories from "clearly worth a No. 1 pick" (Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, etc.) to "on their way but not there yet" (Colin Kaepernick, for example).

Conspicuous by his absence on the list is St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. As Sando points out, a dozen quarterbacks have been taken with the first overall pick in the past 16 drafts. Many of those players would be categorized as complete misses. Bradford doesn't fall into that category. Given the draft capital and dollars invested him, the fact that he isn't mentioned on this list entering his fifth season is certainly a disappointment for the Rams and their fans.

It's going to be a familiar refrain (and probably already is one) this year, but the time is now for Bradford to take the next step. If he isn't mentioned for a list such as this a year from now, the Rams will have to seriously consider making a change.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... The Ram-blings began with a look at some potential draft trade partners further down the draft order than the usual suspects. ... The Rams are offering $100,000 to the person who can accurately predict their 2014 schedule. Bonus: I talked with our Toni Collins about the story as well. ... Next, we took a look at the one-year deal the Rams gave wide receiver Kenny Britt. ... From there, we dived into the new ESPN The Magazine story on how professional teams around the globe are spending their money. ... Finally, we updated the Rams' current salary-cap situation.

Elsewhere:

Niners reporter Bill Williamson has the news that former Rams receiver Brandon Lloyd is returning to the league and San Francisco.

At stltoday.com, Jeff Gordon waxes on the sinking stock of quarterbacks as the draft approaches.

Jim Thomas participated in his weekly chat.

On 101sports, former NFL coach Rick Venturi talked draft with Chris Duncan and I on 101 ESPN radio in St. Louis.

In that same space, Kevin Wheeler reveals his first attempt at a mock draft.