Few teams will be sitting in a better position on draft day than the St. Louis Rams. After a 7-9 season, the team has two picks in the top half of the first round.
St. Louis’s record earned them the No.13 pick on May 8. However, the team also owns the No.2 selection. They acquired the pick in the previous season when they traded the No.2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins. Washington took Robert Griffin III, but after a three-win 2013 campaign, finished at the bottom of the NFC.
The Rams have several options on the day of the draft. While they are on the cusp of reaching the postseason, they have a good chance to draft two impact players in the first round. In 2013, the Rams drafted Tavon Austin with the No. 8 selection. The wide out had 40 receptions for 418 yards in 13 games.
What will St. Louis do with the No.2 pick?
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It’s not often that a defensive player goes first overall in the NFL Draft. This year could be an exception, with Clowney heading to the pros. He’s widely regarded as the most talented player in the 2014 class, and if he makes his way past No.1, there’s a good chance the Rams will select him with their first pick.
Adding Clowney could give St. Louis the best pass rush in the NFL. Last season, the Rams ranked third in football, recording 53 sacks. The defensive line was led by Robert Quinn, who had a breakout year, sacking the quarterback 19 times.
Despite Clowney’s talent, his numbers declined in his final season at South Carolina. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, though, says he’s not worried about the decrease in production.
"Not if you watch the games, it's not (a concern)," Fisher said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Because the effort's there. You've got to give offenses credit, too. I mean they were aware of where he was. They turned the center towards him. When the ball came out, they'd check out with backs just like we do in our league with good rushers."
Choosing an offensive lineman at No.2 overall might not be the most exciting pick, but it could turn out to be the smartest selection for St. Louis. The Auburn product is ranked by many experts as the top offensive lineman in the draft, and he could make an immediate impact for St. Louis.
The Rams were hit with several injuries on the offensive line in 2013. Jake Long tore his ACL and MCL at the end of the season, and his status for 2014 is uncertain. Center Scott Wells fractured his fibula in early December.
A week ago, Robinson paid a visit to St. Louis. If Clowney goes to Houston at No.1, the tackle’s most likely landing spot could be with the Rams.
The Rams’ best option might be to send the No.2 pick elsewhere. With the No.13 overall selection, the Rams are already guaranteed to pick in the top half of the first round. They could turn the No.2 pick into two high draft picks, or even get an established NFL player in return.
The No.2 pick is very valuable to teams looking to draft a quarterback. Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater are all potential top picks. St. Louis, however, is committed to giving Sam Bradford a chance as the starter, following an injury-plagued 2013 season. A team interested in drafting a quarterback could give the Rams a lot of value, in order to ensure that they can get their desired signal caller.
St. Louis general manager Les Snead recently told TheMMQB.com’s Greg Bedard that the organization has had “flirtatious” discussions with other teams, regarding the selection. Even teams that already have an established quarterback could be interested in the pick. If Houston selects Bortles with the top pick, a team looking to draft Clowney could look to make a draft-day trade.