St. Louis faces an interesting task with their second overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Their biggest needs are on offense, but they have four possible positions to consider here, and any of the four will help deliver more team production next season. Option 1) Draft offensive tackle Greg Robinson. Option 2) Draft wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Option 3) Draft a franchise quarterback to replace Bradford. Option 4) Trade down deeper into the top ten, gather picks, and take the best player available that can immediately help the team.
Greg Robinson is the best offensive tackle in this year’s draft. St. Louis didn’t have the worst offensive line last season, and their past protection was average at best, but it was good enough that they could use their thirteenth pick to add an offensive tackle. Taylor Lewan is slated to slide from the top ten. Robinson would be an excellent addition if the Rams decide improving their offensive line is their biggest need entering the draft.
Robinson has good lateral agility for an offensive tackle, and he sets and pops better than any other offensive lineman in the draft. Once his feet are planted, he does a terrific job of absorbing contact and shifting his man away from the play. He’s not afraid of contact and will mix it up with any NFL defender. Durability is of little concern; he has bullish strength to match his big frame. He makes solid blocks both in pass protection and run support. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the Rams would have franchise caliber offensive tackle providing excellent protection.
Sammy Watkins is the top wide receiver in this year’s draft. St. Louis has a big need for a top tier receiver, as their current depth, while capable, doesn’t possess a true number one receiver, which hurt their offensive production last season. Watkins would give the Rams a down field target they haven’t had since the days of Isaac Bruce and Torrey Holt. He would certainly open the field and stretch it further to allow for better offensive production.
Watkins has good speed to accompany his solid leaping abilities. He’s a big play receiver that can get excellent separation off the snap, which makes him all the more dangerous when running deep post routes or intermediate crossing routes. He has great hands and makes every effort to catch the ball. He doesn’t mind making adjustments mid-route, if he can make a play for the ball he gives a 100% effort. He has excellent footwork and will give corners fits on nearly every possession when he’s on the field.
St. Louis could also use this pick to upgrade their passing game by selecting either Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel. From what I’m hearing, that chance is very small if they hold onto the second overall selection, but, should they trade down deeper into the top ten, quarterback could become the Rams top priority if either player is still on the board. If they did go with a quarterback, one would figure they would select Johnny Manziel. It’s easy to imagine the offensive production that adding a talented prospect like Manziel would bring to the Rams’ offense. But, will Manziel alone be enough to make the offense playoff efficient next season? Or does the offensive line and lack of a top tier receiver keep the offense from competing at a playoff level despite adding Johnny Football?
Trading down deeper into the top ten offers the Rams a chance to add more picks in an very deep draft. Dance partners aren’t hard to find and they’ve already been entertaining calls, listening at the very least, so the reality does exist they could swing the second overall pick and move down. If they covet offensive tackle Jake Matthews more than Greg Robinson, than getting him along with an additional early second round pick would be ideal.
The possibility that Manziel will still be on the board is high as well. So, they can still add a high prospect player, but also add early round additional picks later in the draft to answer other depth concerns the team has entering the draft.
If you are the Rams GM which decision would you make, and which player would you select?
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