Monday, May 5, 2014
Rams draft preview: Quarterback
By Nick Wagoner
The NFL draft is set to begin May 8 and the St. Louis Rams hold 12 picks in this year's selection process. For the next week and a half, we'll take a look at a different position every day with what the Rams have in place at a position, what they need, when they might address it and some possible fits.
We continue the countdown with a look at this year's crop of quarterbacks.
In place: Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill, Austin Davis
What's needed: Talk about a loaded question. What's needed here depends on the eye of the beholder, but for the sake of this exercise, let's just operate under the assumption that the repeated and emphatic votes of confidence for Bradford from the Rams' main decision-makers can be taken at face value. Bradford has two high-priced years remaining on his deal. The team plans to have him in place as the starter this season, and Hill is poised to handle backup duties after signing a one-year deal in free agency. Davis remains on the roster, but will almost certainly have an uphill climb to make the roster again.
That is because the Rams have made it abundantly clear that they plan to draft a quarterback at some point in this year's draft, probably on Day 2. The idea, according to them, is to improve their backup situation, but also find a young quarterback who could eventually push Bradford if he doesn't make the leap they expect this year. Some would argue the Rams should draft a quarterback in the first round and make him the next starter, which would require a corresponding a difficult to execute move with Bradford.
Possible fits: The Rams have spent plenty of time scouting and visiting with quarterbacks in the the draft, but not much of that time has been spent with the top quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater. Reports have linked them to Fresno State's Derek Carr, Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, Georgia's Aaron Murray, South Carolina's Connor Shaw , Alabama's A.J. McCarron and SMU's Garrett Gilbert. among others. Carr is expected to be a late-first-round pick, Savage and McCarron are likely second-round choices and Murray could go as high as Round 3. Shaw is probably going to go on Day 3. Depending on how high of a pick the Rams want to spend, any of the names mentioned above would make sense, though Carr and Savage might be gone by the time the Rams pick again in round 2.
Verdict: Some have speculated that Manziel would be an option if he falls to No. 13, and though we can't rule that out entirely, chances are good he'll be gone before that conversation would have to take place. The shocker scenario would see the Rams spending the No. 2 pick on Manziel and trading Bradford but with so many moving parts to such a move, it seems unlikely. The hunch here is that the Rams will take their guy in the second or third round with a player like Murray, McCarron or Savage as the most likely fit.