Thursday, December 12, 2013
Musings on potential of Washington's pick
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CTIY, Mo. -- As the Washington Redskins continue to struggle with turmoil on and off the field, the St. Louis Rams continue to reap the benefits.
Earlier this week, in our weekly Redskins watch we looked at the realistic possibility that the Rams could end up receiving a top two pick from the Redskins as the coup de tat of the trade that ultimately landed Robert Griffin III in Washington. Griffin is now a backup in Washington and Kirk Cousins is set to start this weekend in Atlanta.
Now, whether the move from Griffin to Cousins is a good thing from a Rams' perspective can be debated. It's possible Cousins could provide a little bit of a lift to a sagging Redskins offense. It also could go the other way and throw things off even further. For the purpose of this exercise, though, let's focus on the possibilities that are out there should the Rams end up with a pick in the top two or even one in the top five.
ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay updated their draft boards this week and it's interesting to note how they have crafted their top five. Sticking out like a sore thumb is the complete absence of a quarterback in either's first five. Kiper has Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater as the top quarterback , slotting him at No. 7 while McShay does the same but with Bridgewater at No. 8.
It's worth noting that the lists of the top prospects is how Kiper and McShay currently rate them, not necessarily where they would go if the draft were held today. In fact, it's quite common for a quarterback to get a boost because of his position, so Bridgewater would likely go well above those spots. The question that could determine just how much the Rams make of having Washington's pick is how high will teams value Bridgewater?
Plenty of early speculation has Houston taking Bridgewater at No. 1 overall. But Kiper said in a Twitter chat this week that he believes the Texans' decision were it made today would come down to South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney or UCLA pass rusher Anthony Barr. Kiper also said he believes Bridgewater is the only quarterback currently worthy of a premium pick in the top 10 or so.
Let's assume for a minute that scenario played out. It would leave Bridgewater there at No. 2, the Rams' current position with Washington's pick. Rams general manager Les Snead has re-iterated on multiple occasions that Sam Bradford is the team's quarterback moving forward. He's been pretty convicted about it when asked. It seems unlikely (though I'll never use the word impossible) that the Rams would draft Bridgewater or any other quarterback in the first round.
That would open up a lot of doors to do what Snead and Jeff Fisher have made a habit of doing in their first two drafts together: trading down for another package of picks. In the current draft order, there's a clearly defined sweet spot of sorts where the Rams could move down, still get a high-caliber player and pick up some extra picks. Minnesota, Oakland, Jacksonville and Cleveland currently sit in spots four through seven, respectively. All could use the draft's top quarterback.
It's unlikely Bridgewater would draw the return the Rams got for Griffin but even if he didn't, a move down with one of those teams would keep the Rams in range of a much needed stud offensive lineman like Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or potential No. 1 wideout like Clemson's Sammy Watkins (one of my own personal early favorites in this draft). The secondary needs fixing also but as of now there are no corners or safeties that appear worthy of a top 10 choice.
Of course, most of this can and will change in the coming months, but for now it's hard to look at the Rams' position in the 2014 NFL draft and see it as anything but the catbird seat.