There are still months to go until the Draft, yet following the recent Scouting Combine thoughts of all fans and coaches are already turning towards New York in May.
Two teams go into the Draft with multiple first round selections; the Browns have an extra pick from Indianapolis thanks to the Trent Richardson trade, whilst St Louis are still benefitting from the big price the Redskins paid to be able to select Robert Griffin III with the second pick in 2012.
Ironically, it is the second overall pick that the Rams have picked up from Washington this year and it is what they decide to do with that pick that will shape the rest of the draft and, potentially, the future of their franchise.
They find themselves in an advantageous position of having a high draft pick yet a team that is much better than the position in the draft would suggest. With many pieces of the jigsaw already in place, the needs of the Rams are different from those around them.
Sam Bradford is likely to return from injury as the starting quarterback, meaning that St Louis will not be in the race for one of the big names coming out of college. This means that they can either choose to select another player to complement their roster or, as they did in 2012, trade down the draft for extra picks with a more quarterback needy team.
Their decision may well depend on the choice of the Texans with the first overall pick. There has been much speculation that the Texans will opt to select Jadeveon Clowney to supplement their defense with the first pick, but may have to move for a quarterback if they cannot improve the position through Free Agency. If Clowney is still available then the Rams may pick him up to complement Robert Quinn. Other options include wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who would provide another weapon for Bradford, or more realistically a franchise calibre tackle in Jake Matthews.
Protecting Bradford is key on his return and as such passing up on the chance to take Matthews may be hard to do. But if another team is willing to give up a host of picks to move forward just a few spots to pick up ‘their’ quarterback then St. Louis have shown that they are not averse to making those kind of choices. If they are able to get an extra pick then they could still use their first selection to strengthen the line and have another pick elsewhere to continue to strengthen.
What is certain is that whatever happens with the second pick, the rest of the teams drafting will have to be prepared to react very quickly and re-evaluate their plans and draft boards once the Rams have made their move. Trade or make their own pick; they are a wildcard that will keep everyone interested right up until the time for the second pick comes around.
Were I sitting in the Rams GM chair it would be a case of picking Matthews, unless a trade option that was too good to turn down came along. But who knows what will happen; feel free to comment if you have any concrete thoughts on what their best bet is!